Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Book Review: Voice of a Prophet

Voice of a Prophet. A.W. Tozer. 2014. Regal. 208 pages. [Source: Bought]

I definitely enjoyed reading A.W. Tozer's Voice of a Prophet. Even when I found myself disagreeing at times with Tozer, I was thoroughly engaged. (Chances are good there will be a round of True or False with A.W. Tozer coming soon.)

So what is this book about? Well, Tozer has words for the church and about the church. Prophets spoke God's message--not their own--to God's people. It was a very rare case indeed when the message was well-received and popular. People do have a tendency--no matter the century--to want to hear what they want, to hear what will flatter them most and challenge them least. Tozer is asking where are the men who speak for God today? Where are the men who will speak the truth boldly to this generation? He claims that instead of prophets, today the church is filled with 'sons of prophets.' He writes, "To them it is important to interpret the message in such a way as to fit present circumstances and culture. They do not want to do anything that would cause any harm or embarrassment to the culture around them." And, "The thing I cannot understand or accept is the entertainment aspect of today’s sons of the prophets. For some reason, they go to Hollywood to get their authority these days. In all of this, the sons of the prophets are careful to leave out any offensive parts. They are very selective about the truth they present. What they present is true, but what they leave out is devastating." He asserts that we have more false prophets than prophets today.

Tozer examines the lives and messages of biblical prophets: Isaiah, Jacob, Abraham, Elijah, Elisha, etc. He looks closely at the Bible, at how God used 'ordinary' people to do extraordinary things.

Tozer's tone is bold and zealous. I'm not sure Tozer knew another way to convey his message!!! It is his zeal for the Lord that I appreciate most. It is his love for God, his love for the Word of God, his uncompromising tell-it-like-it-is approach that makes him timeless.

Favorite quotes:
When the church turns her back on the past, she has no sense of her future. She is like a ship without a rudder, floundering in a vast sea of uncertainty.
It is my humble opinion that when a person loses sight of the origins of the Church, it no longer is the Church. Therefore, the question is, what is it? Have we come to a stage in this generation that the so-called church is promoting everything and anything that will add to its numbers?
Heresy is presenting truth but conveniently leaving out some of the truth.
When we sensationalize the gospel message, we out of necessity must take it out of context. There was nothing sensational about dying on the cross. To try to sensationalize this is to miss the whole focus of the crucifixion. To turn the crucifixion into entertainment is about as blasphemous as you can get.
To take the character of God and twist it in such a way as to make God out to be someone He is not must be condemned for what it is. To redefine God in terms that help someone’s personal agenda can only be called blasphemous.
The false prophet would tell you that if you are a Christian you should not experience any bad times. Everything should go wonderfully for you. You should prosper and be successful in everything you touch your hand to. That sounds fine, but it has no root in the Word of God. What it does do is take the focus off what God has for us.
A wise prophet gives his message from God and then gets out of the way. No prophet hangs around for the accolades of the people, because they are not coming. A prophet’s job is done when he has delivered God’s message.
We have tried to make God in our image, and because we have made Him in our image, we think we can explain everything He is supposed to do. If you can explain everything about God, it really isn’t God.
I charge that in the modern evangelical church we are not consciously aware of a Presence. We are not consciously aware of God. We do not hear God’s voice; we hear only a recording of His voice. We do not see God’s face; we see only a painting of His face. We hear not the sound of His voice; we hear but an echo of that sound. We are always once removed from God.
When we stop looking at a picture of God and begin looking at God; when we stop hearing the echo and hear God’s voice itself; when instead of having God in history we have Him in experience, we will begin to know what Abram knew when he fell on his face before God.
We are to become the incarnated Word, walking around giving flesh to the doctrines we believe.
It is not the presence of others that cures loneliness; it is the presence of God.
The Bible was given to be a path leading us to God; and when the Bible has led us to God, and we have experienced God in the crisis of encounter, the Bible has done its work. It is not enough that you should memorize Scripture.
The one essential thing we need to remember is that the glory of God is our chief objective in life, not the winning of souls. The winning of souls always comes second to the glory of God. But God, being who He is and the kind and loving God that He is, has so arranged it that the more He is glorified, the more people are saved. So, it works better to glorify God first.
© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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