Dwight L. Moody

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Dwight L. Moody
Dwight Lyman Moody c.1900.jpg
Preacher, evangelist and publisher
Born Dwight Lyman Moody
(1837-02-05)February 5, 1837
Northfield, Massachusetts, US
Died December 22, 1899(1899-12-22) (aged 62)
Northfield, Massachusetts, US

Dwight Lyman Moody (February 5, 1837 – December 22, 1899), also known as D. L. Moody, was an American evangelist and publisher connected with the Holiness Movement, who founded the Moody Church, Northfield School and Mount Hermon School in Massachusetts (now Northfield Mount Hermon School), Moody Bible Institute and Moody Publishers.

Early life

Dwight Moody was born in Northfield, Massachusetts, as the seventh child in a large family. His father, Edwin J. Moody (1800–1841), was a small farmer and stonemason. His mother was Betsey Moody (née Holton; 1805–1896). They had five sons and a daughter before Dwight's birth. His father died when Dwight was age four; fraternal twins, a boy and a girl, were born one month after the father's death. Their mother struggled to support the nine children, but had to send some off to work for their room and board. Dwight too was sent off, where he received cornmeal, porridge, and milk three times a day.[1] He complained to his mother, but when she learned that he was getting all he wanted to eat, she sent him back. During this time, she continued to send the children to church. Together with his eight siblings, Dwight was raised in the Unitarian church. His oldest brother ran away and was not heard from by the family until many years later.[2]

Plaque commemorating the spot on Court Street in Boston where Dwight Moody was converted in 1855

When Moody turned 17, he moved to Boston to work (after receiving many job rejections locally) in an uncle's shoe store. One of the uncle's requirements was that Moody attend the Congregational Church of Mount Vernon, where Dr. Edward Norris Kirk served as the pastor. In April 1855 Moody was converted to evangelical Christianity when his Sunday school teacher, Edward Kimball, talked to him about how much God loved him. His conversion sparked the start of his career as an evangelist. Moody was not received by the church when he first applied in May 1855. He was not received as a church member until May 4, 1856.

According to Moody's memoir, his teacher, Edward Kimball, said:

"I can truly say, and in saying it I magnify the infinite grace of God as bestowed upon him, that I have seen few persons whose minds were spiritually darker than was his when he came into my Sunday School class; and I think that the committee of the Mount Vernon Church seldom met an applicant for membership more unlikely ever to become a Christian of clear and decided views of Gospel truth, still less to fill any extended sphere of public usefulness."[3]

Civil War

"The first meeting I ever saw him at was in a little old shanty that had been abandoned by a saloon-keeper. Mr. Moody had got the place to hold the meetings in at night. I went there a little late; and the first thing I saw was a man standing up with a few tallow candles around him, holding a negro boy, and trying to read to him the story of the Prodigal Son and a great many words he could not read out, and had to skip. I thought, 'If the Lord can ever use such an instrument as that for His honor and glory, it will astonish me. As a result of his tireless labor, within a year the average attendance at his school was 650, while 60 volunteers from various churches served as teachers. It became so well known that the just-elected President Lincoln visited and spoke at a Sunday School meeting on November 25, 1860."

[citation needed] (Who is speaking/writing and what is the source?)

D. L. Moody "could not conscientiously enlist" in the Union Army during the Civil War, later describing himself as "a Quaker" in this respect.[4] After the Civil War started, he became involved with the United States Christian Commission of the YMCA. He paid nine visits to the battlefront, being present among the Union soldiers after the Battle of Shiloh (a.k.a. Pittsburg Landing) and the Battle of Stones River; he also entered Richmond, Virginia, with the troops of General Grant.

On August 28, 1862, Moody married Emma C. Revell, with whom he had a daughter, Emma Reynolds Moody, and two sons, William Revell Moody and Paul Dwight Moody.

Chicago and the postwar years

Moody's first Sunday school class, North Market Hall, Chicago, 1876

The growing Sunday School congregation needed a permanent home, so Moody started a church in Chicago, the Illinois Street Church.[5]

In June 1871 at an International Sunday School Convention in Indianapolis, Indiana, Dwight Moody met Ira D. Sankey. He was a gospel singer, with whom Moody soon began to cooperate and collaborate.[6] Four months later, in October 1871, the Great Chicago Fire destroyed Moody's church building, as well as his house and those of most of his congregation. Many had to flee the flames, saving only their lives, and ending up completely destitute. Moody, reporting on the disaster, said about his own situation that: "...he saved nothing but his reputation and his Bible."[7]

In the years after the fire, Moody's wealthy Chicago patron John V. Farwell tried to persuade him to make his permanent home in the city, offering to build a new house for Moody and his family. But the newly famous Moody, also sought by supporters in New York, Philadelphia, and elsewhere, chose a tranquil farm he had purchased near his birthplace in Northfield, Massachusetts. He felt he could better recover in a rural setting from his lengthy preaching trips.[1]

Northfield became an important location in evangelical Christian history in the late 19th century as Moody organized summer conferences. These were led and attended by prominent Christian preachers and evangelists from around the world. Western Massachusetts has had a rich evangelical tradition including Jonathan Edwards preaching in colonial Northampton and ][C.I. Scofield]] preaching in Northfield. A protégé of Moody founded Moores Corner Church, in Leverett, Massachusetts, and it continues to be evangelical.

Moody founded two schools here: Northfield School for Girls, founded in 1879, and the Mount Hermon School for Boys, founded in 1881. In the late 20th century, these merged, forming today's co-educational, nondenominational Northfield Mount Hermon School.[8]

Evangelical travels

Dwight Lyman Moody, Vanity Fair, 3 April 1875

During a trip to United Kingdom in the spring of 1872, Moody became well known as an evangelist. Literary works published by the Moody Bible Institute claim that he was the greatest evangelist of the 19th century.[9] He preached almost a hundred times and came into communion with the Plymouth Brethren. On several occasions, he filled stadia of a capacity of 2,000 to 4,000. According to his memoir, in the Botanic Gardens Palace, he attracted an audience estimated at between 15,000 and 30,000.[10][self-published source]

That turnout continued throughout 1874 and 1875, with crowds of thousands at all of his meetings. During his visit to Scotland, Moody was helped and encouraged by Andrew A. Bonar. The famous London Baptist preacher, Charles Spurgeon, invited him to speak, and he promoted the American as well. When Moody returned to the US, he was said to frequently attract crowds of 12,000 to 20,000 were as common as they had been in England.[11] President Grant and some of his cabinet officials attended a Moody meeting on January 19, 1876. He held evangelistic meetings from Boston to New York, throughout New England, and as far as west as San Francisco, also visiting other West Coast towns from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada to San Diego.[12]

Moody aided the work of cross-cultural evangelism by promoting "The Wordless Book," a teaching tool developed in 1866 by Charles Spurgeon. In 1875, Moody added a fourth color to the design of the three-color evangelistic device: gold — to "represent heaven." This "book" has been and is still used to teach uncounted thousands of illiterate people, young and old, around the globe about the gospel message.[13]

Missionary preaching in China using Moody's version of The Wordless Book

Moody visited Britain with Ira D. Sankey, with Moody preaching and Sankey singing at meetings. Together they published books of Christian hymns. In 1883 they visited Edinburgh and raised £10,000 for the building of a new home for the Carrubbers Close Mission. Moody later preached at the laying of the foundation stone for what is now called the Carrubbers Christian Centre. It is one of the few buildings on the Royal Mile which continues to be used for its original purpose. [11]

Moody greatly influenced the cause of cross-cultural Christian missions after he met Hudson Taylor, a pioneer missionary to China. He actively supported the China Inland Mission and encouraged many of his congregation to volunteer for service overseas.[14][self-published source]

International acclaim

His influence was felt among Swedes despite his being of English heritage, his never visiting Sweden or any other Scandinavian country, and his never speaking a word of Swedish. Nonetheless he became a hero revivalist among Swedish Mission Friends in Sweden and America.[15]

News of Moody’s large revival campaigns in Great Britain from 1873 through 1875 traveled quickly to Sweden, making "Mr. Moody" a household name in homes of many Mission Friends. Moody’s sermons published in Sweden were distributed in books, newspapers, and colporteur tracts, and they led to the spread of Sweden’s "Moody fever" from 1875 through 1880.[16][self-published source]

He preached his last sermon on November 16, 1899, in Kansas City, Missouri. Becoming ill, he returned home by train to Northfield. During the preceding several months, friends had observed he had added some 30 pounds (14 kg) to his already ample frame. Although his illness was never diagnosed, it has been speculated that he suffered from congestive heart failure. He died on December 22, 1899, surrounded by his family. Already installed as the leader of his Chicago Bible Institute, R. A. Torrey succeeded Moody as its president.

Works

Legacy and honors

Ten years after Moody's death the Chicago Avenue Church was renamed the Moody Church in his honor, and the Chicago Bible Institute was likewise renamed the Moody Bible Institute.[18][self-published source]

During World War II the Liberty ship SS Dwight L. Moody was built in Panama City, Florida, and named in his honor.[19]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b Johnson, George (2011). What Will A Man Give In Exchange For His Soul?. Xlibris Corporation. pp. 113–115. ISBN 1465380981. [self-published source]
  2. ^ Johnson, George D. (26 October 2011). "What Will A Man Give In Exchange For His Soul?". Xlibris Corporation – via Google Books. 
  3. ^ Moody (1900), 21
  4. ^ Donald W. Dayton, Discovering an Evangelical Heritage (New York: Harper & Row, 1976), 134.
  5. ^ Billy Graham Center Archives. "SELECT LIST OF EVENTS FROM MOODY CHURCH HISTORY". Records of The Moody Church - Collection 330. Wheaton, IL: Wheaton College. Retrieved April 5, 2016. 
  6. ^ OBrien, Glen (1 June 2015). "Christian Worship: A Theological and Historical Introduction". Wipf and Stock Publishers – via Google Books. 
  7. ^ Johnson, George D. (26 October 2011). "What Will A Man Give In Exchange For His Soul?". Xlibris Corporation – via Google Books. [self-published source]
  8. ^ "NMH's History - Northfield Mount Hermon". Archived from the original on 2016-10-09. Retrieved 2016-10-06. 
  9. ^ Bailey, Faith (1987) [1959]. D. L Moody. The Moody Bible Institute of Chicago. p. Cover. ISBN 0-8024-0039-6. 
  10. ^ Johnson, George D. What Will A Man Give In Exchange For His Soul?. Xlibris Corporation. p. 115. ISBN 9781465380982. 
  11. ^ a b "D.L. Moody -". Worthy Christian Library. 
  12. ^ Moody, William Revell (1 June 2001). "The Life of Dwight L. Moody". The Minerva Group, Inc. – via Google Books. 
  13. ^ Austin (2007), 1-10
  14. ^ Johnson, George D. (26 October 2011). "What Will A Man Give In Exchange For His Soul?". Xlibris Corporation – via Google Books. 
  15. ^ Gustafson (2008)
  16. ^ Johnson, George D. (26 October 2011). "What Will A Man Give In Exchange For His Soul?". Xlibris Corporation – via Google Books. 
  17. ^ "THE TEN COMMANDMENTS text by D. L. Moody". 
  18. ^ Johnson, George D. (26 October 2011). "What Will A Man Give In Exchange For His Soul?". Xlibris Corporation – via Google Books. 
  19. ^ Williams, Greg H. (25 July 2014). The Liberty Ships of World War II: A Record of the 2,710 Vessels and Their Builders, Operators and Namesakes, with a History of the Jeremiah O’Brien. McFarland. ISBN 1476617546. Retrieved 7 December 2017. 

Sources

  • "Dwight Moody: evangelist with a common touch" Christianity Today, 8 August 2008.
  • Christian Biography Resources
  • Austin, Alvyn. China’s Millions: The China Inland Mission and Late Qing Society. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company (March 5, 2007) ISBN 978-0-8028-2975-7
  • Beadenkopf, T. M.; Stricklen, W. R. Moody in Baltimore, "Students of Johns Hopkins", Baltimore, 1879, 2nd ed.
  • Dorsett, L. W. A Passion for Souls: The Life of D. L. Moody. 1997
  • Findlay, J. F. Jr. Dwight L. Moody: American Evangelist 1837–1899. 1969
  • Gundry, S. N. Love them in: The Proclamation Theology of D. L. Moody. 1976
  • Evensen, B. J. God's Man for Gilded Age: D. L. Moody and the Rise of Mass Evangelism. 2003
  • Gustafson, D. M. D. L. Moody and Swedes: Shaping Evangelical Identity among Swedish Missions Friends 1867–1899. (Linköping Studies in Arts and Sciences 419. / Linköping Studies in Identity and Pluralism 7.) 2008. Ph.D. Dissertation[permanent dead link]
  • Moody, Paul Dwight. The Shorter Life of D. L. Moody. 1900
  • Schlachter, Franz Eugen. D. L. Moody, ein Lebensbild (1894)
  • Simons, M. Laird. Holding the Fort: comprising sermons and addresses at the Great Revival meetings conducted by Moody and Sankey, with the lives and labors of Dwight L. Moody, Ira D. Sankey, and P. P. Bliss, Norwich, Connecticut: Henry Bill Publishing Co., 1877.

External links

  • Recording of Moody reading the Beatitudes
  • Sample sermons by D. L. Moody
  • "Shall I enter the Army?" Moody said, "No."
  • Works by Dwight L. Moody at Project Gutenberg
  • Works by Dwight L. Moody at LibriVox (public domain audiobooks)
  • Works by or about Dwight L. Moody at Internet Archive
    • Glad Tidings, sermons by D. L. Moody
    • The Gospel Awakening, sermons by D. L. Moody
  • books by D. L. Moody
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