This week in Christian history: Elizabeth I excommunicated, Francis of Assisi, ‘What Would Jesus Do?’

Charles Sheldon born – February 26, 1857

Charles Sheldon (1857-1946), noted minister, author, and editor of the Christian Herald. | Public Domain

This week marks the anniversary of the birth of Charles Monroe Sheldon, a Congregational minister and best-selling author who is credited with coining the phrase “What Would Jesus Do?”

Sheldon was born in Wellsville, New York, the son of a Congregationalist minister who belonged to the Temperance Movement. Sheldon would likewise come to support the temperance cause.

During his time as a pastor in Kansas, Sheldon used stories in his sermons, which eventually were compiled into a best-selling book titled In His Steps: What Would Jesus Do?

“Sales for In His Steps have been estimated from $10 to $30 million dollars and ‘What Would Jesus Do?’ (WWJD) has been translated to bracelets, t-shirts, necklaces, and other visible expressions as a Christian motto,” noted the Kansas Historical Society.

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