The Shocking Beliefs of D. L. Moody

All told, here are some beliefs that Moody held that were shocking during his time, some of which may unsettle some evangelicals today.


1) Moody seldom preached on hell.

This was shocking in a day when eighteenth- and nineteenth-century revivalists and evangelists made “hell” a major point in their preaching. When Moody caught criticism for this, his response was, “A great many people say I don’t preach on the terrors of religion. I don’t want to—don’t want to scare men into the kingdom of God.” Because the love of God broke his own heart, Moody opted to preach God’s love and avoid the subject of hell in most of his sermons.


2) Moody espoused the idea of premillennialism (that Jesus would return before the millennium).

Moody “was the first premillennial evangelist of note in North American history (the rest were postmillennialists).” He was also important to the entire history of the development of dispensationalism and the eventual rise and dominance of premillennialism. That said, Moody was not precise about the details of Christ’s second coming, so we cannot be sure of his exact views on the subject. In a sermon entitled “When My Lord Jesus Comes,” Moody said, “You should study the Bible for yourself, and come to your own conclusion.”


3) Moody embraced the Christian evolutionist Henry Drummond as being the most Christlike man he ever met.

Such an “endorsement” was shocking in Moody’s day. Drummond was written off by many Christians because he believed that God created humans through the mechanism of evolution. Drummond wrote the book The Ascent of Man, published in 1894. The book attempted to harmonize Christianity and evolution, as a number of people tried to do in the early stages of the popularity of evolutionary theory.