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Hero Series - A. W. Tozer

Updated on October 1, 2012

It is hard to find someone to look up to as a Christian. Many times, role models disappoint. Though the title of these hubs do contain the word hero in it. I would like those reading to know that the only reason these people are heroes to me is because Jesus Christ was within them. It is He in them that causes me to admire them and as usual, all glory goes to the Most High God.

A.W. Tozer
A.W. Tozer

Adien Wilson Tozer was born on the 21st of April, 1897. A lot of notable things happened that year. The Blue Danube waltz was heard for the first time, Jesse James and his gang were on the loose robbing banks, Michael Faraday the inventor died, in the District of Columbia African American men were given the right to vote, Alaska was purchased, and the Emperor of Mexico, Maximilian, was executed by a firing squad.

In the small town of La Jose, Pennsylvania, now known as Newberg, perhaps some of these things mattered more than others. I would like to think that the arrival of a new baby was important and a moment of joy to the Tozer family and that his mother, Prudence and his father, Jacob, were pleased to have him.

I confess that I do not know much about Tozer's childhood. All I do know is what he said about it in his sermons and from what he said it seemed to be just the time of life that other boys have - playing on the farm and learning responsibility.

He once told a story of a pet lamb that his family had raised. He said that he had loved that particular lamb and that the lamb was a docile and trusting creature. His father had sold the lamb to a man and that man came and took the trusting lamb in his hands and without the lamb or Tozer suspecting what would happen to it, killed it right before his eyes. It was something he said he would never forget and since he said it, it is something I cannot forget either. For I know a Lamb as well and He was wounded for my transgression.

The Beginning Of His Life

I do not think that Tozer would mind it if I said that his life began when he first heard the truth. That day, when he was a teenager and he got down on his knees and cried out to God in his attic was the start of his relationship with the Lord God.

If you could ask A.W. Tozer what kind of a man he was, he would probably have said a simple man. He was devoted to God and served Him as best he could. He did not indulge in luxuries and had a sort of dry personality.

In 1918, he married Ada Pfautz and together they had seven children. The oldest was named Lowell, and the youngest, the only girl, was named Rebecca. The other boys were named Forrest, Aiden ( after his father) Wendell, Raleigh and Stanley. I have heard him mention them all in his sermons and when he mentioned them, his voice became that much softer and the love he had for them was apparent.

He began preaching in Virginia in 1919 at the age of twenty-two. He once said that his mother-in-law encouraged him to pursue after God and he did so and did so thoroughly. This preaching was the beginning of many more years of preaching and teaching the word of God. He wrote many sermons and published some books one of them being The Pursuit of God. Later, his sermons would be transformed into books so that all could have access to them.

Tozer was not educated as people are with seminary training and the like but he was spiritually educated and his sermons were proof of that. Of the writings I have seen concerning him, all seem to agree that he was a well read man, and so he educated himself. And while I would agree that this would heighten his common sense and logic, I would have to say that Mr. Tozer's take on the word of God came from his pure love of the word and his diligent seeking after the Lord. As the deer pants after the water brook, so Tozer sought the Lord.

Leonard Ravenhill once said that Tozer's sermons were not copied or taken from anyone else's. He read that Bible and found the word that God meant him to find. He did not need other's teachings before him to teach him. He went straight to the book and leaned on the arms of the Most High God.

How To Cultivate The Holy Spirit's Companionship by A.W. Tozer

A. W. Tozer's relationship with The Holy Spirit

To look at him, one would not think that he was a remarkable man but to hear him speak, one would know it. It is evident that A.W. Tozer had a deep respect and love for The Holy Spirit and he took the time to try to get to know Him as best he could. He did a series about Him and it is one of the best teachings I have ever heard on The Holy Spirit.

Tozer was a man who knew the value of spending time with God. He would shut himself up in his prayer closet and have fellowship with his Creator everyday. It was necessary for Tozer to do this for by doing this, he nourished his soul.

It was said that Tozer's relationship with The Holy Spirit was the closest relationship he had in his life. And that is the way it should have been. But it was also said that while A.W. Tozer had such a great relationship with His Father in heaven, he was somewhat uncommunicative with his family on earth.

When I first read the words concerning his relationship with his family, my heart sank. For A.W. Tozer seemed to me to be a giant of a man. It is recorded that his wife, who remarried after he died said (paraphrased) that he had belonged to God and that her new husband belonged to her. Apparently, Tozer did not communicate with his family much and so they did not get to know him as much as they would have liked. I have read many opinions about that statement but it still puzzles me today. I thought at first that I felt disappointed in Tozer but realized that I felt disappointed about her statement. To have such a man as my husband, I would have pushed my way into his life and demanded introduction to the Holy Spirit. But perhaps this is simply ignorance on my part, wishful thinking, and unwise presupposition, for I never knew what it was like to have a father who knew and feared God.

Tozer was not into luxuries, he tried to be humble, he never drove a car because he thought it was not a necessity and he was honest about all he did. He gave half of his salary back to the church and he gave away many of his book royalties. His actions tell me that he was a Godly man.

The End Of The Road

As all men do, A.W. Tozer answered his appointment with death in 1963. He had lived for sixty-six years on the earth and had spent more that fifty percent of it, doing the work of the Lord. But although it was the end of the road here, it was just a bridge to eternity for him.

I read that he died alone in a hospital in Toronto. He had had a heart attack and did not want anyone to stay with him. It was said that he died alone except for the Holy Spirit and I am sure that the author meant well, but I would disagree and say that we all die alone. Whether there are five hundred people around us or two, no one can walk with us through death. People only comfort themselves by being present for someone's death but the person cannot take you with them and you cannot walk through the gateway like a mother does with her child at school, and turn back after they are seated. We must face it by ourselves unless the Spirit of the Lord dwells in us. So I would say that Tozer died with all the company he needed.

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    • celafoe profile image

      charlie 

      9 months ago from From Kingdom of God living on Planet earth in between the oceans

      Scripture tells us to not worship man . This man worship of men such as AWT and others is an abomination to God. Scripture says we are to not to worship men. We are to worship God alone.

      A W Tozer was a typical churchman that has a great deal of responsibility for the apostate church system existing. Among the false doctrines he promoted are :

      1. The false catholic teaching of a trinity that is now a part of the apostate church system.

      The Truth is

      There is God the FATHER OF all

      There is HIS SON THE MAN JESUS CHRIST

      There is the Spirit of God, the very essence of God, which is the same Spirit as in Christ and in every true disciple of Christ.

      2 separate persons and one Spirit

      2. The false doctrine that Jesus is God. That when He comes again He will establish His Kingdom, and bring peace etc. When He comes again He will have established His kingdom, He will bring the Judgment to all man and will turn the Kingdom over to God and sit down at His right hand in submission to Him with all the others sons. No man can be God but God's Spirit can reside in all man that are disciples of Christ. .

      The Truth is

      Jesus is the SON OF GOD

      Jesus is a man not a Spirit

      God cannot die but Jesus did and rose again just as all who are true disciples of Christ will.

      Jesus is acting in God's stead (but He is not God) because He has been delegated by God and possesses all the authority in heaven and earth for THIS AGE. He will return it to God at the judgment.

      3. The false doctrine that the Holy Spirit is a person.

      The Holy Spirit is not a person, the Holy Spirit is the very Spirit of the Living God. A person cannot possess another person, only a spirit can. (either the Holy Spirit or a satanic one, your choice)

      4. He was a part of a denomination, that thing that GOD HATES, DIVISION among His people. 44 years of ministry, associated with the Christian and Missionary Alliance (C&MA), a Protestant Evangelical denomination, 33 served as a pastor in a number of churches. His first pastorate was in a small storefront church in Nutter Fort, West Virginia

      There is much more about the scripture that he taught that is the doctrines of man and not of God and is today the doctrine of the church system ot man,. He and many more Men like him that are worshiped by the church system are the cause of the church system of men that professes to be of God, but is not to have such a predominate place in the world, teaching their doctrines instead of the doctrines of Christ. These “churches” and their doctrines of man are responsible for the shape the world is in today. No respect for God or His ways. The scripture speak to individual persons to become disciples of Christ and TO GO out into the world and MAKE MORE Disciples of Christ, not to come or bring people into a box and preach at them every week, teaching them to follow apostate man.

      The end is near it is time for those professing Christ to stop following man and start following Christ.

      Time to GO OUT AND MAKE DISCIPLES OF CHRIST AS YOU ARE COMMANDED TO DO. JESUS DID NOT DIE FOR YOU TO SIT ON YOUR BEHIND IN A BOX AND FOLLOW MAN.

      HE HAS CALLED YOU TO GO OUT AND MAKE DISCIPLES OF CHRIST, not church pew sitters that follow and do the will of apostate men that “have not the Spirit”.

    • North Wind profile imageAUTHOR

      North Wind 

      5 years ago from The World (for now)

      Hello Bob,

      Thank you for your wonderful comment. What you said is exactly how I feel whenever I hear Tozer's words. He encouraged the brethren and caused them to remember the fact hat there is something bigger and that our service to God can only get better. I feel encouraged to push the wheel out of the rut, so to speak, whenever I hear him as well and it is not because I have not been doing the work, as you said, but it is because I am reminded about just how much work there is to be done.

      God bless you, Bob!

      P.S. Did you choose the name nobody because of Amy Carmichael by any chance?

    • no body profile image

      Robert E Smith 

      5 years ago from Rochester, New York

      In seminary my professor had us listen to A. W. Tozer. I remember the professor calling him an "old war-horse preacher." I remember listening and how the things that were said cut deep. I was so much newer to Christianity. Now, as I listen I was taken back to that time in my young Christian life and I am convicted that I didn't serve Him as well as I thought I would. I am convicted that I didn't witness to my family as hard as I should have. I had a shiver when he said that the voice gets softer and softer until a person cannot hear it. In just those few minutes I was telling God to speak loud and strong so I can "gird up my loins" and do the work like I should. Don't get me wrong, I have been serving but God let me know that I had not arrived and that the vision He gave me in the beginning was poorly handled. Thank you for bringing me back to my Beth-el. Much love, Bob.

    • North Wind profile imageAUTHOR

      North Wind 

      6 years ago from The World (for now)

      P.S. I had a typo concerning the year he was born. I meant to type 1897 and I typed 1867. You would be the Math whiz to catch it!

      It is all fixed now, though :)

    • North Wind profile imageAUTHOR

      North Wind 

      6 years ago from The World (for now)

      Hey Caleb,

      Nope. He died at sixty-six. He had a heart attack. The Lord does say that He gives the righteous a long life but then what about all of these people here who I believe were Godly people?

      Hudson Taylor died at 73, Charles Spurgeon died at 57, Gladys Aylward died at 67, Horatio Spafford died at 60, Ira Sankey died at 68, D.L. Moody died at 62,George Whitfield died at 55, Samuel Morris died at 20 and let's not forget David Brainard who died at 29.

      These men all had shortened lives but I still did not begin to list the ones whose lives were shortened because they were martyred!

      So then, I suppose (because I am sure you agree that the list can go on for some time) does that make God a liar? As Paul the apostle would say, Certainly not! The righteous do have a long life. Their life continues for eternity. God is not slack concerning His promises at all.

    • Caleb DRC profile image

      Caleb DRC 

      6 years ago

      Hi North Wind. I think the 2nd to the last paragraph should say 96, not "sixty six". What caused me to come back was the Bible says God will give the righteous a long life, so I just had to check.

    • North Wind profile imageAUTHOR

      North Wind 

      6 years ago from The World (for now)

      Thanks Caleb DRC,

      I think that dying alone is the saddest thing that could happen to somebody because if they do die alone, without Christ, then they will never have Him with them.

    • Caleb DRC profile image

      Caleb DRC 

      6 years ago

      Great introduction in the first paragraph, North Wind.

      No Christian ever dies alone, but no matter how many people are next to an unbeliever who dies, his death is solitary, fearful, and hopeless.

    • North Wind profile imageAUTHOR

      North Wind 

      6 years ago from The World (for now)

      Hi teacherjoe52,

      I think you are right. He was simply honest and down to earth. I love to listen to his sermons too. I have gotten to know him even though he has long passed from here to eternity.

      God bless you too and thank you for your daily reads.

    • North Wind profile imageAUTHOR

      North Wind 

      6 years ago from The World (for now)

      Hi teaches12345, you always find the time to comment and for that I am grateful. That lesson is one that I learned from Tozer as well. He really served as an example.

    • teacherjoe52 profile image

      teacherjoe52 

      6 years ago

      Good morning North Wind.

      Tozer was a simple down home boy, which is why he reached so many people. Yes he had an intamate relationship with the Holy Spirit. I love to listen to his sermons.

      God bless you.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      6 years ago

      Tozer was a wonderful, amazing man and author. After reading your post on his background, I believe I must spend more time in my prayer closet each day. Thanks for the inspirational view. Voted way up!

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