Saturday, May 23, 2009

This Week in TExas Methodist History May 24

Ike Strickland Reports “Shouting Methodists” in Houston, May 27, 1839

In the winter of 1838/39 the Texan Mission got a boost with preachers recruited from the United States. Joseph Sneed, Ike Strickland, Abel Stevens, Jesse Hord, and Samuel Williams joined Littleton Fowler and Robert Alexander in the Mission. Ike Strickland was sent to help Jesse Hord whose circuit was enormous—basically Houston to Victoria, but concentrated in Fort Bend, Matagorda, Brazoria, and Wharton Counties—where most of the Methodist families lived.

On Monday, May 27, Ike Strickland reported to Fowler as head of the mission about the Sunday services in Houston. He had listened to the Presbyterian William Y. Allen in the morning and preached in the evening. Both preachers used the Capitol of the Republic of Texas as their preaching hall. Strickland reported “The Methodists have commenced shouting to the astonishment of all.”

In the first half of the 19th century Methodists were often called “Shouting Methodists.” Worship services were characterized by members of the congregation interjecting “Glory!”, “Amen!”, “Hallelujah!”, during the sermon. Many sources report that the shouts were accompanied by clapping.

The term “Methodist” had originally been intended as uncomplimentary, and so was the adjective “shouting.” In both cases, Methodists adopted the term and used it proudly. The following is from a 1807 hymnal.

The World, the Devil, and Tom Paine
Have tried their force, but all in vain.
They can't prevail, the reason is,
The Lord defends the Methodist.
They pray, they sing, they preach the best,
And do the Devil most molest.
If Satan had his vicious way,
He'd kill and damn them all today.
They are despised by Satan's train,
Because they shout and preach so plain.
I'm bound to march in endless bliss,
And die a shouting Methodist.


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