1856–1928
portrait

January 28, 1856, Ho­bo­ken, New Jer­sey.

October 26, 1928, Ashe­ville, North Car­o­li­na.

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

Reuben was the son of Reu­ben Slay­ton Tor­rey and Eliz­a­beth A. Swift.

He 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. In World War I, he performed similar service at Camp Bow­ie, (a prisoner of war camp in Tex­as) and Camp Kear­ny.

In 1902–03, 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 1912–24, 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!