The Man Who Loved John 3:16

Henry Moorhouse was a wild young man who, by age sixteen, was a gambler, gang-leader, and thief.  But during the Revival of 1859, Henry gave his life to Jesus.  He was soon heard preaching the Gospel with all his heart; and his favorite text was John 3:16.  One day in Ireland in 1867, he met the far-famed world evangelist, D. L. Moody; and Henry had the nerve to invite himself to preach in Moody’s church in Chicago. 

Sometime later, Moody returned home from a trip and learned that Moorhouse had shown up, started preaching, and was drawing great crowds.   “He has preached two sermons from John 3:16,” Moody’s wife to him, “and I think you will like him, although he preached a little different from what you do.”

“How is that?”

“Well, he tells sinners God loves them.”

Moody wasn’t so sure about that; but that evening he went to hear Moorhouse preach.  The young man stood up in the pulpit and said, “If you will turn to the third chapter of John and the sixteenth verse,” said the young man, “you will find my text.”  Moody later recalled, “He preached a most extraordinary sermon from that verse…. I never knew up to that time that God loved us so much.  This heart of mine began to thaw out, and I could not keep back the tears.  It was like news from a far country.  I just drank it in.”

Night after night, Moorhouse preached from John 3:16, and it had a life-changing effect on D. L. Moody.  “I have never forgotten those nights,” Moody said later.  “I have preached a different Gospel since, and I have had more power with God and man since then.”

Later, when Moorhouse fell ill and was on his deathbed, he looked up and told his friends, “If it were the Lord’s will to raise me again, I should like to preach from the text, ‘God so loved the world.’”

4 thoughts on “The Man Who Loved John 3:16

  1. Rob,

    Thanks for this note on Henry Moorhouse – just the right story at precisely the right moment!

    I am presently in the pit of the Duke Div. library, reading through works by the late missionary-bishop to India, Lesslie Newbigin. Newbigin was deeply impacted for Christ by the collegiate missionary work of John Mott’s SCM in the late 1920’s. Like so many of us, Newbigin never got over the simplicity, depth and power of the good news proclaimed to him at Cambridge. What an encouragement to think about the power of Moody’s evangelical preaching on Mott, Mott’s influence on Newbigin, and Newbigin’s continuing influence for orthodoxy on so many of the bishops, pastors, and lay leaders in the two-thirds world. Now, thanks to your journal, as I return to reading and writing I can add a fourth name to the chain of faithfulness – Henry Moorhouse.

    Charles Cook

  2. I’m looking for Henry Moorhouse’s sermons on John 3:16. Where can I find them? Ed Schwartz, “edjs000@yahoo.com”, thank you. Be blessed, Ed

    1. I’m not sure they are extant, at least in the versions in which he originally preached them. But Moorhouse became a greatly used preacher, and I’m sure some of this material is still available. I haven’t searched it out, but it would be worth an investigation.

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