A Passion For Souls

PDF-file by Lyle W. Dorsett

A Passion For Souls PDF ebook download This is an excellent, rather comprehensive biography of Dwight L. Moody. It definitely qualifies as a spiritual biography, however, Lyle Dorsett has done plenty of research and has a discerning soul to back up this work. To be honest, I began this book which much ambivalence toward DL Moody even though I've read little or nothing of him. I simply thought he was a dispensational evangelist who was popular in the 1800's. Good for his day, but not for today. This book helped changed that perception of him and encouraged me in a few ways:

1. Reading about Moody's zeal for ministry and for the conversion of souls spurns me on to continue gospel ministry.
2. It was helpful to see that Moody cannot be simply categorized as a dispensationalist. He bears the marks of dispensationalism, but he was at odds with CI Scofield and Moody Bible Institute took a more cessationist dispensational turn nearly a decade after Moody's death when James M. Gray took over. Moody's dispensational tendencies include premillenialism and a deemphasis on denominations and ordination. This book was a gentle reminder that I cannot pigeonhole nor should I anyone else because they are friends with people in other camps.
3. Moody's emphasis on the Holy Spirit reminds me that I must always depend on the Spirit for anything.
4. I really appreciated Moody's ecumenical and peaceableness between different denominations. I too care about this a lot. However, much of Moody's refusal to take sides was naive and soon after his death, the conservative/liberal divide rent Protestantism in half. Though he had theological positions, he refused to take sides in most debates. This shows me that it is important to know what I believe theologically, and I must be willing to challenge others where I think they are headed for heterodoxy or heresy. A peaceable tone is invaluable, but refusal to partake in an important debate or discussion may simply leave you in the dust.
5. Moody's emphasis on the poor in incredibly noble and per my evaluation he did a good (but not perfect) job of having relationships and ministering to both the poor and the rich. He got his start in ministry by teaching neglected children in the poorest part of Chicago during the city's early years in "the Sand" or "Little Hell." His ministry began with the lowly and destitute and despite his close friendships with very wealthy people, he never forgot the lowly. In fact, each of the four educational institutions he started or helped start were about providing education for those who couldn't afford it.
6. Moody and some other of his Christian colleagues were ahead of the curve when it came to several social issues. He and O. O. Howard (founder of Howard University) understood the importance of offering education to African-Americans, Native Americans, and other ethnicities. In fact, Moody insisted upon evangelistic campaigns in Georgia being integrated racially, but local whites insisted upon having segregated meetings (Moody lost the argument). Also, three of Moody's four schools started to educate women. He was also in cahoots with Henry F. Durant, the founder of Wellesley college, who opened the school for women. These all began as Christian ventures.

Moody was likely American evangelicalisms most important figure in the 19th century, nearly an American equivalent of Charles Spurgeon (though there are key differences there). This biography is a great place to be introduced to Moody and is a helpful place to begin appreciating Moody.

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