The USA: A Country Birthed By Calvinists

On Today in Church His-Story (Episode 33) we take a trip down the St. John’s River in Florida via the Atlantic Ocean. Our port of departure was in France where we’ve been commissioned by the French government to establish a colony for religious freedom. But on September 20, 1565 Pedro Menendez, the Spanish Commander, was sent by Phillip II to destroy the men, women, and children in this permanent settlement in the United States. The settlement was not Jamestown or Plymouth Rock, but Fort Caroline. The settlers were Calvinists. Learn about this rarely spoken about event in church history and why it matters for today.

Calvin's Victorious Return to Geneva

On Today in Church His-Story (Episode 32) we consider one of the most important dates of the Reformation era, September 13, 1541. On this day in history, John Calvin came to the rescue of Geneva. After being chased out of town by the city council three years earlier, Calvin was happily pastoring in Strasbourg. He said he’d rather die a hundred deaths than return to Geneva. But they needed him. They wanted him to return! Find out why on this episode as we tell about one of the most unlikely, providential twists in church history.

John the Baptist Beheaded

On Today in Church His-Story (Episode 31) we discuss what happened this day in the first century when John the Baptist was beheaded by Herod Antipas for standing against his adulterous marriage to Herodias. What do we learn about stances for truth in our own day from this? How can Christians be like John the Baptist–both gospel proclaimers and moral reformers? Are these two mutually exclusive? Where’s the balance? Find out my suggestions to these questions on this episode.

Increase Mather: A Call for More Jeremiad's

On Today in Church His-Story (Episode 30) we consider the legacy of the Puritan preacher, Increase Mather, who died on this day in 1723. Mather was a modern day prophet, calling New Englander’s to Christ. He sought revival and believed that many of those with Christian roots were not believers since they were incapable of making credible professions of faith. Later he endorsed less restrictions for admitting people into church membership. We consider what all this means for us today in this podcast.

The Necessity of Nicaea: July 25, 325

On Today in Church His-Story (Episode 29) we look back to the closing of the Council of Nicaea, which occurred on this day, July 25, 325. Some historians say it was August 25. Nobody is for certain. What is for certain, however, is what took place at Nicaea. A creed affirming the orthodox view of the doctrine of the person of Christ was established in this first ecumenical council. On this episode, we consider the influence of three men in particular: Origen, Constantine, and Athanasius. This council changed history. Athanasius’ stand changed history. We learn that it was also one letter of one word that also changed history.

See also The Theological Precision of Athanasius

Sacrament in Space?

On Today in Church His-Story (Episode 28) we look at the most bizarre place the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper has ever reportedly been observed. It’s kind of “out there” to consider, literally out there. On this date in 1969, astronaut Buzz Aldrin took part in a private observance of the Lord’s Supper in outer space during the first moon landing mission. Listen as we ask and answer whether this was biblically permissible. We also consider whether it’s ever biblically permissible to partake of the Lord’s Supper privately apart from the gathering of the local church assembly.

Lady Jane Grey: Daughter-Queen of the Reformation

On Today in Church His-Story (Episode 27) we take a look at the Reformed theology of the young Lady Jane Grey. Her given name was Jane Dudley. It was on this day, July 10, 1553, that Lady Jane Grey became the Queen of England. Grey ascended the throne to become the Queen of England at 16 years old. She reigned only nine days. At just 17, she was martyred by the Roman Catholic, Queen Bloody Mary. In this episode we consider Lady Jane Grey’s theology by taking a glance at her response to Archbishop Feckenham, as well as the letter she wrote to her sister Katherine from the Tower of London just hours before being led to her place of execution.

Faithful Flavel: Preacher of the Woods

On Today in Church His-Story (Episode 26) we take a look at John Flavel, one of the most faithful non-conforming English Puritans. He died on June 26, 1691 after many years of battle-hardened service to King Jesus. This man was willing to do whatever was necessary to fulfill his calling to preach the Word. Whether preaching on soon to be submerged islands, in the woods, or in private homes, Flavel was relentless in his quest to feed his flock with the Scriptures. He ran from the authorities, sometimes disguising himself, in order to finish sermons he had already started before being broken up by the king’s soldiers. Flavel demonstrates the one word that must mark every minister–faithful. He was faithful to the Word, faithful to the people he pastored, and faithful to his Lord. May God graciously give us more men who are marked by conviction, not compromise! Flavel demonstrates both convictions preached and lived out.

For more details on John Flavel, read John Flavel’s Unflagging Commitment to Preaching

Charismatic Chaos: The Negative Legacy of Aimee Semple McPherson on American Christianity

On Today in Church His-Story (Episode 25) we look at the charismatic figure, Aimee Semple McPherson. Once thought to be dead, a memorial service was held in her honor by her mother. But after five weeks she reappeared in a Mexican desert. Credited as the founder of the Foursquare Gospel churches, McPherson’s influence on the charismatic movement could hardly be overestimated. Her antics bear the marks of modern day charismatic leaders. As the first female at the helm of a megachurch, McPherson set the stage for later women claiming to be called into the ministry as preachers and pastors. In many respects, she can be considered a modern day Jezebel.