Saturday, February 10, 2007

D. R. Davies XVII: 'He Arose and Went to His Father'

Davies himself observed that: 'It would be very romantic if I could say that from that moment on Southerndown beach, all was clear and straightforward and ecstatic.' And, if his story had been a work of fiction, our last chapter would have been the end. But human lives are lived until the Lord calls us away, whether to judgement or to Glory. Davies returned to London, knowing that he had passed from death to life. His relationship with his wife revived; in Davies' words, "we fell in love again." And Davies also fell in love with the Bible, devouring the prphets, the psalms, John's Gospel, the Epistles and Revelation. Now these words made perfect sense to Davies. He saw them as he had never seen before.

And now he felt the need to worship the God who had so loved him. He returned to the church, worshipping at Lyndhurst Road Congregational Church, London (pictured), under the ministry of Dr. John Short. In addition, he attended on the ministry of Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, newly-arrived at Westminster Chapel. Through the agency of Malcolm Spencer, a high official in the Congregational Union, Davies was able to return to the ministry, taking a temporary Pastorate at Tonypandy in the Rhondda for April 1938.
Davies found preaching the Gospel was now a joy, 'the Gospel once for all delivered unto the saints,' was now his theme, not whatever fad of the moment was exciting the world. This month at Tonypandy convinced Davies that the call to preach was genuine, although for the present, there was no post for him.
So it was back to the lecture-circuit, this time in the service of a new master. And he decided to write a book about original sin. This book turned out to be more autobiographical, and Davies decided to re-title it 'A Modernist's Rediscovery of Orthodoxy.'

It was in conversation with Lloyd-Jones about an article he had written on the same subject that Davies mentioned his book. Lloyd-Jones put him in contact with Hodder and Stoughton, who accepted the proposal. Mr. Paul Hodder-Williams, the publisher, suggested a snappier title would help sales. He suggested 'Back to Orthodoxy.' Davies, feeling that this suggested Orthodoxy was a retrograde step, changed this to On To Orthodoxy.

The book was published in September 1939, as the war-clouds gathered over Europe; when modernism's promise seemed totally unfulfilled. The book seemed very much a tome for the times.



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