“In spite of the amazing advances that we have seen in the church, one great overwhelming loss troubles me greatly. The gains are wonderful, but they do not offset the one devastating loss, and that is the loss of a proper perception of God.”
This latest posthumous A.W. Tozer book is being billed as the originally planned follow-up to his classic The Knowledge of the Holy, and after reading it I see no reason to not treat it that way. In fact, I’m’a adding it to my re-reads list so that I can read the two together in the future.
A.W. Tozer. Delighting in God. Compiled and edited by James L. Snyder. 208p., $14.99, Bethany House.
In this book, Tozer moves from focusing on God’s attributes to its practical ramifications here on earth—the most obvious being that such a God should be the focus on all our worship, rather than being secondary to the “worship experience” or church-as-entertainment. With that comes the lack of reverence; as Tozer so witheringly puts it, “We do not fear God anymore. We do not dread Him anymore. He is our buddy and only wants to help us be the best kind of people we can be.”
As editor James Snyder points out in the intro, “Even in his day, Tozer complained about the mediocrity of the Christian church. He complained about how worship had fallen to such a low, despicable level. I wonder what he would say today?”
We certainly have some idea from what Tozer writes here. There are places where he veers into attacks on what passed for Christianity even 50 years ago (and again, is even more applicable today), but he’s at his best when he’s looking upward and calling us to do the same: “What is needed today is passion, but more defined, a passion for God, a deep desire to know God as He desires to be known.”
Inherent in many of the problems the church faces today, Tozer reminds us, is our presumption that “We assume that if it is in the Bible, it is in us… but we cannot assume that…. We must come to the point of personally experiencing everything that the Bible is teaching us. To know the first step is important, but it is only the first step, and we must persevere unto perfection; that is, experiencing what God wants us to experience in the Lord Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit.” And this will only be accomplished by actually wanting what God wants, rather than trying to cram God into what we want.
Tozer was always a master of calling us back to “the pursuit of God,” and he doesn’t fail here either. Maybe the reason it took so long to un-earth this book is that we need it now more than ever.