Monthly Archives: February 2016

A. W. Tozer The Lady And The Tiger

News has recently come out of Germany of an appeal to Roman Catholics “not to put up with split of Christianity,” but rather to strive toward a “reunification in faith of the Christian churches.” The appeal was made by Dr. Julius Doepfner, Bishop of Wuerzburg, who, we are forced to assume, speaks for the Catholic Church.

Some Catholics, the bishop explained, feel that the desired condition could be achieved if “those who destroy the unity of the Church should return”; that is, if all Protestants should simply come back home like prodigals and say, “Father, we have sinned.” But the bishop wants to be fair. It is not easy, he admits.

“If we look back to the Reformation in Germany,” he says, “we recognize with great grief that there were severe shortcomings in Church life which contributed towards the separation of Luther and the Evangelical communities from the Roman Catholic Church.”

The bishop outlined several ways in which Catholics could help establish church unity, among these beings (1) Prayer and penance to win God’s grace; (2) cultivating a “loving understanding for non-Catholics” as prerequisite for establishing an honest contact with them; (3) “clarifying talks” with non-Catholics, conducted in strict adherence to the instructions of the Holy Sec and bishops; (4) “trustful cooperation” with non-Catholics in “the common tasks of our time.”

“In all questions of public life,” Bishop Doepfner declared, “we Catholics want ot keep ourselves free from all confessional narrowmindedness, at the same time asking our Evangelical brothers to show the same liberality.”

This fits into a pattern for world conquest which is currently being promoted by the Catholic Church. It sounds like a cautious confession that the Roman Church has been wrong on some matters and is willing to compromise with Protestants in order to achieve religious unity. But that is just what it most positively is not. Apparently the latest directive from the Vatican is that Catholics should try to win bemused Protestants to the Catholic faith by talking sweet to them and emphasizing the things they hold in common. In the United States the Knights of Columbus are currently running large ads in the public press aiming to convince unwary Protestants that they have had an erroneous impression of the Catholic Church and especially of the Pope. These pieces are well written, smooth and remarkably persuasive.

The best answer to this Roman Catholic purring is to quote the famous words of Emerson, “Your actions speak so loud that I cannot hear what you say.” For the Catholic Church does not compromise on anything. That may be set down as a simple historic fact. “The voice of the Church is the voice of God,” and serious-minded men do not agree to compromise on the voice of God. And The Catholics are serious-minded-we’ll gladly accord them that virtue.

The underlying philosophy of Roman Catholicism forbids that the Catholic Church should ever adjust her differences with Evangelicals. Every dogma held by the Roman Church must be believed upon pain of damnation. This includes everything from the infallibility of the Pope to the Assumption of the Birgin. Imagine asking a Catholic to keep his mind “free from all confessional narrowmindedness” where the Virgin or the Pope are concerned! The basic differences between the positions held by the Roman Church and Protestants are of such a nature as never to be reconciled. Catholics cannot compromise on threat of damnation, and Protestants (it is to be devoutly hoped) will not.

The Roman Church is an authoritarian church, requiring of its adherents absolute submission to all its teachings. There must be no doubts, no mental reservations, where official dogmas are concerned. And certainly there dare be no acknowledgment that Rome may be mistaken on anything that has to do with doctrine. She is right, and all beliefs must come to her for approval. The rightness or wrongness of any teaching is settled not by an appeal to the Scriptures but by a dogmatic fiat of the Roman Church.

Those acquainted with the history and doctrines of the Catholic Church will not be taken in by her latest attempt to bring free Christians back under her rule. Her actions over the last several hundred years, and the doctrines which she so boldly declares, all go to prove that there is only one way for Evangelical Christians to unite with her, and that is to forsake the teachings of the Scriptures, accept the false dogmas of Rome and come back on their knees to the authority of hte Roman Sec.

So, Dr. Doepfner, we Protestants will just have to reject your kind invitation to walk with you. The following limerick may not have been translated from the Latin nor received pontifical approval, but it carries a warning which we Evangelicals cannot forget:

There once was a lady of Niger
Who went for a ride on a tiger.
They came back from he ride
With the lady inside,
And a smile on the face of the tiger.

A. W. Tozer The Lady And The Tiger is from Alliance Weekly 31 March 1951

A. W. Tozer, Evan Roberts

Evan Roberts is dead.

The man who was God’s voice in the Welsh Revival of a half-century ago went quietly to sleep in a Cardiff hospital the last week of January, this year. His passing excited scarcely a ripple of attention among the busy Christians of our day. So soon does the Church forget her prophets.

In the first decade of the twentieth century the name of Evan Robers was known from around the world wherever believers prayed and waited for the moving of God in revival power. His name became synonymous with revival. It could not be spoken apart from thoughts of repentance and strong crying and tears; it called up pictures of night-long vigils, of holy sessions of psalm singing, of spiritual awakenings and powerful conversions and transformations of life that caught on like a forest fire and spread far beyond old Moriah chapel in Loughor where it began.

Evan Roberts was in the tradition of the prophets of Israel. He scarcely has a counterpart in Church history, and there is no one living today who reminds us of him. He stepped out of obscurity to do a work of almost frightening power and then stepped back into obscurity again. Like some of the judges of Israel, he was not a durable man; he was not built for the long stretch; he concentrated the work of fifty years into a few months and then went into partial retirement from which he steadfastly refused to be called even by the most earnest pleadings of his brethren. But, says one historian, he accomplished in two weeks that many ministries would be satisfied to accomplish in a lifetime.

Roberts was in many ways a spiritual revolutionist. He shattered ecclesiastical conventions and broke all the rules in the clerical handbooks. He imitated no one and those wh have tried to imitate him have failed miserably. he lacked everything a man is supposed to need to make him successful a religious leader. He quit school before he was twelve years old; his intellectual gifts were not large; he came of common stock and worked as a miner and blacksmith before embarking on his spiritual crusade. He was not a great preacher. His theology was felt rather than learned and his doctrines were few and simple. He had no press agent; he knew no great men; he had no sponsors, and he operated on next to no budget at all.

How God bent him and broke him is known secondhand to most of us. His spiritual emotions were so intense that they shook him body and soul. Dan Evans, who slept by his side, would be wakened often by the mighty quakings and strong cryings that visited his brother Evan during the night. His burden for his family and for lost men and women everywhere was so great that it threatened to destroy him, and when it subsided for a while he would weep his heart out over what he called his “coldness.”

Though he was never a fluent speaker there was about his utterances the unmistakable sound of inspiration. When he spoke he told of things he had inwardly experienced. He was hearing God’s voice, not an echo. “I have to say strange things,” he said once. “I have to open my mouth and speak out. And thank Heaven, those things are very effectual. The Spirit convicts powerfully.”

There we catch the first hint of what made him run. He was sold out to the Holy Spirit. He enjoyed and taught the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Either he had never heard the arguments and counter arguments about the Spirit that distressed the Church and divided believers or he had been lifted so far above them by personal experience that they failed to hinder him. “It is on thing for a man to be converted,” he said, “and quite another for him to receive the baptism of the Spirit.”

For sinners he had a simple formula (which he insisted God had revealed to him). It was (1) confess to God every sin in your past life; (2) put away anything doubtful out of your life; (3) surrender yourself completely to the obedience of the Spirit; (4) confess Christ publicly. For Christians he had one word: Open you heart wide to the incoming of the Spirit; ask God to fill you with the Holy Spirit and believe He does it. After that it is just a matter of obedience. And all this worked, gloriously, powerfully among people of every age and class wherever the flaming evangelist went.

The marks of God upon him and his work were many. Apart from all emotional evidences (which some cautious persons would reject) these remain: Under his preaching sinners actually repented of their sins and thereafter led lives of great moral purity. His work affected the churches for good. He asked nothing and gave everything, no one could charge him with self-seeking. His converts came out from the world, lived like New Testament disciples and sought to glorify the Triune God.

Evan Roberts is dead. He leaves us with the felling that we are gazing upon an extinct volcano. We wonder whether the favored Church will ever see his like again.

A. W. Tozer, Evan Roberts was published in Alliance Weekly 24 March 1951

A. W. Tozer The Next Chapter After The Last

The four Gospels tell the story of the life and ministry of Jesus, and in so doing, they follow accurately the ordinary course of biography, giving the facts of His birth, growth, work, death and burial. That is the way with biography: the very word itself suggests it, for it comes from bios, life, and graphein, to write, and means the written history of a person’s life. So says Noah Webster.

Now, when we look at the Gospels we note an odd (and wonderful) thing. An extra chapter is added. Why?

Biography, by its own definition, must confine itself to the record of the life of an individual. That part of the book which deals with the family tree is not biography, but history, and that part which follows the record of the subject’s death is not biography either. It may be appraisal, or eulogy, or criticism, but not biography, for the reason that the “bios” is gone: the subject is dead. The part that tells of his death is properly the last chapter.

The only place in world literature where this order is broken is in the four Gospels. They record the story of the man Jesus from birth to death, and end like every other book of biography has ended since the art of writing was invented. Matthew says, “And when Joseph had taken the body he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and laid it in his own new tomb.” Mark says, “And he (Joseph) bought fine linen, and took him (Jesus) down, and wrapped him in the linen, and laid him in a sepulchre which was hewn out of a rock.” Luke writes, “And the women also, which came with him from Galilee, followed after, and beheld the sepulchre, and how his body was laid.” John says, “There was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre…There laid they Jesus.” They all agree: Jesus was dead. The life about which they had been writing was gone. The biography was ended.

Then, for the only time in this history of human thought, a biographer adds to his book a new section which is authentic biography and begins to write a chapter to follow the last chapter. Then for the only time in this history of human thought, a biographer adds to his book a new section which is authentic biography and begins to write a chapter to follow the last chapter. This time the story did not end with a funeral. The Subject, whose story should have ended at death, was once again back among men to challenge new writers to try to find enough paper and enough ink to write the rest of the story of the life that can never end. Whatever is written of Him now is written of a living man. He was dead, but He is alive forevermore.

That such a thing could be was intimated by the miracles of restoration which our Lord performed during His earthly ministry. The widow’s son was brought back to life for a brief time; at our Lord’s gentle call Jairus’s little daughter rose from her bed of death; and Lazarus, at Christ’s command, came forth bound hand and foot. These were but vague disclosures of what was to come, and were at best only temporary suspensions of the inexorable law which demands that death shall always follow life, death complete and final. For these all died again, and the rule of biography was upheld. Each ended in a sepulcher at last. And that sepulcher was the period at the end of the last chapter.

What a perpetual wonder it is, then, that the biography of Jesus had to be resumed. Luke added not merely another chapter, but a whole book. The book of Acts was a logical necessity. “He showed himself alive after his passion,” writes Luke. The rest of the New Testament gives us some idea of what He is doing now, and prophecy reveals a little of what He will be doing through the ages to come.

That next chapter after the last is the source of all the Christian’s hope, for it assures us that our Lord has put death in its place and has delivered us from the ancient curse. Death did not end the activities of our Lord; it did not even interrupt them, for while His body lay in Joseph’s new tomb, He was preaching to the spirits in prison (1 Peter 3:18-20). And after three days, His spirit was reunited with His body and the new chapter began, the chapter which can have no ending.

Had Christ not risen from the dead, His life, beautiful as it was, would have been a human tragedy. Since He did in fact rise, His life has been shown to be an unrelieved triumph. The blood, the pain, the rejection, the agony of dying, the cold, stiff body and the colder tomb-these belong to the former days. The days that are now are days of hope and life and everlasting freedom.

What is true of Christ is true also of all who believe in Him. How many saints since New Testament times have lived and hoped and labored and worshiped, only to grow old and bent and to drop at last, weak and helpless, into the open grave. If that was for them the end, then we Christians would be of all men most miserable. But it was not the end. For all of God’s true children there will be another chapter, a chapter that will begin with the resurrection and go on as long as eternity endures.

The powers of death have done their worst;
But Christ their legions hath dispersed;
Let shouts of holy joy outburst: Alleluia!

The three sad days are quickly sped;
He rises glorious from the dead;
All glory to our risen Head! Alleluia!

He brake the age-bound chains of hell;
The bars from heaven’s high portals fell;
Let hymns of praise His triumph tell, Alleluia!

Mediaeveval Latin

A. W. Tozer The Next Chapter After The Last is from Alliance Weekly 17 March 1951

A. W. Tozer The Growing Movement Toward World Union

The ideas embodied in the late Wendell Wilkie’s famous book, “One World,” are finding sympathetic reception in the minds of increasing numbers of persons in every part of the world. Wilkie should not have the credit for originating the ideas, however, for they had their genesis in the hearts of advanced thinkers long before Mr. Wilkie was born. What he did was to give the whole notion of the essential oneness of mankind dramatic accent at a favorable moment in world history

At first glance the picture of the whole family of mankind uniting in one great brotherhood looks good, very good indeed. That all men everywhere should some day clasp hands to form a worldwide circle of love and good will has been the dream of the centuries. Robert Burns wrote the ringing words

For a’ that, and a’ that,
It’s coming yet, for a’ that,
That man to man the world o’er
Shall brothers be for a’ that.

The first half of the 20th century has seen some noble attempts to unite the peoples of the world in one common bond. The League of Nations was one such effort. Woodrow Wilson believed so fervently in the brotherhood of man that he sought to bring the United States into the League, and it is said, died brokenhearted when he failed in his purpose. The present United Nations organization has the same thing in mind-to achieve a vast super body that will unite the divided peoples of the earth in ties of peace and mutual understanding.

Undoubtedly there is much to be said for the one-world idea. So much, in fact, that anyone who expresses a doubt of its ultimate soundness auto­matically invites the charge that he is a throwback to the days of feudalism, a narrow chauvinist, a religious bigot and a churlish misanthropist. And it is not hard to see why people flare up so violently against the objector. They are sick in heart and weary of world confusion. They have had enough of “wars and rumors of wars.” They have seen “nation rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom” too long, and they are sick of the whole thing. They yearn for a long peace that will relieve them and their children and grandchildren from the horrors and sufferings that war brings.

We confess we should like to go along with the modern movement toward world unity, and we might do it except for two considerations. One is that in their move toward unity, the nations are not being drawn together, they are being driven to­gether and that which drives them is fear. The 60 nations of the UN do not love each other, they fear each other, and they fear the rest of the world. And if every nation in the world were finally included in one huge superstate, the tie that bound them would be the same-mutual distrust and hate. And human nature being what it is, and God being who He is, nothing that rests upon fear can be permanent.

It is only being realistic to state that the nations of the world are motivated by hate and fear. Even in the United Nations the members do not trust each other, much less love each other. They muddle along like gamblers, bluffing and concealing and taking every advantage of fear and self-interest among the members to gain desired ends.

While a few superior men dream of true brotherhood, the masses of mankind are filled with jealousy, envy, hate and greed. World leaders are too often motivated by lust for power or by the selfish desire to gain and hold high position. A few (those on our side!) are truly devoted to the welfare of mankind, but for the most part, kings, presidents, prime ministers and high dignitaries generally think little of the good of the people or the future of the world. Men are basically bad, and all the talk about universal brotherhood is simply eyewash. The orators are plain scared, or they are trying to sell us a bill of goods. And we won’t buy.

The second reason for rejecting the doctrine of world brotherhood is that it is out of accord with the teaching of the Scriptures. Any unity that may be achieved among nations will be but a temporary thing, and will be exploited by the coming Anti­christ to secure his evil ends. Teachers of prophecy do not agree on all details, but the consensus among them is that the world is to see the rise of a superman who will unite mankind (or at least a large part of it) and set himself up as the divinely appointed world ruler, and long-desired Fuehrer of the race. This will be the false christ who will rise and shine for a brief time before the second coming of the true Christ.

It is impossible within the confines of a few pages to quote the Scriptures bearing on this topic. But the Bible is there, and anyone interested may read for himself. It could be that the present wide move­ment toward world union is a harbinger of the new age. It would pay us to search the Scriptures. They are a sure word “whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts.”

A. W. Tozer The Growing Movement Toward World Union was first published in Alliance Weekly March 10 1951.