From the Editor: Delightfully Unconventional

DWIGHT L. MOODY was anything but conventional. To attract poor, urban children to his Sunday school, he bought a little Indian pony and offered rides. To preach the gospel to people who resisted attending church, he held meetings in theaters, auditoriums, and sprawling circus tents. When managers of the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago decided to keep the Fair open on Sunday, many Christian leaders called for a boycott. Not Moody. He said, “Let us open so many preaching places and present the gospel so attractively that people will want to come and hear it.”

D.L. Moody earned his famous nickname “Crazy Moody.” But in his delightfully unconventional way, he reached 100,000,000 people with the good news of Jesus Christ.

At Christian History, we hope to emulate the spirit of D.L. Moody as we approach the grand task of communicating our Christian heritage. We endeavor to present the people and events that have shaped Christianity in a fresh, intelligent, and engaging manner. Historical reading often is caricatured as dry and dusty. We hope to change that, to live up to the words of Elton Trueblood: “Christian History proves that history need not be boring. It has done a remarkable thing in an unexpected way.”

Readers of Christian History also are delightfully unconventional. Compared to readers of most other magazines, you read more of an issue and are far more likely to keep it (93 percent of you save the entire issue). On a recent survey asking for reaction to possible themes for forthcoming issues, over 60 percent of you responded, an unheard-of percentage for such questionnaires.

We value that trust and hope to continue to earn it in every way.

For example, 86 percent of you said you were very interested or somewhat interested in a column exploring the faith of significant persons in history. In response, we have offered in this issue a profile of Florence Nightingale. Let us know what you think of this new feature, and please suggest other people deserving of attention.

In addition, we have formed an editorial advisory board, a select group of recognized church historians who will regularly give counsel and direction to the editors. And Dr. Ken Curtis, the magazine’s founder, will continue in an active and ongoing role as senior editor. “When we decided to profile D.L. Moody,” he says, “I was excited for two reasons. First, we had not given great attention to Americans who stood out in Christian history. Second, unlike many of the best-known figures in church history, Moody was a layperson. Imagine how intimidated he must have felt as a little-educated American preaching in Oxford and Cambridge! Yet by God’s grace, his faith, ability to communicate, and passion to persevere won over his listeners.”

Finally, we want you to enjoy reading every issue of Christian History, and in response to letters from readers, we have established a stringent, reader—friendly policy for advertising. We have voluntarily limited advertising. This decision would be incomprehensible to other publishers, but we have made it (thus limiting income) because we believe so strongly in the integrity of Christian History.

These guidelines are, admittedly, unconventional in the world of magazine publishing. But they reflect our desire, like D.L. Moody’s, to do what is necessary to create a lasting and significant ministry.

By Kevin A. Miller

[Christian History originally published this article in Christian History Issue #25 in 1990]

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A gallery of people associated with D. L. Moody.

Vinita Hampton and C. ]. Wheeler

The Popular Educator

Moody was not an educational theorist or systematizer, but he was a popular educator par excellence.

Virginia Lieson Brereton

From the Archives: The New Birth

Excerpts from a sermon that Moody preached at least 183 times.

Dwight L. Moody
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