Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Book Review (#9 of 2011)

The Pursuit of God by AW Tozer (free PDF). This book is shorter than a Kindle Single, but I will call it a "book" anyway. I was using it as part of a discipleship time with a younger guy who is going overseas this summer. I treated each chapter/essay as sort of a daily devotional and found it very convicting, uplifting, and humbling. (I used GoodReader on the iPad for this as it gives you plenty of options for note-taking, highlighting, etc.).

Tozer is a pastor writing in the 1940s. He applauds the church's return to Scripture but bemoans the unintended side-effects:
"Thanks to our splendid Bible societies and to other effective agencies for the dissemination of the Word, there are today many millions of people who hold 'right opinions,' probably more than ever before in the history of the Church. Yet I wonder if there was ever a time when true spiritual worship was at a lower ebb. To great sections of the Church the art of worship has been lost entirely, and in its place has come that strange and foreign thing called the “program.” This word has been borrowed from the stage and applied with sad wisdom to the type of public service which now passes for worship among us."

Worship and Spirit-filled living are more than preaching and learning, it's about seeking God in all we do:
"How tragic that we in this dark day have had our seeking done for us by our teachers. 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 whcih insists that if we have found Him we need no more seek Him."
Tozer's words on humility, meekness, holding possessions loosely, and emphasizing the emotional aspects of worship (as opposed to purely mental) were very timely for me. He closes each chapter with a very tough prayer. For example:
"Be Thou exalted over my reputation. Make me ambitious to please Thee even if as a result I must sink into obscurity and my name be forgotten as a dream."


His closing chapter is based on 1 Corinthians 10:31 and is aimed at the false dichotomy of secular and sacred. This is a very key point for those involved in a "business as missions" mindset. Whatever we do, wherever we work, whatever task we're assigned, we can worship as we do it. Work is worship. Some jobs are not as important as others, and we're not all equals in the tasks, but all jobs (and meals, and commutes, and diaper changes, and breaths, etc.) can be worship. I love how Tozer puts it:

"Paul's sewing of tents was not equal to his writing an Epistle to the Romans, but both were accepted of God and both were true acts of worship. Certainly it is more important to lead a soul to Christ than to plant a garden, but the planting of the garden can be as holy an act as the winning of a soul."
The “layman” need never think of his humbler task as being inferior to that of his minister. Let every man abide in the calling wherein he is called and his work will be as sacred as the work of the ministry.

His closing prayer:
"I want to live so fully in the Spirit that all my thought may be as sweet incense ascending to Thee and every act of my life may be an act of worship."

5 stars out of 5.

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