Founder: Dwight Lyman Moody
Formation: February 5, 1887, Chicago, Illinois
Current President: Dr. Mark Jobe
A Plea to Those Who Love Moody
If you are a student, parent of a student, alumni, or donor, then we call on you to examine the evidence, do more research, ask questions, and demand change. Exposing issues is useless unless faithful people like you take action.
World-renowned 19th-century evangelist and author D.L. Moody desired to bring the gospel to the common man. Upon the advice of his friend and colleague, Emma Dryer, who wanted to see Moody utilize his gifts to train the next generation of young men and women, Moody founded the Moody Bible Institute (MBI). According to Moody, his goals for the Institute were “…to have gap-men to stand between the laity and the ministers; men who are trained to do city mission work. Take men that have the gifts and train them for the work of reaching the people.” Unfortunately, today the goals of MBI have drastically shifted. Instead of training the common man in biblical literacy for evangelistic purposes, the modern MBI focuses on shifting young future pastors and scholars toward the political left.
2014: United: A Symposium on Race & Ethnicity in the Church
To illustrate this drift into progressivism, one can easily observe the fact that a symposium on race relations in the United States is featured prominently on the MBI website’s “diversity” page. In this 2014 symposium, Moody students, faculty, and alumni pontificated about racial reconciliation as panelists utilized many woke talking points six years before they became popularized in evangelicalism following the death of George Floyd.
For example, Chris Brooks, pastor, author, podcast host for Moody Radio, and then-campus dean of Moody Theological Seminary, asserted the following at the symposium: “The secular institutions are outdoing the church in [race relations]. Does this break anyone’s heart besides mine? That we as Christians should be leading the way, and other places, God forbid the University of Michigan, is outdoing the church.” In Brooks’ mind, a left-leaning secular institution is doing more for race relations than God’s blood-bought, Holy Spirit-filled church.
But the slander did not stop there at the symposium. Local pastor Eli Garza then characterized the church as deficient because there is not enough of a mix of ethnicities in local churches: “But really we should be grieving and mourning because we have embraced the homogeneity principle. That the fastest way to grow a church or to plant one is to have everybody be the same [skin color]…That’s our human nature…We like being around only our own kind.” In a similar vein, Pastor Brent Slater elaborated, “…Revelation 7, ‘They sang a new song: Worthy are you to take the scroll, open its seals. For you were slain by your blood, you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you’ve made them a kingdom of priests to our God.’ And [I and the elders at my church] felt God was saying, ‘I want a place to paint a picture of what my kingdom looks like, and are you willing to do that?’ Both pastors are making the same claim: if your local church does not have enough differently colored faces, then your church is doing something wrong. Furthermore, like so many woke pastors, Slater twists the meaning of Revelation 7 to try to make it say that churches must be diverse, particularly when it comes to skin color. In reality, this chapter speaks about saints worshiping God in heaven, and has nothing to do with how to run a local church. It confounds reason to consider how this unbiblical doctrine would apply in homogeneous countries like the Republic of Congo. By contrast, scripture gives us the paradigm for how to grow a church: going out into the world and “testifying…repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 20:21). Nowhere in the Bible does it put pressure on local churches to have a certain level of melanin in the congregation. As with the Pharisees, Jesus would condemn such foolishness as “…teaching as doctrines of God the commands of men” (Matthew 15:9).
Not only did the symposium falsely accuse the church of racism; it also indicted American society more broadly by forwarding the Marxist idea of systemic racism. According to Moody student Joshua Fort, Christians need to sympathize with his perspective that as a black man, Fort is an oppressed victim:
“…[T]his is about a systemic problem that we’ve been seeing, and that we’ve been having to endure time after time again. I realized that I was implicated to stand with the oppressed, to stand with people who were saying ‘hey, there is a problem.’…[P]eople are largely ignoring that we are in pain and not hearing us when we’re saying that we are in pain…We are Christians who are called to have a theology that doesn’t just sit inside our heads, and sit inside conversation, but that is manifest inside our lives, and the way we live our lives…What it meant for me to have integrity between my words and my actions was for me to go and protest these systemic injustices that are going on in the world.”
Lastly and perhaps most strikingly, the symposium taught racial essentialism in the face of a biblical text to the contrary. Local teacher at the University of Michigan, Hyung Joo Kim, encouraged the audience to ignore what the Bible says in order to focus more on race: “I don’t want to talk about much of the Bible, but only one word I want to bring to you here. So that’s 1 Samuel Chapter 16 and verse 7: ‘The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.’ But also, I just want to say to you, we cannot ignore the outward appearance because that’s me. That’s me, my identity…Asian.” Amazingly, while reading a text displaying the Glory of our Lord in impartially judging and discerning the thoughts of man, Kim tells us to do the exact opposite. Jesus disagrees with Kim when he commands his people, “Stop judging by outward appearance, but judge with righteous judgment” (John 7:24).
2020: Response to George Floyd
Fast-forward to 2020, and Moody was preaching the same tune as at the 2014 symposium. After the death of George Floyd, President of Moody, Dr. Mark Jobe released a statement regarding the incident which states: “…[I]mages of 46-year-old George Floyd with a knee on his neck gasping for breath and begging for his life, have left many, including myself, deeply disturbed and wanting justice…Listen to those around you—especially those who are marginalized, those who are hurting.”
Dr. Jobe’s “call to prayer” was not his final word on the George Floyd Incident. Three days later, he doubled down on the leftist narrative of systemic racism against black Americans in the United States:
“I want to acknowledge the deep, deep pain that exists because of the long-standing prejudice and bigotry against our African American communities. Here at Moody, this pain is especially felt among our African American faculty and staff, as well as other people of color. The crisis came to a head when we saw the images of George Floyd, a 46-year-old man who was arrested, thrown to the ground, and handcuffed. A knee was placed on his neck, he cried out while gasping for air, and his pleas were ignored…[W]e should all be indignant. We struggle to process the anger and the grief, and now we are seeking to understand how God would have us respond…Don’t be quick to judge people’s experience. This is a time to listen, to empathize, to acknowledge people’s stories and their pain. It’s easy from the outside—if you’ve never lived through it—to excuse or explain away people’s pain. Instead, we need to listen to our African American brothers and sisters who are expressing grief and pain and deep hurt. This is a time for everyone to listen…Don’t dismiss legitimate peaceful protests. The protests started out with legitimate concerns and many peaceful protesters. Unfortunately, these were sabotaged by looting and vandalism and violence that has hurt the communities that were already suffering and struggling. Just yesterday, two blocks from the church that I pastor, looters broke windows and took advantage of the chaos. But the message of the protesters needs to be heard through the noise of looting. Don’t dismiss the message because of the violence occurring in our country and in our communities…Don’t just watch—do something.”
Despite not having all the facts of the case at the time, Dr. Jobe was quick to portray the Floyd killing as a deep injustice. He then tells us that we must listen to the voices of people groups he assumes are “marginalized” and “hurting.” Missing from his letter is a caution not to merely listen and sympathize with someone who is hurting if their pain is based upon false information. This evinces the notion that Moody is adopting the postmodern idea of standpoint epistemology, that being a nonwhite gives a person a lived experience of systemic oppression that cannot be questioned, lest the person asking be accused of lacking love or compassion. Nor did Dr. Jobe state that we should wait for all the facts of the case to be released before rushing to judgment. Even if one believes officer Chauvin murdered or negligently killed Floyd, it was sinful for Dr. Jobe to adjudicate Floyd’s cause of death before the facts came out. By contrast, scripture admonishes us to “…not spread a false report. You shall not join hands with a wicked man to be a malicious witness. You shall not fall in with the many to do evil, nor shall you bear witness in a lawsuit, siding with the many, so as to pervert justice…” (Exodus 23:1-2). Additionally, Dr. Jobe exhorted his audience not to “dismiss” the racial protests that occurred after George Floyd, many of which he said were “legitimate.” In doing so, Dr. Jobe spread a false report by making the problem of police brutality seem more severe, by several orders of magnitude, than what is the reality. In truth, nearly every year police kill less than 20 unarmed black men, many of which are for self-defense purposes, and whites are just as likely to be killed unarmed. If the problem is so small in a country of 50 million black Americans, then why is it legitimate to protest based on this false narrative? And if the protests were so legitimate, then why did they result in at least 25 killings and $2 billion in property damage?
Another significant evidence of Moody’s quick descent into social justice ideology comes by way of Moody Radio, MBI’s broadcasting wing. Christopher Brooks, the man aforementioned from the 2014 symposium, epitomizes this phenomenon in his radio program, “Equipped with Chris Brooks.” Wokepedia contributor Jordan Smith has written more extensively on Brooks in a blog outlining the reasons why he left Woodside Bible Church, of which Brooks is head pastor. In this podcast, Brooks has featured prominent woke and Marxist “Christian” leaders, such as Jemar Tisby, Walter Strickland, Tony Evans, and Dhati Lewis.
Brooks does not simply platform these false teachers, but he unashamedly allows their false doctrines to spread without challenge or refutation. For example, in the Dhati Lewis interview, Brooks said “amen” to the racist, Marxist ideas of black fatigue and white fragility. On this topic, Lewis states:
“On one end of the table, you have minorities, because you are the minority, you are constantly reminded of being the minority. In so many ways, it’s something that dominates our conversation…And it brings about a fatigue in so many of us. It’s like, we’ve been talking about it, and nothing has changed. Things are the same…But on the other side of it is (white fragility), when you’re the privileged, part of being in the privilege is the ability to not have to deal with things. So, ultimately, you’re not confronted with these issues, and so a lot of times I tell people, a problem is not a real problem unless it’s your problem…And I think that’s so critical to address…both minority fatigue and white fragility that often predominates our discussions on race…”
Here, Lewis committed the sin of bearing false witness by declaring that blacks are fatigued by constantly being reminded of their victimhood status, while whites are too fragile to engage in racial conversations because it’s “not their problem.” This makes blacks seem virtuous and oppressed while painting whites as lacking compassion. Besides this, all of Dhati’s claims were said by fiat without a shred of evidence; it was merely assumed in advance. But instead of challenging Lewis’s slanderous assumptions about white Christians, Brooks responds by affirming: “I just want to say ‘amen’ to everything you just said…” A greater examination of Moody Radio will be done at a later date.
Lastly, Moody has published a number of woke books that support unbiblical concepts such as the Black Lives Matter movement; forced redistribution of wealth by stealing from whites and giving the money to blacks (reparations); and that one can support the Democrat party’s platform and still be a faithful Christian. These books include: “Woke Church” by Eric Mason, “Kingdom Race Theology” by Tony Evans, “One Blood” by John Perkins, and “The New Reformation: Finding Hope in the Fight for Ethnic Unity” by Shai Linne. A greater examination of Moody Publishing will be done at a later date.