17th Century

During this Century, England started to establish colonies in North America, many with the purpose of spreading Christianity or establishing more-Biblical Christian governments — Jamestown began in 1607, the Pilgrims landed in 1620, and the Massachusetts Bay Colony was established by Puritans in 1630. The turmoil of the Protestant Reformation, which had begun in ernest the last century, finally started to wind down, as both Protestants and Catholics slowly learned how to peacefully co-exist with each other (... or at least not kill each other).

1600:    (This is so cute, I've got to include it.)

Pope Clement VIII sanctions the use of coffee as a beverage, despite petitions by his priests to ban the Muslim drink as "The Devil's Drink". The Pope tried a cup and declared it "so delicious that it would be a pity to let the infidels have exclusive use of it. We shall cheat Satan by baptizing it."


The Catholic English Old Testament is released.  Even though the translation had been completed in 1582 — 27 years earlier — Catholic Church delayed forking over the money to get it printed. This tends to show that the Pope, although not opposing an English Bible, wasn't exactly keen on the idea. The Old Testament was combined with the New, and the complete work was known as the Rhemes-Douay Bible. For the first time, the Catholic Church had an official English Bible.    [Read more ...]


First editions of the King James Version are printed.  [SEE AN ACTUAL PAGE]  It was the result of over 7 years of work by about 50 scholars — each personally selected by the King. They were divided into 6 sections, and each was assigned a specific portion of the Bible. When each group completed their translation, it went through several layers of review before finally being given to King James I for his personal approval. For more than 3 centuries, the King James Version was the Bible for the English-speaking world.   [Read more ...]


Puritans from England establish the Plymouth Bay Colony near what today is the city of Plymouth, Massachusetts. At the time Puritans were suffering persecution in England. Some of them got tired of putting up with it, so they got in a boat and sailed West. The roots of the Christian Church in the New World begins here. Even though the King James Version had been in print for more than 9 years, our Pilgrim Forefathers preferred the Geneva Translation, and that's the version they brought with them to America on the Mayflower.   [Read more ...]


Pope Urban VIII dedicates the New Basilica of St. Peter.  Built over the traditional location of Peter's burial, this new church replaced an older one built 1,300 years earlier. One method employed to finance this immense construction was the granting of indulgences in return for contributions. This gave great fodder to Protestants, who accused the Catholic Church of trying to sell God's forgiveness.    [Read more ...]


John Bunyan, famous Puritan author, is born.  His most famous work was an allegory titled "The Pilgrim's Progress from This World to That Which Is to Come". At a time when very few books were fiction, "Pilgrim's Progress" became an immediate best-seller. It is still in print today.    [Read more ...]


The first Oberammergau Passion Play is performed.  This play is performed as a tradition by the inhabitants of the village of Oberammergau, Bavaria, Germany. Since its first production it has always been performed on open-air stages in the village. The play is a staging of Jesus' passion, covering the short final period of his life from his visit to Jerusalem to his execution by crucifixion. It is the earliest continuous example of Christian drama — it's still performed today.    [Read more ...]


The Westminster Confession becomes doctrine for the Church of England.  It was written by the Westminster Assembly, a group of religious scholars appointed by Parliament. The Confession contained doctrines regarding the Trinity, Jesus' death and ressurection, the authority of the Bible, and many other dogmas. Being written by Protestants, not surprisingly it also declared that the Pope was the Antichrist, and that the Roman Catholic mass was a form of idolatry.    [Read more ...]


John Eliot publishes the Bible in Algonkian, a Native American language.  It became the first Bible to be printed in the New World. Eliot was one of the first Puritans to preach to the Native American people, and during his life he founded 14 Indian churches. It is little wonder that he has been called the "Apostle to the Indians".    [Read more ...]