Wednesday, October 10, 2007

More About That T. B. Larimore Meeting

A few weeks ago, I mentioned the great T. B. Larimore (1843-1929) and his emphasis on Christian unity.

That post included a bit of information about a famous 5-month "meeting" that Larimore held in the city of Sherman, Texas during the first half of 1894. Preaching fifteen sermons a week, Larimore led over 250 people to Christ. I wanted to know more about that meeting.

While I was in Abilene for the ACU lectureship, I got to spend a little time in their library. The staff there helped me track down the microfilm reel for Volume 36 (1894) of the Gospel Advocate magazine.

Evidently, we know as much as we do about the Sherman meeting because David Lipscomb, the main editor of the GA, took quite an interest in what was happening. Starting on the front page of the issue dated March 22, 1894, Lipscomb wrote:

"The meeting now in progress at Sherman, Texas, has grown to considerable proportions, and a few random remarks and observations concerning it might not be unprofitable reading in these columns."

Evidently, Lipscomb had learned about the meeting in a letter he had received from one "Brother Earnest Hildebrand." Lipscomb describes Hildebrand as "an active co-worker in the meeting, and a zealous member of the Sherman church." Lipscomb then quotes Hildebrand's letter:

"Brother Larimore's work with us has been, in many respects, remarkable. It began with the new year, and has continued, with steady and constantly-increasing interest to the present--nine full weeks--two discourses every day and three every Sunday. Still, nobody seems tired, and no one seems willing to entertain the thought of closing the meeting. Indeed, the church, preacher, and people seem more anxious and in better condition in all respects for work to-day than on any previous day of the year. There has never been the slightest indication of even a probable decline in interest, or in the mental, physical, or heart-power of any one engaged or interested in the work."

Hildebrand then turns to the question of how Larimore is holding up:

"How our preacher endures all this mental, physical, and heart-pressure, and grows clearer and stronger every day, we do not know. He attributes it to Providence, and this may be the secret of it all."

And the results to that point?

"The number of additions thus far is small considering the number and character of discourses--133 discourses, and 153 additions. These figures express only a small per cent of the good accomplished by this work."

What was the procedure? How did things work?

"The services are all very simple: a prayer, a song, a sermon, an invitation song, confessions, baptism, any necessary remarks or announcements, closing song, benediction. The sermons are strictly scriptural and practical. Our brief voluntary song-service closes and the pulpit service begins promptly at 3.30 P.M., and 7.50 P.M. every day, and at 10.50 A.M., 3.30 P.M., and 7.50 P.M. every Sunday. The entire services, not including the voluntary song-service, occupy seventy minutes."

That's the entire letter from Hildebrand as quoted by Lipscomb. Interesting, isn't it?

Comments? Reactions? Thoughts?

P.S. Once he realized what was happening at Sherman, David Lipscomb wrote a letter to Larimore to get an update from the preacher himself. Next time, I'll post the letter that Larimore sent to Lipsomb in reply. Stay tuned.


Bob Bliss said...

Frank, I doubt I would have the endurance that Brother Larimore had. I would probably give out after the first week. I'm looking forward to your reporting on the correspondence between Lipscomb and Larimore.

Jim Martin said...

Thanks for this post about one of my favorite preachers. I enjoyed this very much.

john dobbs said...

It is so interesting ... and there is a longing in our hearts for days when people were so interested in the Scriptures and God's will for their lives.

Before television, video games, movie theaters, fast food restaurants, Blockbuster, little league five nights a week and all day Saturday, get the picture.

No time for God ... we're just too busy. And we're so busy we have to drink a Red Bull just to make it through the day.