Tozer on Worship and Entertainment
I just finished a book by A. W. Tozer called Tozer on Worship and Entertainment. Tozer is one of my favorite writers of another generation. He pastored Southside Alliance Church in Chicago for 31 years in the early to mid 1900s. He was a prolific writer and self-taught theologian. One of my favorite books of Tozer’s is Knowledge of the Holy, a Christian classic on the attributes of God.
Worship and Entertainment is a compilation of sermon quotes and other Tozer writings surrounding this issue. The title says it all–what Tozer felt about the embracing and harnessing of culture within the local church. He was adamently against it. And though Tozer takes a dogmatic stance, (many of his points I found hard to accept and had to filter some of his conclusions with my own interpretation of Scripture and the believer’s role within culture) you have to appreciate his consistency of thought on this issue throughout all of his writings and sermons. In spite of my disagreement on some conclusions, there are countless treasures and takeaways in this book that caused me to reevaluate much of what I believe and practice–particularly as it involves my primary contribution to the local church, namely, worship leading. And even though Tozer went to be with the Lord nearly 50 years ago, the prophetic truths he preached to his generation have never been more applicable. Indeed, it’s as if he was writing to the American church in 2009. This needs to be the next book you read.
Here are a few takeaways:
- The #1 Gem: “Christianity has been watered down until the solution is so weak that if it were poison it would not hurt anyone, and if it were medicine it would not cure anyone!” (p.170)
- “For multitudes of professed Christians today the Holy Spirit is not a necessity. They have learned to cheer their hearts and warm their hands at other fires.” (p. 106)
- “What we need more than we need anything else is a restoration of the vision of the Most High God. The honor of God has been lost to men and the God of today’s Christianity is a weakling–a little cheap, palsy God that you can run and pal around with. He’s ‘the man upstairs.’ He’s the fellow that can help you when you’re in difficulty and not bother you too much when you’re not.” (p. 54)
- “Why should believing Christians want everything pre-cooked, pre-digested, sliced and salted, and expect that God must come and help us eat and hold the food to our baby lips while we pound the table and splash–and we think that is Christianity! Brethren, it is not. It is a degenerate bastard breed that has no right to be called Christianity.” (p. 116)
- “When the Church joins up with the world it is the true Church no longer but only a pitiful hybrid thing, an object of smiling contempt to the world and an abomination to the Lord.” (p. 171)
- “It is scarcely possible in most places to get anyone to attend a meeting where the only attraction is God. One can only conclude that God’s professed children are bored with Him, for they must be wooed to meeting with a stick of striped candy in the form of religious movies, games and refreshments.” (p. 120)
- “I don’t mind telling you that most of the people we say we are trying to reach will never come to a church to see a lot of amateur actors putting on a home-talent show.” (p. 110)