What A.W. Tozer Taught Me

Paul was a better man for his thorn (page 66).

If you have never heard of Dr. A.W. Tozer, then you have missed out on one of the greatest Christians minds of the 20th century.

Gems From TozerTozer, who was a Christian and Missionary Alliance (C&MA) pastor for decades, died in 1963, but has had a lasting and profound impact in helping shape the lives of Christians since then through his numerous writings. Indeed, many years after his death, his books are still selling quite well.

Tozer Called Christians To Live Holy Lives

Dr. Tozer was a leading voice of his time who called Christians to holiness. In 1985, a friend (Mike S.) gave me a copy of one of his most popular books, “The Pursuit of God.”  A few years later I became friends with a young man, Steve S., whose favorite writings outside of the Bible were from Tozer.

I used to tease Steve about his Tozer obsession, but if you’re going to follow a man in this life, Tozer was someone who pointed people directly to our Lord Jesus Christ — not to himself.

I’m not sure what happened to my copy of “The Pursuit of God” other than thinking I must have passed it on to someone over the years. But, I do still have “Gems From Tozer” which is a collection of his most profound sayings, an example which I’ll include here:

True faith commits us to obedience. That dreamy, sentimental faith which ignores the judgments of God against us and listens to the affirmations of the soul is as deadly as cyanide (page 55).

Some Churches Today Would Be Uncomfortable With Tozer

Tozer wasn’t always well received by people due to his unswerving commitment to encourage believers to surrender their lives to Jesus Christ without reservation. These days, I think that much of what he stood for would be rejected by many churchgoers. Then again, there are entire congregations who exist solely to tickle the ears of its members, serving up another gospel, one far removed from what the apostles delivered.

Even during the mid-20th century, Tozer saw the breaking down of holiness creeping into the church. No, I’m not talking about so-called holy lives where Christians dress and speak a certain way. Rather, lives where people truly are pursuing a deep relationship with God, set apart from this worldly mindset.

The devil is a better theologian than any of us and is a devil still (page 36).

One thing about reading Tozer is this: every book has something to impart, a true gem worth pulling out and polishing from time to time.

See also — Better Dads, Stronger Sons

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  1. Tozer is one of my all time favorite authors. Pursuit of God is one of my all time favorite books. And one of my all time favorite paragraphs is from this book.

    “Much of our difficulty as seeking Christians stems from our unwillingness to take God as He is and adjust our lives accordingly. We insist upon trying to modify Him and to bring Him nearer to our own image. The flesh whimpers against the rigor of God’s inexorable sentence and begs like Agag for a little mercy, a little indulgence of its carnal ways. It is no use. We can get a right start only by accepting God as He is and learning to love Him for what He is. As we go on to know Him better we shall find it a source of unspeakable joy that God is just what He is. Some of the most rapturous moments we know will be those we spend in reverent admiration of the Godhead. In those holy moments the very thought of change in Him will be too painful to endure.” (AW Towzer)

    He had a way with words. By the way The Pursuit of God can be read online at this pdf link.

    Simply Love your blog Matt!

    peace & grace in Christ,

    brads last blog post..031 | Undeserved Favor

  2. Matt,

    I wasn’t familiar with Tozer but am delighted to see that his books are available for the Kindle. I’ve made a note of them to order when I’m ready for a new book.

    Lillie Ammanns last blog post..Healing Miracles: Part 1—Why Am I Surprised?

  3. @ Lillie — A.W. Tozer is someone who loved God and His church, inspiring Christians to build their lives upon the Rock and not look back. Congratulations on Kindle — I kind of like the idea of downloading entire books, but I still like the sound of flipping pages and the feel of leather binding.

    @ Brad — That, my friend, is an excellent quote! Our flesh certainly doesn’t like being subjected to the cross, but unless we truly die to ourselves we’ll miss his unspeakable joy. Thank you for the *pdf link too.


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