William Elbert Munsey, Famous Methodist Preacher Remembered
This historic marker stands at the intersection of U. S. Route 52 and Interstate 77 (Exit 62) in Bland County, Virginia. The text of the marker reads:
A NOTED PREACHER
“William Elbert Munsey was born a few miles east in the mountains of Giles (present-day Bland) County on 13 July 1833. Despite little formal schooling, Munsey possessed an insatiable appetite for knowledge. He entered the ministry of the Methodist Church in 1855, preached his first sermon near here, and extended his ministry to several states. Regarded by many who heard him as the greatest Methodist preacher of his day, Munsey was poetic by nature, and his unrivaled word pictures held lar ge audiences spellbound, his kindness extended to giving his own shoes and coat to a Confederate soldier who had none. Munsey died on 23 Oct. 1877.”
Though intellectual, his sermons were not dry as dust. He was a preacher of such power and such performance that the Knoxville Tribune tabbed him, “the most eloquent public orator of the South.” Those sermons must have been something to hear. Often an entire congregation would stand up under the spell of his preaching-sermons that were often two hours long.
People thronged his churches, especially at Richmond and Alexandria , Virginia, where the church house would be filled two hours before meeting time. He was a genius in painting word pictures. His sermons on future and eternal punishment are not only classic, they are probably the finest of their kind. In these dark, desperate days we need preaching on: Death is sure, Hell is hot, eternity is forever, sin is the reason, Christ is the cure.
HERE IS A LIST OF A FEW
OF HIS POWERFUL SERMONS
The Resurrection of the Human Body
- O Eternity!
- The Just Necessity for Punishment
- The Awfulness of Eternal Punishment
- The Outer Darkness of the Eternally Lost
- Escape from Eternal Retribution
These seven sermons were reprinted in a book entitled, Eternal Retribution published by Sword of the Lord Publishers, Murfreesboro, Tennessee. This title may be out of print. Used booksellers may still have copies you can purchase.
The editor of The Sword of the Lord, Dr. John R. Rice, was asked by his dear friend, Dr. Bob Jones, Sr. to publish this book. Dr. Rice was glad to do so and was much impressed with the works of William Elbert Munsey.
And so were his crowds who came to hear him preach. Often they would gather two hours ahead of time just to secure a seat.