Thursday, October 11, 2007

A Letter from T. B. Larimore

In the "Gospel Advocate" dated March 22, 1894, David Lipscomb explains one reason why he's calling attention to the weeks-long "meeting" that T. B. Larimore was then conducting at Sherman, Texas.

The purpose of his report, he says "is simply to use this meeting as the basis of an appeal to preachers and churches everywhere to do more preaching. It pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save folks, and the means of salvation ought to be vigorously operated night and day as long as there are people to save."

Lipscomb points to passages like Acts 19:9-10. In the lecture hall of Tyrannus, located in the city of Ephesus, Paul had spoken every day for two years. As a result, everyone living in the province of Asia had heard the word of the Lord.

The editor also notes Acts 20:30, where Paul reminds the elders from Ephesus that for the space of three years he had not ceased to warn them night and day with tears. Then, with tongue in cheek, Lipscomb concludes that long meetings are scriptural, provided that they don't continue night and day for more than three years! Lipscomb realizes that all of this raises an important question:

"But how can a preacher hold up so long and preach continuously every day? How can he find sermons enough to preach? On these points I wrote Brother Larimore for his experience, etc., and received the following reply:"

[What follows is the entire letter from T. B. Larimore as quoted by Lipscomb. Words in italics appear that way in the original, I assume because those words had been underlined by Larimore himself]:

Yours received. Much obliged. I hastily answer as best I can. We are just beginning to get things loosened up at the roots. The interest is increasing every day. You are anxious to know how I am holding up. I am well. Nothing can be better for me than to preach twice every day and three times on Sunday--unless it is to preach three times "every day and Sunday too." My voice? It's all right. Length of sermons? Fifty minutes--entire service, seventy minutes. When is the meeting to close? No mortal knows. Subjects and material for sermons? The Bible is full of them. Its treasures are simply inexhaustible. Study? That I do. I am not only studying, but learning--learning rapidly every day. I see new beauties in the Bible every day, and am simply astonished at at the sweet, sublime simplicity of God's eternal truth. Exhaust the Bible themes, and thoughts, and truths, at this rate, after a while? Yes, when the swallows drink the ocean dry. What books do I consult? The Bible, Webster's Dictionary, and the Bible--these three, and no more. How long to I propose to fight on this line? Till mustered out of service. Texas is glorious country. Sherman is a good, growing town. Young and old are standing by me bravely in this fight. May the Lord forever bless them all. We are having a pleasant meeting--not wild, bewildering excitement, but a genuine revival, the effects of which will last till time shall be no more--a sacred school, where a thousand pupils are learning the word, the will, and the way of the Lord. I have a perfect home, where every wish is gratified.


Bob Bliss said...

Larimore preached in such a different time as ours. I've thought that I couldn't endure preaching that much, but what about the people listening? Could people today endure going to a preaching service that often? We have a hard time getting our people to come to a weekend meeting with a Friday night service and Saturday night service. I'm looking forward to more on this event.

Frank Bellizzi said...

Almost makes you want to go back to "the good old days" doesn't it? It IS such a different time. And what would the Larimores of then would be doing now? I don't have a good answer to that one.

Matthew said...

I admire this man from the past.

Wade Tannehill said...


This is a great series. Thanks for taking the trouble to dig this stuff up and share it with the rest of us. It makes me wonder if people are just more shallow today than they were back then. Lipscomb pointed to several scriptures which indicate the high view of preaching among the apostles and among our Restoration forebears.

Today preaching is often relegated to the backburner with some churches demanding it be no more than 15 minutes and others settling for 11 minute homilies. How sad.

But the days of Larimore and Lipscomb were the days before sports and television or sports on television.