Everyone Wants a Piece of Tozer


A.W. TozerAiden Wilson Tozer is perhaps my favorite Christian author. Every book of his that I have read has stunned me, driven me to tears, left me broken, raised me up again, and filled me with joy. I believe he was a prophet, too; you read his books written in the 1950s and they are still speaking directly to the state of the American Church today.

But one thing I’ve never understood is how so many Christians who would profoundly disagree with Tozer in many regards still hold him up as the gold standard of 20th and 21st century Evangelicalism.

Tozer was a proponent of Christian mysticism. It’s baffling that so many Christian leaders who will pummel anyone who espouses Christian mysticism today give Tozer a complete pass as if he never once quoted Meister Eckhart, St. John of the Cross, or The Cloud of Unknowing.

Tozer was completely anticessationist; just this last week I included a Tozer quote saying as much. Tozer saw that the Church of AD 70 and the church of AD 2005 are to be the same Church in power, giftings, and so on. Yet cessationists quote Tozer as if there were no issue with his opposition to their position.

Tozer was not a proponent of Calvinism; I can’t remember him even mentioning that word in anything he’s written, yet Calvinists seem to love him, nonetheless. Just in the last few days both Steve Camp and Al Mohler held Tozer up as the example of doctrinally righteous Christianity. Curious.

Tozer damned “easy believism” and Christianity as “entertainment”—yet the bookstores of seeker-sensitive megachurches stock his books and their pastors even quote him.

Frankly, it startles me that Tozer is almost universally acclaimed by Evangelicals, yet most of them reject the foundational ideas he espoused in his preaching and teaching. Given that so many other preachers and teachers are routinely castigated in the blogosphere for even straying slightly from what is approved, why does Tozer, a man who preached a Christianity so unlike what so many others approve of today, get let off the heretic hook?

If you’ve never read Tozer, I say, Stock up! Start with The Knowledge of the Holy. There’s more truth in one of his books than any hundred teachings out there on the Web. Having said that, you can find Tozer’s teachings and sayings all over the Web—just Google “AW Tozer”. I would encourage you to do so.

Keith Green: the Prophet Still Speaks


I will readily admit that I do not do a good enough job of promoting other Christian blogs. I have a few links at the right, but Cerulean Sanctum has pretty much just been my views.

Hoping to make this blog a better portal to excellent Christian material (while also—hopefully—keeping my own discourse here sharp), I want to direct people to one of the best blogs I know of, Paradoxology, run by Chris Monroe, better known as Desert Pastor. The topics he posts are routinely hot potatoes within the Christian world and in need of good analysis. The dialog that results is almost always thought-provoking and all over the map of belief. I always come away from Paradoxology better than I went in.

Today, the topic is the nature of prophetic ministries, specifically taking a look at Keith Green’s: Paradoxology: Prophetic Aftershocks, part 1 (will pop a new window.)

Keith Green has had a huge impact on my life even though I was unimpressed with him before his death. Only after that fateful plane crash twenty-two years ago did Green’s ministry start to hit me between the eyes. I know it’s odd, but his death completely changed my perspective on his life and music. I now wish I had had the opportunity to see him in concert before he was taken away from us.

Here’s my comments on Green over at Paradoxology:

…and still no one today is making the kind of music Keith Green was blessing us with 25 years ago.

Keith GreenI am the Christian I am today largely because of Keith Green and the band of people he ran with. He was Emergent before there was such a thing. He was an ordained Vineyard pastor back in the early days of that influential movement, but he kept one foot rooted in the great preachers of the faded past. Green introduced me to Leonard Ravenhill’s writings and preachings, and Ravenhill pointed me to A.W. Tozer and the history and wealth of the Welsh Revival.

Green has always been a “love him or leave him” figure in the Church. While his voice is definitely prophetic, if you read his biography you realize that much of Green’s prophetic ire was directed back at himself. He never lashed out at the complacency of the sleeping church without a keen sense that he was just as asleep as everyone else. Call him a prophet with feet of clay, but his stern call to something better than what we were/are experiencing in the life of the Church in America is unmitigated, nonetheless. We would do well to wake up, just as he said.

Green brought streams of Christianity together, too. He incorporated the holiness movement, the charismatic movement, the Jesus People movement, the missionary movement, the worship movement, and old-fashioned tent revivalism into one foundation. I can’t think of anyone in recent memory who was able to pull off this feat so well. That we lost him at so young an age, and eventually watched the ministry he founded go adrift, is a loss that has not been overcome yet.

Lastly, and this is almost a minor aside, but Green wrote music for adults. He and Rich Mullins, also tragically lost too young, wrote music for people who wrestled with life and faith, not for popsters and teenyboppers. I heard “Asleep in the Light” played on the local Christian radio station at 3AM a couple days ago, 3AM being the only time they could get away with playing it without offending anyone. What a sad comment on where Christianity is today. Oh that our music was more offensive and less pancreas-destroying!

Thanks for noticing how important Green still is. Hopefully this generation will look up his works and take them to heart.

Desert Pastor’s singling out of Green as the start of a series on modern-day prophets is a good beginning. I hope you will all surf over to Paradoxology and not only check out this new series of posts but the rest of the conversation, too.

Prophetic or Pathetic?


Sorry for the lack of updates folks. I’ve been mired in taxes and locating income. Now that the first part, at least, has been resolved, I hope to have more submissions in the future.

For now I ask questions about the growing strength of “prophetic ministries” and their sway over many charismatics. Just the other day I heard an ad on the radio for a prophetic conference that was coming to town. I had to ask myself, if this is truly a prophetic move, then why does it have to travel? Why not stay at home and issue the prophetic words from a central location. Much cheaper and more efficient.

The sad answer is that surely too much money is involved. Register people who are desperate and want a painless prophecy spoken over them (rather than spending the hours in prayer needed to hear from God on their own) and let them be satisfied with the 60% accuracy claimed by Rick Joyner, one of the big names out there in the “prophetic.”

The gift of prophecy is a real gift, but it seems to me that this modern equivalent is more pathetic than prophetic. That these new prophets are as wrong as often as right seems to paint God as capricious in His ability to bring things to pass. That is not the God I serve.

I feel for the people who get “a word” spoken over them only to have it never be. Many such people have been so repeatedly burned that they’ve adopted the attitude of the villagers in the fable of The Boy Who Cried Wolf. When a real prophecy comes down, will they heed it or yawn? And still they go to the prophetic conference.