Saturday, June 18, 2011

This Week in Texas Methodist History June 19

Death Comes to Pattison During Revival, June 22, 1933

The most common revival sermons of 19th century Methodism were not good natured talks on achieving one’s potential. They were not learned orations on the meaning of the original Greek or Hebrew of the scriptures. Revival sermons were not designed to make people feel better about themselves. A typical revival sermon can be summarized as follows.

You are going to die. If you haven’t made a decision for Christ, you are going to spend eternity in Hell. Tonight, right now, you have a chance to escape an eternity in Hell. Don’t wait until tomorrow, because you may not be alive tomorrow. Do it now.

Stories of persons who were “almost persuaded” and then suddenly died were a stock-in-trade of revival preachers. The most famous of such stories in Texas concerned two young men who accompanied their girl friends from Marshall to the famous Scottsville Camp Ground in the 1890’s. They didn’t make the decision for Christ, and on the way home their buggy was swept away by a flood. They drowned, and their unfortunate end became a sermon illustration for decades.

In June, 1933, unexpected death came to Pattison while a revival was in progress. The station preacher, W. W. Hardt had invited his good friend Bruce O. Power to hold revival services in Pattison (Waller County). On Thursday, June 22, Vernon Pattison (age 15) and Roland Gray (age 7) were in the cotton field. A summer thunderstorm developed, and the two boys took shelter in a shed used to store farm implements. Lightning struck the shed. Both boys were killed.

Funeral services were held the following Saturday, June 24. Rev. Power, who had come to preach the revival sermons, assisted in the funerals. The revival theme of “no one knows the hour” was thus reinforced.


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