Dwight Lyman Moody (February 5, 1837 – December 22, 1899), also known as D.L. Moody, was an American evangelist and publisher who founded the Moody Church, Northfield School and Mount Hermon School in Massachusetts (now Northfield Mount Hermon School), the Moody Bible Institute and Moody Publishers.
His conversion sparked the start of his career as an evangelist. However his first application for church membership, in May 1855, was rejected. He was not received as a church member until May 4, 1856. As his teacher, Mr. Edward Kimball, stated:
“I can truly say, and in saying it I magnify the infinite grace of God as bestowed upon him, that I have seen few persons whose minds were spiritually darker than was his when he came into my Sunday School class; and I think that the committee of the Mount Vernon Church seldom met an applicant for membership more unlikely ever to become a Christian of clear and decided views of Gospel truth, still less to fill any extended sphere of public usefulness.”
It was while on a trip to England in Spring of 1872 that he became well-known as an evangelist. Some have claimed he was the greatest evangelist of the 19th century. He preached almost a hundred times and came into communion with the Plymouth Brethren. On several occasions he filled stadia of 2,000 to 4,000 capacity. In the Botanic Gardens Palace, a meeting had between 15,000 to 30,000 people.
This turnout continued throughout 1874 and 1875, with crowds of thousands at all of his meetings. During his visit to Scotland he was helped and encouraged by Andrew A. Bonar. The famous London Baptist preacher, Charles Spurgeon invited him to speak and promoted him as well. When he returned to the United States, crowds of 12,000 to 20,000 were just as common as in England.
I have also written a note of Spurgeon. It is here: https://hischarisisenough.wordpress.com/2011/05/12/if-charles-h-spurgeon-was-alive-today-would-his-preaching-amount-to-radical-grace-preaching/
What exactly did he say about the Grace message? Take a look below. I’m inclined to think that he was not just a Grace preacher; he was a Radical Grace preacher. What Moody said are in open and closed inverted commas. I will italicize what Joseph Prince, the forerunner of the Grace movement, says today.
1. DL: “The law shuts my mouth; grace opens it. The law locks up my heart; grace opens it—and then the fountain of love begins to flow out. When men get their eyes opened to see this glorious truth, they will cease their constant struggle. They will give up trying to work their way into the kingdom of God by the deeds of the law. They will give themselves up for lost, and take salvation as a free gift.”
Joseph Prince: Sin has no power us because we are under grace. Grace does not give you license to sin but freedom to do what God wants. The Law kills. The Spirit gives life
2. DL: “Life never came through the law. As some one has observed: When the law was given, three thousand men lost life; but when grace and truth came at Pentecost, three thousand obtained life. Under the law, if a man became a drunkard the magistrates would take him out and stone him to death. When the prodigal came home, grace met him and embraced him. Law says, Stone him!—grace says, Embrace him! Law says, Smite him!—grace says, Kiss him! Law went after him, and bound him; grace said, loose him and let him go! Law tells me how crooked I am; grace comes and makes me straight.”
Joseph Prince: The Law kills. The Spirit gives life. The power of sin is the law. If you want you church to sin more, preach the Law. Why do you think I preach grace radically. If you want people to change you have to preach grace radically! At Mont Sinai, when the Law was given 3000 died, at Mont Zion 3000 people were saved. God has moved mountains!
3. DL: “I was one of the first to break the rules of the school. We had a lady teacher, and she asked me to stay behind. I thought the cane was coming out again; and I was going to protest against it. I was quite in a fighting mood. She took me alone. She sat down and began to talk to me kindly. I thought that was worse than the cane; I did not like it. I saw that she had not got any cane. She said: “I have made up my mind that if I cannot control the school by love, I will give it up. I will have no punishment; and if you love me, try and keep the rules of the school.” I felt something right here in my throat. I was not one to shed many tears; but they would come—I could not keep them back. I said to her, “You will have no more trouble with me;” and she did not. I learned more that winter than in the other three put together. That was the difference between law and grace. Christ says, “If you love Me, keep My commandments.” He takes us out from under the law, and puts us under grace. Grace will break the hardest heart. It was the love of God that prompted Him to send His only-begotten Son into the world that He might save it. I suppose the thief had gone through his trial unsoftened. Probably the law had hardened his heart. But on the cross no doubt that touching prayer of the Saviour, “Father, forgive them!” broke his heart, so that he cried, “Lord, remember me!” He was brought to ask for mercy. I believe there is no man so far gone but the grace of God will melt his heart.”
Joseph Prince: God has taken us out from a prison called “sin” and has now transferred to a prison called “righteousness”. Is there anything you can do to take yourself from the prison of “sin” to the prison called “righteousness” ? If the answer is “no”, what makes you think anything you did can now put you back into the prison call “sin”?
He who is forgiven much, loves much.
4. DL: “The Law was given by Moses.
Grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.
The Law says—This do, and thou shalt live.
Grace says—Live, and then thou shalt do.
The Law says—Pay me that thou owest.
Grace says—I frankly forgive thee all.
The Law says—The wages of sin is death.
GRACE says—The gift of God is eternal life.
The Law says—The soul that sinneth, it shall die.
Grace says—Whosoever believeth in Jesus, though he were dead, yet shall he live; and whosoever liveth and believeth in Him shall never die.
The Law pronounces—Condemnation and death.
Grace proclaims—Justification and life.
The Law says—Make you a new heart and a new spirit.
Grace says—A new heart will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you.
The Law says—Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.
Grace says—Blessed is the man whose iniquities are forgiven, whose sin is covered; blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute iniquity.
The Law says—Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength.
Grace says—Herein is love: not that we love God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
The Law speaks of what man must do for God.
Grace tells of what Christ has done for man.
The Law addresses man as part of the old creation.
Grace makes a man a member of the new creation.
The Law bears on a nature prone to disobedience.
Grace creates a nature inclined to obedience.
The Law demands obedience by the terror of the Lord.
Grace beseeches men by the mercies of God.
The Law demands holiness.
Grace gives holiness.
The Law says—Condemn him.
Grace says—Embrace him.
The Law speaks of priestly sacrifices offered year by year continually, which could never make the comers thereunto perfect.
Grace says—But this Man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins forever . . . by one offering hath perfected forever them that are sanctified.
The Law declares—That as many as have sinned in the Law, shall be judged by the Law.
Grace brings eternal peace to the troubled soul of every child of God, and proclaims God’s salvation in defiance of the accusations of the adversary. “He that heareth My word, and believeth on Him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment (condemnation), but is passed from death unto life.”
5. DL:“There is plenty of grace. Many Christians, if they have grace enough to keep them from outward sin, seem to be perfectly satisfied; they do not press on to get fullness of grace, so as to be ready for God’s work. Many are satisfied to go into the stream of grace ankle deep, when God wants them to swim in it.”
Joseph Prince: We do not just need grace. We need abundance of it. When we abundance of grace we will reigned in life.
6. DL: “I WANT to call your special attention to the fact that we are saved by grace alone, not by works and grace. A great many people think that they can be saved by works. Others think that salvation may be attained by works and grace together. They need to have their eyes opened to see that the gift of God is free and apart from works. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God. Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Many people would put it thus: “For by your works are ye saved,—or by your tears, or your prayers, or your fastings, or your trials, or your good resolutions, or your money!” But Paul tells us plainly that it is “not of works, lest any man should boast.” If we could be saved by works, then of course Christ’s mission to this world was a mistake. There was no need for Him to come.”
Joseph Prince: You cannot balance grace and law together. What man call “balance” God calls “mixture”. You annulled the power of God’s grace by adding back Law into the Christian. No, we are saved by grace and grace alone.
7. “I find some people have accused me of teaching heresy, because I say salvation is all of grace. I remember once, a clergyman said I was teaching false doctrine because I said salvation was all of grace. He said that works had as much to do with our salvation as grace. At that time I had never read the Thirty-Nine Articles; if I had I should have been ready to meet him. I got the Prayer Book, and looked through the Thirty-Nine Articles; and I found, to my amazement, that they put it a good deal stronger than I had done.
Let us hear what they say—
“XI. Of the Justification of Man. We are accounted righteous before God, only for the merit of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ by Faith, and not for our own works or deservings: Wherefore, that we are justified by Faith only, is a most wholesome doctrine, and very full of comfort.”
“XII. Of Good Works. Albeit that Good Works, which are the fruits of Faith, and follow after Justification, cannot put away our sins, and endure the severity of God’s judgment; yet are they pleasing and acceptable to God in Christ, and do spring out necessarily of a true and lively Faith; insomuch that by them a lively Faith may be as evidently known as a tree discerned by the fruit.”
“XIII. Of Works Before Justification. Works done before the grace of Christ, and the inspiration of His Spirit, are not pleasant to God; forasmuch as they spring not of faith in Jesus Christ, neither do they make men meet to receive grace, or (as the school-authors say) deserve grace of congruity: yea rather, for that they are not done as God hath willed and commanded them to be done, we doubt not but they have the nature of sin.”
That is stronger than I ever put it. These Articles say of works before justification that “they have the nature of sin.” I never called them sin! So you see this is not any new doctrine that we are preaching. When the church and the world wake up to the fact that works before salvation go for nought, then—and not till then, I believe—men will come flocking into the kingdom of God by hundreds. We work from the cross, not to it. WE work because we are saved, not in order to be saved. We work from salvation, not up to it. Salvation is the gift of God.”
Joseph Prince: We are not righteous because of what we have done. Righteousness is a gift. Christ became sin so that we are now the righteousness from God. This righteousness is APART from the Law. It has nothing to with works or the Law.
We need to repent. Not from deeds. Honestly, have you not repented and repented from the same sins and then go back straight into it? True repentance is changing of the mind. It is changing from the mind-set of trying to earn our salvation and favour from our God. True repentance is about repenting from “dead works”. God doesn’t want our works. What He wants is what the Spirit produces.
I have been accused of many things. However it was Martyn Lloyd Jones that said, “if people do of accuse you of teaching heresy in your preaching of Grace, you are not really preaching grace.”
8. DL:“There is no merit in taking a gift. If a beggar comes to my house, and asks for bread to eat, and I give him a loaf of bread, there is no merit in his taking the bread. So if you experience the favor of God, you have to take it as a beggar. Paul says again: “If by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.” Paul is reasoning in this way: that if I work for a gift or attempt to give money for it, it ceases to be a gift. The only way to get a gift is to take it as a gift.”
Joseph Prince: Grace is unmerited favour. If grace can be earned it is not grace.
9. DL:“What says Christ? You remember that when He was on earth, they came to Him and asked what they should do to work the works of God. He had been telling them to labor not for the bread that perisheth, but for the meat that endureth unto everlasting life. Then they asked Him, “What shall we do that we may work the works of God?” What did Jesus tell them to do? Did He tell them to go and feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, to visit the widow and the fatherless in their affliction? Perhaps you may say that, according to Scripture, is “pure and undefiled religion.” Granted; but something comes before that. That is all right and necessary in its place. But when these men wanted to know what they had to do to inherit eternal life, Jesus said: “This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom He hath sent.””
Joseph Prince: God counts your faith as work. There is one work for the Christian. Believe!
10. DL:“What does that passage mean—“Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling?” Well, I want you to emphasize the word your: “Work out your salvation.” That is most important. You hear people talk of working out salvation, when all the time they have not got it. How can you work out what you do not possess? Paul is here writing to the Christians at Philippi. They were already saved by the grace of God. Now that they had got this wonderful gift, he says: “Go, work it out.” When you see a person working for salvation, you may know that he has got a false idea of the teaching of the Scripture. We have salvation as a gift; and of course we cannot get it by working for it. It is our appreciation of this gift that makes us work. Many people are working and working, as Rowland Hill says, like children on a rocking horse—it is a beautiful motion, but there is no progress. Those who are working for salvation are like men on a treadmill, going round, and round, and round; toiling, and toiling, and toiling; but nothing comes of it all. There is no progress, and there cannot be until you have the motive power within, till the breath of life comes from God, which can alone give you power to work for others. Suppose I say to my son: “You are going away from home; and I want you to be very careful how you spend that $500.” “Well,” he says, “if you will give me $500, I will be careful about it; but how can I be careful in spending what I have not got?” And so, unless you have salvation, you cannot work it out.”
Joseph Prince: You cannot work out what God has not first already worked in.
11. DL:“If you run all through Scripture you will find that the law brings to death. “Sin reigned unto death.” A friend was telling me lately that an acquaintance of his, a minister, was once called upon to officiate at a funeral, in the place of a chaplain of one of Her Majesty’s prisons, who was absent. He noticed that only one solitary man followed the body of the criminal to the grave. When the grave had been covered, this man told the minister that he was an officer of the law whose duty it was to watch the body of the culprit until it was buried out of sight; that was “the end” of the British law. And that is what the law of God does to the sinner; it brings him right to death, and leaves him there. “
Joseph Prince: We need Grace. This is because Grace is the enabling power. The Law cannot do anything for the sinner. To say that the Law can do anything for the sinner is to say the sinner can still do something for himself to secure favour from God. That does not only cheapen the Law but also cheapen the work of Jesus. That is how grace is really “cheapen”. We don’t cheapen Grace but bringing back the Law.
12. “There is no peace until we see the finished work of Jesus Christ—until we can look back and see the Cross of Christ between us and our sins. When we see that Jesus was “the end of the law for righteousness;” that He “tasted death for every man;” that He “suffered the Just for the unjust”—then comes peace. Then there is “the grace wherein we now stand.” There is plenty of grace for us as we need it day by day, and hour by hour.”
Joseph Prince: It is only by beholding the Cross that we are transformed from glory to glory. The Law veils us from beholding it. That is why Jesus comes to remove it. He removes it by tearing the veil apart using His own body. For the first time, we can see His Face. By beholding Him, we are transformed. We are not looking for ‘behavior modification”. We are looking for “heart transformation.”
13. DL: “Grace not only frees you from payment of the interest, but of the principal also.”
Joseph Prince: Jesus is a overpayment for your sins
14. DL: “Oh, let us seek to realize our continual dependence on this grace every moment! ‘More grace! more grace!’ should be our continual cry. But the infinite supply is commensurate with the infinite need.”
Joseph Prince: This is my favourite verse: Romans 5:17 (New International Version) For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ! We do not just need grace we need ABUNDANCE of it! If we do not teach grace radically, people will not be radically changed!
15. DL:“We work from the cross, not to it. WE work because we are saved, not in order to be saved. We work from salvation, not up to it. Salvation is the gift of God.”
Joseph Prince: Colossians 2 tells us we are already made perfect in Christ. We don’t work towards perfection. Christ has made us perfect from the Cross. The minute you believe you are made perfect in Christ. You work from your perfection not to it.
There you have it. DL Moody and Joseph Prince. Herein again I find it strange that while people hail Moody they criticize Joseph Prince a heretic. I honestly think, while people know about Moody the preacher, they do not know what he preached. Similarly, many have a semblance of what Joseph Prince teaches but have hardly heard more than 2 of his sermons. I hope this article together with Spurgeon’s article would put the “misconceived notions” that the Grace Movement is a heretic movement. Personally I think any other “movement” which does not preach Grace the way Spurgeon, Moody and Joseph Prince should reread their Scriptures and ask themselves “why is their church not growing?” Are they teaching what Spurgeon and Moody are actually saying?