Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Occom's Preaching

Samson Occom is unquestionably one of the biggest heroes of Algonkian Church History. According to Colin Calloway (New Worlds for All, 1997), there were 133 Christian Indian preachers in the thirteen colonies before they claimed independence from the British. But of course, there is a difference between being a "preacher" and successfully going through the rigors required for ordination.

In 1759, Samson Occom, a Mohegan, was the first Indian to be ordained as a Presbyterian minister (by the Presbytery of Suffolk). There is so much to say about Rev. Occom, not only did he shatter many stereotypes, but he also preached a famous execution sermon, achieved fame and raised a fortune in a preaching tour of Britian and Scotland, and led a collection of Algonkian Christian remnants to form a new Indian nation called Brothertown. Each of these achievements deserves its own post on the blog.

One of Occom's biographers described his preaching:

"He was prone to dwell in the fashion of his time upon the peril of the soul. He gauged the success of his pleading by the tears he produced, by the degree to which auditors were aroused to fright and alarm over the terrible question of salvation. His chief aim was to arouse the conviction of sin" (Samson Occom, by Harold Blodgett, 215).

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