Archive for the ‘A.W. Tozer’ Tag
This is from the blog Pastor Jonathan Lee:
A.W. Tozer (1897-1963)
Every generation seems to have that person who stands out more than the rest. For the early twentieth century, it would seem that person is A. W. Tozer. The Bible gives us a brief story about a man named Enoch. Not much is known about him other than a few verses in the Bible. His life is summed up this way: “Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him” (Genesis 5:24). Though Tozer did not leave this earth like Enoch, we can summarize his life the same way. Tozer walked with God, pursued after God, and then went home to be with God.
Tozer was a pastor, author, editor of The Alliance Witness Magazine, conference speaker, and one who walked with God and knew Him intimately.
One may not agree with everything that Tozer said on such things like Christians and the movies, or music styles in the church, but one cannot overlook the impact that Tozer has left on the world from his personal account that he shared of pursuing after God. He is a world changer not only because he was an American pastor who was a successful writer, but by his devotional writing which has changed the hearts and minds of so many people to desire God.
He was not only a gifted writer but also an ordained speaker. Warren Wiersbe, who heard Tozer preach, said, “To listen to Tozer preach was as safe as opening the door of a blast furnace.” He was a man in a whole different league when it came to his relationship with God. Leonard Ravenhill said, “To enter into Dr. Tozer’s presence was an awe-inspiring event.”
Another colleague, William F. Bryan, said, “I consider Dr. Tozer the most remarkable man of God that I have known personally. In my opinion, his greatest gifts were prophetic insight regarding biblical truth and the nature and state of the evangelical church of his generation. He was respected highly even by those that considered him severe and aloof; but to those who knew him, he was gracious and kind. I believe he was a lonely man, as many great men of God have been.”
W. Tozer wrote prophetically in regard to the Christian community in the Western world. For example, in The Pursuit of God he wrote,
“The world is perishing for lack of the knowledge of God and the Church is famishing for want of His Presence.”
Discerning that modern Christianity was sailing through dense fog, he pointed out the rocks on which it could flounder if it continued its course.
What stood out for Tozer to be able to be so close to God?
Aiden Wilson Tozer was born in 1897 into a small farming community in Pennsylvania.
God allowed Tozer to be effective for 44 years of ministry and out of those 44 years, 31 years he served as pastor of Southside Alliance Church in Chicago, though he had no formal theological training. He would be known not just as a key figure in the Christian and Missionary Alliance Church but a national figure for his writings and Tozergrams (pithy sayings gleaned from Tozer’s pulpit ministry or from his hours in his study).
He and his wife Ada had seven children. They lived a very modest life; he and Ada never owned a car while they were married. He usually requested that his pastoral salary be lower than what was being offered as he trusted the Lord in their provision. Even when he became more well known, he signed away most of his book royalties.
Probably out of the 40-plus writings attributed to him, his best-known work is the Pursuit of God. The book came about from a God-inspired night as he rode a train from Chicago to Texas. The story is recounted by his friend:
“He was invited to speak at McAllen, Texas, and he thought on the long ride down there that he would write on this book. He boarded the train—the old Pullman train—at LaSalle Street Station in Chicago—the days when you would pull the curtain on the roommette and he would be all alone. Well, he asked for a little writing table, which the porter brought him and he started to write. Along about nine o’clock the porter knocked on the side of the door and said, ‘Friend, this is the last call for dinner—would you want something to eat?’ And he said, ‘Bring me some toast and some tea,’ which he did. [Tozer] kept on writing, all night long, this thing coming as fast to his heart as he could write, and when they pulled into the station, about 7:30 the next morning, at McAllen, Texas, that book was finished and all he had in front of him was just the Bible.”
If anyone could be an expert at pursuing God, Tozer would be among the closest. We can learn from Tozer that we too can pursue God—just like Moses, who was close to God, still desired more of God by asking to see His glory (Exodus 33). Tozer wrote, “We pursue God because, and only because, He has first put an urge within us that spurs us to the pursuit.” When you think about this truth, you can’t help but want the spark in your life to seek God and all His goodness. What a desire it is for the man or woman of God to taste and see that the Lord is good! Once you do, you don’t want to stop; it is in God that one is completely satisfied.
Tozer knew the nearness of God, as he would write,
“We need never shout across the spaces to an absent God. He is nearer than our own soul, closer than our most secret thoughts.”
He wanted to share this with other believers. We have the nearness of God and we can pursue after Him in a deep relationship. He showed that it is possible to be close with God and how sweet that closeness can be.
Tozer remained faithful to his calling and was able to finally go home to be with the Lord in 1963.
He Was a Man of Prayer
What stands out about Tozer more than his contributions to the devotional life of the believer is the way he prayed. Tozer would say, “As a man prays, so is he.” His entire ministry of preaching and writing flowed out of fervent prayer. What he discovered in prayer soon found expression in sermons, articles, editorials, and books.
Biographer Dr. David J. Fant Jr. said, “Tozer literally wrote The Pursuit of God [while] on his knees. Perhaps that explains its power and the blessing that has rested on it.”
Tozer was known for not only his prayer life but how he prayed. Much of the battle was on his knees. He even had a pair of trousers that he kept in his office to pray in so he would not wear out the knees of his other pants. The story goes,
“Although [Tozer] never boasted about his devotional habits, those few who knew him well knew that the angular man with little formal schooling learned much about his Lord and his God in the secret place. Tozer spent incalculable hours in prayer. Most of his prolonged prayer time—with his Bible and hymnals as his only companions—took place in his church office on the back side of the second floor. He would carefully hang up his suit trousers and don his sweater and raggedy old ‘prayer pants’ and sit for a while on his ancient office couch. After a time his spirit would drift into another realm. In time, he would abandon the couch, get on his knees, and eventually lie face down on the floor, singing praises to the Lion of the Tribe of Judah.”
For all those that knew Tozer, this was not some religious ritual. He had a close relationship with his Savior and this was how he engaged with the Lord.
Through the example of Tozer, we can learn that not only is there power in prayer but it is in our prayer time that we have sweet fellowship with the Lord. We are told to “be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). That happens when we spend time with the Lord in seeking after Him. We live in a very distracting time of life; that is why we must guard our time and have these moments of prayer like Tozer to see who God is and allow Him to reveal Himself to us.
A Passion for God: The Spiritual Journey of A. W. Tozer by Lyle Dorsett
The Pursuit of God by A. W Tozer
The Knowledge of the Holy by A. W. Tozer
 Wiersbe, Warren. 10 People Every Christian Should Know. Pg. 114.
 Snyder, James L. The Life of A. W. Tozer In Pursuit of God. Pg. 6.
 IBID. Pg. 13
 Snyder, James L. The Life of A. W. Tozer In Pursuit of God. Pg. 14
 IBID. Pg. 70.
 Doresett, Lyle. A Passion for God: The Spiritual Journey of A. W. Tozer. Pg. 120
 Tozer, A. W. The Pursuit of God. Pg. 17.
 IBID. Pg. 72
 Snyder, James L. The Life of A. W. Tozer In Pursuit of God. Pg. 15
 Tozer, A. W. The Pursuit of God. Pg. 12.
 Dorsett, Lyle. A Passion for God: The Spiritual Journey of A. W. Tozer. Pg. 121
Scribes and Prophets
The Cross is a Radical Thing
The World is the Battleground
Tozer on Why We Shouldn’t Pray for Revival
The quote by A.W. Tozer above was taken from the Singapore Christian blog. This is my comment below:
I Corinthians 9: 20-22: “And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law. To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.”
I believe too many Christians take the above scripture and re-translate it like this: “I must be conformed to the world so that I can save the world.” Too many worldly Christians on this planet. The Lord has called us to be a holy people–separate from the world system.
The Holy Ghost Fire really separates the wheat from the chaff.
II Corinthians 6: 17-18: “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.”
James 4: 4: “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.”
Something to meditate on:
Why did John the Baptist camp out on the other side of the Jordan River?
[John 1: 28: “These things were done in Bethabara beyond Jordan, where John was baptizing.]
John the Baptist lived a very short life; very little is written about him in the New Testament. Jesus called John the Baptist the greatest man ever born of woman. Maybe we could say that John the Baptist was a greater prophet than Samuel, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Elijah and all the rest of the Old Testament prophets. The Book of Isaiah has 66 chapters; the Book of Jeremiah has 52 chapters; much more is written about Samuel and Elijah than John the Baptist.
Why is the life of John the Baptist still a powerful witness unto this day?
Probably because the crucified life has more power than the words that come out of our mouth.
The Spirit of a Prophet
Wearing a Rough Garment
Outside the Camp
Locusts and Wild Honey
Josephus on John the Baptist
John the Baptist and the Fire of God
The Spirit and Power of John and Elijah
“Tell me what time you spend alone with God . . .
and I’ll tell you how spiritual you are.”
This is from the blog Grayson Pope:
This is the first article in a series called The Knowledge of The Holy in which each article will be based around a chapter from A.W. Tozer’s book of the same name (my review). This is a journey worth taking because not only is Tozer’s book a classic in the spiritual world, but the subject matter is God’s character.
Before Tozer begins to talk through the attributes of God’s character, he lays a crucial foundation that must be considered. He wisely knows that without this foundation, everything else will go awry. That foundation is what we think about when we think about God. That’s because we will never rise above our understanding of the Almighty, and, “we tend by a secret law of the soul to move toward our image of God.”
Thinkly rightly about God affects not only our theology, but how we live as well. Tozer speaks of knowing God as being the foundation for worship which, like the foundation for the temple, will begin to collapse as soon as the foundation is found to be inadequate or out of plumb. And surely this has been seen to be true. How many cults, strange offshoots, and shameful pursuits have we seen as we trace the history of the Church?
More than anything, Tozer is calling his readers to think rightly about God; “rightly,” meaning according to what the Bible tells us about Him. As his famous quote from above tells us, this is the most important thing about us. As if that was not heavy enough, he ups the ante, rightly saying,
All the problems of heaven and earth, though they were to confront us together and at once, would be nothing compared with the overwhelming problem of God: That He is; what He is like; and what we as moral beings must do about Him.
This is the pursuit of all of philosophy and theology, and mankind will forever be reckoning with the fact that there is a God, regardless of what they determine to do about it.
But for the person who comes to terms with God and understands and accepts His gospel, he, “is relieved of ten thousand temporal problems,” because he sees that they all pale in comparison to that which God is at work doing in the world. But unless “the weight of the burden is felt the gospel can mean nothing to the man; and until he sees a vision of God high and lifted up, there will be no woe and no burden.” If we don’t think rightly about God, we will not see our need for God and the goodness of His grace and mercy in the cross of Jesus. This is nonsense to those who don’t yet know Him, of course, but it is the power of salvation for those who believe.
Tozer writes with such force because he sees a right view of God slipping away, endangering not only the institution of the church, but the very Truth it stands for. The danger is that, “Low views of God destroy the gospel for all who hold them.” These low views of God pave the way for the most destructive of all sins — idolatry; the essence of which, Tozer writes, “is the entertainment of thoughts about God that are unworthy of Him.”
When considering how much of the New Testament is a rebuke of false teaching or an exhortation for others to correct false teaching, this makes a great deal of sense. False teaching leads to false thinking which leads to false gods. Any entertainment of a god other than the God as revealed in the Bible is idolatry because it epitomizes that which is not actually God. “The idolater simply imagines things about God and acts as if they were true.”
What a message for today when we are so susceptible to wrong thinking. The rampant pluralism, intense social pressure, and increasing secularism of the day make for an ideal moment for the Enemy to attack our understanding of God. This was the first and most dangerous temptation first uttered in the Garden. And our epidemically low Bible literacy makes it like shooting fish in a barrel.
And perhaps this is precisely how Tozer felt when he wrote of his own day that,
The Church has surrendered her once lofty concept of God and has substituted for it one so low, so ignoble, as to be utterly unworthy of thinking, worshiping men. This she has done not deliberately, but little by little and without her knowledge; and her very unawareness only makes her situation all the more tragic.
Surely Tozer was viewed as a doomsdayer by some when he wrote that, and perhaps the same will be said of me. But I cannot help but feel like the situation is even more dire today. Those in the Church are daily giving way to low views of God and His Word, handing over not only the foundation for their convictions, but the very foundations of the faith itself. It feels as if the Devil learned from his reign in Babylon that he can succeed in turning us away from God by simply assimilating the world into the faith, thereby assimilating the faith into the world. This strategy is an ingenious, insidious plot to replace a high view of God with a far lesser and far lower one. This, “low view of God entertained almost universally among Christians is the cause of a hundred lesser evils everywhere among us,” Tozer writes. “A whole new philosophy of the Christian life has resulted from this one basic error in our religious thinking.”
There is only one way out of this mess. I’ll let Tozer himself explain:
The heaviest obligation lying upon the Christian Church today is to purify and elevate her concept of God until it is once more worthy of Him — and of her. In all her prayers and labors this should have first place. We do the greatest service to the next generation of Christians by passing on to the undimmed and undiminished that noble concept of God which we received from our Hebrew and Christian fathers of generations past. This will prove of greater value to them than anything that art or science can devise.
This is from the blog My Dreams and Visions:
Isaiah 42:8: “I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.”
In my prayer time this morning the above verse was dropped into my heart. As I continued to pray in tongues I saw the following vision:
In the vision I could see a church service going on. I saw the platform that a preacher and worship team would stand on as well as the congregation. What I saw next was a cross and the people on the stage strategically placing themselves in front of the cross so that those in the congregation would not see the cross, only them.
Next I saw those same people begin to adorn the cross with colorful scarfs and such to make it less offensive, i.e. tone down its true meaning. Then I saw them begin to dance around the cross celebrating what they had made it out to be.
I have posted this quote from A.W. Tozer before, but it bears posting again:
“From this new cross has sprung a new philosophy of the Christian life, and from that new philosophy has come a new evangelical technique–a new type of meeting and a new kind of preaching. This new evangelism employs the same language as the old, but its content is not the same and its emphasis not as before.
“The old cross would have no truck with the world. For Adam’s proud flesh it meant the end of the journey. It carried into effect the sentence imposed by the law of Sinai. The new cross is not opposed to the human race; rather, it is a friendly pal and, if understood aright, it is the source of oceans of good clean fun and innocent enjoyment. It lets Adam live without interference. His life motivation is unchanged; he still lives for his own pleasure, only now he takes delight in singing choruses and watching religious movies instead of singing bawdy songs and drinking hard liquor. The accent is still on enjoyment, though the fun is now on a higher plane morally if not intellectually.
“The new cross encourages a new and entirely different evangelistic approach. The evangelist does not demand abnegation of the old life before a new life can be received. He preaches not contrasts but similarities. He seeks to key into public interest by showing that Christianity makes no unpleasant demands; rather, it offers the same thing the world does, only on a higher level. Whatever the sin-mad world happens to be clamoring after at the moment is cleverly shown to be the very thing the gospel offers, only the religious product is better.
“The new cross does not slay the sinner, it redirects him. It gears him into a cleaner and jollier way of living and saves his self-respect. To the self-assertive it says, ‘Come and assert yourself for Christ.’ To the egotist it says, ‘Come and do your boasting in the Lord.’ To the thrill seeker it says, ‘Come and enjoy the thrill of Christian fellowship.’ The Christian message is slanted in the direction of the current vogue in order to make it acceptable to the public.
“The philosophy back of this kind of thing may be sincere but its sincerity does not save it from being false. It is false because it is blind. It misses completely the whole meaning of the cross.
“The old cross is a symbol of death. It stands for the abrupt, violent end of a human being. The man in Roman times who took up his cross and started down the road had already said good-by to his friends. He was not coming back. He was going out to have it ended. The cross made no compromise, modified nothing, spared nothing; it slew all of the man, completely and for good. It did not try to keep on good terms with its victim. It struck cruel and hard, and when it had finished its work, the man was no more.
“The race of Adam is under death sentence. There is no commutation and no escape. God cannot approve any of the fruits of sin, however innocent they may appear or beautiful to the eyes of men. God salvages the individual by liquidating him and then raising him again to newness of life.
“That evangelism which draws friendly parallels between the ways of God and the ways of men is false to the Bible and cruel to the souls of its hearers. The faith of Christ does not parallel the world, it intersects it. In coming to Christ we do not bring our old life up onto a higher plane; we leave it at the cross. The corn of wheat must fall into the ground and die.
We who preach the gospel must not think of ourselves as public relations agents sent to establish good will between Christ and the world. We must not imagine ourselves commissioned to make Christ acceptable to big business, the press, the world of sports or modern education. We are not diplomats but prophets, and our message is not a compromise but an ultimatum.
“God offers life, but not an improved old life. The life He offers is life out of death. It stands always on the far side of the cross. Whoever would possess it must pass under the rod. He must repudiate himself and concur in God’s just sentence against him.
“What does this mean to the individual, the condemned man who would find life in Christ Jesus? How can this theology be translated into life? Simply, he must repent and believe. He must forsake his sins and then go on to forsake himself. Let him cover nothing, defend nothing, excuse nothing. Let him not seek to make terms with God, but let him bow his head before the stroke of God’s stern displeasure and acknowledge himself worthy to die.
Having done this let him gaze with simple trust upon the risen Saviour, and from Him will come life and rebirth and cleansing and power. The cross that ended the earthly life of Jesus now puts an end to the sinner; and the power that raised Christ from the dead now raises him to a new life along with Christ.
“To any who may object to this or count it merely a narrow and private view of truth, let me say God has set His hallmark of approval upon this message from Paul’s day to the present. Whether stated in these exact words or not, this has been the content of all preaching that has brought life and power to the world through the centuries. The mystics, the reformers, the revivalists have put their emphasis here, and signs and wonders and mighty operations of the Holy Ghost gave witness to God’s approval.
“Dare we, the heirs of such a legacy of power, tamper with the truth? Dare we with our stubby pencils erase the lines of the blueprint or alter the pattern shown us in the Mount? May God forbid. Let us preach the old cross and we will know the old power.”
–A. W. Tozer, Man, the Dwelling Place of God, 1966
I am reminded of the words of the verse from the hymn I have decided to follow Jesus where it says, “the cross before me, the world behind me no turning back.”
The Cross is a Radical Thing
This is from the Life is Worship blog:
“Holy men of soberer and quieter times than ours knew well the power of silence. David said, I was dumb with silence, I held my peace, even from good; and my sorrow was stirred. My heart was hot within me; while I was musing the fire burned: then spake I with my tongue. There is a tip here for God’s modern prophets. The heart seldom gets hot while the mouth is open. A closed mouth before God and a silent heart are indispensable for the reception of certain kinds of truth. No man is qualified to speak who has not first listened. It might well be a wonderful revelation to some Christians if they were to get completely quiet for a short time, long enough, let us say, to get acquainted with their own souls, and to listen in the silence for the deep voice of the Eternal God. The experience, if repeated often enough, would do more to cure our ulcers than all the pills that ever rolled across a desk.”
Scribes and Prophets
This is from A Disciple’s Study blog:
Unfortunately, the ten-cent-store Jesus being preached now by many men is not the Jesus that will come to judge the world. This plastic, painted Christ who has no spine and no justice, but is a soft and pliant friend to everybody, if He is the only Christ, then we might as well close our books, bar our doors and make a bakery or garage out of our church buildings.
The popular Christ being preached now is not the Christ of God nor the Christ of the Bible nor the Christ we must deal with finally. For the Christ that we deal with has eyes as a flame of fire. And His feet are like burnished brass; and out of His mouth cometh a sharp two-edged sword (see Rev. 1:14-16). He will be the judge of humanity. You can leave your loved ones in His hands knowing that He Himself suffered, knowing that He knows all, no mistakes can be made, there can be no miscarriage of justice, because He knows all that can be known… Jesus Christ our Lord, the judge with the flaming eyes, is the one with whom we must deal. We cannot escape it.
—A.W. Tozer, And He Dwelt Among Us: Teachings from the Gospel of John
The Pursuit of God
Oswald Chambers, 1874-1917
“Be reckless immediately, fling it all out on Him. You do not know when His voice will come, but whenever the realization of God comes in the faintest way imaginable, recklessly abandon. It is only by abandon that you recognize Him. You will only realize His voice more clearly by recklessness.”
“I have been driven many times to my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go. My own wisdom and that of all about me seemed insufficient for the day.”
“I shall not live ’till I see God; and when I have seen him, I shall never die.”
“The most important thought I ever had was that of my individual responsibility to God.”
“The tests of life are to make, not break us. Trouble may demolish a man’s business but build his character. The blow at the outward man may be the greatest blessing to the inner man. If God, then, puts or permits anything hard in our lives, be sure that the real peril, the real trouble, is what we shall lose if we flinch or rebel.”
–Maltbie D. Babcock
“To the quiet mind all things are possible. What is a quiet mind? A quiet mind is one which nothing weighs on, nothing worries, which, free from ties and from all self-seeking, is wholly merged into the will of God and dead as to its own. Such an one can do no deed however small but it is clothed with something of God’s power and authority.”
“Many men owe the grandeur of their lives to their tremendous difficulties.”
–Charles H. Spurgeon
“The wisdom of this world is precious in the eye of the world; and the wisdom of God in His poor, weak, despised earthen vessels is still foolishness with them; but the Lord so orders it, that He still justifies his despised wisdom in his despised vessels, and makes the wisdom of the world appear foolish to all the single and uprighthearted, who thirst after and wait for the revelation of His truth.”
“A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.”
“Men return again and again to the few who have mastered the spiritual secret, whose life has been hid with Christ in God. These are of the old time religion, hung to the nails of the Cross.”
–Robert Murray McCheyne
“Have you noticed how much praying for revival has been going on of late and how little revival has resulted? I believe the problem is that we have been trying to substitute praying for obedience, and it simply will not work. To pray for revival while ignoring the plain precept laid down in Scriptures is to waste a lot of words and get nothing for our trouble. Prayer will become effective when we stop using it as a substitute for obedience.”
“All God’s revelations are sealed until they are opened to us by obedience. You will never get them open by philosophy or thinking. Immediately you obey, a flash of light comes. Let God’s truth work in you by soaking in it, not by worrying into it. The only way you can get to know is to stop trying to find out and being born again. Obey God in the thing He shows you, and instantly the next thing is opened up. One reads tomes on the Holy Spirit, when one five minutes of drastic obedience would make things as clear as a sunbeam. ‘I suppose I shall understand these things some day!’ You can understand them now. It is not study that does it, but obedience. The tiniest fragment of obedience, and heaven opens and the profoundest truths of God are yours straight away. God will never reveal more truth about Himself until you have obeyed what you know already. Beware of becoming ‘wise and prudent.'”
“Christianity is not a theory or speculation, but a life; not a philosophy of life, but a living presence.”
–Samuel Taylor Coleridge
“God loves you and has a difficult plan for your life.”
“. . . Suffering is our preparation for ministry in a world of suffering–all manner of suffering: from the trivial irritations of daily life to paralyzing accidents, from family squabbles to church splits, from the ravages of sexual slavery to the countless deaths of innocents at the hands of cruel dictators. This is not a world for shallow people with soft character. It needs tested, toughened disciples who are prepared, like their Lord, to descend into hell to redeem the lost.
“This is part of what it means to become holy, to be refined by fire. Difficulties and sufferings are God’s form of hazing. Sometimes it gets so hard, we think Him cruel. But He’s only looking for men and women who will keep their cool when things go horribly wrong, a people prepared to dash into burning rooms to rescue those about to be engulfed in flames.”
“Though swordless, these soldiers of Christ fought the might of imperial Rome and won…
Unlettered they unblushingly declared the whole counsel of God and eventually staggered the intellectual Greeks.”
Some Great Quotes on Prayer
The World Is In The Church
Quote of the Day