Master's Theses



Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Did Dwight L. Moody have a concern to reach the workingman with the gospel? What were his social views and what relationship did these views have to the laborer of the latter half of the nineteenth century? If Moody had a concern for members of the working class, what success did he have influencing their lives with the gospel? Through an investigation of primary and secondary sources the conclusions of this thesis have been established. Part I relies heavily on secondary sources, but wherever convenient primary sources were used to establish the facts and the bases for interpretations. Part II depends heavily upon primary sources to establish the facts and the bases for interpretation. Whenever secondary sources were used, an attempt was made to use works demonstrating sound scholarship. Through an examination of Moody’s career one finds a man who sought to reach the working masses of Great Britain and the United States with the gospel of regeneration. Although Moody was involved in many activities throughout his career, a historical analysis demonstrates that one of his chief concerns was finding means to reach the workingman with the gospel. The story of his early years in Chicago, the revival campaigns in Great Britain and America, and the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago demonstrate this concern. An evaluation of Moody’s career demonstrates that the evangelist’s seeking to reach the working masses was directly related to his social views. In D.L. Moody’s career there is a merging of pietistic revivalism and conservative social views. He believed that the multiplication of personal conversions would solve the nation’s corporate problems. Moody’s greatest success in reaching the workingman was during his early Chicago years. At that time he was on a new battleground in the church’s effort to reach the urban masses. In the Chicago Y.M.C.A. he directed the energies of that organization toward benefitting urban workers. He also learned to be an unordained evangelist. In his revival campaigns in Great Britain and the United States, Moody had hoped to reach the working class in great masses, but he failed as the movement appealed mostly to the middle class. Moody’s last attempt to find a way to reach the worker was the establishment of Moody Bible Institute. Whatever success Moody had in reaching the working masses was due to his unusual organizational abilities. Whatever failure Moody experienced was probably due to his inability to perceive the nature of labor’s plight in an expanding industrial society.


Gordon W. Davidson

Date of Award

Spring 1969

Document Type

Thesis - campus only access


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