Baptist History Homepage

Elder Joseph B. Moody, D.D.

By Ben M. Bogard

     J. B. Moody was born June 24, 1838, in Clarksvllle, Va. His early life was spent in Virginia and Kentucky. He was educated at Bethel College, Russellville, Ky., and entered the ministry September 17, 1876. Thus it will be seen that he was thirty-eight years of age when he began preaching, but he has developed into one of the strongest men, and is one of the greatest preachers and ablest debaters that has ever lived. He is indeed a pillar of orthodoxy.

     He has been a successful pastor and evangelist. He has been pastor of Pewee Valley, LaGrange, Owenton, Paducah and other churches in Kentucky, and of Trezevant, Martin and some smaller churches in Tennessee. He was supply for the Central church, Memphis, for six months. He also served churches in Hot Springs, Ark., San Antonio, Texas, and Tampa, Florida. He is now again serving the church at Hot Springs, Ark. These churches have prospered under his ministry, being built up in the faith and strengthened for the discharge of duty.

     >His strong denunciation of sin has often caused the churches to withdraw from the disorderly. His manner of preaching is such that it is well-nigh impossible for ease-loving sinners to remain long under

[p. 144]
his preaching without either being converted or driven away. His preaching is direct, doctrinal, pointed and practical.

     Dr. Moody's evangelistic work has been noted for its thoroughness. The immediate results have never been great, but his work is always solid. There have been numerous conversions in his meetings, but the immediate results have been less than what would be seen in the months and years following.

     He assisted Eld. R. W. Mahan in a protracted meeting at Liberty church, Graves county, Ky., and preached for two weeks without there being a single convert. The preachers and the church were very much disappointed and discouraged. However, Bro. Mahan relates that for eight years thereafter there were frequent conversions as the result of Moody's preaching. Bro. Mahan thinks it was the best meeting ever held in that church. Yet there were no visible immediate results. For eight years there were people converted who dated their conviction for sin back to Moody's meeting. Was it a failure? It was a fulfilling of the Lord's promise that his word should not return unto him void. That meeting was an extreme illustration of the general character of his work. Eternity alone shall reveal the real life work of J. B. Moody.

     As a debater Dr. Moody has few equals. He has met in public debate Guilford Jones, Methodist; Bedinger, Presbyterian; Drs. Brents, Briney, J. A. Harding, D. Lipscomb, J. S. Sweeney, S. Lucas and Morgan Morgans, Campbellites. His last debate

[p. 145]
with Mr. Harding has been published in a book of about six hundred pages. There are very few men who would now willingly meet J. B. Moody in debate. His logic is invincible and he is perfectly at home in the Scriptures.

     He has written several books which have reached a large circulation. Notably his little book on "The Name Christian," which has reached a circulation of twenty-five thousand. For four years he was co-editor of the Baptist Gleaner with J. N. Hall. For three years he was co-editor with J. R. Graves, of The Baptist, Memphis, Tenn., and for a short time he was associate with E. E. Folk on the Baptist and Reflector, of Nashville, Tenn. He has been one of the directors of the Baptist Book Concern, of Louisville, Ky. His books and newspaper articles are always read because of the clear and strong presentation of whatever subject he may be discussing. A characteristic essay of his is published at the close of this sketch on the "Conditions of Receiving the Holy Spirit for Service."

     He is now sixty-one years old, but he is growing stronger as a preacher and writer as he grows older. He is good for at least fifteen years effective service yet. Such a man as he never grows old in mind. His body may decay, but his mind will continue to renew its youth and grow stronger with the years.

     Bethel College, Russellville, Ky., did itself the honor of conferring on him the title of Doctor of Divinity, June, 1892.

     He has "in all things showed himself a pattern

[p. 146]
of good works: in doctrine showing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed." Titus 2:7-8.
[Ben M. Bogard, editor, Pillars of Orthodoxy, or Defenders of the Faith, 1900. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]

More on J. B. Moody
Pillars of Orthodoxy Index
Baptist History Homepage