1856-1928
portrait

January 28, 1856, Hoboken, New Jersey.

October 26, 1928, Asheville, North Carolina.

Montrose Bible Camp (which he founded), Montrose, Pennsylvania.

Torrey graduated from Yale University in 1875 and Yale Divinity School in 1878. After graduation, he became a Congregational minister in Garrettsville, Ohio, in 1878. The following year, he married Clara Smith, with whom he had five children.

Torrey also studied theology at Leipzig University and Erlangen University (1882-83). In 1889, he joined Dwight L. Moody in his evangelistic work in Chicago, Illinois, and became superintendent of the Bible Institute of the Chicago Evangelization Society (now Moody Bible Institute). In 1894, he became pastor of the Chicago Avenue Church (now the Moody Church).

In 1898, Torrey served as a chaplain with the YMCA at Camp Chicamauga during the Spanish-American War. During World War I, he performed similar service at Camp Bowie, (a prisoner of war camp in Texas) and Camp Kearny.

In 1902-1903, Torrey preached in nearly every part of the English-speaking world and with song leader Charles Alexander conducted revival services in Great Britain, 1903-05. During this period, he also visited China, Japan, Australia, and India. Torrey conducted a similar campaign in American and Canadian cities, 1906-07. Throughout these campaigns, Torrey used a meeting style that he borrowed from Moody’s campaigns of the 1870s. In 1907, he accepted an honorary doctorate from Wheaton College, Wheaton Illinois.

In 1912, Torrey was persuaded to build another institution like Moody Bible Institute, and from 1912 to 1924, served as Dean of the Bible Institute of Los Angeles (now Biola University) and contributed to the Biola publication, The King’s Business. Beginning in 1915, he served as the first pastor of the Church of the Open Door, Los Angeles. Torrey was one of the three editors of The Fundamentals, a 12-volume series that gave its name to what came to be called fundamentalism.

Torrey held his last evangelistic meeting in Florida in 1927, additional meetings being canceled because of his failing health.

Torrey-Gray Auditorium, the main auditorium at Moody Bible Institute, was named for Torrey and his successor, James M. Gray. At Biola, the Torrey Honors Institute honors him, as does the university’s annual Bible conference.

  1. Oh! My Soul, Bless Thou Jehovah!