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Moody: It’s time to wake up

Moody_Bible_Institute_logoI’m aghast at the reality that my alma mater continues to stray from its stated mission and goal. Here’s a quote from its website:

Moody is driven by the belief that people committed to living and declaring the Word of God can actually change the world. Beginning with our founder, D.L. Moody, generations of Christ-followers at Moody have committed themselves to learning the Bible and sharing it with the world.

This is a great goal. It’s a goal that brought me to Moody as a wide-eyed idealistic 18-year old kid. And it’s a goal that kept me going back despite every obstacle until graduation as a 25 year old. And yet, in 2009, they continue to want that statement to only be true for men.

With hundreds of millions of people to reach for Jesus Christ today why does a place like Moody add to their doctrinal statement a position limiting who they will train to reach those people? Why limit their impact by 50%? Why water down the talent pool of candidates by 50%? If the goal is to train people for ministry… why make a value judgement to only train men for pastoral work? They are not a denomination. They are not a church. They are a training school who serves both. And plenty of alumni work in all types of churches, conservative and liberal alike.

Two thoughts and a call to action for alumni:

1. Moody offers a fantastic education. I am the leader I am today, largely, because of the men and women who invested in me on the undergraduate level. I know some people’s undergrad experience was lame, mine was not. Moody does not offer a wimpy undergrad. It does a pretty adequate job of preparing its graduates to serve in pastoral ministry without requiring a degree at the next level. It’s a unique place and I would love to continue to recommend it as a place to get training for ministry.

2. Moody started as a school to train women for ministry in the local church. While the school bears a man’s name, it was started by a woman named Emma Dryer. Moody was one of the first colleges in Illinois to admit women. It’s first students were women. It wouldn’t have gotten started at all if it had been a place just to train men! Moody’s school was always progressive school when it came to women in ministry. But that changed! Somewhere along the way it became more important to please conservative donors than it was to simply prepare all who wanted the training for ministry. During my time as a student the undergrad school took a major academic swing towards the conservative right, ousting most of the Bible and theology department who encouraged students to think progressively, and issued a statement on women in ministry. (Roughly in 2000)

Call to action for alumni: If you are like me, you love MBI but weary of the policy which limits who can study what, who can come to certain conferences, and who can serve where, based on gender alone. You need to do something about it. You need to email the new president, Paul Nyquist. You need to let their conferences know that you will not plan on attending until all are welcome to attend as a full attendee and not just a spouse who can come to parts. Let them know you will not send students their way until they deal with this. Ask them to take you off the mailing list soliciting donations until they address this. Blog about it. Talk about it on their alumni Facebook page. Call into Moody Radio and bring it up. Talk about it with staff and employees that you know. Moody does a pretty good job keeping this policy under wraps. If we want it to change we need to let the public know that the policy exists and that a minority of alumni would like to see the school open its doors to men and women alike for all majors.

Make them live out this statement, “Moody is driven by the belief that people committed to living and declaring the Word of God can actually change the world.” There is too much work to do just to rely on training 50% of the population. To make this vision a reality, it’ll take everybody.

Agree with me? Disagree with me? I welcome all feedback.

By Adam McLane

Kristen and Adam live in the San Diego neighborhood of Rolando with their three children.

2 replies on “Moody: It’s time to wake up”

Preach it, Adam! Things will only change if people within the system are proactive. This is true across the board in Christian ministry and institutions, not just Moody.

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