DT Niles – Pierre Maury would say, ‘Only God has the right to ask questions’.


D. T. Niles

above:  the great Sri Lankan Methodist preacher D.T. Niles:[1]

In 1935 Niles attended the General Committee of the World Student Christian Federation at Sophia, Bulgaria, as a delegate of the SCM of India, Ceylon and Burma. This marked the beginning of his entry into the ecumenical world outside his native confines and opened doors to meet with the world’s great theologians and spiritual leaders. At Sophia, Niles found a “guru” in Pastor Pierre Maury of France, a spiritual guide who led the Bible study. Niles met Karl Barth, the great theologian, at Basel the same year after the first Missions Conference of the World Student Christian Federation, and asked Barth his opinion of Pierre Maury’s understanding of predestination. Niles later reminisced about Barth’s reply: “He [Karl Barth] underlined the point that Pierre Maury makes, that predestination is a mystery of light and not of darkness, a mystery of grace even when one is speaking about the judgement of God . . . [Pierre Maury] helped me to understand between going to the Bible for answers to questions we ask and approaching the Bible with our answers to the questions it raises. Pierre Maury would say, ‘Only God has the right to ask questions.’” (Niles, Karl Barth, 5, 7, 8).[2]

[1]. Daniel Thambyrajah Niles (4 May 1908—17 July 1970) was a Ceylonese pastor, evangelist and president of the Ceylon Methodist Conference.

[2]. Satyaranjan, The Preaching of D. T. Niles, 24. (Satyaranjan, Dandapati Samuel. The Preaching of Daniel Thambirajah (D.T.) Niles: Homiletical Criticism. Delhi: ISPCK, 2009.)


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