Welcome to Concordia Historical Institute, Department of Archives and History for the Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod.

Today in History

October 31

Reformation Day

1516 Martin Luther preached against the abuse of indulgences one year prior to his posting of the 95 theses in Wittenberg.

1517 Luther posted 95 Theses on the Castle Church door in Wittenberg, calling on all and sundry to debate the question of indulgences by word of mouth or by pen. As a result Thomas Cardinal Cajetan (14691534) at Rome wrote On Indulgences against Luther. Johann Tetzel got Professor Konrad Wimpina (ca. 14601531) of the new University of Frankfort to write two sets of theses against Luther. Johannes Mair von Eck (14861543) of Ingolstadt denounced his friend Luther as a Bohemian, equating him to Jan Hus (ca. 13691415).

1870 Hugh Ross Mackintosh, Church of Scotland theologian, was born at Paisley, Scotland (d. 3 June 1936).

1875 Edward William August Koehler was born in Wolfenbuettel, Brunswick, Germany (d. 12 May 1951).

1879 Jacob Abbott, American Congregationalist author, died at Farmington, Maine (b. 14 November 1803).

1907 Daniel C. Roberts, American Episcopal clergyman and hymnist, died (b. 5 November 1841).

1932 A Lutheran seminary in Hankow, China, was dedicated.

1963 Sam Shoemaker (b. 1893), American Episcopal clergyman, died. Ordained in 1921, he became rector of Calvary Episcopal Church (New York City) in 1925. A popular counselor and radio speaker, Shoemaker stressed personal evangelism and everyday practice of the Christian faith. He also assisted Alcoholics Anonymous in formulating the Twelve Steps.

1978 Christian Thomas Wetzstein, former president of the Manitoba-Saskatchewan District of the LCMS (19271929), died in South Lyon, Michigan (b. 14 February 1887, Sac County, Iowa). A 1909 graduate of Concordia Theological Seminary (Springfield, Illinois), Wetzstein served congregations and preaching stations in northwest Canada, Saskatchewan and Ontario. After he left Canada, he continued to serve several vacant congregations in Indiana and Michigan until 1967. Wetzstein is said to have organized twenty-four congregations and to have served thirty-two congregations from his vicarage year in 1907 in Texas to his last parish at Burlington, Michigan.

1999 Representatives of the Roman Catholic Church and the Lutheran World Federation met in Augsburg, Germany, to sign a Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification (JDDJ).