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This week in Christian history: Oxford Movement begins, Irish Archbishop executed, Teutonic Knights battle

Oxford Movement begins – July 14, 1833

John Keble
The Rev. John Keble (1792-1866), a clergyman in the Church of England credited with having helped start the Oxford Movement. |

This week marks the anniversary of when the Oxford Movement, a notable 19th century revival movement that sought to advance more Roman Catholic culture within the Anglican Church, began at Oxford University in the United Kingdom.

The spark for the movement was a sermon preached by the Rev. John Keble at the university chapel on the issue of national apostasy, drawing from First Samuel 12:23, “As for me, God forbid that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you: but I will teach you the good and the right way.”

“Unquestionably it is mistaken theology, which would debar Christian nations and statesmen from the instruction afforded by the Jewish Scriptures, under a notion, that the circumstances of that people were altogether peculiar and unique, and therefore irrelevant to every other case,” declared Keble.

“God will ultimately reward and punish, this is a point which cannot be changed: for it depends not on our circumstances, but on His essential, unvarying Attributes.”

According to Britannica, following the sermon, the Oxford movement “gradually spread its influence throughout the Church of England.”

“Some of the results were increased use of ceremony and ritual in church worship, the establishment of Anglican monastic communities for men and for women, and better-educated clergy who were more concerned with pastoral care of their church members,” noted Britannica.

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