American Evangelist and Publisher. He was the founder of the Moody Bible Institute and Moody Publishers in Chicago, Illinois. Born in Northfield, Massachusetts, he was the son of a small farmer and stonemason and the sixth of nine children. His father died when he was four years old and he had to be sent off to work for his room and board. He grew up in the Unitarian Church until the age of 17, when he moved to Boston, Massachusetts to work in his uncle's shoe store, who required him to attend the Congregational Church in Mount Vernon, Massachusetts. In April 1855 he was converted to evangelical Christianity and he decided to become a preacher and the following year he became a member of the church. When the American Civil War broke out in April 1861, he refrained from enlisting in the Union Army due to him being a conscientious objector. After the war began, he was involved with the US Christian Commission of the Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA), and paid visits to the battle-front, being present among the Union soldiers after the conflicts at Shiloh, Pittsburgh Landing, and Murfreesboro, and entered Richmond with the army of General Ulysses S. Grant. After the war, he established a church in Chicago, Illinois. In June 1871, at a YMCA convention in Indianapolis, Indiana, he met Ira D. Sankey, the noted Gospel singer, with whom he soon developed a partnership. In October of that year, the Great Chicago Fire destroyed his church, his home, and the dwellings of most of his members. His church was rebuilt within three months at a nearby location as the Chicago Avenue Church. In the Spring of 1872, he and Sankey traveled to England where he became well known as an evangelist, delivering almost a hundred sermons to thousands of people over the next three years. When he returned to the US, crowds of 12,000 to 20,000 were just as common as in England. His evangelistic meetings were held from Boston to New York, throughout New England and as far as San Francisco, and other West coast towns from Vancouver to San Diego. He aided in the work of cross-cultural evangelism by promoting "The Wordless Book," a 3-color teaching tool that had been invented by British Baptist reform preacher Charles Spurgeon in 1866. In 1875 he added a fourth color to the design of the three-color evangelistic device, gold, to "represent heaven." This guide has been and is still used to teach uncounted thousands of illiterate people around the world about the Gospel message. He was a heavy influence on the cause of cross-cultural Christian missions after he met the pioneer missionary to China, Hudson Taylor. He actively supported the China Inland Mission and encouraged many of his congregation to volunteer for service overseas. In 1884, on another joint visit to England, he and Sankey met hymnist and writer Ada Habershon, who encouraged her to come to the US and give religious lectures. He preached his last sermon on November 16, 1899 in Kansas City, Missouri after which he became ill and returned home to Northfield, Massachusetts where he died at the age of 62. Although his illness was never diagnosed, it has been speculated that he suffered from congestive heart failure. Ten years after his death, the Chicago Avenue Church was renamed The Moody Church in his honor, and the Chicago Bible Institute was likewise renamed Moody Bible Institute. He was considered by many to be the greatest evangelist of the 19th century. His literary works include "Heaven," "Prevailing Prayer - What Hinders It?," "Secret Power," and "The Ten Commandments."
Bio by: William Bjornstad
Emma Charlotte Revell Moody