Thursday, November 15, 2012

Book Review: The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer

Book Review: The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer

A.W. Tozer starts and ends with the premise that much of modern Christian behavior is centered on the individual Christian's needs rather than on Christ himself. In one place in The Pursuit of God he says, "Promoting self under the guise of promoting Christ is currently so common as to excite little notice." Wow. I feel like that a lot. I was surprised to see it in print, but he had me from that moment to end of the book. Unlike most books I have read about how to live the life of a Christian, he does not throw around Christian Ease, buttressed with personal stories illustrating how it applied in his life. Rather, he supports his suggestions with scripture and scholarship. This is a book that tells you how to pursue God, and when you are done, you will understand the bible better than you did we you began.

The Key Character in this book is God. Most books about God these days are about YOU, rather than God. If you want to know how God is going to help you, this book is not going to tell you that, beyond the gift of Grace that leads us to salvation.  As he puts it, "Essentially salvation is the restoration of a right relation between man and his Creator, a bringing back to normal of the Creator-creature relation."

What will you learn? You will learn what it means to posses Jesus. As Tozer puts it, "I desire that I may feel no sense of possessing anything outside of Thee."  

He spends many pages on the dis-assembly of modern evangelical fundamentalism, pointing out its trend toward legalism and away from the freedom that Jesus life, death and Resurrection bought us.  Tozer feels that we are once again losing our way, and becoming the Pharisees that Jesus taught against.

This book reads as a scholarly text of our era combined with the letters of the apostle Paul and the early fathers of the Church.  It also gives the feel of a New Orleans Baptist Church, where you feel challenged by the authors obvious faith and spirit and yet compelled to ask more questions, so you too can share in the fruit that he so obviously has. You also feel a little out of your element.

Have you already made up your mind about what Jesus wants you to do with your life?  If you have, then you will not like this book, as it challenged most of my closely held ideas on doctrine and attitude.

Do you feel comfortable living in an environment where the expectations, behaviors and attitudes are well laid out in advance?  If you do, this book will rock your world, because this book is about live a spirit lead life without limits or rules.

A.W. Tozer was a turn of the 20th century Christian author and pastor who lived a non-materialist life of sacrifice and study, as well as attempting to lead the world to the Jesus of the first century with missionary zeal.  This book is true to that life.

I have to be honest.  I find easy Christianity to be, well too easy. Do this, don't do that.  Easy and boring. The sinners prayer strikes me as an incantation to invoke Saving Grace from God, as if we could compel him.  This book explained to me, for the first time, why I feel that way and what to do about it.

Read this book if you want to know Jesus better, but leave your doctrine and your previous plans on the back burner, because this is going to change everything.

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