“Closing the Deal” Pt.3: Why D. L. Moody Urges a Decision


The last several weeks we’ve been discussing whether it’s appropriate to urge an immediate decision when presenting the Gospel to an unbeliever. Is it right to “close the deal” when you sense that the person you’ve been speaking with understands the Gospel and is concerned about going to Hell?

In part one I posted an article that said it’s enough just to give the message; the Holy Spirit will “close the deal.”

In part two I wrote about how the famous 19th century evangelist, D. L. Moody, who presented the Gospel to over 100 million people by voice and the written word, urges an immediate decision.

Why such urgency? Why was it so important for Moody that a person profess Christ right away? Is his opinion applicable for today’s evangelist?

I think it is.

The same truth that caused Moody to urge an immediate decision for Christ back then is still true today: sudden death. Not so sudden death. Death in general—and a lost chance to witness.

It was a Sunday night in 1871 when Moody preached to a full house on this subject: “What then shall I do with Jesus which is called Christ?” At the end of his message he said, “I wish you would take this text home with you and turn it over in your minds during the week, and next Sabbath we will come to Calvary and the Cross, and we will decide what to do with Jesus of Nazareth.” His worship leader, Ira Sankey then sang this song:

Today the Savior calls
For refuge fly
The storm of justice falls
And death is nigh

The sound of fire engines drowned out his voice as the Great Chicago Fire swept through the city driven along by a southwest wind of near hurricane force. The fire lasted from Sunday till Wednesday and destroyed Moody’s house and his church as well as a great portion of Chicago itself.

Twenty-two years after the Fire, Moody reflected on the message he spoke shortly before the Fire broke out: “I have never seen that congregation since, and I never will meet those people again until I meet them in another world. But I want to tell you of one lesson I learned that night, which I have never forgotten, and that is, when I preach, to press Christ upon the people then and there and try to bring them to a decision on the spot…I have asked God many times to forgive me for telling people that night to take a week to think it over.”


  1. I realize that redundancy is the best form of “getting it through your (and my) thick skull!” So with that being said, these words are pregnant with meaning;
    ” behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” 2 Cor. 6

    If you have ears to hear, please hear today; tomorrow may be too late!

  2. I say go for closing the deal. I mean all a Christian is, is someone who claims to be a Christian so if you get someone to “make a decision for Christ” bada bing you got another Christian, who will buy more of Rays gear, send more donations and maybe even stand in front of resteraunts and in DMVs annoying people. It seems like a win. If you wait and give them time to think they might decide “Wow that was a load of horse hockey”.

    Definitely go for closing the deal, worst case scenario they wise up later and drop the whole Christian nonsense, then you just say “Oh noes they wuz teh false convert”

    • The whole reason people are evangelizing in the first place is not to get everyone to be a “Christian” so they will buy their products or have everyone be Christians, it is only to save them from eternal death in hell. They want everyone to at least know about God’s love what will happen when they die.

  3. So when are we gonna see that post about effectiveness. I am curious how many new Christians you have gotten who you can prove are not false converts. I mean I am not asking you to brag but, surely if evangelism works you might have one or two.

    • Pressing someone to make a commitment to Christ isn’t really closing the deal is it? I think telling someone what they ought to do is enough and then the person has to make up their own mind. Otherwise they are listening to you and not the Holy Spirit.


      • That makes sense to me, carl.

        The only problem I’d see with this approach is that we’d never be able to know whether the person was an actual Christian or not. At least, when the deal is closed, you can take his/her testimony as truth, and claim someone’s been brought to Christ.

        Of course, this *still* wouldn’t prevent that person from changing their mind at a later date.

  4. No TRUE Christian will ever “change their mind!!” (1 Jn. 2:19)

    • No TRUE Christian will ever “change their mind!!” (1 Jn. 2:19)

      Then, since you can’t see into the future, how would you know if (for example) Steve Sanchez is a True Christian or not? How would you know if YOU were a true Christian or not?

      • If my deeds prove Christ to be true (You will know them by their fruit) and if I persevere to the end. In the big picture, ultimately, it’s only God who knows for sure.

        I know Steve L. His fruit is evident, his doctrine sound. As far as I can tell, he’s a True Christian.

      • 1) Does God know who a true Christian is and is not?

        2) Does God know who will become a true Christian among non believers.

        3) Could God be wrong about these things.

      • 1. Yes.
        2. Yes.
        3. Absolutely not.

      • Which deeds that you do are specific to Christians and can’t be found in non-Christians?

        Are there deeds that someone can do that will flag them as a false convert before they realize they’re a false convert? If so, what are these deeds?

      • Also, you’re assuming your doctrine is sound. Amazingly, many you consider false Christians (or whatever term) also believe their doctrine is sound, use the Bible to support their doctrine, and consider your beliefs unsound. As an outsider, how can I determine if any of you are correct?

      • Read Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology.

      • Yay Steve

        So if I am going to become a true Christian, and God already knows this, I will at some point, before I die become a true Christian. If I am not going to become a true Christian then any profession of faith I make will be inaccurate and I will be a false convert.

        Since God can not be wrong about this it is unimportant what I do or not do. My free will is going to lead me to do what God already knows I will do. So if I believed in your God it would be best to just live a wild and nihilistic lifestyle. I would be free to steal rob rape and whatever I want because in the end I would either become a true Christian and be forgiven OR I would not and suffer no worse Hell than if I had been a false convert.

        So Pascals Wager is rather pointless as is your evangelism.

        Good thing I don’t believe and actually have a basis for morality.

      • Whatever makes you feel good, right?

        It’s 100% God, 100% man. He is sovereign, but you are still responsible.

      • Steve Sanchez wrote the following IRT identifying trus Christians: In the big picture, ultimately, it’s only God who knows for sure.

        Well thank you for that. I’m going to bookmark it for use at a later date.

      • So, the future is, at least in part, pre-determined?

      • All of it.

        If so, then you need do nothing in life. You merely have to sit and wait for God’s plan to unfold.

        In reality, Steve, you behave as if your actions have the ability to establish or change the future. You do not live you life as if the future is predetermined.

        Why is that?

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