August 24: An Historic Day to Remember

August 24th is an important date in Protestant church history.

  • 1560 – The Scottish Reformation was made official when what has been termed the Reformation Parliament rejected papal jurisdiction, outlawed Roman Catholic worship and the mass, and adopted a Protestant confession of faith, now known as the First Book of Discipline.

1572 – St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre in France. Persecution of the French Huguenots began as Catherine de Medici, mother of King Charles IX of France, ordered the assassination of Admiral Gaspard de Coligny. He was attacked early on August 24th, setting off mob action throughout Paris by Roman Catholics. Nearly 3,000 Huguenots were killed in Paris, and perhaps as many as 70,000 across the nation of France.

1631 – Birth of Philip Henry, an English Puritan and father of the renowned Matthew Henry.

1662 – The Great Ejection of English Puritans from their pulpits, sometimes called “Black Bartholomew’s Day,” harkening back to the Massacre of 1572. As Charles II returned to the throne and worked to establish his power over the English nation, the Act of Uniformity required allegiance to the Church of England’s Book of Common Prayer. Those ministers who in good conscience could not swear allegiance were forced to step down from their pulpits, thus losing their livelihood and leaving their congregations bereft of a pastor. Over 2,000 Puritan pastors chose obedience to God over obedience to king.

1683 – Death of John Owen, one of the greatest theologians and Bible commentators in Christian history, whose works ranks with those of Augustine, Luther and Calvin. John Owen was a Congregationalist, not a Presbyterian, but his writings have been of tremendous influence throughout the Reformed world.

Words to Live By:
Throughout human history, God has been at work, sovereignly accomplishing His grand design, which culminated in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ our Lord. Even now the goal of human history continues under His loving hand, as the dates shown above stand in evidence. God raises up and prepares great leaders for His Church. Or He may allow times of persecution, sometimes employing those trials to move His people on to new fields, as we saw in the Book of Acts. At times the Church may enter into what seem like times of great victory, while at other times the Gospel seems under grave threat. Through all of this, His power, His mercy, His lovingkindness are daily on display all around us. May the Lord open our eyes.


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