The State of Christianity – Is This Guy Just a Grumpy Old Man?
AW Tozer lived several decades ago (1897-1963), but it seems not much has changed since then. In his book Pursuit of God, (First written in 1948)Tozer unloads on contemporary evangelical Christianity saying generally it is devoid of people who know how to long for and seek God. See if you his analysis of his own time applies to today. He writes:
The failure to see this is the cause of every serious breakdown in modern evangelicalism. The idea of cultivation and exercise, so dear to the saints of old, has now no place in our total religious picture. It is too slow, too common. We now demand glamour and fast flowing dramatic action. A generation of Christians reared among push buttons and automatic machines is impatient of slower and less direct methods of reaching their goals. We have been trying to apply machine-age-methods to our relations with God. We read our chapter, have our short devotions and rush away, hoping to make up for our deep inward bankruptcy by attending another gospel meeting or listening to another thrilling story told by a religious adventurer lately returned from afar.
The tragic results of this spirit are all about us: Shallow lives, hollow religious philosophies, the preponderance of the element of fun in gospel meetings, the glorification of men, trust in religious externalities, quasi-religious fellowships, salesmanship methods, the mistaking of dynamic personality for the power of the Spirit. These and such as these are symptoms of an evil disease, a deep and serious malady of the soul.
For this great sickness that is upon us no one person is responsible, and no Christian is wholly free from blame. We have all contributed, directly or indirectly, to this sad state of affairs. We have been blind to see, or too timid to speak out, or too self-satisfied to desire anything better than the poor, average diet with which others appear satisfied. To put it differently, we have accepted one another’s notions, copied one another’s lives and made one another’s experiences the model for our own. And for a generation the trend has been downward. Now we have reached a low place of sand and burnt wire grass and, worst of all, we have made the Word of Truth conform to our experience and accepted this low plane as the very pasture of the blessed.”
Was Tozer out of touch? Was he just a grumpy old man that is now dead and gone – and thank goodness.
Was he right about his own day and is he still right about ours?
I’ll speak now only for myself; I sense a lot of his critique in me. I see this in me.
We have the best programs and experiences that budgets can buy, but do we seek after God? Or do we simply live like the god we have created?
I think it is worth thinking about.