Sunday, June 14, 2009

Moody Siblings Argued, Parted Ways Over Doctrine

DWIGHT L. MOODY, the famous evangelist, had two very different sons.

William Moody and his younger brother, Paul, were both dearly loved by their father yet had little in common with one another. William, ten years older than Paul, was serious and formal with conservative theological beliefs. Paul was a theological liberal and had an easygoing nature and reputation as a practical joker.

In addition to large campaigns for which he was well known, D.L. Moody shifted his focus to Christian education in order to bring the gospel to the masses. In 1879 Moody started Northfield Seminary for girls and in 1881 Mount Herman School for boys in his birthplace of Northfield, Massachusetts. They became known as "The Northfield Schools."

Then, in 1887 Moody launched the Bible-Work Institute of the Chicago Evangelization Society, renamed Moody Bible Institute shortly after his death.

Both Willaim and Paul graduated from Yale. Moody intended that his sons would jointly manage the Northfield Schools after his death. However, soon after their father's death, the brothers became estranged, their differing theologies causing them continual conflict.

Believing Paul would change the school's theology if he could, Will decided to force Paul out of leadership by consolidating the two schools. On April 8, 1912, a bill proposing the merger of the two schools was presented to the Committee on Mercantile Affairs of Massachusetts and was passed. Paul was in Chicago at the time and did not have a chance to voice his opinion.

Will ended up serving in a general leadership role over both the Northfield Schools and also the Moody Bible Institute. He also published the first biography of his father's life.

Paul achieved a distinguished career for himself outside the Moody enterprises, becoming an influential voice in the liberal wing of American Protestantism. He graduated from Hartford Theological Seminary and became pastor of a church in Vermont. During WW1 he served as senior chaplain of the American Expeditionary Forces. After the war he served as president of Middlebury College for twenty-one years. Like his brother, Paul published a biography of his father's life.

Whereas the Northfield Schools evolved into typical New England private academies, Moody Bible Institute became America's premier Bible institute. By the late 1920s it had one thousand students in its day and evening programs. In 2000, it had 1,400 day students and 18,000 in its extension and correspondence programs. Moody Bible Institute has trained more foreign missionaries than any school in the world.

----The One Year Christian History, E. Michael and Sharon Rusten

They will act as if they are religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. You must stay away from people like that. (ed. note---Timothy is talking about staying away from teachers who preach false doctrine.)

-----2 Timothy 3:5

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