Revival Tent Meetings

Discussion in 'Baptist History' started by tyndale1946, Feb 12, 2003.

  1. tyndale1946

    tyndale1946
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    Just have one question do anyone of you know by whom, why, and how revival tent meetings got started!... Was this a Baptist invention or something else?... Brother Glen [​IMG]
     
  2. Jim1999

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    Brother Glen, that is an interesting question. I know that tents were often used by William Booth, the founder of the Salvation Army in England. It seems that the "revival" meetings as such were mainly among the holiness type churches.

    The early Keswick revival was held in a tent...that was mid 1800's....

    Wasn't Billy Graham's first crusade in Los Angeles held in a tent and that is where "walking the sawdust trail" was coined by Stewart Hamblin who was the singer/songwriter who was saved at that meeting.

    Looking forward to more responses.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  3. Doc Yankum

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    Don't know, Glen. Around here the only ones I know of having them are Baptists and I have attended them off and on all of my adult life. Usually sister churches will have a joint revival at a central location in a tent. But as to their origin someone else will have to answer.
     
  4. rlvaughn

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    Glen, I don't really know any history on tent meetings, but I know of something that used to take place here that might have been a forerunner or related. In particularly hot summer times, churches would have "brush arbor" meetings. Instead of having the meeting in the meeting house, a temporary structure would be erected with poles and covered with brush, etc. This would provide shade and protection, but, without any sides, it would also allow for plenty of free air movement. The tent meeting might have some relation to this, though the "brush arbor" would be more for comfort levels while the tent might be more for mobility. Will be curious to see what others know about it.
     
  5. Jeff Weaver

    Jeff Weaver
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    Bro. Glen

    Here in the heart of Virginia Methodism that is an easy one. It is an outgrowth of the Methodist Camp Meeting. But like all ideas of such like it was soon adopted by various other groups, including some Baptists. I have written accounts of the Methodists holding tent meetings in these parts as far back as the 1820s.

    When I was younger and on a night I had nothing better to do I went to a few of the tent meetings. One was particularly bizzare. When it came time to take up the collection, they stated that the preacher needed a new suit and that they wanted everyone to contribute to that end. Well at the end of the first pass of the plate they didn't get enough, so they passed the plate again. Only time I ever saw that done, and it was the last time I went to a tent meeting.
     
  6. donnA

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    An interesting subject. I know around here it's mostly pentacostals who have tent revivals.
     
  7. Thankful

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    The Baptist Church where I grew up used to have tent revivals before the church had air conditioning. The revivial meetings lasted for two weeks and we would have large Sunday dinners. I think we had them because of the hot weather in Texas.
     
  8. tyndale1946

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    Could it be that the tent meetings were set up because of the size of the crowd and as a temporary but instant solution for a church revival building?... It would be interesting to hear of how many people on this board began their christian discipleship because of a revival tent meeting.

    Brother Jeff... Preacher needs a new suit?... Passed the plate twice?... Never heard that before but that is kinda tame to what preachers do now... the Benny Hinn kind gets mansions and limos and fat bank accounts while the congregation goes naked... IMHO!... Brother Glen :eek:
     
  9. Jeff Weaver

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    Yep, they sure did. passed it twice. Never seen it before or since either. It was in the early 1970s. Had a date and nothing better to do.

    Jeff,
     
  10. tyndale1946

    tyndale1946
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    Somebody had a lot of gall :rolleyes: ... And DEEEEEEEEEEEP pockets [​IMG] ... Brother Glen [​IMG]
     
  11. Jeff Weaver

    Jeff Weaver
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    Bro. Glen

    That was back in the days I was trying to attend at least once, a meeting of every denomination I could find. (I did get to about 80 different types of churches in those days). I haven't been to any religious meeting but Primitive Baptist or Presbyterian save for a funeral in 20 years.

    I will also say that in days gone by in these desolate hills, church attending was not always done in the spirit in which it should have been done. Some took it as sport to listen to a fellow and then go back to his home church and tell folks how bad those folks at that church were. I never did that, but I was curious about all the different kinds of thought that were out there. I have been criticised for it, but it did serve to make me content where I am at.

    Sorry to have gotten off the trail of tent meetings.

    Now back to tents. I looked at couple of things since posting earlier.

    Like I mentioned before I have a reference to Methodist holding a tent meeting in the 1820s. Found that source. It would probably not qualify as a revival meeting. This was apparently a temporary structure for the church until a more proper building could be erected.

    I also had a thought -- I wonder how much influence that the Civil War had on tent meetings. The soldiers on both sides would have been used to having religious services in tents in the late unpleasantness. I would think that some of them thought it was a practical idea when they went home. Additionally there would have been gobs of surplus tents in the 1860's/1870s. Somewhere in my still disasterous library I have a book entitled Christ in Camp. It is the story of religion in the Confederate Army. Anyone have a copy handy to check? Probably not, it is a fairly rare book. But on the off chance?

    Jeff, "just rambling around the empty corners of my brain."
     
  12. Bro. James Reed

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    I know, I have pictures from the late 1800's from camp meetings in Arkansas, Texas. We still have them at our Associations. Mostly used for eating under nowadays; since we have air-conditioning.

    Never seen a tent used, like with flaps, but we will sometimes borrow or rent a canopy, like at the cemetary, from a funeral home.

    Those were good times. [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  13. rsr

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  14. I Am Blessed 24

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    I remember hearing about Billy Sunday conducting a tent revival in our town at a local park, (Chautauqua Grounds; which was where all activities took place), in the late 1800's or early 1900's. He was an evangelist who traveled from town to town preaching in tents.

    Back then, the churches were small, I imagine the tents were needed to hold the crowds.

    Sue
     
  15. Bob Alkire

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    Great book!!! They used most all churches that were around, under trees, in the open, and they build places is what J. William Jones said in the book.
     
  16. rsr

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  17. Jim1999

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    Billy Sunday was famous for preaching in ballparks. He used to preach from the pitcher's mound. He wasn't fancy, but he sure was colourful with his language.

    Tents were common in England during the Wesley and Whitfield days. I think it had something to do with rain days, which were rather common there.

    Tents have been around since biblical times, so they have a long history. They were convertible, easy to erect and relatively safer than a building for mass crowds of people.

    Around here in Canada, some churches call any type of revival services a "tent" meeting, so I guess in some circles it is just another name for evangelistic services.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  18. tyndale1946

    tyndale1946
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    You know Jim you brought up an interesting point... There were tents in biblical times... Was not the tabernacle a tent?... Then later on a stationary temple?... I will let you preacher brethren bring that up in the theology forum if you have a mind to... Types and shadows of Christ and his church :cool: ... Deep theology!... Don't you just love it! [​IMG] ... I'm speechless!... Brother Glen [​IMG]
     
  19. Jim1999

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    Tents in the Bible:

    Gen 4:20..earliest mention of tents for dwellings
    Gen 18:1 Hebrew Patriarchs lived in tents, as did Israel after the exodus (Ex 33:8). See also Jer 35:7; 1 Ki 8:66. The Tabernacle was a portable sanctuary.construction details are in Exodus 26.

    Just a little thought for study.

    Cheers,

    Jim

    The tent: a portable dwelling........this world is not our home, we are just passing through.
     
  20. rsr

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    There is a record of Whitefiled using a tent in Wilmington in 1739 -- no building was big enough to hold the estimated crowd of 10,000, and it was supplied by a local pastor.

    Tents again came into vogue at the camp meetings, but I think the itinerant tent meeting probably began during the Second Great Awakening. The tent was attractive because it was simple to erect and didn't have the trappings of any denomination, an important point when evangelists were becoming distances from particular religious groups.

    Charles Finney used tents, setting them up in New York (usually in or near the Burned Over District, I think).

    Of course, many of the frontier churches began in tents; there was nothing else. The FBC here has a replica of the tent that held the first meeting in 1901. (During the city's centennial, the six churches founded in 1901 set up a tent for a combined choir.)
     

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