Bennett documents what he calls arminian or semi-pelagian statements in Moody's sermons, such as "Christ wants to [take into heaven] every sinner here" and "every creature here can be saved if he will." Frankly I have trouble seeing severe theological deficiencies in these statements. Is there a better way to articulate the concepts? Yes. Is this heresy or a revivalism spun out of control? I don't see it that way.
Moody's methodology was fairly benign. It seems that his only evangelistic tactic that approached the manipulative techniques common to Finneyistic revivalism was this practice in the 1860s in Chicago:
[H]e would often roam around his congregation asking anyone who looked concerned after the just-preached message, if they were Christians or not. If the reply was hesitant or negative, Moody, who was a big man, would ask, "Do you want to be saved? Do you want to be saved now?" Often not waiting for an answer, he would urge the man or woman to kneel, then kneel down beside them and plead the Savior's cause. Under these circumstances, in the words of W.H. Daniels, an American Methodist minister, the seeker "would generally give himself to the Lord." He did not usually in this period make a formal appeal for a public response, but after-service inquiry meetings were already a common part of his ministry. Later his methods were somewhat less aggressive.Most of the rest of Bennett's summary describes Moody's fairly limited use of the anxious bench and his innovations of using soloists during invitations and trained laypeople in inquiry rooms. Moody is often credited with pioneering the use of inquiry rooms themselves, but Bennett contends that Edwards, Wesley, and Whitefield employed similar if not identical methods.
The next post in this series will look at the disappointing aspects of Moody's revivalism.