A BROTHER BELOVED
A Tribute to the Memory of David G. Crowter
One of the great blessings which the Lord gives to His people in their Christian pathway is the privilege and pleasure of real spiritual friendships. To share joys and sorrows, trials and encouragements, is both comforting and stimulating in the journey towards heaven.
Such was my friendship with David and I thank God upon every remembrance of him. I still remember the first time I ever heard of him and it must be about thirty-five years ago now.
His uncle said to me, ‘Have you heard of my nephew David who has begun to preach?’ ‘No’,
I replied. ‘They say he is a good preacher but so very quiet in the home. It is quite
difficult for those who entertain him, he says so little’!
Yes, David was a quiet and reserved person. He never sought prominence and I am sure that if I had asked his permission to publish some details of his life he would have refused.
However, now the Lord has taken him home, it is surely right to remember and record something of the wonderful works of the Lord. ‘The man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth’ (Numbers 12.3), and yet God has seen fit to give us a most detailed account of his life and experience.
It was not until about eighteen years ago that I at last met David. It was in the period just before my move from Coventry to Forest Fold and I soon knew how deeply concerned he felt for the needs of the church which was prayerfully considering the appointment of a new pastor. It was the church in which he had been a member since 1967 and his wife, Olive, since 1947, and it was the church from which he had been commended to the work of preaching the Word in 1967. That interest and loving concern became ever more evident to me as our friendship grew.
Another concern that David frequently emphasized was to insist that his Lord should have all the glory through whatever he said or did. His love and devotion to Jesus Christ was one of the most marked features of all the years I knew him. If ever a man was like Enoch it was
David. He truly ‘walked with God’ and was one of the most godly men I have ever been privileged to know. He lived a life of prayer and close communion with his Lord and that was very evident to all the believers who knew him and to all who heard him preach.
David was born into a Christian home in January 1932. His family worshipped at the
Particular Baptist Chapel in Haywards Heath where the ministry became a very powerful influence early in his life. By the
time he was fifteen years old he was corresponding with his Uncle George in a deeply spiritual way and in one of those letters he speaks of painful conviction of sin when he was only nine or ten years old. The development of his spiritual life is recorded in subsequent articles describing his ‘call by grace’ and his ‘call to the ministry’.
He studied for a degree in chemistry in London and then worked for a few years at the
Amersham Radiochemical Centre. He married Olive in 1955 and the Lord gave them a family of four children. In 1961 he began to teach chemistry at the Hastings Grammar School but by 1967 he became sure the Lord was calling him into the gospel ministry. By this time he and
Olive were both members of the church meeting at Forest Fold Baptist Chapel, Crowborough,
East Sussex, under the pastoral care of the late Stanley Delves. David’s ultimate ministerial style was much influenced by the preaching of his godly pastor.
The double burden of teaching in the week and preaching on the Lord’s days eventually became too great a strain. For a while he taught part-time and then in 1982 he was appointed as the pastor of the church meeting in the Gower Street Memorial Chapel in central London.
His pastorate continued until he suffered a serious stroke in 1994 and had to lay down that task. However, through the mercy of God and in answer to very many prayers, he recovered strength and eventually was able to resume a regular itinerant ministry, mainly amongst Particular Baptist churches.
David was an experiential Calvinist in the best possible sense; a man of strong convictions held in a gentle and compassioNot currently available. If you have a copy of this item please let us know.te way. His preaching style was quiet and meditative but eminently Biblical. It was warmly evangelical as he expressed his loving concern for those to whom he ministered and as he warned the sinner of the danger he was in and pointed him to the only way of safety in repentance toward God and faith in our Lord
Throughout his married life and especially through the years of Christian ministry he was supported by his loving and prayerful wife, Olive. He had the joy of seeing one of his sons,
Philip, called into the Christian ministry and to a pastorate in Streatham, and also the mixed joy of seeing his daughter, Rosemary, go far away to Papua New Guinea, as a medical missioNot currently available. If you have a copy of this item please let us know.ry.
During the last sixteen years it has been my pleasure to go with David for walks in the beautiful Sussex countryside on our ‘days off’. In spite of the inevitable reactions after preaching we were able to walk and talk on Mondays two or three times each year. Our fiNot currently available. If you have a copy of this item please let us know.l time together was in September last year, a most beautiful day on the South Downs when we walked gently along from Firle Beacon towards Alfriston. Sometimes we admired the impressive views north to the North Downs and sometimes south towards Newhaven and the sea. Sometimes we talked of our concerns as pastors and preachers,
sometimes of the more persoNot currently available. If you have a copy of this item please let us know.l concerns of our souls and our relationship to the Lord, and sometimes we just walked in silent thought enjoying a companionship that did not need the support of constant conversation. I shall sadly miss these precious times.
In his later years David seemed increasingly to have thoughts of heaven’s glory which filled him with a wonderful longing to be with his Lord, a desire to be with Christ which is far better. Even as we walked on that last occasion together I was humbled by his nearness to the Lord and felt ashamed of my lack of such intimate communion. Although the remaining effects of his stroke in 1994 left him with a slight limp and made me walk a little more slowly than I would have done if alone, I could not help saying silently to myself, ‘But
David is way ahead of me in his spiritual life’.
On Saturday January 22 this year he rang me to ask if I could take him to the Banner
Conference in Leicester. I was thankful to know he felt well enough to go again as it was some years since we last went together and was especially glad of the prospect of more time to spend together in spiritual conversation. How true are the words of James when he says,
‘If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this or that’. The next day came a telephone message to say that he and Olive had been travelling from their home in Chessington to
Reading that morning as David was to preach there. He was suddenly taken ill in the car, was just able to pull into the side of the road, and then had to be rushed to hospital where he died very soon afterwards from a massive heart-attack.
So many feel the great loss of a dear friend and a most faithful, loving preacher, but we do not sorrow as those who have no hope, 1 Thess. 4.13. We rejoice to know that he is now perfectly satisfied in the love of the Saviour he followed so consistently and served so devotedly in his life. Once again the promise has been fulfilled, ‘and his servants shall serve him: and they shall see his face; and his Not currently available. If you have a copy of this item please let us know.me shall be in their foreheads,’ Rev. 22.3-4.
The funeral took place at Forest Fold on February 2nd when the chapel was filled with
David’s relatives and friends, many of whom expressed the special sense they had of the presence of the Lord with us. His widow. Olive, and the family are assured of the love and sympathy of all who loved David and who knew that David loved them for Jesus’sake.
There are times when Christians today look back with nostalgia and sadness, feeling that the truly godly lived in a past age and fearing that today’s experiences are so different.
They seem so lacking in that deep teaching of the Holy Spirit, that gracious communion with a Saviour who is truly loved and worshipped, and that very clear and distinct separation from worldliness in all its sinful aspects. May the reading of David’s testimony encourage us to believe that there are still those whoknow how to ‘live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;
looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour
Jesus Christ; who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works’ (Titus 2.12-14).