Would They Be Welcome?

Would a young Ellen White– coming as she did from the so-called “Shouting Methodists,” be welcome in your congregation? Shouting Methodists were known for their noisy and demonstrative activities during worship. In fact, the police were once called because of noisy praying by the Harmon family allegedly disturbed the peace.

You can find more on this topic at the White Estate’s website: http://www.whiteestate.org/issues/israel_damman.html

Young James White was well known to walk down the center aisle of the church, singing loudly and thumping the time on his Bible as he went to the pulpit.

The early Adventist church also adapted popular songs–yes, there were such, Stephen Foster made a fortune as a song writer–putting sacred words to secular melodies. For example, for Foster’s “Carry Me Back to Old Virginny,” they substituted “Carry Me Back to Calvary’s Mountain.”

Now, maybe it’s just me, but I can’t help wondering if such young people would be welcomed in most of today’s congregations.

Next time: Return to Historic Adventism?


Would They Be Welcome? — 3 Comments

  1. Thank you for helping us to see how early Adventist history is not as boring as some of imagined it to be!

  2. The “shouting” Methodists were just one of the many influences that made Adventist worship as dynamic as it is. What is interesting is the progression of early Adventist worship from a group of individuals very diverse who gradually formulated there own style of worship. What is interesting to me is that by the 1860s a distinct Adventist style of worship began to emerge that still was for a lot of Adventist church far more dynamic than what we see today. As you point out, James White, loved to thump his Bible as he went up and down the aisle. The fact of the matter is that only rarely have I heard Advent hymns sung the way they were meant to be sung. When sung properly they resemble the enthusiasm that you see in a lot of the praise and worship music today. My critique of a lot of this praise and worship music is that it is often missing a lot of the distinctive Adventist flavor that our early Adventist music had.

    • Michael

      I couldn’t agree more vigorously with you. In the current Adventist hymnal, several of the “Early Advent Hymns” reflect the kind of enthusiasm. “O When Will I See Jesus,” is an incredibly dynamic song, even by today’s standards. And an example of modifying popular songs can be found in “How Sweet are the Tidings.” If you look on the right hand side, above the first staff, you’ll see the name of the tune, “Bonny Eloise.”

      The original lyrics, by C.W. Elliot and J. R. Thomas:

      O, sweet is the vale where the Mohawk gently glides
      On its clear winding way to the sea,
      And dearer than all storied streams on earth beside
      Is this bright rolling river to me;

      cho: But sweeter, dearer, yes, dearer far than these,
      Who charms where others all fail,
      Is my blue-eyed, Bonny, Bonny Eloise,
      The Belle of the Mohawk Vale.

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