DL Moody was not your typical Calvinist. In fact I'm doubtful whether you could put him in the same camp with Spurgeon, Ironside and many of the modern preachers who now control the institute he founded. Although he did hold to the doctrine of 'perseverance' (commonly called eternal security today, or osas for short) he did not teach that a professing Christian could live in open rebellion to God's Word and still inherit the Kingdom. As we will see from some of his own statements, he was a stanch believer in Obedience to God, holiness and self denial. However none of these things had any 'saving' merit in and of themselves, as he taught, only that true faith produces 'works'. Continuing in the faith to retain salvation, as the scriptures so clearly teach, was understood by Moody to mean ONLY the true believers would 'continue' and the false ones would not. Much like the modern version of osas as propagated by John MacArthur and others, who claim anyone who does not 'continue' in the faith, to the end, was 'NEVER' saved to begin with. (serious investigation into history reveals that this teaching originated with John Calvin himself!)
Mr. Moody was strongly in the osas camp and as a result has unknowingly contributed to the horrible conditions in today's church. (including his own institute which is destitute of truth) However it is noteworthy that he opposed many of the Calvinist type teachers of his day, such as Spurgeon for teaching that Grace meant a person could sin his way into the Kingdom. Moody sternly opposed such teaching and we must give him credit where credit is due! I am certain also that he would indeed be appalled by the deplorable conditions in the modern church, including his own institute. He would express outrage at such teachers as Donald Cole, Church Swindoll, Charles Stanley, Kennedy, Hunt and many others, who have turned the Grace of God into a license for immorality. But at the same time he would STILL be unable to see how his own theology facilitated this downfall. The inevitable outcome of teaching people that NOTHING they do has any merit toward salvation is EXACTLY the reason our churches are in such deplorable condition. As the human heart by nature is susceptible to extremism, so we are now first hand witnesses of the ruinous extreme to which they have taken the Grace of God.
Although church history has been replete with persecution, deception and 'Winds' of doctrine, and many generations before us have faced the horrors of satan himself, we today have the unprecedented task of CONTENDING against the worst onslaught of false doctrine ever brought against mankind. The need for true disciples to Stand in the Gap and expose the works of darkness has NEVER been greater than now. Unless God is able in His Strength, to raise up a NEW generation of preachers who will oppose the deadly doctrine of eternal security, millions will be dragged into the fires of hell forever.
DL Moody remarks on the foundations of the Gospel message:
"The Gospel preached by the apostles rested upon four pillars: the atoning death of Christ, His burial and resurrection, His ascension, His coming again. These four doctrines were preached by all the apostles, and by them the Gospel must stand or fall. In the opening verses of I Corinthians 15, we get a clear statement from Paul that the doctrine of the resurrection is a part of the Gospel. He defines the Gospel as meaning that Christ died for our sins, but not that only -- He was buried and rose again the third day. Then he summons witnesses to prove the resurrection: "He was seen of Cephas [Simon Peter] then of the twelve: After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. After that, he was seen of James."
Rebuttal: Notice here that he has eliminated verse 2, "By which you are saved, IF you hold fast that word which I preached, unless you have believed in vain." This is as foundational to the Gospel message as the Blood and Resurrection. Enduring to the end, Matt10:22, was first taught by the Lord Himself and repeated throughout the New Testament by Paul, Peter, James & John. That you must HOLD FAST to the Word of Truth is the fundamental principle of God's Word. Moody as others, would claim that 'continuing or holding fast' would have no 'saving' merit. But such teaching doesn't make sense! Look at James 1:21-22 You are saved by 'Receiving' the implanted WORD (which is Christ) that is able to save your soul and then PUTTING it into practice..."Be DOERS not hearers only, deceiving your own self!" The 'Receiving' & 'Doing' cannot be separated, for James states, "That a man is Justified by WORKS and NOT by Faith only!" Js2:24 This is seen throughout the bible. We are called to 'Obedience to the faith!' Rom1:5, 16:26 etc. The act of 'Continual' obedience is shown in such passages as Rom2:7, Col1:23, Heb3:14, 2Pet1:4-11 God cannot Obey for us. Salvation is therefore 'retained' by our willingness to 'Continue' with Him.
"Moreover, it seems highly probable; indeed I think it is clearly taught by Scripture, that a great many careless Christians will get into heaven. There will be a great many who will get in by the skin of their teeth, or as Lot was saved from Sodom, so as by fire. They will barely get in, but there will be no crown of rejoicing. But everybody is not going to rush into heaven. There are a great many who won't make it!"
Rebuttal: This remark is NOT supported by 1Cor3:13 as most osas teachers suppose. If you read the passage in Context you will find that it is NOT speaking of 'careless sinners'. It's discussing the merits of building on the foundation of Christ, which scripturally is 'serious' business. Heb6:1-2 speaks of the 'elementary principles of Christ' and 'laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works & faith toward God' (Acts20:21) In context with falling from the faith. The reward aspect for faithful service may be a valid argument based on certain passages of scripture, but it has NOTHING to do with 'careless' sin. If you live according to the flesh you will die, Rom8:13 declares. Does this not apply to the Christian, being written by the Apostle Paul to Christians? It simply doesn't make logically sense that you only 'die' as an unsaved person, when you sin. And as a 'saved' person, you live! Rom8:1-3 make perfectly clear that IF you walk in the Spirit & not the flesh, you fulfill the righteous requirements of the law and suffer no condemnation. But IF you walk according to the flesh nature, you fall BACK under the condemnation of the law. Read Gal6:7-10 and contemplate the truth of Reaping what you Sow. Grace doesn't magically remove you from the consequences of fulfilling the lust of the flesh. (Gal5:19-21) You MUST Crucify the flesh with it's passions & desires, Gal5:24, or end up in hell.
The following are comments gleaned from some of Moody's sermons. I selected these to illustrate the VIVID CONTRAST between the osas preachers of old and those of today.
Does that look as if the law of Moses was becoming obsolete? The conviction deepens in me with the years that the old truths of the Bible must be stated and restated in the plainest possible language. I do not remember ever to have heard a sermon preached on the commandments. I have an index of two thousand five hundred sermons preached by Spurgeon, and not one of them selects its text from the first seventeen verses of Exodus 20. The people must be made to understand that the Ten Commandments are still binding, and that there is a penalty attached to their violation. We do not want a gospel of mere sentiment. The Sermon on the Mount did not blot out the Ten Commandments.
Missionaries tell us that they could easily get converts if they did not require them to be baptized, thus publicly renouncing their idols. Many a person in our land would become a Christian if the gate was not so strait. Christianity is too strict for them. They are not ready to promise full allegiance to God alone. Many a professing Christian is a stumbling block because his worship is divided. On Sunday he worships God; on weekdays God has little or no place in his thoughts.
Many will be found like those five foolish virgins. When the hour came, they would be found with no oil in their lamps. If you have only an empty lamp, or are living on mere formalism, I beg of you to give it up. Give up that dead, cold, miserable lukewarmness. God will have none of it. Are you lusting to your good works?
Look at King David with his son Absalom. After he had been sent away he gets his friends to intercede for him to get him back to Jerusalem. They succeeded in getting him back to the city, but someone told the King that he hadn't repented, and his father would not see him. After he had been in Jerusalem some time, trying his best to get into favor and position again without repentance, he sent a friend, Joab, to the king, and told him to say to his father: "Examine me, and if you find no iniquity in me, take me in." He was forgiven, but the most foolish thing King David ever did was to forgive that young prince. What was the result? He drove him from the Throne. That's what the sinner would do if he got into Heaven unrepentant, He would just drive God from the throne - tear the Crown from Him. No unrepentant sinner can get into the Kingdom of Heaven.
Remarks: Although Moody preached free grace, he did not view it as an unconditional license for immorality, as many osas preachers do today. He understood the teachings of Christ to the extent that they compelled men to 'take up' their cross and follow. In his mind there were no half baked Christians who were depending on a past moment of faith to get them through. It was a life of discipline & self denial, energized by the Spirit of God in Love. The danger I see however is in neglecting the reams of scripture that deal with falling away, warning the righteous and avoiding false doctrine. Moody may have believed that a person 'once saved' was KEPT by God against every temptation & snare, but SCRIPTURE says otherwise! "KEEP yourself PURE, from idols, from sin, from immoral behavior, from the error of the wicked!" (1Tim5:22, 1Jh5:18,21, 1Pet2:11, 2pet3:17 to name a few) Why would Jesus Himself TELL us to MAKE EVERY EFFORT to enter by the Narrow Gate, if He was going to do it for us? Lk13:24. And this teaching follows throughout: Heb4:11, 12:14, 2Pet1:5, 3:14, "Make every effort to: Enter, Be Holy, Add to your faith, Be found without spot or blemish!" At least SOME of the responsibility rest with us according to these scriptures, wouldn't you say?
It's interesting to note his remark on King David. To a man, ALL the osas teachers & many non-osas, will say that David retained his salvation in spite of his sin. (even though the bible says specifically that murderers & adulterers will not inherit the kingdom! 1Cor6:9-10, Rev21:8) Moody HAD to hold this view, yet he said, "No unrepentant sinner will enter the Kingdom!" Which is 100% correct. So did David then LOSE his salvation and 'get' it back? Thus far I haven't been able to find anything said by Moody that would indicate such a thing one way or another. I welcome your input though. Was Moody the only osas preacher who believed that King David actually lost his salvation when he committed adultery & murder? Perhaps we'll never know.
For a fuller explanation of DL Moody's views read 'Sovereign Grace' at this link: http://www.biblebelievers.net/SalvationDoctrine/kjcsover.htm But I can save you the trouble by stating that basically he believed wholly that the Gift of Salvation was given without merit (which is 100% correct) and since it's given without merit, NOTHING done afterward has any merit toward it's ultimate goal. Although, as I pointed out, he DID NOT teach that you could live in open rebellion to God's law, commit adultery, immorality or suicide and still inherit the kingdom of heaven. He would say that such people were 'never' saved to begin with.
What a Contrast we have today on the Moody Bible network. Grace is reduced to a license for immorality by such men as Cole, Swindoll, Hunt, Henagraff, Stanley etc, who 'to a man' have stated that a person can 'blow out his brains, live in open adultery, be addicted to pornography, be a drunkard and even a homosexual, and if they ONCE had a moment of true faith, they are SAVED eternally even while engaged in the vilest of sins. Ol DL must be spinning in his grave!
But what do you expect. The natural outcome of this awful doctrine has come to fruition in our generation. We are witnessing the end result of a Century of osas teaching. Nothing short of a Prophet of God calling down Fire from heaven could put a dent what they have done.
Here's an example of DL Moody's view of salvation
16) You have heard the Prayer Book; NOW HEAR PAUL; "Abraham believed God; and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, -but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness" (Romans 4:3-5). Notice what the Apostle says: "To him that worketh not." That is plain language, is it not? I may perhaps startle some of you by saying that many of you have been kept out of the kingdom of God by your good works. Nevertheless it is true. If you put works in the place of faith, they become a snare to you. It is "to him that worketh not, but believeth."
Well," said I to myself, "that is worth learning." The second thing he had found out was that God did not require him to do anything. Well, that was worth finding out too. And the third thing was that the Lord Jesus Christ had done it all, that salvation was finished, and that all he had to do was to take it. Dear friends, let us learn this lesson; (18) let us give up our struggling and striving, and accept salvation at once.
Now, grace means unmerited mercy-undeserved favor. If men were to wake up to the fact, they would not be talking about their own worthiness when we ask them to come to Christ. When the truth dawns upon (8) them that Christ came to save the unworthy, then they will accept salvation. Peter calls God "the God of all grace (1 Peter 5:10)."
Rebuttal: The major problem with this presentation of Grace is that it leaves people with the impression that Grace makes NO demands on their lives! And nothing could be further from the truth. When the scripture says we are saved by Grace & not works, it's speaking of 'works of the law', but it certainly does NOT mean we cease from all activity. The same chapter that says, "Abraham believed God and it was counted to him as righteousness, also says that Abraham was not 'Unfaithful, did not waver, Remain Steadfast in faith and was Fully Convinced that God was able to do what He promised....THEN it was accounted to him for righteousness!' Rom4:19-21 That doesn't sound like he stood by and did nothing, as implied by Moody. If God has indeed, 'done it all' as he has implied and I have NOTHING left to do, why even repent? Thus you see why we in such a fix today and why men at the Moody Bible institute are preaching grace as license for immorality.
Heb11:8 also points out how Abraham OBEYED God, went forth and RECEIVED the promise. This is the dynamic of salvation the osas don't understand. To them Grace means NOTHING is required from man, ever. But the scriptures say; STRIVE to enter, Make every effort to be pure, Add to your faith, all in reference to KEEPING your salvation, not merely 'working' it out once it is received. Read Heb6:11-12, 10:35-36 "You have NEED of Steadfast endurance so that after you have DONE the will of God, you MAY receive the promise!" To Moody you've already received it! No need to DO anything. The Narrow Path to the Kingdom is one of Constant striving, persuasion, struggle against sin. (Lk13:24, 2Tim3:12, Heb13:4) YES, it must be done in His Strength, by His Grace through Faith in His Word! But it MUST be done nonetheless. It's the WORK of Faith with POWER, 2Thes1:11, that saves. Those who refuse to remain STEADFAST in the faith to the end WILL NOT enter the kingdom.
Also Grace is NOT defined as 'unmerited favor',
this is a misnomer. Grace is the dynamic by which God transforms the heart and
stamps in the image of His Son. Here's an accurate translation: Charis:
good will, loving-kindness, favor, of the merciful kindness by which God,
exerting his holy
influence upon souls, turns them to Christ, keeps, strengthens, increases them in Christian faith, knowledge, affection, and kindles them to the exercise of the Christian virtues.
Although Eph2:8-9 alone can 'sound' as though NOTHING is required of man. You MUST understand that the 'Gift' of salvation in itself is Free and cannot be earned by anything we do, BUT ENDURING to the end once we enter into this Grace & Receive His Power, is an ABSOLUTE necessity if you want to enter the Kingdom. The Scriptures make this perfectly clear. Had Abraham merely said to God, "Okay, God, I believe, now I'll just wait here for the promise." He would NEVER have INHERITED the promise & God would have chosen another! But his OBEDIENCE made his FAITH perfect before God, WORKING out his salvation & final entrance into the kingdom. (Phil2:12-13, 2Pet1:4-11) You will only enter heaven by Continuing to DO His Word! Js1:22
The osas preachers, including Moody, have done similar damage to the Law of God. Here's a few examples:
And that is what the law of God does to the sinner; it brings him right to death, and leaves him there. I pity deep down in my heart those who are trying to save themselves by the law. It never has; it never will; and it never can - save the soul. When people say they are going to try and do their best, and so save themselves by the law, I like to take them on their own ground. Have they ever done their very best? granting that there might be a chance for them if they had, was there ever a time when they could not have done a little better? If a man wants to do his best, let him accept the grace of God ; that is the best thing that any man or woman can possibly do(48).
50) So we see that the law cannot give life; all it can do is to bring us to Him who is the life. The law is said to be "a schoolmaster." Perhaps some of you do not know what a schoolmaster is. If you had been under the same schoolmaster as I was when it boy you would have known. He had a good cane and it was frequently in use. In the little country district where I went to school., there were two parties: for the sake of illustration we may call the one the "law" party and the other the " grace " party. The law party said that boys could not possibly be controlled without the cane: and they kept a schoolmaster there who acted on their plan. The struggle went on, and at last, on one election, day, the law party was put out, and the grace party ruled in their stead. I happened to be at the school at that time; and I remember we said to each other that we were going to have a grand time that winter. There would be no more corporal punishment, and we were going to be ruled by love.
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 (51) 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 ye love Me, keep My commandments" (John 14:15). 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.
Rebuttal: Grace DID NOT lower the Holy Standard of God, as Moody as his cohorts imply. Christ declared when he introduced His ministry that He came for the express purpose of FULFILLING the Law & the Prophets! Matt5:17 Further He taught that under GRACE if your hand or eye causes you to sin, CUT them off! Matt5:28. Heb10:28 declares that it's WORSE to sin against Grace than it was the law of Moses, even though the penalties were severely enforced. Because you are "Insulting the Spirit of Grace!" They NEVER seem to mention this fact. And Paul specifically pointed out that by Faith we ESTABLISH the law, not abolish it! Rom3:31 THAT'S why the Righteous requirements of the law are fulfilled IF we Walk according to the Spirit and not the flesh. Rom8:3 AND the 'Law of sin & death' are STILL in effect! (Rom8:1-3)
Rather than telling 'stories' Moody should have using the Word of God to establish his point. But it's typical of osas teachers to do this. They love to use silly little illustrations to demonstrate things of VAST importance. Since most people know little to nothing about the Word of God, they get by with it and are called great teachers besides. Grace calls you to OBEDIENT Love of God and His Commandants. When you Walk in Love, you fulfill the law, Mark12:20-31, when you REFUSE to walk in love by the power of His Spirit, you fall BACK under the condemnation of the law & Judgment shall befall IF you do not repent. (Rom8:1-13) Grace doesn't 'soften' the requirements of God, it provides the Divine Power to MEET those requirements.
Moody remarked once that he didn't understand WHY most professing Christians were lacking in any Spiritual power. This reveals the depth of his misconceptions about the Grace of God. They lacked the POWER because they lacked OBEDIENCE! Plain and simple, NOTHING is going to occur in your heart or life & you are guaranteed to end up in hell fire, UNLESS you Steadfastly OBEY God's Word, Purify your heat by faith and endure to the end! (Rom2:7, Gal5:6, 1Pet1:22, 1Jhn5:4)