One of my favorite twentieth-century writers is A.W. Tozer. This May will mark fifty years since Aiden Wilson Tozer went to be with his Lord and Savior. Tozer was born on April 21, 1897. He grew up in a small farming community in Pennsylvania. Tozer was converted as a teenager, and at the age of 22, having no theological education, he took his first pastoral position. This was the beginning of over forty years of faithful ministry. In the course of his life, Tozer wrote dozens of books. Perhaps my favorite one is a little work entitled The Knowledge of the Holy. In this book, Tozer discusses the attributes of God: God’s holiness, His love, His wisdom, etc. Tozer wrote this book because, as he looked at the Church of his day, he felt that Christians had surrendered their once lofty concept of God. The Church, he said, had lost sight of the greatness of God. As a result, the worship of the Church was cold and the witness of the church was weak. Here are a few powerful lines from the opening chapter of the book:

“What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us. The history of mankind will probably show that no people has ever risen above its religion, and man’s spiritual history will positively demonstrate that no religion has ever been greater than its idea of God. Worship is pure or base as the worshiper entertains high or low thoughts of God. 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. This is true not only of the individual Christian, but of the company of Christians that composes the Church. Always the most revealing thing about the Church is her idea of God, just as her most significant message is what she says about Him or leaves unsaid, for her silence is often more eloquent than her speech… Were we able to extract from any man a complete answer to the question, “What comes into your mind when you think about God?” we might predict with certainty the spiritual future of that man. Were we able to know exactly what our most influential religious leaders think of God today, we might be able with some precision to foretell where the Church will stand tomorrow. Without doubt, the mightiest thought the mind can entertain is the thought of God, and the weightiest word in any language is its word for God.”

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