Wednesday, February 21, 2007

D. R. Davies XXIV: Closing Thoughts

And so, we come to the end of D. R. Davies' life, and to the end of a series which at one point I thought I would never finish. In the eyes of some, I have described the journey of a man from nonconformity to Anglicanism, at the same time as I undertook the last step away from the Church of England, and for the same reason as Davies left Congregationalism; the realisation that the Glory has departed. I have found telling his story challenging in the extreme, as it has exposed areas of pride and hypocrisy in my own life. But part of the Christian life is realising our own corruption and sin.

Davies was not an evangelical, nor did he pretend to be, at least not after his psychological conversion in 1905 had evaporated. I am inclined to accept his own testimony, that he was converted that day at Southerndown, when 'he came to the end of himself.' That said, although Davies saw his journey as one: 'on to Orthodoxy,' he never reached that Orthodoxy. Like C. S. Lewis, he never understood evangelicalism, although he saw its attraction. His heart had been wounded too many times. And yet, although never evangelical, he was not, at the end of his life, what he once was. Understanding that Man cannot recover himself without God acting, that man's nature is radically corrupt, Davies was not far from evangelicalism.

His beliefs about politics and philosophy were retained from his days as a liberal, a part of remaining sin in his heart. Yet Davies did reject the liberal belief that the kingdom of God could be realised politically. In the final analysis, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones was correct to state that Davies' greatest worth is his negative experience of liberalism, that he demonstrates the heartbreak of liberalism, as I said a very long time ago. Was Davies converted? In the end, only God knows a man's heart, but we should remember that we are saved by grace through faith, and not by dotting every theological 'i' and crossing every doctrinal 't.'



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