Bearded Gospel Men: D.L. Moody

What? You thought I was only going to feature Reformed guys? Moody was definitely not Reformed, but he was definitely a gospel man! Moody's and his 8 siblings were raised by their mother. His father died when Moody was very young, and this put a considerable strain on his mother and family. Moody grew up attending a Unitarian church, but at 17 he moved to Boston to work in his uncle's shoe store. During this time he began attending a Congregational church and heard the gospel regularly. One day his Sunday School teacher pressed him with the gospel and Moody was converted.

Moody is known as an evangelist, but his work and influence were both broad and global. He traveled the world preaching to thousands, partnering with the vocalist, Ira Sankey, who would sing at these evangelistic meetings. In 1886 Moody started the Chicago Bible Institute (later renamed after its founder as Moody Bible Inst.). He found there was a need for such a school since so few Christians were being trained in counseling "inquirers" in Scripture or even the gospel. You get his heart when he said, "One of the great purposes we have in view in the Bible Institute is to raise up men and women who will put their lives alongside the life of the poor and the laboring classes, and bring the influence of the Gospel to bear upon them."

All of Moody's accomplishments were made without the aid of any formal education. What he did he did by the power of the Holy Spirit and the preaching of the good news. God was with "Mr. Moody" and personally I am forever thankful. Shortly after my own conversion I was accepted to the Moody Bible Institute, where I would not just earn my B.A., but also find clarity concerning my calling, and meet the woman who would be my wife.

Moody and I wouldn't have been on the same page on a number of theological issues, but on the gospel we couldn't be closer.

For more on Moody check out The Life and Times of D.L. Moody at CT,  and The Life and Work of D.L. Moody by Chapman (both online for free).

Bearded Gospel Men: Hudson Taylor

"China is not to be won for Christ by quiet, ease-loving men and women … The stamp of men and women we need is such as will put Jesus, China, [and] souls first and foremost in everything and at every time—even life itself must be secondary."

Hudson Taylor (via Christian History)

If you know anything about Hudson Taylor, you know he was a missionary to China. What you may not know is that while he was a baby Taylor's parents were praying God would send him to China. This was at a time when hardly any missionaries were targeting the country. He was converted as a teen while in the midst of an extended time of prayer, and from that moment on he began preparing himself for mission work in China.

He arrived in Shanghai as a 21 year old. Twenty one. Because Taylor wasn't interedted in relying on translators to preach the gospel, he committed himself to true cultural immersion, including dressing in Chinese clothes and growing a pony tail (as was the custom among Chinese men). This made sense to our missional brother, but brought criticism from other missionaries. Undeterred, Taylor followed God's calling to take the gospel into China's interior.

Hudson Taylor saw that for the gospel to take root in China's and reach greater numbers God would need to raise up more men. So he began recruiting other Christians to go and make disciples where there was such a desperate need. In 1865 he wrote, China's Spiritual Need and Claims, and organized a network of sorts, China Inland Mission. Taylor and CIM not only brought the Gospel to China's interior, but it helped to build the strong and vibrant underground church that exists in China today.

Hudson Taylor was a bold, yet selfless man who sacrificed much in preaching the gospel, helping to translate the Bible in Chinese, starting churches, and creating a network, and the church today is blessed by what God has done through him. In all of this we see that Taylor was a most definitely a bearded gospel man.

--------------------------------------------------------------------

For far less serious bearded fun, check out the BGM Tumblog.

Bearded Gospel Men: Wycliffe

"The gospel alone is sufficient to rule the lives of Christians everywhere...any additional rules made to govern men's conduct added nothing to the perfection already found in the Gospel of Jesus Christ."

John Wycliffe

John Wycliffe (1328-1384) was a gospel man who shined brightly in an age where the gospel was almost eclipsed by heresy and a corrupt church. Most people point to Martin Luther's 95 Theses in 1517 as the start of the Protestant Reformation, but well over 100 years earlier we see John Wycliffe preaching the same gospel, calling for the same reformation, and being mightily used of God. This is why Wycliffe is called "the morning star of the reformation."

Wycliffe is best known for overseeing the the translation of the Latin Bible into English. Completed in the 1380's this was the first full Bible available in the English language. As huge of an undertaking it was, our man wasn't content to only see the word of God exist in the language of the people. He also trained and sent men into the world to preach the word of God to all who would listen.

Wycliffe is a beautiful example of all things missional, providing the word of God in the language of the people, and sending his "poor priests" into the cities who could identify with the people while preaching the gospel.

His zeal for Jesus, his love for the lost, and his denunciation of the corruption prevalent in the church resulted in Wycliffe being either hated or loved-- even after his death! Decades after he died Wycliffe was condemned as a heretic, and in 1428 Pope Martin V ordered his body to be exhumed, burned, and the ashes thrown into the River Swift.

Let us learn from our man Wycliffe. Put down that razor, pick up the word, and take it to the world.

RESOURCES:

John Wyclif: Myth and Reality, G. R. Evans (WTSBooks) Wycliffe: The Morning Star of the Reformation (online article) John Wycliffe (Wikipedia)