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COULD THIS be OUR MOST CRITICAL NEED?

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  • COULD THIS be OUR MOST CRITICAL NEED?


    COULD THIS be OUR MOST CRITICAL NEED?

    by A.W. Tozer


    When viewing the religious scene today, we are tempted to fix on

    one or another weakness and say, "This is what is wrong with the

    church. If this were corrected, we could recapture the glory of the

    early church and have pentecostal times back with us again."


    This tendency to oversimplification is itself a weakness and should

    be guarded against always, especially when dealing with anything

    as complex as religion as it occurs in modern times. It takes a very

    young man to reduce all our present woes to a single disease and

    cure the whole thing with one simple remedy. Older and wiser heads

    will be more cautious, having learned that the prescribed nostrum

    seldom works for the reason that the diagnosis has not been correct.

    Nothing is that simple. Few spiritual diseases occur alone. Almost

    all are complicated by the presence of others and are so vitally

    interrelated as they spread over the whole religious body that it

    would take the wisdom of a Solomon to find a single cure.


    For this reason, I am hesitant to point to any one defect in present-

    day Christianity and make all our troubles to stem from it alone.

    That so-called Bible religion in our times is suffering rapid decline

    is so evident as to need no proof, but just what has brought about

    this decline is not so easy to discover. I can only say that I have

    observed one significant lack among evangelical Christians which

    might turn out to be the real cause of most of our spiritual troubles.

    Of course, if that were true, then the supplying of that lack would

    be our most critical need.


    The great deficiency to which I refer is the lack of spiritual

    discernment, especially among our leaders. How there can be

    so much Bible knowledge and so little insight, so little moral

    penetration, is one of the enigmas of the religious world today.

    I think it is altogether accurate to say that there has never before

    been a time in the history of the church when so many people

    were engaged in Bible study as are so engaged today. If the

    knowledge of Bible doctrine were any guarantee of godliness,

    this would without doubt be known in history as the age of

    sanctity. Instead, it may well be known as the age of the

    church´s Babylonish captivity, or the age of worldliness, when

    the professed Bride of Christ allowed herself to be successfully

    courted by the fallen sons of men in unbelievable numbers. The

    body of evangelical believers, under evil influences, has during

    the last twenty five years gone over to the world in complete

    and abject surrender, avoiding only a few of the grosser sins

    such as drunkenness and sexual promiscuity.


    That this disgraceful betrayal has taken place in broad daylight

    with full consent of our Bible teachers and evangelists is one of

    the most terrible affairs in the spiritual history of the world. Yet I

    for one cannot believe that the great surrender was negotiated by

    men of evil heart who set out deliberately to destroy the faith of

    our fathers. Many good and clean-living people have collaborated

    with the quislings who betrayed us. Why? The answer can only

    be, from lack of spiritual vision. Something like a mist has settled

    over the church as "the shroud that enfolds all peoples, the sheet

    that covers all nations" (Isaiah 25:7). Such a veil once descended

    upon Israel: "For their minds were made dull, for to this day the

    same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been

    removed, because only in Christ is it taken away. Even to this day

    when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts" (2 Corinthians 3:

    14-15). That was Israel´s tragic hour. God raised up the church

    and temporarily disfranchised His ancient people. He could not

    trust His work to blind men.


    Surely we need a baptism of clear seeing if we are to escape the

    fate of Israel (and of every other religious body in history that

    forsook God). If not the greatest need, then surely one of the

    greatest is for the appearance of Christian leaders with prophetic

    vision. We desperately need seers who can see through the mist.

    Unless they come soon, it will be too late for this generation. And

    if they do come, we will no doubt crucify a few of them in the name

    of our worldly orthodoxy. But the cross is always the harbinger of

    the resurrection.


    Mere evangelism is not our present need. Evangelism does no

    more than extend religion, of whatever kind it may be. It gains

    acceptance for religion among larger numbers of people without

    giving much thought to the quality of that religion.
    The tragedy is

    that present-day evangelism accepts the degenerate form of

    Christianity now current as the very religion of the apostles and

    busies itself with making converts to it with no questions asked.

    And all the time we are moving farther and farther from the New

    Testament pattern.


    We must have a new reformation. There must come a violent

    break with that irresponsible, amusement-mad, paganized

    pseudo-religion which passes today for the faith of Christ and

    which is being spread all over the world by unspiritual men

    employing unscriptural methods to achieve their ends.


    When the Roman church apostatized, God brought about the

    Reformation. When the Reformation declined, God raised up the

    Moravians and the Wesleys. When these movements began to

    die, God raised up fundamentalism and the "deeper life" groups.


    Now that these have almost without exception sold out to the

    world-what next?


    ~Source-


    'We travel an appointed way', A.W. Tozer, chapter 8

  • #2
    This is a disappointing editorial by A. W. Tozer. He tells us that in a time of much Bible knowledge there is a lack of spiritual discernment. He also tells us that more evangelism is not our need. His reasons ignore the work of the Holy Spirit in Bible students and those confessing Christ as Lord. As with many other pious Christians, Tozer, from his writings and sermons seems to believe he is able to identify the wheat from the tares and predict the spiritual failure of the new believer.

    A. W. Tozer is well known for repeatedly expressing his disappointment with the Church and the lack of spiritual commitment. His life spans the most expansive growth of the Church in America (in percent of the population). Part of his disillusionment might be because such growth did not change the course of the modernization which expounded secular ideas in America.

    His complaint echoes the disappointment of all believers. However, be reminded of the quote from Oswald Chamber concerning all of us desiring to form a more perfect and glorious Church. "God hates the visionary dreaming of my ideas of Christian fellowship for it causes me to be proud and pretentious."

    Today, after witnessing three adult baptisms each spoke of their faith and beliefs.
    The comments were juvenile and self centered,
    but these three young men are not well versed nor very far along in their sanctification.
    They most certainly did not speak like wheat.
    However, don't doubt what God is doing.

    Commenting on chapter 8 We Travel an Appointed Way (a collection of 39 editorials)

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by glen smith View Post
      This is a disappointing editorial by A. W. Tozer. He tells us that in a time of much Bible knowledge there is a lack of spiritual discernment. He also tells us that more evangelism is not our need. His reasons ignore the work of the Holy Spirit in Bible students and those confessing Christ as Lord. As with many other pious Christians, Tozer, from his writings and sermons seems to believe he is able to identify the wheat from the tares and predict the spiritual failure of the new believer.

      A. W. Tozer is well known for repeatedly expressing his disappointment with the Church and the lack of spiritual commitment. His life spans the most expansive growth of the Church in America (in percent of the population). Part of his disillusionment might be because such growth did not change the course of the modernization which expounded secular ideas in America.

      His complaint echoes the disappointment of all believers. However, be reminded of the quote from Oswald Chamber concerning all of us desiring to form a more perfect and glorious Church. "God hates the visionary dreaming of my ideas of Christian fellowship for it causes me to be proud and pretentious."

      Today, after witnessing three adult baptisms each spoke of their faith and beliefs.
      The comments were juvenile and self centered,
      but these three young men are not well versed nor very far along in their sanctification.
      They most certainly did not speak like wheat.
      However, don't doubt what God is doing.

      Commenting on chapter 8 We Travel an Appointed Way (a collection of 39 editorials)
      Hi Glen, thanks for the reply.

      Considering Tozer died in 1963 and that he was part of a church that used different language than we use today, one needs to try to understand what he was trying to say.

      But we also know this: the road to spiritual prosperity does not lead to spiritual poverty, and the road to spiritual poverty does not lead to spiritual prosperity. So we have much evidence what road the church was on in those days by the condition of the church of this nation today.

      We can see the church of this nation is in a condition of spiritual poverty today which would indicate that it was on the road to spiritual poverty back then.

      One strong bit of evidence of the condition of the church is how the leaders act and how the people treat them.

      Jesus is our Apostle ( or the one sent to us). It is OK for a mere man to say that The Lord has called him to the ministry of Christ, or that The Lord has called him to the ministry of an apostle. That is simply saying that The Lord has called him to the ministry of Christ.

      But it is very serious error for any mere man to take the title of Apostle; for that is simply calling oneself Christ.

      If we examine the leaders of the early church, they simply went by their first name. Paul called himself Paul, who was called to the ministry of an apostle, NOT Apostle Paul. Paul was simply saying he was called to the ministry of Christ, but did not call himself Christ by taking the title of Apostle Paul.

      The RCC had fallen when mere men took the titles of God and put them before their name. The Holy Father John, is simply saying The Creator of Everything that exists, John. Archbishop John is simply saying First Guardian John, and Christ is our First Guardian, so it is John is simply calling himself Christ. So the RCC took the Titles of Christ and called themselves Christ by taking His Titles upon themselves.

      The reformed churches that followed soon also followed Rome in the taking the Names of Christ and putting them before their own name. Bishop Joe, is simply saying First Guardian Joe, or Christ Joe. Pastor Joe, is simply saying Shepard Joe, but Jesus is our Shepard and no man should take this title.

      Jesus made it very clear that we were NOT to do this:

      Matthew 23 (NIV)

      A Warning Against Hypocrisy


      23 Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: 2 “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. 3 So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. 4 They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.

      5 “Everything they do is done for people to see: They make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long; 6they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; 7 they love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and to be called ‘Rabbi’ by others.

      8“But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers. 9 And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. 10 Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one Instructor, the Messiah. 11 The greatest among you will be your servant. 12 For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.

      I have had people address me by putting a title before my name and The Holy Spirit has me correct them with vigor. I question how these mere men have people address them with the titles of Christ and are not convicted by The Holy Spirit. Also I can call no man by any of the titles of Christ, I would grieve The Holy Spirit. How do people call mere men by these titles of Christ without feeling how they are grieving The Holy Spirit.

      I can only say it seems the church of this nation today is in spiritual poverty.
      Last edited by Lou Newton; December 8, 2017, 10:26 AM.

      Comment


      • #4
        I like this quote from Tozer. It does seem incomplete, like he is leading his reader to a forthcoming point. Maybe that is what you sense missing, Glen.

        Lou, I think the pericope aptly captures the message in its context. "A Warning Against Hypocrisy". The lesson is don't be like these men, not don't ever use titles. The Jewish leaders elevated their status and ruled the people unjustly, to serve themselves rather than God or the people. We are warned not to be like them, using titles to personal, greedy advantage. That said, I do think the examples you give are superb examples of hypocrisy and this scripture is applied correctly to them.

        Tozer was much better read than I. His view of near history was panoramic, and he could see where we seemed to be as a Christian people and project where his generation was heading. I think, if he saw us today, he would think he was too conservative in his pessimism. And he lived through a period that was transformational; but that could be said of much of the 19th and 20th centuries, and moreso in the 21st: so if we have the sense of the world being on a bobsled to hell, it would be understandably acute. This time we're in appears to me to be the comeback of Satan. If we may take the Revelation passage at face value, that Satan will be loosed for a short time to deceive the nations once again, then is this not what we and Tozer may be witnessing? 50 years after Tozer we may look back on all that has happened and see its continued progression, and be alarmed by it.

        But God permitted Rome to be overcome and enter a period of temptation and darkness shrouded the land for a long time. This didn't happen in one day. The same could be said for our empire. It seemed off to a very blessed start, and then we are soon entered into a period of temptation and encroaching darkness. I think Tozer nailed it, we're in a Babylonish captivity. I have thought so for two years now, as I learn more about things I had no interest in before. But perhaps it could be said Babylon has not yet been removed from power, and has remained there in the domain of the flesh - in the world, at least, where we see its footprint so large it is hard to recognize.

        And what's worse, God may send strong delusion upon the people, so that those who take pleasure in unrighteousness would believe the lie. It is a terrible judgement. If a critical problem is discernment, then in the absence of grace it is a worsening condition; and what is discernment, but practicing holiness; as the prophet said, putting a difference between the holy and the profane? Those who are ostensibly holy will fall. Who can resist the Lord? It is only by His Spirit that we're upheld.

        Let us press on. As we have done, let us continue: buying the truth and selling it not; lifting up our eyes to the hills, whence comes our help. As in Genesis 1, as after Rome: after darkness comes light. As with many other times, God reserves for Himself a remnant.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Baruch View Post
          I like this quote from Tozer. It does seem incomplete, like he is leading his reader to a forthcoming point. Maybe that is what you sense missing, Glen.

          Lou, I think the pericope aptly captures the message in its context. "A Warning Against Hypocrisy". The lesson is don't be like these men, not don't ever use titles. The Jewish leaders elevated their status and ruled the people unjustly, to serve themselves rather than God or the people. We are warned not to be like them, using titles to personal, greedy advantage. That said, I do think the examples you give are superb examples of hypocrisy and this scripture is applied correctly to them.

          Tozer was much better read than I. His view of near history was panoramic, and he could see where we seemed to be as a Christian people and project where his generation was heading. I think, if he saw us today, he would think he was too conservative in his pessimism. And he lived through a period that was transformational; but that could be said of much of the 19th and 20th centuries, and moreso in the 21st: so if we have the sense of the world being on a bobsled to hell, it would be understandably acute. This time we're in appears to me to be the comeback of Satan. If we may take the Revelation passage at face value, that Satan will be loosed for a short time to deceive the nations once again, then is this not what we and Tozer may be witnessing? 50 years after Tozer we may look back on all that has happened and see its continued progression, and be alarmed by it.

          But God permitted Rome to be overcome and enter a period of temptation and darkness shrouded the land for a long time. This didn't happen in one day. The same could be said for our empire. It seemed off to a very blessed start, and then we are soon entered into a period of temptation and encroaching darkness. I think Tozer nailed it, we're in a Babylonish captivity. I have thought so for two years now, as I learn more about things I had no interest in before. But perhaps it could be said Babylon has not yet been removed from power, and has remained there in the domain of the flesh - in the world, at least, where we see its footprint so large it is hard to recognize.

          And what's worse, God may send strong delusion upon the people, so that those who take pleasure in unrighteousness would believe the lie. It is a terrible judgement. If a critical problem is discernment, then in the absence of grace it is a worsening condition; and what is discernment, but practicing holiness; as the prophet said, putting a difference between the holy and the profane? Those who are ostensibly holy will fall. Who can resist the Lord? It is only by His Spirit that we're upheld.

          Let us press on. As we have done, let us continue: buying the truth and selling it not; lifting up our eyes to the hills, whence comes our help. As in Genesis 1, as after Rome: after darkness comes light. As with many other times, God reserves for Himself a remnant.
          Hi Barry. Thanks for the reply. Very good comment and I agree with all you said except for one small point:

          23 Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: 2 “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. 3So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. 4 They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.

          5 “Everything they do is done for people to see: They make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long; 6they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; 7 they love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and to be called ‘Rabbi’ by others.

          8“But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers. 9 And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. 10 Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one Instructor, the Messiah. 11 The greatest among you will be your servant. 12 For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.
          If we read the words of Jesus, He not only said, do not be like them, but He also said, "do not do what they do". What is this whole passage about ? It is not only about their hypocrisy, it is also about one example of that behavior. That is to claim that God is above all, but then to take one of God Names and use it as your title also.

          If God is above all and we are not worthy and if fact are sinners worthy of eternal hell; then surely it is hypocrisy to then take one of God's titles and use is for oneself.

          We are called to the ministry of Christ, BUT we are not called to call ourselves Christ.

          I do not know how Jesus could say it any clearer. - "But you are not to be called teacher, but you are ALL bothers.

          If Jesus did not mean, not to call ourselves teacher, or pastor, etc - then just how could Jesus have said that, if that is what He wanted to say.

          How would you change His words to mean not to take these titles upon ourselves ?

          What is gained by men taking these titles upon themselves? I am an engineer, but I do not insist of everyone calling me Mechanical Engineer Lou Newton. Why would I want to elevate myself above others. Certainly the title Chief Sinner Lou Newton would be more appropriate.

          I do not know of even one early church leader who gave himself a title in the NT.

          But they address themselves as Paul , Peter, John, James, etc.

          Comment


          • #6
            Do not do as they do. Do not call yourself rabbi/master (as they do, seeking praise and esteem and service from men rather than serving them and glorifying God). I suppose we are just going to have to disagree, brother. :) And we have managed to go off topic again with this.

            Comment

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