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A.W. Tozer on Theology

January 17, 2011

If you haven’t read Knowledge of the Holy, by A.W. Tozer, I can’t recommend it enough. It’s a short book, although it took me just as long to read as one three times its size – due to the reflection time required after each short chapter.

Tozer is with us in the theology thing. From Chapter 1:

What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.

Another paragraph later he continues,

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. We tend by a secret law of the soul to move toward our mental image of God.

As for the practicality issue, he writes on the next page,

A right conception of God is basic not only to systematic theology but to practical Christian living as well. It is to worship what the foundation is to the temple; where it is inadequate or out of plumb the whole structure must sooner or later collapse. I believe there is scarcely an error in doctrine or a failure in applying Christian ethics that cannot be traced finally to imperfect and ignoble thoughts about God.

Then, he takes it up a notch:

Let us beware lest we in our pride accept the erroneous notion that idolatry consists only in kneeling before visible objects of adoration, and that civilized peoples are therefore free from it. The essence of idolatry is the entertainment of thoughts about God that are unworthy of Him. It begins in the mind and may be present where no overt act of worship has taken place.

He quotes Paul and continues,

Wrong ideas about God are not only the fountain from which the polluted waters of idolatry flow; they are themselves idolatrous.

Tozer explains briefly that the beginning of the end for any part of the Church is when her image of God begins to be corrupted. He then closes with an exhortation that speaks to our change of focus at The Esther Project:

The heaviest obligation lying upon the Christian Church today is to purify and elevate her concept of God until it is once more worthy of Him – and her. In all her prayers and labors this should have first place. We do the greatest service to the next generation of Christians by passing on to them undimmed and undiminished that noble concept of God which we receive from our Hebrew and Christian fathers of generations past.

*fist bump* to Aiden

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One Comment leave one →
  1. January 23, 2011 11:39 am

    The Knowledge of the Holy is one of my very favorite books. I try to reread it once a year.

    Love this post & totally ordering the book you did a giveaway with!

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