Sept. 20 in Christian History

Sep 20, 2008 10:07 AM EDT

1378 - The Great Schism in the Catholic Church began. It was touched off when Gregory XI died, shortly after returning the papal seat from Avignon, in France, to Rome. Continuing for nearly 40 years (until 1417), the Schism at one point produced three concurrent popes!

1883 - Birth of Albrecht Alt, German Lutheran Old Testament scholar. "Biblia Hebraica" (13th ed., 1962), which Alt edited with Rudolph Kittel, became a standard critical Hebrew text of the Old Testament among students of the Bible for years.

1932 - Four branches of Methodism in England united to form the Methodist Church of Great Britain and Ireland. These were the Wesleyan Methodists (founded 1784), the Primitive Methodists (1811), the United Methodist Free Churches (1857) and the United Methodists (1907).

1947 - English apologist C.S. Lewis wrote in a letter: 'Those who suffer the same things from the same people for the same Person can scarcely not love each other.'

1948 - American missionary Jim Elliot - eight years before his martyrdom at the hands of the Auca Indians of Ecuador -- penned in his journal: 'I am Thine at terrible cost to Thyself. Now Thou must become mine - as Thou didst not attend to the price, neither would I.'

© 1987-2008, William D. Blake. Used by permission of the author, from Almanac of the Christian Church