Saturday, February 17, 2007

D. R. Davies XII: D. R. and the Doctor

It was during his time in West Dulwich that Davies was invited to speak at the Theological Students' Conference, an event organised by the evangelical Inter-Varsity Fellowship, held at Cambridge University in 1945. Davies spoke on 'Christianity and Civilization.' In the course of the address, Davies repeated his argument that the only way that the Church could reach modern man was to study politics and social affairs in order to meet the intellectual humanists on their own ground.

At the end of the address, the former president of the IVF and chairman of the conference, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones rose to ask his fellow-countryman some questions. The exchange between the two men lasted about ninety minutes, delighting the delegates.

Lloyd Jones later recalled his argument:

"I was saying it was the exact opposite. I pointed out how D.L Moody had appealed to the aristocracy in this country - the common people to a point, but noticeably to the aristocrats - and how John Wesley was more successful among miners than he was in Oxford. My argument was that Davies was quite wrong psychologically and that Harold Laski was more likely to be converted by a Salvation Army speaker than by D. R. Davies. Psychologically people do not like to be proved that they are wrong, and more than that, generally, if people become Christians they capitulate completely. In their conversion there is an emotional element rather than an intellectual one: in other words, they stop 'reasoning' and surrender and abandon themselves to Christ."
And Davies should have known this, after all, he had been converted not by debate, nor by clever arguments, but had surrendered to God after years of kicking against the goads. He never addressed the IVF again.
Summarised, the difference between Davies and Lloyd-Jones was that D. R. Davies believed that the core weakness of the Church was that she had an insufficent knowledge of the world. Lloyd-Jones, on the other hand, believed that the Church's problem was an insufficient knowledge of God and the experience of His power.



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