October 17, 1939 – Archbishop Shchukin

Alexander Ivanovich Shchukin was the Archbishop of Semipalatinsk in modern-day Kazakhstan. Tired of the Soviet Union’s treatment of placating the Russian Orthodox Church, he bravely began to preach against the evils of Communism and the God-less nation of the USSR. Joseph Stalin had him shot on October 17, 1939.

October 16, 1978 – Pope John Paul II

History was made in the Roman Catholic Church on October 16, 1978 when the first non-Italian Pope in 456 years was chosen by the College of Cardinals. The College chose Polish Cardinal Karol Wojtyla who would take the name Pope John Paul II. His time in the Holy See would make him one of the most influential people in Christianity …

October 15, 1900 – Bethel Bible Institute

The American Pentecostal movement experienced growth at Bethel Bible Institute in Topeka, KS on New Year’s Day of 1901 when Agnes Ozman experienced speaking in tongues.  Ozman asked Bethel’s founder, Charles Fox Parham, to lay hands on her and ask the Holy Spirit to speak through her.  Parham founded Bethel Bible Institute in a bankrupt Topeka mansion (pictured here) on …

October 14, 1066 – Battle of Hastings

A deciding event in the history of England was the Battle of Hastings when William the Conqueror of Normandy, France defeated the English on October 14, 1066. In addition to the political impact was the impact of Christianity on England. William was devout in his loyalty to the church and wiped out the pagan religions being practiced.

October 13, 1605 – Theodore Beza

The man who ensured the theological work of John Calvin would continue was Theodore Beza who died on October 13, 1605. Beza was an instrumental support to Calvin and was his immediate successor of the church in Geneva, Switzerland. These are the statues at the Reformation Wall in Geneva from left to right: William Farel, Calvin, Beza and John Knox.

October 12, 1518 – Luther and Cardinal Cajetan

In the 500 years since Martin Luther nailed the 95 Theses to the doors of the Castle Church in Wittenberg in 1517, we may tend to forget how difficult this was for him at the time.  While he certainly grew in his stamina and resolve, on October 12, 1518 he wasn’t feeling that when he was grilled by Cardinal Thomas …

October 11, 1521 – King Henry VIII

About 13 years before King Henry VIII of England would break all ties with the Catholic Church of Rome, he was awarded the Defender of the Faith by Pope Leo X for his thesis “The Assertion of the Seven Sacraments”.  The thesis was a blistering tract against the “heresy” of Martin Luther when Henry was given the award on October …

October 10, 1821 – Charles Finney

The Second Great Awakening in the United States, which took place over about 30 years from the 1790s to the 1820s, ended with the work of evangelist Charles Finney.  Finney would serve for a time as president of Oberlin College in Ohio and was said to have converted over 500,000 people.  He had a conversion experience on October 10, 1821 …

October 9, 1747 – David Brainerd

Think about how one life can make an impact: David Brainerd was a missionary to Native American Indians in the English colonies who died at age 29 of tuberculosis on October 9, 1747. From Brainerd’s journals Jonathan Edwards wrote his biography which impacted missionaries for a century or more. One of Brainerd’s journal entries said: “I am an old sinner; …

October 8, 451 – Council of Chalcedon

As Christianity grew, the early church often settled issues of theology by meeting together in church councils.  Many of the councils were held near the Mediterranean Sea for logistical reasons and on October 8, 451 the Council of Chalcedon met to settle the heretical teachings of the Eutychians.  Eutychians did not believe Jesus was both God and man at the …