May 11, 1926 – The Inklings

How would you like to be a fly on the wall when J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis first sat down for a “chat”? That happened on May 11, 1926 at the Eagle and Child Pub in Oxford, England. This “chat” would later involve a dozen literary giants, may who taught at Oxford University, for over two decades to form a …

May 10, 1508 – Sistine Chapel Ceiling

It seems there must be some truth to the idea of the “temperamental artist” as Pope Julius II would learn. One of the highlights of a tour of St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican is the Sistine Chapel which is the very spot where a new pope is selected. Michelangelo’s famous paintings on the chapel ceiling are, quite literally, a …

May 9, 1687 – Matthew Henry

The first commentary of the Bible I every used for my teaching and study was “the Big Boy” Matthew Henry Commentary (pictured here). The one sitting on my shelf is about 5″ thick. Henry wanted to be a priest in England at a time when non-conformists like him were opposing the power of the Church of England so he was …

May 8, 1603 – Jacob Arminius

The doctrinal discussions over man’s free will to choose salvation have gone on for over a thousand years but they became much more pointed and developed when John Calvin spelled out the idea of predestination in very clear terms. The other side of Calvin’s arguments (I mean that in a nice church-going way) is typically called Arminianism named for Jacob …

May 7th, 1274 – 2nd Council of Lyons

The biggest church split ever was between what we today call the Roman Catholic Church headquartered in Rome and the Greek/Russian Orthodox Church in Constantinople (now Istanbul). It happened in 1095 and was called The Great Schism (I would make the point the Reformation was not a split but a total “do-over”). On May 7th, 1274 the two groups met …

May 6, 1536 – The Great Bible

On May 6, 1536 King Henry VIII mandated that a Bible be printed and chained to every church in England (kind of like they do pens at the bank – use them while you are here but don’t think about taking them with you). They were known as the Great Bibles. We shouldn’t have in our mind that Henry was …

May 5, 1861 – Frances Willard

The Women’s Christian Temperance Union was a powerful force in the later 1800’s and early 1900’s. Not only did they influence the 18th amendment to the Constitution that prohibited alcohol, they also joined the efforts for women’s suffrage and the right to vote. The founder of the WCTU Frances Willard was baptized on May 5, 1861 after attending Methodist church …

May 4, 1814 – Thomas Coke

The first bishop of the Methodist Church, Thomas Coke, was an attorney and the mayor of Brecon, Wales and thought by many to be John Wesley’s successor. This is a picture of the cathedral in Brecon where Coke worshiped. Coke came to America not too long after the American Revolution and, along with Francis Asbury, was the first superintendent of …

May 3, 1679 – Archbishop James Sharp

When James Sharp was named archbishop of St. Andrews, making him the head of the Church of England in Scotland, he sealed his fate as a turncoat to the “Covenanters” who became the Presbyterians. Sharp had once been a Covenanter which meant he wanted the Church of England to stay out of Scotland’s congregation-driven church structure. This was right in …

May 2, 373 – Athanasius

The former bishop of Alexandria, Egypt named Athanasius was the first person to use the term “canon of Scripture” and led the charge against a major church heresy called Arianism. Arianism was named for a fellow Alexandrian churchman named Arius who said Jesus was not really on par with God so the idea of the Trinity is incorrect. This was …