AW Tozer: 10 quotes from a 20th century prophet

AW Tozer was one of the great 20th century preachers.

The writer and preacher AW Tozer was profoundly influential during his lifetime (1897-1963) and his books are still widely read today. Born in a tiny farming community in Pennsylvania, he was entirely self-taught. However, he read deeply in literature and theology and thought about what he read – one of his sayings was, "You should think 10 times more than you read." He had a deep and intense prayer life which showed itself in all he wrote. 

Tozer was a masterly preacher, with a gift for pithy phrases and rapier-sharp insights into the Bible and the culture of his time. Much of what he said is just as relevant today. Here are 10 AW Tozer quotes that speak powerfully in today's world.

1. We need never shout across the spaces to an absent God. He is nearer than our own soul, closer than our most secret thoughts.

2. When you kill time, remember that it has no resurrection.

3. If man had his way, the plan of redemption would be an endless and bloody conflict. In reality, salvation was bought not by Jesus' fist, but by His nail-pierced hands; not by muscle but by love; not by vengeance but by forgiveness; not by force but by sacrifice.

4. We might be wise to follow the insight of the enraptured heart rather than the more cautious reasoning of the theological mind.

5. What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us. ...Worship is pure or base as the worshiper entertains high or low thoughts of God.

6. Any faith that does not command the one who holds it is not a real belief; it is a pseudo belief only. And it might shock some of us profoundly if we were brought suddenly face to face with our beliefs and forced to test them in the fires of practical living.

7. Religion today is not transforming people; rather it is being transformed by the people. It is not raising the moral level of society; it is descending to society's own level, and congratulating itself that it has scored a victory because society is smilingly accepting its surrender.

8. The cross of popular evangelicalism is not the cross of the New Testament. It is, rather, a new bright ornament upon the bosom of a self-assured and carnal Christianity whose hands are indeed the hands of Abel, but whose voice is the voice of Cain. The old cross slew men; the new cross entertains them. The old cross condemned; the new cross amuses. The old cross destroyed confidence in the flesh; the new cross encourages it. The old cross brought tears and blood; the new cross brings laughter.

9. Your poor heart, in which God put appreciation for everlastingness, will not take electronic gadgets in lieu of eternal life. Something inside of you is too big for that, too terrible, too wonderful. God has set everlastingness in your heart. All the things of this world are here for but a moment and then are gone.

10. If the Holy Spirit was withdrawn from the church today, 95 per cent of what we do would go on and no one would know the difference. If the Holy Spirit had been withdrawn from the New Testament church, 95 per cent of what they did would stop, and everybody would know the difference.