Thursday, April 10, 2008

Book Review #10: Knowledge of the Holy by A.W. Tozer

A.W. Tozer is an American classic preacher, known for his preaching and writing. Knowledge of the Holy and the Pursuit of God are among two of his best known.

I enjoy Tozer because he picks up where Ryle leaves off; a deep concern for the church and the influence of culture on its ability to be salt and light. Tozer was not required reading in seminary, but referenced many times, much like authors do today of his work. Tozer is one of the few classic pastors whom you are still able to get recordings of his preaching.

Knowledge of the Holy is short book, and can be read devotionally as each short chapter opens with a prayer and occasionally a quote, and ends with a verse or two from a hymn. He writes like he preaches; directly with memorable phrases sprinkled in.

The doctrine of the Trinity is truth for the heart.

Having recently discussed God's justice in Sunday school, I was particularly interested in his thoughts on this, and in typical Tozer form, he emphasizes that God does not act justly, but in being just God is being God.

Justice, when used of God, is a name we give to the way God is, nothing more; and when God acts justly He is not doing so to conform to an independent criterion, but simply acting like Himself in a given situation.

This quote emphasizes that God is never at cross purposes with himself, and that his character works in harmony with itself, unlike ours. This is a theme that follows the reader through out the book.

Tozer is also willing to leave the reader uncomfortable in his understanding of God's character.

The vague and tenuous hope that God is too kind to punish the ungodly has become a deadly opiate for the consciences of millions. It hushes their fears and allows them to practice all pleasant forms of iniquity while death draws every day nearer . . . we dare not so trifle with our eternal future.

You'll find the chapters filled with scriptural references, peppered in appropriately. Although this books is a series of reflections on God's character, and Tozer does refer to scriptural truths, it reads devotionally. I would suggest this book to be read in that spirit.

Tozer is a classic that serious Christ followers should at least nosh on from time to time.