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James M. Gray
James M. Gray, the third president of Moody Bible Institute, was born in the city of New York on 11 May 1851. His father Hugh Gray had eight children and died shortly after James was born. Later he was raised by his eldest brother. In 1865 at the age of fourteen, he was confirmed by a bishop of his church. After college, Dr. Gray entered into formal training in the Protestant Episcopal Church for a ministerial career.
In 1873 while he was in training, he accepted Christ through the reading of a series of homilies on the book of Proverbs in the quietness of his room. Soon after his ordination in 1877, he assumed the pastorate of the Church of Redemption in Brooklyn, New York. From this urban church he ministered in the small but prestigious town in New York called Newburgh-on-the-Hudson to the Church of the Corner Stone for a year.
In 1879 Dr. Gray was called to pastor the First Reformed Episcopal Church in Boston where he served for fourteen years. During that time he established three separate branch churches. Dr. Gray associated himself with the Boston Bible and Missionary Training School from its inception in 1889 by Adoniram Judson Gordon, and taught courses here until 1903 - 4.
Dr. Gray married Amanda Thorne in 1870. She gave birth to Hugh Barr Gray in 1872 and James M. Gray Jr. in 1879. Later, after the death of Mrs. Gray, Dr. Gray married Susan G. Gray who bore him Curtis Rockwell Gray in 1883 and Phillip Martin Gray in 1891. Mrs. Gray was a woman of high intellect. She served as a faculty member at the Boston Missionary Training School. She also taught courses on Bible Introduction and Christian Evidences.
After Dr. Gray came to Chicago, Mrs. Gray took great interest in the ministry needs of the wives of Moody students by founding the Married Women's Guild. This organization prepared these wives for their future ministry alongside their husbands. Mrs. Gray died on 4 January 1919 and the Susan G. Gray Memorial Building was named in her honor.
Dr. Gray became a Summer Lecturer in the Moody Bible Institute in 1892 and he continued in this capacity until the fall of 1904. In 1894 Mr. Moody personally enlisted Dr. Gray for the Northfield Conference and said in 1895 that he would never forget the two lectures Dr. Gray gave at Northfield in the summer of 1894. In addition to his work in the Institute, Dr. Gray preached in the Chicago Avenue Church (now known as the Moody Memorial Church). He also initiated large Bible classes throughout New England and several classes at the Institute.
Dr. Gray was associated with Moody in evangelistic work in the 1890's in New York, Boston, and Chicago. His last campaign with Mr. Moody was in Chicago at the conclusion of the summer session of 1899.
In the administrative restructuring of the Institute following Mr. Moody's death, Dr. Gray accepted an offer from the Institute in 1904 to become one of three deans who would jointly lead the Institute. Thus, in the fall of 1904, Dr. Gray was listed as a dean of the Institute and in November 1905 Dr. Gray was listed as the co-ordinate dean with Dr. R. A. Torrey. However the envisioned tri-deanship structure failed to materialize and in 1907 Dr. Gray become the sole dean of the Institute with Torrey becoming the "Honorary Superintendent." In 1925 the name of the office of "Dean" was changed to "President." Therefore, Dr. Gray was the first president of the Institute.
The Institute prospered under his leadership, both academically and financially. From the years 1904 to 1931, the Institute's student roster increased 1464% and its assets grew 1444%. Dr. Gray's also ventured the Institute into a new medium for evangelism. He took advantage of the infant electronic age with the establishment of the Institute's radio ministry. Station WENR of the All American Radio Corporation began broadcasting on 3 March 1926. The role that Dr. Gray played in the history of Moody Bible Institute was pivotal. His leadership during the critical and turbulent years following the death of Mr. Moody probably has resulted in him being held the most responsible more than any other man for the shape of the Institute as it is known today.
Dr. Gray was a quiet and dignified man, yet he did have a lively sense of humor. He was also an active man, one who regularly swam to keep fit. However, his greatest enjoyment was horseback riding; he frequently took horseback rides in Lincoln Park. During his later years at the Institute his chief diversions were daily walks to the lake and to his home located at 29 East Division Street. This building remains standing to this day.
Dr. Gray's public ministry was extensive. He was a popular lecturer and possessed unusual teaching and preaching abilities. In recognition these abilities, Dr. Gray was awarded the honorary Doctor of Divinity degree by Bates College of Lewiston, Maine in June 1864. This award was also a testament to his popularity in the United States, particularly in New England. Dr. Gray was also awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws from Des Moines University in 1929. On 1 November 1934, Dr. Gray resigned as the President of the Institute at the age of eighty-three to accept the office and title of President-Emeritus.
He remained active in retirement. He traveled extensively while maintaining his teaching and editorial ministries. After a crippling heart attack, Dr. Gray went to be with the Lord on 21 September 1935. At the conclusion of a private service, his body was laid to rest beside his wife Susan M. Gray in the family lot of the Woodlawn Cemetery in New York City. A bronze memorial tablet was dedicated to him at the Institute's auditorium on 2 February 1937 in gratitude to God for the long and faithful ministry of Dr. Gray. The Institute named the new auditorium after him and his predecessor, Dr. Torrey, in 1955. The Torrey-Gray Auditorium remains the major auditorium and centerpiece of the Institute.
The Major Writings of Dr. James M. Gray
Gray, James M. The Antidote to Christian Science: How to Deal with It from the Bible and Christian Point of View. New York: Fleming H. Revell, 1907.
______. Bible Problems Explained. New York: Fleming H. Revell, c1913.
______. Bulwarks of the Faith. Elgin, IL: Brethren Publishing House, 1899.
______. Christian Worker's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. New York: Fleming H. Revell, c1915.
______. Great Epochs of Sacred History and the Shadows They Cast. New York: Fleming H. Revell, 1910.
______. The History of the Holy Dead. New York: Fleming H. Revell, 1896.
______. The Holy Spirit in Doctrine and Life. New York: Fleming H. Revell, c1936.
______. How to Master the English Bible. Chicago: Moody Press, 1951.
______. Mountain Peaks of Prophecy. New York: Christian Herald Bible House, N.d.
______. Picture of the Resurrection. New York: Fleming H. Revell, c1917.
______. Progress in the Life to Come. New York: Fleming H. Revell, c1910.
______. Prophecy and the Lord's Return: A Collection of Popular Articles and Addresses. New York: Fleming H. Revell, 1917.
______. Salvation from Start to Finish. New York: Fleming H. Revell, c1911.
______. Satan and the Saint: The Present Darkness and the Coming Light. Chicago: The Bible Institute Colportage Association, c1909.
______. Spiritism and the Fallen Angels in the Light of the Old and New Testaments. New York: Fleming H. Revell, c1920.
______. Synthetic Bible Studies. New York: Fleming H. Revell, 1906.
______. Teaching and Preaching that Counts. New York: Fleming H. Revell, 1934.
______. A Textbook on Prophecy. New York: Fleming H. Revell, 1918.
Gray's Life Timeline
1851, May 11
James M. Gray born in New York City.
Married Amanda Thorne.
Converted while in seminary.
Mrs. Amanda Gray dies in childbirth.
1877 - 1878
Labored at the Brooklyn Church of Redemption, New York City.
1878Ministered at the Church of the Cornerstone, Brooklyn, New York.
Served as a Rector of the First Reformed Episcopal Church, Boston.
1892 - 1894
Summer Lecturer in MBI.
Spoke in Northfield Conference.
Helped Moody in New York campaign.
Spoke in the International Prophetic Conference held in Clarendon St. Baptist Church, Boston.
1902 - 1903
Involved in the Extension Department of the Institute.
Became the full-time faculty member of the Institute.
Dean of the Moody Bible Institute.
Became the President of the Institute.
Awarded honorary degree of Doctor of Laws from Moines University.
1934, November 1
Resigned as the President of the Institute and accepted the office and title of President-Emeritus.
1935, September 21
Passed away in Chicago at the age of eighty-four.
1937, February 2
A bronze memorial tablet dedicated in honor of Dr. Gray's faithful ministry.
1955, February 1
The Institute named its auditorium the Torrey-Gray Auditorium.