Category Archives: God’s Words or Man’s Words

More Unbiblical Quotes from A. W. Tozer

God’s WORD

    “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits
    whether they are of God: because many false prophets
    are gone out into the world.”—1 John 4:1

    “Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord
    may have free course…And that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men: for all men have not faith.”
    —2 Thessalonians 3:1, 2

    “For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.”—2 Corinthians 4:5

    “For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but
    as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.”—2 Corinthians 2:17

Following are a few quotes of A. W. Tozer from several of his books, with some Bible verses which address some of the error of A. W. Tozer’s writings.

Knowledge of the Holy, by Tozer, excerpt from Chapter 5 
“That God is everything and man nothing is a basic tenet of Christian faith and devotion; and here the teachings of Christianity coincide with those
of the more advanced and philosophical religions of the East.”

    God’s WORD
    “Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of
    these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children
    of disobedience.”—Ephesians 5:6

    “And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words.”—Colossians 2:4

    “And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:—1 Corinthians 2:4

Echoes from Eden by Tozer, excerpt from chapter 4
“So Christ’s blood was our blood, and this is the theology of New Testament victory for the believer. This is the theology that I experienced as a young man
in the Alliance.”

    God’s WORD
    “Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.”—Hebrews 9:12

    “Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate.”—Hebrews 13:12

    “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock,
    over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers,
    to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with
    his own blood.”—Acts 20:28

“This is the theology that tells me that Christ and I are united, so that when He died, I died, and when He arose, I arose.”

    God’s WORD
    “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.”—Hebrews 2:9

    “And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins
    in his own blood,”—Revelation 1:5

“This is the doctrine of spiritual victory, and there is no other way that consistent victory can be found.”

    God’s WORD
    “But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through
    our Lord Jesus Christ.”—1 Corinthians 15:57

Man the Dwelling Place of God by A. W. Tozer
Chapter 12. Three Degrees of Religious Knowledge
“In our knowledge of divine things three degrees may be distinguished:
the knowledge furnished by reason, by faith and by spiritual experience respectively…”

    God’s WORD
    “… be thou an example of the believers, in word, in
    conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.
    Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation,
    to doctrine.”—1 Timothy 4:12, 13

    “For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.”—1 Thessalonians 2:13

Chapter 19 The Communion of Saints
“Then, true Christian communion consists in the sharing of a Presence…

“…The immanence of God in His universe makes possible
the enjoyment of the “real Presence” by the saints of God
in heaven and on earth simultaneously

“I suggest also that we try to acquaint ourselves as far as possible with the good and saintly souls who lived before our times…Augustine, for instance, would bring to us a sense of the overwhelming majesty of God…Bernard of Cluny would sing to us of ‘Jerusalem the Golden’ and the peace of an eternal sabbath day until the miserable pleasures of this world become intolerable;

“Richard Rolle would show us how to escape from “the abundance of riches, the flattering of women and the fairness of youth,” that we may go on to know God with an intimacy that will become in our hearts ‘heat, fragrance and song’;

“Tersteegen would whisper to us of the ‘hidden love of God’ and the awful Presence until our hearts would become ‘still before Him’ and ‘prostrate inwardly adore Him’; before our eyes the sweet St. Francis would throw his arms of love around sun and moon, trees and rain, bird and beast, and thank God for them all in a pure rapture of spiritual devotion…”

    God’s WORD
    “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.”—Colossians 2:8

    “Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.”—1 Corinthians 2:13

    “Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like
    things do ye.”—Mark 7:13

Pursuit of God
Chapter 1 Following Hard after God

“…we Christians are in real danger of losing God amid the wonders of His Word. We have almost forgotten that God is a Person and, as such, can be cultivated as any person can…

    God’s WORD
    “God is not a man…”—Numbers 23:19

    “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.”—John 4:24

Chapter 6 The Speaking Voice
“The Bible is the written word of God, and because it is written it is confined and limited by the necessities of ink and paper and leather. The Voice of God, however, is alive and free as the sovereign God is free.”

    “Wherein I suffer trouble, as an evil doer, even unto bonds;
    but the word of God is not bound.”—2 Timothy 2:9

“The life is in the speaking words. God’s word in the Bible can have power only because it corresponds to God’s word in the universe. It is the present Voice which makes the written Word all-powerful. Otherwise it would lie locked in slumber within the covers of a book.”

    God’s WORD
    “And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.”—1 John 5:11

    “And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.”—1 John 5:20

“Again we must remember that God is referring ere not to His written Word,
but to His speaking Voice. His world-filling Voice is meant, that Voice which antedates the Bible by uncounted centuries, that Voice which has not been silent since the dawn of creation, but is sounding still throughout the full far reaches of the universe…”

God’s WORD

    “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.”—John 5:39

    “…for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”
    —Revelation 19:10

    “Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.”—2 John 9

    “If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness;

    “He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings,

    “Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.”—1 Timothy 6:3, 4, 5

What is so appealing about The Pursuit of God, by A. W. Tozer?

God’s WORD

    “Thus saith the Lord GOD; Woe unto the foolish prophets, that follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing!”—Ezekiel 13:3

    “For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.”
    —Romans 1:16, 17

    “Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?”—Galatians 3:3

    “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.”—John 6:63

Tozer offers us something more
In his book, The Pursuit of God, Tozer points to his perceived inconsistencies and hypocrisies of conservative Christians or biblical groups. But Tozer does not point these people to the Bible (our only means to discern truth), for correction so they can repent.

Instead, Tozer (as do “emergent” leaders of today), uses the so-called faults of people who may or may not be “Christians,” as an excuse to disregard God’s Word. Then, by wresting scripture and false guilt trips, Tozer introduces and convinces folk of another way—a false Jesus and an experiential, mystical religion, which is actually, the old mystic path to union with “God.”

The most amazing thing about this to me is that so many denominations and belief systems elevate Tozer and his teachings, many thinking he is biblical.

So, why do people from so many “Christian” belief systems like The Pursuit of God, and think it is helpful in their walk with the Lord?

A few of the reasons that this book appeals to us
Tozer sounds so spiritual. We choose spiritual over godly and biblical.
We want the something more which Tozer offers.
We want an experience, to feel more spiritual, and feel close to God.
We don’t have what Tozer is offering, so we assume there is something more.
We are trusting in a feeling, and giving credibility to experience.
We have not repented from our sins, so therefore, don’t have salvation.
We think man’s words and experience trumps God’s WORD.
We are not discerning.
We don’t remember all the warnings about deception.
We think there is something we can do to get close to God.
We think there is something we can do to be more holy.
We don’t believe our “heart is deceitful…and desperately wicked…”
We do not understand the transaction that has taken place on our behalf.
God seems far away because we have unconfessed sin in our life.

    God’s WORD
    “But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.”—Isaiah 59:2

    “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.”
    —James 4:8

I was raised in a Methodist/Baptist tradition. At age 10, I wrote in my Bible that
I had accepted Jesus as my Saviour. I knew that God was the Creator, that Jesus was God and that Jesus died on the cross for sins, and I tried to be good. I was a real good ‘rule’ keeper. Starting in my teens, I felt a huge distance between God and me.

I tried rededicating my life, giving God everything, getting ‘saved’ again, and experiencing God in nature. I read the Bible through many times—often daily, and prayed daily. I knew the right answers, but I didn’t know how to find God.

I did have a favorite passage of scripture. I wanted to know the truth, and I knew I was all bound up inside, and confused. I wanted to be free, but I didn’t know how.

    “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”—John 8:32

Finally, in my early 30s, I understood I was a sinner and received forgiveness from Jesus, my Saviour.

I had continued to read the Bible through the years. And the verses I read, whether in the new or old testament, talked about rebellion. When I read,
First Samuel 15:23, I told the Lord I didn’t think I had a problem with
rebellion, but if it was a problem, would He please show me.

    “For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft…”— 1 Samuel 15:23

I realized that I was rebellious. I remembered rebellious thoughts I had towards my parents back to about three years old.

I read in Jeremiah:

    “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”—Jeremiah 17:9

I remembered a verse that had bothered me for a long time:

    “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart,
    and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all
    thy strength: this is the first commandment.”
    —Mark 12:30

Another verse came to mind:

    “Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.”
    —1 John 3:15

When I realized that God saw me as a murderer, I finally comprehended what a terrible predicament I was in. I was a rebellious, murderer, with a wicked, deceitful heart, that could not, nor if I was honest with myself, did not want to keep the first commandment.

I did not really want God. I didn’t want to walk in His way. In fact, I couldn’t do what was right because there was no good in me. I could do NOTHING to make myself acceptable to God. At that point, I grasped some of the significance of Jesus’ death on the cross.

    “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”—Romans 5:8

I asked for forgiveness, and Jesus forgave me and gave me new life. He rescued me from the Kingdom of darkness, and put me in His Kingdom of Light.
I was free.

    “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.”—John 8:36

When I read the Bible, I started to understand it.

    Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;
    —John 8:31

    “Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.”—John 14:23

That was almost 30 years ago. Have I doubted my salvation ever? Yes. Have I strayed into strange doctrine ever? Yes. Have I made bad decisions? Yes. But once I understood I was a sinner, I knew that there was NOTHING I could do to save myself, and likewise, there was NOTHING I could do to make myself holy.
It is all about Jesus and what He has done and is doing for me.

    God’s WORD
    “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”—Hebrews 12:2

    “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to
    the Jew first, and also to the Greek.”—Romans 1:16

    “And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:”
    —Philippians 3:9

    “But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto
    us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:”—1 Corinthians 1:30

Other Posts related to Tozer and The Pursuit of God
Conclusion of the Carmelite Order Posts or Why I am Writing about A W Tozer
Was A. W. Tozer a Mystic?
A. W. Tozer, the Mystic, Part 1
Tozer the Mystic, Part 2, What is wrong with Pursuing God?
A. W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God and Augustine
A. W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God, von Hugel, Bernard of Clairvaux, and Cloud of Unknowing
A. W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God, the Chinese sage, Laotze, and Faber, the Catholic Hymnwriter
A. W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God, Thomas a Kempis, and Nicholas of Cusa
Unbiblical and/or mystical phrases, in The Pursuit of God by A. W. Tozer
JTB series: Scripture compared with some phrases in The Pursuit of God

A. W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God, Thomas a Kempis, and Nicholas of Cusa

God’s WORD

    “If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness;

    “He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions
    and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings,
    evil surmisings,

    “Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.”—1 Timothy 6:3–5

Thomas a Kempis
Thomas a Kempis wrote a very mystical, unbiblical book, The Imitation of Christ, which apparently had a major influence on Tozer’s The Pursuit of God, especially Chapter 6: The Speaking Voice.

Excerpt from Pursuit of God, Chapter 5: The Universal Presence

    “Pick at random a score of great saints whose lives and testimonies are widely known. Let them be Bible characters or well known Christians of post-Biblical times…how unlike each other were John and Paul, St. Francis and Luther, Finney and Thomas a Kempis…

    “Yet they all walked, each in his day, upon a high road of spiritual living
    far above the common way…I venture to suggest that the one vital
    quality which they had in common was spiritual receptivity…”

JTB comment: What they all had in common was that they were sinners.

God’s WORD
“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;”
—Romans 3:23

“Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death
by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:”
—Romans 5:12

“For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.”
—1 Corinthians 15:22

Nicholas of Cusa
Excerpt from Pursuit of God, Chapter 7: The Gaze of the Soul

    “‘When all my endeavour is turned toward Thee because all Thy endeavour is turned toward me; when I look unto Thee alone with all my attention, nor ever turn aside the eyes of my mind, because Thou dost enfold me with Thy constant regard…’ So wrote Nicholas of Cusa four hundred years ago.

    “I should like to say more about this old man of God. He is not much known today anywhere among Christian believers, and among current Fundamentalists he is known not at all. I feel that we could gain much
    from a little acquaintance with men of his spiritual flavor and the school
    of Christian thought which they represent…

    “Nicholas was a true follower of Christ, a lover of the Lord, radiant and shining in his devotion to the Person of Jesus. His theology was orthodox, but fragrant and sweet…says Nicholas…’With Thee, to behold is to give life; ’tis unceasingly to impart sweetest love of Thee; ’tis to inflame me to love of Thee by love’s imparting, and to feed me by inflaming, and by feeding to kindle my yearning, and by kindling to make me drink of the
    dew of gladness, and by drinking to infuse in me a fountain of life,
    and by infusing to make it increase and endure.’

    “When the habit of inwardly gazing Godward becomes fixed within us we shall be ushered onto a new level of spiritual life more in keeping with the promises of God and the mood of the New Testament. The Triune God will be our dwelling place even while our feet walk the low road of simple duty here among men. We will have found life’s summum bonum indeed…”
    [the Cusa quotes are from, Nicholas of Cusa, The Vision of God

God’s WORD
“But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.”—1 John 2:5

“For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.”—Romans 10:3

    Nicholas of Cusa integralscience.org/cusa.html
    “Divinity is the enfolding and unfolding of everything that is. Divinity is in all things in such a way that all things are in Divinity.”—Nicolas of Cusa

    Nicholas of Cusa (1401 to 1464) was a philosopher, theologian, mathematician, and an astronomer whose writings influenced the development of Renaissance mathematics and science, and is widely considered as one of the greatest geniuses and polymaths of the 15th century. As a German Roman Catholic cardinal, Nicholas served as a
    papal legate to three popes.

    Nicholas of Cusa was noted for his deeply mystical writings, particularly
    on the possibility of knowing God with the divine human mind…His first
    and most famous treatise, On Learned Ignorance , is a
    mystical discourse on the finite and the infinite.

    The fundamental insight that inspired Nicholas’s thought and writing on metaphysical topics, came from a mystical illumination in 1437, during a journey home from Constantinople.

    Nicholas described this vision as his gift from God which provided him…
    a way of viewing opposites as coincident from the point of view of infinity. According to Nicholas, this logic of infinitude unites opposites, transcends comparison, overcomes limits of discursive reasoning, and goes beyond both positive and negative theology.

Nicholas was influenced by Plato and Neoplatonic thinkers, and drew inspiration from Dionysius, Meister Eckhart, Anselm of Canterbury, and Ramon Lull.

God’s WORD

    “For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.”—Acts 20:29

    “Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.”—Ephesians 5:6
                                                                                     
    “Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.

    “And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.”—1 John 4:15, 16

Other Posts related to Tozer and The Pursuit of God
Conclusion of the Carmelite Order Posts or Why I am Writing about A W Tozer
Was A. W. Tozer a Mystic?
A. W. Tozer, the Mystic, Part 1
Tozer the Mystic, Part 2, What is wrong with Pursuing God?
A. W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God and Augustine
A. W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God, von Hugel, Bernard of Clairvaux, and Cloud of Unknowing
A. W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God, the Chinese sage, Laotze, and Faber, the Catholic Hymnwriter
Unbiblical and/or mystical phrases, in The Pursuit of God by A. W. Tozer
What is so appealing about the The Pursuit of God by Tozer?
JTB series: Scripture compared with some phrases in The Pursuit of God

A. W. Tozer, Pursuit of God, the Chinese sage, Laotze, and Faber, the Catholic Hymnwriter

God’s WORD

    “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.”—2 Timothy 3:5

    “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.”
    —Matthew 7:15

    “Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.”—2 John 9

    “But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine:”
    —Titus 2:1

Chinese sage, Lao-tze
Pursuit of God Chapter 3: Removing the Veil

    “That is the first step, and as the Chinese sage Lao-tze has said,
    ‘The journey of a thousand miles begins with a first step.’”

    Laozi
    Lao tzu (Lao Tse, Laotze, Lao Zi) was a philosopher of ancient China and
    is a central figure in Taoism. Laozi, or Old Master, is revered as a god in religious forms of Taoism. In the Taoist religion, Laozi, is also referred to as “One of the Three Pure Ones”.

    Laozi is traditionally regarded as the founder of Taoism, intimately connected with the Tao Te Ching and original Taoism. As Taoism took root, Laozi was recognized as a god. Belief in the revelation of the Dao from the divine Laozi resulted in the formation of the Way of the Celestial Master, the first organized religious Taoist sect.

Frederick Faber
Pursuit of God Chapter 3: Removing the Veil

    “Frederick Faber was one whose soul panted after God…and the measure in which God revealed Himself to his seeking heart set the good man’s whole life afire with a burning adoration rivaling that of the seraphim before the throne…

    “His love for the Person of Christ was so intense that it threatened to consume him; it burned within him as a sweet and holy madness and flowed from his lips like molten gold…And addressing our Lord directly
    he says to Him: ‘I love Thee so, I know not how My transports to control;

    Thy love is like a burning fire Within my very soul.’

    “Faber’s blazing love extended also to the Holy Spirit…He literally pressed his forehead to the ground in his eager fervid worship of the Third Person of the Godhead.

    “…Such worship as Faber knew…can never come from a mere doctrinal knowledge of God. Hearts that are ‘fit to break’ with love for the Godhead are those who have been in the Presence and have looked with opened eye upon the majesty of Deity. Men of the breaking hearts had a quality about them not known to or understood by common men…They had been in the Presence of God…”

God’s WORD
“But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:”—John 15:26

“Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see…”
—1 Timothy 6:16

“And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels,

“In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:”
—2 Thessalonians 1:7, 8

    About Frederick William Faber Frederick William Faber (1814 to 1863) was an enthusiastic follower of John Henry Newman, a major convert to Catholicism. Faber also converted to Roman Catholicism in November 1845, about three years after being ordained an Anglican minister. Fredrick Faber is mainly remembered as a hymn writer.

    Since the English Roman Catholics did not necessarily feel comfortable singing the hymns of their Protestant neighbors, Faber, as a Catholic, wrote hymns suitable for Roman Catholic congregational singing. “Faith of Our Fathers” and “There’s a Wideness in God’s Mercy” composed by Faber are often in ‘Protestant’ hymnals.

God’s WORD

    “For there is no faithfulness in their mouth; their inward part is very wickedness; their throat is an open sepulchre; they flatter with their tongue.”—Psalm 5:9

    “Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.

    “For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers…Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake.”
    —Titus 1:9–11

Other Posts related to Tozer and The Pursuit of God
Conclusion of the Carmelite Order Posts or Why I am Writing about A W Tozer
Was A. W. Tozer a Mystic?
A. W. Tozer, the Mystic, Part 1
Tozer the Mystic, Part 2, What is wrong with Pursuing God?
A. W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God and Augustine
A. W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God, von Hugel, Bernard of Clairvaux, and Cloud of Unknowing
A. W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God, Thomas a Kempis, and Nicholas of Cusa
Unbiblical and/or mystical phrases, in The Pursuit of God by A. W. Tozer
What is so appealing about the The Pursuit of God by Tozer?
JTB series: Scripture compared with some phrases in The Pursuit of God

A. W. Tozer, Pursuit of God, von Hugel, Bernard of Clairvaux, and The Cloud of Unknowing

God’s WORD
“For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.”—Isaiah 57:15

“Who hath prevented me, that I should repay him? whatsoever is under the whole heaven is mine.”—Job 41:11

“If I were hungry, I would not tell thee: for the world is mine, and the fulness thereof.”—Psalm 50:12

    von Hügel
    Pursuit of God Chapter 1: Following hard after God

    All is of God, for as von Hugel teaches, God is always previous.

    About Baron Friedrich von Hügel

    Friedrich von Hugel (May 1852–1925) was an influential Austrian Roman Catholic layman, religious writer and thinker who lived in England from age 15 until his death. His scholarly concerns included the relationship of Christianity to history, ecumenism, mysticism and the philosophy of religion.
     
    Hügel characterized the human soul, the movements of western civilization, and the phenomena of religion itself by three elements:
    the historical or institutional element, the scientific or intellectual element, and the mystical or experiential element.
     
    Hügel cautions: “…mysticism would never be the whole of religion; it would become a dangerous error the very moment it claimed to be this whole; but, at the same time, it would be an element essential to religion
    in the long run and upon the whole…”

    Bernard of Clairvaux
    Pursuit of God Chapter 1: Following hard after God

    St. Bernard stated this holy paradox in a musical quatrain that will be instantly understood by every worshipping soul:
    We taste Thee O Thou Living Bread,
 
    And long taste upon Thee still:

    We drink of Thee, the Fountainhead
 
    And thirst our souls from Thee to fill.

JTB Comment: This sounds like the Real Presence in the Eucharist.

    About Bernard of Clairvaux
    Bernard of Clairvaux (1090–1153) was a French abbot and the primary reformer of the Benedictine Cistercian monastic order, and the dominating figure in the Catholic Church from 1125 to 1153.

    Bernard was devoted to promoting the veneration of the Virgin Mary, and was the most influential advocate of the Second Crusade. In 1129, Bernard was instrumental in obtaining the recognition of the new order of Knights Templar, the rules of which he is said to have drawn up.

    In opposition to the rational approach to divine understanding that the scholastics adopted, Bernard preached an immediate faith, in which the intercessor was the Virgin Mary. Bernard played the leading role in the development of the Virgin cult, which is one of the most important manifestations of the popular piety of the twelfth century…

God’s WORD
“And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.”—Luke 1:46, 47

“For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;”—1 Timothy 2:5

“And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.”—Hebrews 9:15

“And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood
of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.”
—Hebrews 12:24

    The Cloud of Unknowing
    Pursuit of God Chapter 1: Following hard after God
    “We need not fear that in seeking God only we may narrow our lives or restrict the motions of our expanding hearts. The opposite is true. We can well afford to make God our All, to concentrate, to sacrifice the many for the One.

    “The quaint old English classic, The Cloud of Unknowing, teaches us how to do this. ‘Lift up thine heart unto God with a meek stirring of love; and mean Himself, and none of His goods. And thereto, look thee loath to think on aught but God Himself. So that nought work in thy wit, nor in thy will, but only God Himself. This is the work of the soul that most pleaseth God.’

    “Again, he recommends that in prayer we practice a further stripping down of everything, even of our theology. `For it sufficeth enough, a naked intent direct unto God without any other cause than Himself.’

    “…And he is all for simplicity: If we would have religion `lapped and folden in one word, for that thou shouldst have better hold thereupon, take thee but a little word of one syllable: for so it is better than of two, for even the shorter it is the better it accordeth with the work of the Spirit. And such a word is this word God or this word love.’”

JTB note: Tozer is actually advising lectio divina here.

    The Cloud of Unknowing
    The Cloud of Unknowing is a spiritual guidebook thought to have been written in the latter half of the 14th century by an anonymous English monk, who counsels a young student as to how to seek God.

    The Cloud of Unknowing has been described as Christianity with a Zen outlook. The practical prayer advice contained in The Cloud of Unknowing forms a primary basis for the contemporary practice of centering prayer,
    a form of Christian meditation developed by Trappist monks William Meninger, Basil Pennington and Thomas Keating in the 1970s.

God’s WORD
“Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?”—1 Corinthians 5:6

“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.”—Psalm 51:17

“But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”—1 Corinthians 2:14

“Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;”—Acts 3:19

Other Posts related to Tozer and The Pursuit of God
Conclusion of the Carmelite Order Posts or Why I am Writing about A W Tozer
Was A. W. Tozer a Mystic?
A. W. Tozer, the Mystic, Part 1
Tozer the Mystic, Part 2, What is wrong with Pursuing God?
A. W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God and Augustine
A. W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God, the Chinese sage, Laotze, and Faber, the Catholic Hymnwriter
A. W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God, Thomas a Kempis, and Nicholas of Cusa
Unbiblical and/or mystical phrases, in The Pursuit of God by A. W. Tozer
What is so appealing about the The Pursuit of God by Tozer?
JTB series: Scripture compared with some phrases in The Pursuit of God

Tozer the Mystic, Part 2, What is wrong with Pursuing God?

God’s WORD
“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”—John 14:6

What is wrong with Pursuing God?
God’s way, the Bible, says Jesus is the only way to God. Mankind prefers to get
to God through his works and/or through an experience. Tozer’s The Pursuit of God could be retitled Pursuing an Experience of God.

Pursuing in the Bible, usually has to do with going after one’s enemy. The Hebrew word was also translated follow after, as in follow after righteousness, or pursue peace, but the phrase pursue God is not in the Bible. God’s Word does tell us that no one seeks Him, but that Jesus came to seek us who were lost.

    “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There
    is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.”—Romans 3:10, 11

    “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which
    was lost.”—Luke 19:10

    “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”
    —1 John 4:10

While affirming and often referencing the Bible (though majorly torquing it to make his points), Tozer subtly attacks organizations and those that believe the Bible. Tozer seems to think that worship is a spiritual feeling or sensation. He therefore, accuses people of not being spiritual, because they aren’t pursuing God enough and not worshipping correctly. Tozer is enticing people with something more—something we (meaning Christians), apparently didn’t get when we had our sins forgiven. Second Peter says differently.

    “According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge
    of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:”—2 Peter 1:3

Instead of pointing people to what God’s Word says, Tozer sets up other people (mystics, but he doesn’t call them that), their philosophies, writings, and experiences as examples of the way you can pursue (get closer to) God, experience Him, get righteousness, or become more spiritual. How can
we get any closer to God if we abide in Him and His words abide in us?

    “Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.”—John 14:23

Because of the mystical people Tozer refers to as good examples, I am left with the thought that Tozer is really telling his readers, many of whom think Tozer is
a biblical preacher, that they can have unity with God—be one with the Divine.

Just like the Carmelites, John of the Cross, Teresa of Avila, and Brother Lawrence, Tozer advocates a mystical way to God, but not the God of the Bible, or the true Jesus. Tozer, under the guise of using scripture (albeit wresting it), deceives his readers through enticing words of men’s wisdom, not to the true Jesus, but to another Jesus, not to get closer to God, but in actuality, to become one with God.

It seems more like Tozer is offering water from “…broken cisterns, that can hold no water,” and advocating a return to the centuries old mysticism of Roman Catholicism, thus propagating Satan’s lie—”your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods…”

    “And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.”—Genesis 3:5

    “There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.”—Proverbs 16:15

    “For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.”—Jeremiah 2:13

    “But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst…”—John 4:14

The next four posts will include quotes and some background information on Augustine, Bernard of Clairvaux, Nicholas of Cusa, Frederick Faber, Thomas a Kempis, and The Cloud of Unknowing—all of whom Tozer quotes and references positively in The Pursuit of God.

Other Posts related to Tozer and The Pursuit of God
Conclusion of the Carmelite Order Posts or Why I am Writing about A W Tozer
Was A. W. Tozer a Mystic?
A. W. Tozer, the Mystic, Part 1
A. W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God and Augustine
A. W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God, von Hugel, Bernard of Clairvaux, and the
Cloud of Unknowing

A. W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God, the Chinese sage, Laotze, and Faber, the Catholic Hymnwriter
A. W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God, Thomas a Kempis, and Nicholas of Cusa
Unbiblical and/or mystical phrases, in The Pursuit of God by A. W. Tozer
What is so appealing about the The Pursuit of God by Tozer?
JTB series: Scripture compared with some phrases in The Pursuit of God

A. W. Tozer, the Mystic, Part 1

God’s WORD
“Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.”—John 16:3

“For the vile person will speak villany, and his heart will work iniquity, to practise hypocrisy, and to utter error against the LORD, to make empty the soul of the hungry, and he will cause the drink of the thirsty to fail.”—Isaiah 32:6

Tozer is called both a mystic, and a preacher who calls “for evangelicals to return to the authentic, biblical positions that characterized the church when it was most faithful to Christ and His Word.” Though Tozer is elusive regarding his bent towards mysticism, others praise him for it. [Was A. W. Tozer a Mystic?]

Rather than take the word of others, I decided to search Tozer’s writings to see if they contained any mysticism. I will mainly be referencing Tozer’s The Pursuit of God (1948), which I have read a number of times. I also reviewed Tozer’s The Knowledge of the Holy (1961), for mystical references.

In 1963, the year of his death, Tozer wrote, The Christian Book of Mystical Verse, a poetry collection from the saintly mystics (which I won’t be reviewing).

The prefaces to both The Pursuit of God and The Knowledge of the Holy, indicate Tozer was offering what the mystics believe. Tozer is not hiding what he is offering—once you realize he is really speaking from the viewpoint that the mystics are right. Tozer is steeped in the literature of the mystics, but not the language of the Bible, even though he often quotes it or alludes to it.

from Preface to Tozer’s The Pursuit of God

    “…This book is a modest attempt to aid God’s hungry children so to find Him…it is a discovery which my own heart has made of spiritual realities most delightful and wonderful to me. Others before me have gone much farther into these holy mysteries than I have done…”

    Tozer ends with an offer, “if my fire is not large it is yet real, and there may be those who can light their candle at its flame.”

from Preface to Tozer’s Knowledge of the Holy

    “…Were Christians today reading such works as those of Augustine or Anselm a book like this would have no reason for being. But such illuminated masters are known to modern Christians only by name…

    “It is my hope that this small book may contribute somewhat to the promotion of personal heart religion among us; and should a few persons by reading it be encouraged to begin the practice of reverent meditation on the being of God, that will more than repay the labor…”

In The Pursuit of God, Tozer often quotes or positively references Roman Catholic mystics and their writings—Augustine, Nicholas of Cusa, Thomas a Kempis (and “the Voice” from his “Imitation of Christ”), Francis of Assisi, von Hugel, Bernard of Clairvaux, Cloud of Unknowing, Frederick Faber, the Catholic hymn writer, as well as the Chinese sage, Lao-tze.

Though the Carmelites, John of the Cross, Teresa of Avila, and Brother Lawrence, are not mentioned specifically, their mystic belief system is
referred to as a correct way to God—John’s ascent to God, Teresa’s
mystical ecstacy
(including terms such as piercing sweetness), both John
and Teresa’s use of being inflamed with love for God, in which they were
referring to a marriage or “union” with God, and Lawrence’s Practicing
the Presence of God
which referenced, “the All.”

Thirteen years later, in Knowledge of the Holy, Tozer again referenced Augustine, Nicholas of Cusa, Cloud of Unknowing, and Frederick Faber positively. Among the People Tozer added were Richard Rolle, Julian of Norwich, Meister Eckhart, Bernard of Cluny, and Anslem, a mystic scholastic.

God’s WORD
“But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.”—Matthew 15:9

“I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you
into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:

“Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.

“But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.”—Galatians 1:6

Other Posts related to Tozer and The Pursuit of God
Conclusion of the Carmelite Order Posts or Why I am Writing about A W Tozer
Was A. W. Tozer a Mystic?
Tozer the Mystic, Part 2, What is wrong with Pursuing God?
A. W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God and Augustine
A. W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God, von Hugel, Bernard of Clairvaux, and the
Cloud of Unknowing

A. W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God, the Chinese sage, Laotze, and Faber, the Catholic Hymnwriter
A. W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God, Thomas a Kempis, and Nicholas of Cusa
Unbiblical and/or mystical phrases, in The Pursuit of God by A. W. Tozer
What is so appealing about the The Pursuit of God by Tozer?
JTB series: Scripture compared with some phrases in The Pursuit of God