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A Passion for God: The Spirtual Journey, by A.W. Tozer
 

 

“…Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith...” Hebrews 13:7

Excerpts from Tozer’s Biography “A Passion for God: The Spiritual Journey of A.W.Tozer”by Lyle Dorsett

“A.W.Tozer’s messages pierced hearts and illuminated minds with a profundity uncommon among Bible teachers and preachers. Indeed, spiritually alert people recognized that he possessed unique characteristic-a sacred anointing. Those close to him explained that despite his busy schedule, the modern-day prophet spent several hours each day in prayer-not simply interceding but ardently seeking God’s face and desiring to be in His presence…

He heralded biblical truth. He loved the Bible and unflinchingly preached what he believed people needed to hear, regardless of what they wanted. Furthermore, this self-educated preacher and teacher read deeply of the early church fathers, and he sought to interpret the Scriptures within the context of how they were interpreted and applied throughout church history. Consequently, Tozer was nonsectarian. He found riches in Christian tradition-riches sometimes overlooked by teachers and preachers who were confident that nothing written between the book of Acts and the Reformation, with the possible exception of St. Augustine, could be useful to true disciples of Jesus Christ.

Tozer’s enthusiasm for the writings of the many so-called Christian mystics distressed still other faithful people. To the minds of many of Tozer’s generation a mystic could not be a Christian. They feared “mysticism”was a way to smuggle Eastern paganism into the church. But Tozer begged to differ. He frequently asked, “How can anyone have a ‘personal relationship’with Jesus Christ today unless it is mystical?” Tozer insisted that Jesus does not walk our streets as He walked the roads of Galilee. “Eternal life is to know the Father and Jesus Christ whom He sent” (see John 17:3),and only a mystical relationship can enable one to have this grace of intimacy and knowledge…

Like the ancient Hebrew prophets, Tozer alienated religious leaders. He spoke publicly of his disdain for materialism, consumerism, and worldliness, wherever he detected it infiltrating the church. This led to no end of criticism.

Since Tozer’s death this problem of worldliness in American culture and in the church has grown much more pronounced. Consequently, his writings are still anathema to people who share the Western mania of consumer Christianity…

He spoke prophetically to the church, and historically we see that the religious leaders of any era seldom admire those sent to them with words of truth. Like the prophets of old, the thin, mustached, and bespectacled herald of truth who originally came from the hilly wilderness of western Pennsylvania, spoke with razor-like sharpness. He admonished Christian leaders for their drift toward worldliness manifested in growing practices of adopting leadership models from the business world for the church and for allowing various forms of entertainment to take the place of biblical preaching, teaching, and theocentric worship. Many church leaders did not like his critique of their practices during his life time, and their worldly offspring today find his criticisms even less palatable, especially since so many have enthusiastically and unquestionably adopted the precise methods he found so deplorable…

With our turn-of-the-century obsession to attract crowds and make them comfortable for fear they will leave, Tozer’s prophetic calls for radical obedience to Christ, personal holiness, purposive and passionate prayer life, spartan lifestyles, and God-centered worship, caused him to sound-in the minds of many people-insensitive, unloving, and some cases downright abrasive…

This frequently acerbic pastor cared little for the opinions of people when it came to what he should preach or write…Tozer’s ambition was to be a Jeremiah, Amos, and John the Baptist to his generation. He knew his ministry required him to call the church out of its apathy and admiration for the world, into the presence, knowledge, and worship of a Holy God…he knew his calling was to be faithful rather than successful by world standards…

He shared thisyounger generation’s suspicion of chronological snobbery, and he understood and lived a life of faith that drank deeply from the wells of wisdom preserved in the writings of the early church. Like numerous young adults of the early twenty-first century, Tozer wanted to be connected with the rich roots of historic Christianity, and like many of our younger contemporaries he instinctively knew that the Madison Avenue market-driven movement, with its disdain for the past and its concomitant worship of all things “new and improved”, is deathly for Christians. He realized that anything ”new” in Christianity would be moldy in a few years. He believed that preachers and teachers of “the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3) must be dedicated to thoughtful contextualization, yes, but originality, no. Tozer would have joined theologian Thomas C. Oden in saying as a teacher of “the faith” that “I am dedicated to unoriginality. I am pledged to irrelevance if relevance means indebtness to corrupt modernity.”…

It is instructive for people who desire to grow in Christ to learn lessons from the lives of saints who have finished well…

(From Chapter 1)


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