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The Resignation of Dr. Ironside

The Resignation of Dr. Ironside poster

Shortly before the Lord took Mrs. Ironside home to be with Himself the following letter was handed to the elders:

“I feel that in God’s providence and, I trust, His direct leading, the time has come when I should submit my resignation as Pastor of The Moody Church. I came to you nearly eighteen and a half years ago and I can say without any mental reservation that my association with you and the Church has been the happiest period in all my more than fifty years of ministry; but as most of you know, in a few months, if spared, I will be seventy-two years of age and naturally I do not have the energy for hard tasks that once I had, and I feel that for my own sake, as well as for the good of the Church, I would now step aside that some younger and more energetic man may be called to this great work. If you desire, I will be glad to set a time limit of six months before officially concluding my work with you, but I felt I owed it to you to notify you ahead in order that you might have abundant opportunity to look to the Lord for a new pastor. If in the meantime, you should find such an one and he is ready to come right in and take over the work, I would step out at any time and thus leave the way clear for him.

“My wife, as you know, has not been at all well for some years and we have therefore purchased a little home at Winona Lake, Indiana, where we hope it may please God to give us a restful time together, if the Lord tarries still a few years. From there, too, I can go out in conference work without attempting the responsibilities of the pastorate.

“I shall never be able to thank you enough for all your brotherly fellowship and co-operation, apart from which, under the Lord’s blessing, we could never have accomplished what has been done during these years that have gone.

“Please consider the matter of the resignation as final, and not debatable, as I am quite clear that this is the Lord’s will for me; but feel perfectly free to consider the time question from every angle, and I am prepared to accept whatever your judgment may be regarding it: that is, either to continue with you for six months or to leave at any time after the first of May that you think best.”

Because of Mrs. Ironside’s home-call the matter was not acted upon by the Executive Committee until Monday night, May 17 [1948], when the following resolution was passed:

WHEREAS, our beloved Pastor, Dr. Henry Allen Ironside, whom the Lord sent to be the shepherd of this flock, eighteen years ago, has now been led of the Lord, after much deliberation and waiting on God in prayer, to sever his position of leadership in this place, tendering his resignation, to be effective at any time on or before October 31, 1949; and

WHEREAS, we do sympathize with his expressed thought that he should lighten the load he is carrying, and thus be free to engage in Bible conference work without the onerous burden of a pastorate;

NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Executive Committee of The Moody Church, representing the entire membership and congregation, accept, with exceedingly great and heartfelt regret, the tendered resignation, accept also the gracious offer of a temporary continuance of incumbency, and thank God for these eighteen fruitful years, during which he has been so mightily used here, and elsewhere throughout the country, and abroad, in the salvation of hundreds, yes, thousands of precious souls, in the building up of the saints in their most holy faith, and in the example of Christian meekness and humility he has demonstrated. We would also, at this time, convey our individual and joint expressions of sympathy, in his recent bereavement, when Mrs. Ironside, wife, helpmeet and companion of more than fifty years, went to be with her Lord; God bless her memory. It is our fervent prayer that, as the Lord tarries, He may continue to use this talented and consecrated instrument of His grace, in the labor he so loves, the sowing of the seed, the cultivating of the vineyard, and the harvesting of the souls of men and women for whom Christ died; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that this resolution be spread on the official minutes of the Committee, that it be read to the congregation at its Lord’s Day services, May 30, 1948, and that it be printed in the church paper, The Moody Church News.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the Associate Pastor and the Clerk, acting in their official capacities, have hereunto subscribed their names, and affixed the seal of the corporation. Done in the City of Chicago, State of Illinois, this seventeenth day of May, in the year of our Lord, Ninteen Hundred Forty-eight.

The Moody Church
Howard A. Hermansen, Associate Pastor and Vice Chairman of the Executive Committee.
Attest: Donald M. Schmid, Church Clerk.