D. L. Moody was a lay evangelist – not an ordained minister or professional theologian. He did not have much of an education; therefore, he could not read or write very well. Mr. Moody would ask fellow preachers questions about the Bible or doctrine. He learned by these conversations instead of reading books or taking classes. Dwight was talking to Henry Moorhouse, while Henry said to Moody, “If you will stop preaching your own words and preach God’s Word, He will make you a power for good.” Then on, Moody preached only from the Bible. “Moody had no patience with anything that would undercut the source of the Christian belief – the Bible –because that source contains the very heart of Christian belief – the gospel” (Grundy). Moody’s theology can be explained by three R’s – ruined by the fall, redeemed by the blood, and regenerated by the spirit.
Ruined by the Fall
The fall of man goes back to the book of Genesis, where Adam and Eve gave into temptation and ate of the tree of knowledge. Because of this, man was cursed and forced to live in sin. As people are born, they are brought into this world of sin. This sin causes everyone to have a human nature, which is bad. Our relationship with God is hindered by the sin we have in our lives. Man once lived in paradise, but man has destroyed that possibility. Moody blames the destiny of our lives on the original fall of man. Now that we have sin in our lives, we are condemned to hell. Separation from God is the consequence for our sin. We can pay nothing for the price of our sin. Moody preached on an answer to our sin problem, which brings us to the next “R”.
Redeemed by the Blood
D. L. Moody once said, “There is nothing, my friends, that brings out the love of God like the cross of Christ; it tells of the breadth, the length, and the height of is love. If you want to know how much God loves you, you must go to Calvary to find out.” Just as Moody preached about the fall of man, he preached the only way from this fall was by the blood of Jesus Christ on the cross. Moody preached that the Son of God, Jesus Christ came to earth to forgive us of our sins. Jesus came and was tempted just as we are. Jesus Christ was crucified on the cross by the Romans, but Jesus did not deserve to die. He shed His blood on the cross, so we can have atonement for our sins. Jesus was also raised from the dead and now is in heaven on our behalf to God the Father. Because of His blood, we do not have to live out the punishment of sin. We can have a personal relationship with Christ, which brings us to the next “R”.
Regenerated by the Spirit
D. L. Moody did not want to force people into heaven; he wanted the Holy Spirit to guide each person willing. He knew that we as people could only bring other people so far to God; God must bring them the rest of the way. The only way for people to truly have a salvation experience is to grasp the Spirit of God into one’s life. Moody’s life was guided by the Spirit of God. Christ died on the cross to show us His love, so we can have forgiveness of our sins. The Holy Spirit is here to guide and direct us as we go through our life. He preached about the new birth we can have in Christ. His sermon, “New Birth,” was preached the most of all his sermons combined.
D. L. Moody is usually thought as the forerunner to fundamentalism, but he is one of the few that could relate to people on both the right and left side of theology. He worked with liberal people like Henry Drummond, William Rainey Harper, and George Adam Smith. He even invited them to speak in his services. He was able to work with everyone because he knew theology could only get you so far. Moody once said, “Doctrines are all right in their places, but when you put them in the place of faith or salvation, they become sin. If a man should ask me to his house to dinner tomorrow, the street would be a very good thing to take me to his house, but if I didn’t get into the house, I wouldn’t get any dinner. Now a creed is a road or a street. It is very good as far as it goes, but if it doesn’t take us to Christ, it is worthless” (Grundy). We can know all the right scriptures, but have to take that step in faith and trust in Jesus. The Love of God is what Moody preached on not people’s theology.
This page was created by Danny W. Russell
Last updated: March 26, 2001