Friday, August 31, 2007

How Good and Pleasant: T. B. Larimore on Unity

One of the finest preachers of yesteryear was T. B. Larimore. He was born in 1843, and died in 1929.

To give you an idea of the kind of man he was, consider something that happened in 1894. By that point in his life, Larimore had developed a certain practice. He would go somewhere for what we call a “gospel meeting” and would stay for as long as he and the host congregation thought that he was doing some good.

On January 4, 1894, Larimore began preaching at a congregation in Sherman, Texas. He would speak every day, twice a day, and three times on Sunday; fifteen sermons every week.

He kept up that pace until June 7th. During those five months and three days, the number of people who made the good confession and were baptized into Christ numbered 254 (Encyclopedia of the Stone-Campbell Movement, pp. 452-53).

A great speaker and writer, Larimore championed the unity of all believers in Christ. He would often quote Psalm 133:1, “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity.”

Then he would make this observation: There are many things that are good, but that are not pleasant. An operation that removes a cancerous growth is lifesaving, which is good. But it’s not pleasant.

Other things are pleasant, but are not good. For most of us, eating pie or cake, candy or ice cream is pleasant. But it’s not necessarily good. And if you ate nothing but sweets that certainly would not be good, even though it might be pleasant.

Very few things in this world, said Larimore, are both good and pleasant, things that actually benefit you and provide a pleasant experience as well. One of those few things is the unity of God’s people. “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity.”

[Larimore's actual words can be found in his sermon “Unity,” in Biographies and Sermons, edited by F. D. Syrgley. It's not an easy book to find. I've yet to see a copy myself].

6 comments:

john dobbs said...

Frank, great post. Thanks! And as it so happens, I was given a copy of that book several months ago. I would be happy to let you borrow it if you think it would be of value to you. Let me know!

Frank Bellizzi said...

Thank you, John.

I'd like to take you up on your offer if and when I fail to acquire a copy of my own. Maybe I can track one down in one of our local libraries.

I noticed that no copies are for sale through Amazon. It may actually be more available than that factoid would suggest. I'll see.

Thanks again.

Paula Harrington said...

Thanks for the information. Enjoyed it.

Bob Bliss said...

Wow, preaching a gospel meeting for 5 months! We can't even get our people today to sit for a weekend. of course it was a different time and culture back then. Plus 254 baptisms. Amazing. His thoughts on unity are spot on.

Matthew said...

He is a great example of someone that worked to maintain unity. We need more people like him.

mark said...

Do not know if you are still checking this post or not but ran across it and thought I would reply. I did my extended research for my Masters on Larimore and was deeply impressed not only by his achievements but by the spirit in which he conducted his ministy. He always managed to stay focused on the gospel and not let the issues sidetrack him, although many tried to get him to state his position, which he refused to do, saying it had nothing to do with the gospel that saves sinners. What a great example!