Friday, November 10, 2006

D. R. Davies: The Agony of Liberalism

As I wondered what to blog on next, my thoughts turned back to my first series, on the unhappy story of Tom Nefyn Williams and the descent into theological liberalism of the churches in Wales. A few weeks ago, Dr. Eryl Davies, former Principal of the Evangelical Theological College of Wales, gave a talk at the after meeting on 'The Work of God in Mid-Twentieth Century Wales,' mentioning the low condition of Nonconformity in the Wales of the 1950s due to the inroads made by liberalism. And another witness to the effects of liberalism came to my mind, a man who suffered as Wales was to suffer, his Christianity being compromised by political involvement as well as liberalism and secular philosophy so far that he was almost destroyed. He drank deeply of the well of political activism and the draught almost killed him, for it turned out to be pure poison.

This man was D. R. Davies, a fomer miner and Trade Union Official, as well as an Independent (Congregationalist) Pastor, both before and after his conversion, latterly in Cardiff. However, he ended his life as an Anglican minister in South-East England. However, he was born in Pontycymmer and ministered in Cardiff and the Valleys, which makes him Welsh indeed. Although he would never become an Evangelical, his experience is as useful as that of Nefyn, for here was a sincerely religious man who would be, like C. S. Lewis, 'Surprised by joy.' More, he had lived the liberal religious life and found it void of hope and joy. On coming to a vital experience of God and of His Word, Davies was enabled to live, and, more than that, live a life of joy and service.



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