Christianity is a faith with a long and detailed history, with numerous events of lasting significance occurring throughout the ages.
Each week bring the anniversaries of great milestones, horrid tragedies, amazing triumphs, and everything in between.
Here are just a few things that happened this week, July 2-8, in Church history. They include the death of an American theologian, the martyrdom of an English saint, and the sending off of one of the most influential missionaries in American Christendom.
Helmut Richard Niebuhr Dies — July 5, 1962
This week marks the anniversary of the death of prominent American theologian and ethicist Helmut Richard Niebuhr at age 67.
The younger brother of famed theologian Reinhold Niebuhr, Helmut developed his own reputation as a Christian intellectual, having several books published including The Social Sources of Denominationalism in 1929, The Meaning of Revelation in 1941, and The Purpose of the Church and Its Ministry in 1954.
A pastor in the Evangelical And Reformed Church, Niebuhr championed the concept of Theological Existentialism, which stressed the importance of individual faith over mere adherence to religious institutional practices.
Lottie Moon is Sent to China as a Missionary – July 7, 1873
This week marks the anniversary of the Foreign Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention appointing Lottie Moon as a missionary to China.
A native of Virginia and standing only 4-foot-3-inches tall, Moon was appointed to China on July 7, 1873 and is credited with shaping how overseas mission work is done by the SBC.
"She's been a hero to many for her willingness to leave relative comfort, social position, and a loving family behind in the United States to go to a life of discomfort and perpetual struggle," noted the blog Ethics and Culture in 2015.
"Her faithful letter writing to raise funds for all Baptist missionaries led to her becoming the namesake of the Southern Baptist Convention's annual Christmas Offering. Because of her faithfulness, her name has become a rallying point for Southern Baptist Missions."
Thomas More Beheaded – July 6, 1535
This week marks the anniversary of the martyrdom of Saint Thomas More, the former Chancellor of England who famously opposed the remarriage of King Henry VIII.
A prolific author and devout Catholic, More was imprisoned and eventually beheaded for refusing on religious grounds to accept the legitimacy of the marriage of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn due to Henry being divorced, which contradicted Church teaching.
On July 6, 1535, after being convicted of high treason based off of perjured evidence, More was executed. Reportedly, his last words were "I die the King's good servant, but God's first."