Theoretically the seed, being the Word of God, should produce the same kind of fruit regardless of the spiritual condition of those who scatter it; but it does not work that way. The identical message preached to the heathen by men of differing degrees of godliness will produce different kinds of converts and result in a quality of Christianity varying according to the purity and the power of those who preach it.Normally, I don't voice my own opinion on if a quote is true or false. But with this mess of a quote, I can't NOT say something. To be fair, this is a quote lifted from a book and placed side by side with Matthew 13. Perhaps Tozer later went on to add something to further clarify what he meant. Or maybe he had more in mind another portion of Scripture. Perhaps Matthew 7:15-20.
Christianity will always reproduce itself after its kind. A worldly minded, unspiritual church, when she crosses the ocean to give her witness to people of other tongues and other cultures, is sure to bring forth on other shores a Christianity much like her own.
Not the naked Word only but the character of the witness determines the quality of the convert. The church can do no more than transplant herself. What she is in one land she will be in another. A crab apple does not become a Grimes Golden by being carried from one county to another. God has written His law deep into all life; everything must bring forth after its kind. ~ A.W. Tozer, Of God and Men
If Tozer did have in mind Matthew 13:1-8 when he made this statement, then he's reading into Scripture what he wants to see. He has a passionate point to make: that the modern church isn't holding true and fast to the gospel of Jesus Christ and therefore churches worldwide are weak and puny and miss the mark. But starting with that view point and trying to make Matthew 13 say that is all kinds of wrong.
“Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path. The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.” Matthew 13:18-23It seems Tozer's statement is out of line with Scripture. The farmer--the sower--is Christ himself. The seed being sown is the very word of God, the gospel of Jesus Christ. In some ways, Christ is both the sower and the seed. Say the gospel--the true gospel--is proclaimed by a minister. His job is done if he was faithful to the purity of the Word. Whether the converts be few or many, regardless of IF there were any converts after a message. HE was faithful to the Word, and the Word will be faithful to him. If the minister is NOT faithful to the word, if the minister adds to the Word, or, if the minister subtracts to the Word, then that is another story altogether. Teachers, preachers will be held responsible for the message that they've taught and proclaimed. They are to carefully guard and protect the gospel. To hold fast to the gospel NO MATTER what is going on around them.
If a "minister" a "preacher" a "speaker" proclaims a FALSE gospel, a HALF gospel, a gospel of their own making, then, of course the "converts" of such a gospel will be far from fruitful and faithful. They will prove by their lives that they have never been reborn. But this false, half-true, man-created gospel is proclaimed it is not actually the SEED that is being sown.
The SEED can bear results regardless of who sows it--if and only if--the Seed is the WORD OF GOD. It doesn't matter how charismatic or uncharismatic the sower is. It isn't the style of the minister or the personality of the minister that gets the job done. It is the HOLY SPIRIT.
Seek the Lord while he may be found;
call on him while he is near.
Let the wicked forsake their ways
and the unrighteous their thoughts.
Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them,
and to our God, for he will freely pardon.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
As the rain and the snow
come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. Isaiah 55:6-11
How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” Romans 10:14-15
All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.” John 6:37-40
“No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day. It is written in the Prophets: ‘They will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard the Father and learned from him comes to me. No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father. Very truly I tell you, the one who believes has eternal life. John 6:44-47The Bible teaches that it is by grace and grace alone that we are saved. That we "receive" the seed into the "soil" of our hearts. It is by grace and grace alone that the seed takes root and grows, grows and bears fruit. It is not by the power or worth or quality of the human preacher. It is not by the power, worth, or quality of the listener. If you're saved and your neighbor isn't--it isn't because you're better, smarter, wiser, kinder, lovelier, worthier. The only thing we contribute is SIN and REBELLION. Left on our own, we're all rocky soil.
It is not right when we regard ourselves as responsible for securing converts, and look to our own enterprise and techniques to accomplish what only God can accomplish. To do that is to intrude ourselves into the office of the Holy Ghost, and to exalt ourselves as the agents of the new birth. ~ J.I. PackerNow, I agree with Tozer that the staying true to the message--the Word of God--is essential. That preachers need to be careful to uphold the truth of the gospel, of the Word. That they need to cling to the truth of the Word no matter what. The gospel is something that you absolutely do not compromise on. If he'd said, "STOP SOWING A SEED OF YOUR OWN MAKING. STOP PUTTING ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING BEFORE THE WORD OF GOD. STOP TRYING TO ENTERTAIN YOUR CONGREGATION WITH WHAT THEY WANT TO HEAR." Then I'd have applauded. But instead he seems to be saying, the seed is the same, but, the sower is different. The rocky soil didn't respond because of the sower. The thorny soil didn't respond because of the sower. If the sower isn't righteous and godly, then the seed he's throwing is useless.
© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible