A.W. Tozer: a study in heart versus head

A Passion for God: The Spiritual Journey of A. W. Tozer by Lyle Dorsett

In Tim Challies review of Tozer’s biography he says,

“Those who have enjoyed Tozer’s writings will find here the life of a man who can and should be much admired for his deep spirituality and for his overwhelming love for Scripture. They will find here also the sad reality that Tozer, as have so many men before and after him, was willing to sacrifice his family on the altar of ministry. They will wrestle with the great irony that as Tozer grew closer to his Savior he seemed to grow more and more distant from his wife and family. His life stands as both an inspiration and a solemn warning.”

Across the blogosphere very similar comments have been made, his was just the most eloquent.

I think that one further thing, and possibly the most important thing, can be learned from this. Can it really be that he “grew closer to his Savior” but “seemed to grow more and more distant from his wife and family”? I would say that it seems that Tozer subsituted “Knowledge of the Holy” for “relationship with the Holy.” I have read all of Tozer’s work and love it and have grown a lot from it and think it stands the test of time and nothing revealed about him personally will change that. I just think that as a result, bloggers have been letting him off the hook. Had a more recent theologian had similar revelations made about him I imagine it would not be so friendly.

1 Corinthians 13

1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.

2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.

3 If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Drawing closer to God (who is Love according to 1 John 4:7-8) should enable deeper love relationships with our family, friends and the lost.

1 John 4:7-8

7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.

8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.

If that is not occuring one has to reflect on whether they really are just learning about God and not getting to know Him. I know I have taken this journey and it was painful to realize I knew alot about doctrine and theology, but very little about the heart of God.

There is a lot to learn from Tozer’s story, but we must be willing to look honestly at both his story and our own.