Friday, January 23, 2015

Book Review: Living As A Christian

Living As A Christian: Teachings from First Peter. A.W. Tozer. 2010. Regal. 224 pages. [Source: Bought]

A.W. Tozer's Living As A Christian is a thought-provoking read covering topics from 1 Peter. Each chapter is about a specific verse or passage. One chapter surprised me by being about a verse in Jude. In this one, the focus is on the Christian life. What is a Christian? What does it mean to be a Christian? to live as a Christian? How does Christianity define believers? How should it be defining believers? What are people getting right? What are people getting wrong?

Tozer's writing style is great, if you've read him before you know just what to expect and probably won't need convincing. For those new to Tozer, his style is honest and zealous, very much tell it like it is. Tozer's passion for God is evident on every page. Tozer's love for the Word of God is also evident. Here was a man who took Scriptures seriously. He urges his readers to take God seriously, to take their faith seriously. To not be casual or carnal. But to surrender all to God. If I had to choose one word, however, to describe his writing, I'd choose RELEVANT. You might think, perhaps, that because Tozer died in the early 1960s, that he'd have nothing relevant or worthwhile to say to today's generation. But his works are rich in truth and timeless. His message, I imagine, is even more needed today than it was in his own generation.

If you're new to "theology" or "christian living," I'd say Tozer is a great place to start. In the Institutes of the Christian Religion by John Calvin he writes, "The theologian's task is not to divert the ears with chatter, but to strengthen consciences by teaching things true, sure, and profitable. (164)" When I read that I almost instantly thought of Tozer!!!

Table of Contents:

  • The Christian Believes In Things He Cannot See (1 Peter 1:8)
  • The Christian Understands the Truth About Salvation (1 Peter 1:10-12)
  • The Christian is Redeemed From A Foolish Way of Life (1 Peter 1:18-19)
  • The Christian's Hope Versus All Other Hope (1 Peter 1:19-20)
  • The Fundamental Difference Between the Christian and the Non Christian (1 Peter 1:22)
  • The Christian Puts Aside Certain Things (1 Peter 2:1-3)
  • Christianity: An Experience NOT An Experiment (1 Peter 2:3-5)
  • The Christian Believes He Is Exactly What God Says He Is (1 Peter 2:8-10)
  • The Christian's Life Among Non Christians (1 Peter 2:11)
  • The Christian's Presence Among the Unsaved (1 Peter 2:12)
  • The Christian's Relation to Government and Authority (1 Peter 2:13-16)
  • The Christian Cannot Be Harmed (1 Peter 3:13)
  • The Christian Believes The Whole Bible (1 Peter 3:18; 1 Peter 4:6)
  • The Christian Is A Stranger In A Strange Land (1 Peter 4:1-5)
  • The Christian Bears His Suffering With Joy (1 Peter 4:12-13)
  • The Christian Doesn't Have A Care in the World (1 Peter 5:7)
  • The Christian Stands Firm Against False Teaching (Jude 3, 4) 

Top Ten Quotes from Living As A Christian:
If we could ever make people see three things about themselves, I think we could settle many of our problems. One is what wonderful creatures they are; second, what hopelessly sinful creatures they are; and third, what great hope there is in Christ.
The simplest explanation of any text is just what it says. Just read it, get on your knees and take it at its plainest meaning. As Mark Twain quipped: “Most people are bothered by those passages of Scripture they don’t understand, but for me I have always noticed that the passages that bother me are those I do understand.”
We never should separate the gift from the source, the gift from the Giver. We never should say, “I have forgiveness.” We should say, “God has forgiven.” We never should say, “I have eternal life.” We should say, “God has given me eternal life and Christ is my life.” The point is, God never separates Himself from His gifts. Whatever God gives, He cannot but give Himself in it. If a man has been forgiven, what has happened to him is that the forgiving God has touched him. God has forgiven him, that is true, but it is God that matters more than the forgiveness. If a man has eternal life, it is that he might know Jesus Christ. That word “know” is “experience” again. We must be careful that we do not separate God’s gifts from God Himself… What is wrong with Christians in our day is that they have the gifts of God but have forgotten the God of the gifts. There is a difference between noble, strong, vigorous and satisfying spiritual experience and the other kind of spiritual experience, which takes the gifts of God but forgets the Giver.
We are pilgrims journeying home, and the only real enemies, the only dangerous enemies, are within us. 
Truth is never found in only one verse; truth is found in one verse plus another verse plus another verse plus another verse until the whole truth of God lies before you.

God never made me a judge over anybody, and He never made you a judge. He made us witnesses, but not judges.
When a truth has been revealed in the Bible, our business is to find out what that truth is and then in all of our teaching conform to that truth—not edit it or change it, but let it stand just as it is. It is the truth of God declared as it is, and do not try to change it… For me to pray a lifetime and preach a lifetime about God in a way that was not true to what God is really would be a terrible, tragic calamity. To believe in a God that was a composite of ideas drawn from philosophy and psychology and other religions and superstitions would be eternally disastrous. No, God is what He is and we had better learn what God is and then conform our teachings to God… So we had better make the study of this Bible the business of our lives to find out what God is and then conform our views to God.
You cannot know the truth about yourself unless you first know the truth about God. You came from the hand of God, and back to God you must go for better, for worse, for judgment or for blessings.

Dare to believe something and dare to stand for God… We are not called to smile and smile and smile. We are called sometimes to frown and rebuke with all long-suffering and doctrine. We must contend but not be contentious. We must preserve truth but injure no man. We must destroy error but not harm people… Dare to preserve truth without hurting people.
Let us by the grace of God, with charity for all and hatred for none, but determination to be loyal to truth if it kills us, put our chin a little higher and our knees a little lower, and let’s look a little further into the throne of God, for Jesus Christ sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty. And let us be courageous, attentive, severe but kind. Let us pray in the Holy Ghost, keep ourselves in the love of God, build ourselves up in the most holy faith and win all we can until the day of the glory and the song. Amen.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

1 comment:

hopeinbrazil said...

I agree with all of this! Another word I'd use to describe him is "solid." You would be hardpressed to find anything fluffy in Tozer's writings.