Tozer Speaks Out

Yesterday afternoon I wrote about discernment and the importance of walking with the wise. If a Christian wants to gain discernment, he must seek wisdom, and to find wisdom he must walk with the wise. Steven Curtis Chapman wrote a song called “Walk with the Wise” which contained these words: “I’ve learned to look for answers in those born before my time / As I listen to them tell me what they’ve learned in their lives / I talk to friends with understanding much deeper than my own / And gain wisdom beyond measure I could never find alone.”

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With that in mind, I would invite you to read a column recently written by Steve Camp. To be truthful, he did not write the column as much as he compiled it from the writings of A.W. Tozer. Tozer, as you may know, died in 1963 after a lifetime of ministry in Chicago, Toronto and around the world. He was known as a 20th century prophet and that title has become more meaningful in the years after his death. The mark of one who truly understands the Word of God is that his words remain true long after his death. Tozer’s words ring as true today as they did fifty years ago. Reading his sermons, books and articles, you could be excused for thinking that he wrote them just yesterday after looking at the average evangelical church. Listen to some of his words:

Then there are some among us these days who have to depend upon truckloads of gadgets to get their religion going, and I am tempted to ask: What will they do when they don’t have the help of the trappings and gadgets? The truck can’t come along where they are going!

The Tozer Pulpit, Book 8, p. 50

This church ought to be a place that is lighted by the light of the world shed forth by the Holy Spirit. It is where we gather at intervals to eat of the bread of life, not only on communion Sunday, but all the time, every Sunday. It ought to be where the altar of incense sends up its sweet spirals of fragrant perfume sweet to God and pleasant in His nostrils, and the sound of prayer pleasant in His ear and the sight of enlightened people gathered together pleasant to His eyes.

This is the only kind of church that I’m interested in. I’m not interested when you have to go out and bring somebody in from the outside and say, “Will you come and perform for us?” Can you imagine a priest bringing a clown and saying to the clown, “Now come, clown into the holy place. Be reverent and do it for Jesus’ sake.” And when that clown came in there was light, the light that lighted every man, light that never was on land or sea. “And here is the bread. Reverently we may eat and live forever. Here is the altar of incense where we can send up our prayers to the ears of God, and now the clown will do his part.”

Sermon #24 on Hebrews, Toronto

The reason evangelical Christianity has so many cowbells and handsaws and shows and films and funny gadgets and celebrated men and women to stir them up is because they don’t have the joy of the Lord. A happy man doesn’t need very much else.

Sermon, “Fruit of the Spirit,” Chicago

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