DL Moody and Scranton

A few months ago I finished reading a biography of D. L. Moody. It was published in 1900 by his son, William R. Moody. Besides enjoying reliving the life of a great evangelist, what made the book fascinating was that between its pages were newspaper clippings. One envelope contained what looks to be an original obituary from December 22, 1899 the day of Moody’s death with the headline: “Dwight L. Moody is Dead: Great Evangelist Expires at Northfield, Mass.” Other articles were of his Northfield Conference, pictures of the evangelist and his work.

There were a number of quotable anecdotes as well:

One day a man arose who said that he had been five years on the Mount of Transfiguration. Mr. Moody cast a quick glance upon the speaker and flashed into his face a sharp question:

“How many souls did you lead to Christ last year?”

“Well, I don’t know,” was the astonished reply.

“Have you saved any?” persisted Mr. Moody.

“I don’t know that I have,” answered the man with a depressed air.

“Well,” said Mr. Moody, “we don’t need that kind of mountain top experience. When a man gets up so high that he cannot reach down and save poor sinners, there is something wrong” (367).

“’Some ministers think it is undignified to advertise their services,’ he said on one occasion. “It is a good deal more undignified to preach to empty pews, I think” (426).

An interesting area historical fact: Moody always had a keen interest in the YMCA and promoted it vigorously. While conducting meetings in various cities of eastern PA, Moody recognized the need for a YMCA building in Scranton to reach the young men of the city with the gospel. He took it upon himself at a convention in Scranton to suggest raising $75,000.00 (in 1885 dollars)! He secured $60,000.00 in less than four days and in less than six weeks had raised the entire amount (478-81).













One comment on “DL Moody and Scranton

  1. Alex says:

    That YMCA story brought a smile to my face because some people seem to have this idea of Moody being some kind of barely-educated backwoods hick, but nothing could be further from the truth – as I recall from reading about him, he did pretty well for himself in the retail shoe business before he came to Christ and was on a first-name basis with John Wanamaker and many other influential people of the time.
    So whenever people raise protests about Mars Hill or Willow Creek trying to bring “business savvy” into church work, perhaps they should look back to the life and work of Moody and learn from someone who applied sound practical wisdom with a humble and Christ-like spirit…

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