Saturday, April 21, 2012

Book Review: The Root of the Righteous

The Root of the Righteous: Tapping The Bedrock of True Spirituality. A.W. Tozer. 1955/2006. WingSpread Publishers. 186 pages.

One marked difference between the faith of our fathers as conceived by the fathers and the same faith as understood and lived by their children is that the fathers were concerned with the root of the matter, while their present-day descendants seem concerned only with the fruit. 

Dare I say it? I think I loved The Root of the Righteous *even* more than I loved The Knowledge of the Holy. I would definitely consider The Root of the Righteous to be just as much of a must-read as Tozer's beloved classic, The Knowledge of the Holy. It may just be THE BEST book on Christian living that I've read in a while. To clarify, the best general book on Christian living that covers a dozen different subjects of Christian living--as opposed to a "Christian living" book that just focuses on one subject (grace; atonement; prayer; church leadership; worship; assurance of salvation; etc.) Many great, great books just focus one or two subjects. This one truly covers it all. No matter WHERE you are in your faith, in your life, no matter what you're struggling with....this one is just right for meeting your needs.

There are 46 chapters in The Root of the Righteous. Don't be intimidated though. Each chapter is three to four pages in length. This one would be a GREAT book to read devotionally--before or after Bible reading/prayer.

  • The Root of the Righteous
  • We Must Give Time to God
  • God is Easy to Live With
  • Listen to the Man Who Listens to God
  • We Must Hear Worthily
  • That Utilitarian Christ
  • On Receiving Admonition
  • The Great God Entertainment
  • Bible Taught or Spirit Taught?
  • The Terror of the Lord
  • No Regeneration without Reformation
  • Faith is a Perturbing Thing
  • True Faith Brings Committal
  • The Great Disparity
  • Our Enemy Contentment
  • Christ is the Pattern
  • The Cross is a Radical Thing
  • We Must Die If We Would Live
  • Christ Died For Our Hearts
  • We Stand in Christ's Triumph
  • To Be or To Do
  • Make Room for Mystery
  • The Whole Life Must Pray
  • No Saviorhood without Lordship
  • "A Sweet Lute, Sweetly Played"
  • The All-Importance of Motive
  • The Presence More Important Than the Program
  • The World's Most Tragic Waste
  • The Hunger of the Wilderness
  • Our Fruit Will Be What We Are
  • Needed: A Baptism of Clear Seeing
  • Narrow Mansions
  • The Sanctification of Our Desires
  • In Praise of Disbelief
  • Thankfulness As A Moral Therapeutic
  • Understanding Those Dry Spells
  • About Hindrances
  • The Uses of Suffering
  • Praise God for the Furnace
  • Victory in the Guise of Defeat
  • Love of the Unseen is Possible
  • Something Beyond Song
  • Three Degrees of Love
  • We Need Cool Heads
  • We Can Afford to Wait
  • God, the First and the Last

Each chapter is rich--very, very rich--in truth. Some truths *are* hard to hear, you should be warned. Reading Tozer might just challenge and convict you. Especially when he talks about complacency and laziness. But Tozer's passionate zeal, his enthusiasm for God, for the Bible, is super-contagious. And reading Tozer is very inspiring.

Favorite quotes:

The Christian is strong or weak depending upon how closely he has cultivated the knowledge of God. (8)
Progress in the Christian life is exactly equal to the growing knowledge we gain of the Triune God in personal experience. And such experience requires a whole life devoted to it and plenty of time spent at the holy task of cultivating God. God can be known satisfactorily only as we devote time to Him. (9)
No man has any right to offer advice who has not first heard God speak. No man has any right to counsel others who is not ready to hear and follow the counsel of the Lord. True moral wisdom must always be an echo of God's voice. The only safe light for our path is the light which is reflected from Christ, the Light of the World. (16)
A truth fully taught in the Scriptures and verified in personal experience by countless numbers of holy men and women through the centuries might be condensed thus into a religious axiom: No one can know the true grace of God who has not first known the fear of God. (39)
People must be told that the Christian religion is not something they can trifle with. The faith of Christ will command or it will have nothing to do with a man. It will not yield to experimentation. Its power cannot reach any man who is secretly keeping an escape route open in case things get too tough for him. The only man who can be sure he has true Bible faith is the one who has put himself in a position where he cannot go back. (50)
To many Christians Christ is little more than an idea, or at best an ideal; He is not a fact. Millions of professed believers talk as if He were real and act as if He were not. And always our actual position is to be discovered by the way we act, not by the way we talk. We can prove our faith by our committal to it and in no other way. Any belief that does not command the one who holds it is not a real belief. (51)
Orthodox Christianity has fallen to its present low estate from lack of spiritual desire. Among the many who profess the Christian faith, scarcely one in a thousand reveals any passionate thirst for God. (61)
In every Christian's heart there is a cross and a throne, and the Christian is on the throne till he puts himself on the cross; if he refuses the cross he remains on the throne. Perhaps this is at the bottom of the backsliding and worldliness among gospel believers today. We want to be saved but we insist that Christ do all the dying. No cross for us, no dethronement, no dying. (72-3)
We must never underestimate the ability of human beings to get themselves tangled up. Mankind appears to have a positive genius for twisting truth until it ceases to be truth and becomes downright falsehood. By overemphasizing in one place and underemphasizing in another the whole pattern of truth may be so altered that a completely false view results without our being aware of it. This fact was brought forcibly to mind recently by hearing again the discredited doctrine of a divided Christ so widely accepted in many religious circles. It goes like this: Christ is both Savior and Lord. A sinner may be saved by accepting Him as Savior without yielding to Him as Lord. The practical outworking of this doctrine is that the evangelist presents and the seeker accepts a divided Christ. We have all heard the tearful plea made to persons already saved to accept Christ as Lord and thus enter into the victorious life. Almost all deeper life teaching is based upon this fallacy, but because it contains a germ of truth its soundness is not questioned. Anyway, it is extremely simple and quite popular, and in addition to these selling points it is also ready-made for both speaker and hearer and requires no thinking by either. So sermons embodying this heresy are freely preached, books are written and songs composed, all saying the same thing; and all saying the wrong thing, except, as I have said, for a feeble germ of truth lying inert at the bottom. Now, it seems odd that none of these teachers ever noticed that the only true object of saving faith is none other than Christ Himself; not the "saviorhood" of Christ nor the "lordship" of Christ, but Christ himself. God does not offer salvation to the one who will believe on one of the offices of Christ, nor is an office of Christ ever presented as an object of faith. Neither are we exhorted to believe on the atonement, nor on the cross, nor on the priesthood of the Savior. All of these are embodied in the person of Christ, but they are never separated nor is one ever isolated from the rest. Much less are we permitted to accept one of Christ's offices and reject another. The notion that we are so permitted is a modern day heresy, I repeat, and like every heresy it has had evil consequences among Christians. No heresy is ever entertained with impunity. We pay in practical failure for our theoretical errors. It is altogether doubtful whether any man can be saved who comes to Christ for His help but with no intention to obey Him. Christ's saviorhood is forever united to His lordship. (95-7)
The man who has met God is not looking for something--he has found it. he is not searching for light--upon him the Light has already shined. His certainty may seem bigoted, but his is the assurance of one who knows by experience. His religion is not hearsay; he is not a copy, not a facsimile print; he is an original from the hand of the Holy Ghost. (181)

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

1 comment:

hopeinbrazil said...

"We want to be saved but we insist that Christ do all the dying."

Thanks for this and the other quotes. I'm not familiar with this book and will add it to my list of "must reads".