5 Stars Out Of 5
Encouraging and Empowering Words from Tozer
February 2, 2017
In this never-before-published book titled Alive in the Spirit, A.W. Tozer encourages Christians to study church history and learn about the women and men on whose shoulders our faith stands.
"...it is imperative that we read and understand our past," Tozer argues. "If we do not understand our past, we will never fully comprehend our future. What God has done in the past is what He will do for us today...If I do not know what He has done, how can I have faith for what He will do for me today?"
One of the most-honored figures in church history is Martin Luther. And this year, 2017, marks the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation started by Luther, who protested the teachings of the Catholic Church by nailing his ninety-five theses to the door of Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany.
These ninety-five theses, and nearly all of Luther's other works, proclaim Christ's redemptive work on the cross and point to God's gift of salvation by grace through faith, not through works or indulgences as the church leaders of his day were teaching.
"I cannot start a Reformation like Martin Luther did. However, I can have within me the same Spirit that drove him in that direction. It is the Holy Spirit that we need in our midst today," Tozer says.
"Whenever God gets a hold of someone who is totally surrendered and one He can trust, God begins His work," Tozer continues. "The quality of the work is not so much in the individual as it is in the individual possessed by God."
Certainly Luther acted in obedience to God, but perhaps we give Luther too much credit as an individual and the Holy Spirit too little credit for Luther's work.
Tozer explains that "...it is the Holy Ghost's business to witness to the person and works and words of Jesus and confirm that He is the Messiah, the Son of God." And likewise, Luther's work confirmed Jesus as Christ and reinforced His works and words.
Tozer says that God has chosen to work within "the confines of His redeemed people" but is not restricted by the limits of human ability.
"God does not work within the confines of our strength; God works according to His character and nature and power," he says.
Near the end of his life, Luther was not thrilled when his friends began gathering up his works for publication. He was willing to let much of it go because, "what mattered most was nothing that he had done but what God had done for him," says Mark A. Noll.
Boldly proclaiming the truth of God's Word to the world around us is what the Holy Spirit empowers Christians to do, Tozer says. And so it is imperative that those who follow Christ are aligned with God and His will as revealed in His Word by the Holy Spirit.
"The Bible gives us the power to do and to witness. We are to tell what we have seen, heard, felt and experienced. It all centers on the person of Christ," he says.
"Our faith," he concludes, "does not rest upon nor depend upon historical evidence, but upon the invisible presence witnessing to the inner life and our response to that voice."
NOTE: Often quoted and frequently referred to as a "modern-day prophet," A.W. Tozer, like Luther, was a theologian, pastor and author. He lived from 1897 to 1963. As an authority on Tozer's ministry, Rev. James L. Snyder compiled and edited a series of Tozer's sermons to create this book about the Holy Spirit. Although the content comes from sermons given many decades ago, the book is quite relevant for followers of Jesus today. To equip me for this review, Bethany House Publishers provided a free copy of the book.