Tag Archives: A.W. Tozer
Time for a Great Quote! A.W. Tozer on Scripture and Theology! (“We should set our hearts to study theology.”)
“Whatever keeps me from the Bible is my enemy, however harmless it may appear to be. Whatever engages my attention when I should be meditating on God and things eternal does injury to my soul. Let the cares of life crowd out the Scriptures from my mind and I have suffered loss where I can least afford it. Let me accept anything else instead of the Scriptures and I have been cheated and robbed to my eternal confusion. The secret of life is theological and the key to heaven as well. We learn with difficulty, forget easily and suffer many distractions. Therefore we should set our hearts to study theology. We should preach it from our pulpits, sing it in our hymns, teach it to our children and make it the subject of conversation when we meet with Christian friends.”
“What comes into our minds when we think about God, is the most important thing about us. Worship is pure or base — as the worshiper entertains high or low thoughts of God. For this reason the gravest question before the Church is always God Himself, and the most portentous fact about any man is not what he at a given time may say or do — but what he in his deep heart conceives God to be like. It is impossible to keep our moral practices sound and our inward attitudes right, while our idea of God is erroneous or inadequate. No religion has ever been greater than its idea of God. Worship is pure or base — as the worshiper entertains high or low thoughts of God. We tend by a secret law of the soul, to move toward our mental image of God… Were we able to extract from any man a complete answer to the question, “What comes into your mind when you think about God?” we might predict with certainty the spiritual future of that man… A right conception of God is basic not only to correct theology, but to practical Christian living as well. There is scarcely an error in doctrine, or a failure in applying Christian ethics — that cannot be traced finally to false and ignoble thoughts about God.” —The Knowledge of the Holy (New York: HarperCollins, 1978), 1.
In our previous post we talked about how God sometimes hides Himself. Most of the biblical references to His hiding Himself have to do with sin. His people have merited His turning away from them. He is angry enough to “forsake” them (Dt. 31:17), to hide His face from them, to allow disasters to overcome them (Dt. 31:17). Idolatry drives God away because it is wicked (Dt. 31:18).
Sometimes it seems that God is hiding Himself from His servant who feels forgotten. God seems to stand “far off,” to “hide Himself in times of trouble” (Ps. 10:1). This hiding of God’s face means God’s apparent uninvolvement in the distress of His servant (Ps. 102:2).
Isaiah describes God as “Truly, You are a God who hides Himself, O God of Israel, Savior!” (Is. 45:15). This omnipresent God (wherever there’s a “where,” God is there, as theologian Millard Erickson says) seems absent, unavailable, distant. I remember as a young believer being told, “Whenever you feel that God is not present with you, you need to ask the question, ‘who moved’?” The older believer meant you did! You’ve turned away from the Lord!
Now that is quite possible — and we do so with regularity, don’t we? But the Word of God indicates that sometimes God moves, becomes hidden from us. In such cases, the Bible is quite clear that we need to seek the Lord!
A.W. Tozer put it this way: “Everything is made to center upon the initial act of `accepting’ Christ (a term, incidentally, which is not found in the Bible) and we are not expected thereafter to crave any further revelation of God to our souls. We have been snared in the coils of a spurious logic which insists that if we have found Him we need no more seek Him.” (A.W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God)
While I would disagree with Tozer’s contention that the idea of our “accepting” Christ is not in the Scriptures, I am greatly challenged by the rest of his quote. Please read it again. And if you feel that God is hiding Himself from you, take the time to read over the following passages of Scripture: Dt. 4:29; I Chron. 16:10-11; 22:19; 28:9; 2 Chron. 11:16; 12:14; 14:4; 15:2; 15:12; 16:12; 20:4; 30:19; Ezra 6:21; Ps. 14:2; 27:4; 34:10; 40:16; 69:6; 70:4; 83:16; 105:3-4; Prov. 28:5; Is. 45:19; 51:1; 55:6; Jer. 50:4; Lam. 3:25; Hos. 3:5-6; 10:12; Amos 5:4 & 6; Zeph. 1:6; 2:3; Zech. 8:21-22; Mal. 3:1; Acts 15:17. (If you read through each of these, let me know in the Comments’ section below and I will send you one of my books as a gift!).
“Whatever keeps me from my Bible is my enemy, however harmless it may appear to be. Whatever engages my attention when I should be meditating on God and things eternal does injury to my soul. Let the cares of life crowd out the Scriptures from my mind and I have suffered loss where I can least afford it. Let me accept anything else instead of the Scriptures and I have been cheated and robbed to my eternal confusion.” (A.W. Tozer, That Incredible Christian)
1. Am I an honest man?
2. Is my Bible open?
3. Am I asking God the Holy Spirit to speak to me through God’s Word?
4. Do I want to stay “just as I am” or change to become a little bit more like Christ?
5. Am I ready to take notes on what God tells me through His Word?
6. Have I become accustomed to complaining about the faults and foibles of OTHERS instead of asking how I need to change?
7. Do I have the courage to show the notes that I take about myself to someone else who loves me and will pray for me and for my growth?
What questions occur to you?