Who is God? What is God like? What are the attributes of God? This is the focus by a beloved and well-respected author and pastor. It is also one of Tozer's best known books in his spiritual pursuit of God. This endeavour is lifelong, and his books all reflect this common desire: To know Christ more and to make Christ known more. Collected from ten of his sermons, this book comprises ten attributes of God:
God is Infinite
God is Immense
God is Good
God is Just
God is Merciful
God is Grace
God is Omnipresent
God is Immanent
God is Holy
God is Perfect
A key emphasis throughout the book is for us to apply our journey toward all of these attributes of God. While we may not be perfect, we can aim toward God's Perfection and grow toward Him. This is important in a book that seems to focus mainly on God. Before any reader goes on to accuse the author of being too heavenly for any earthly good, this book essentially helps us to bring heavenly thoughts into earthly living. In the chapter on God's Infinitude, when we hide ourselves in God, like the psalmists of old, to dwell in Him in Christ, we are not escaping from the world. What is happening is we are prompted toward boundless joy. Beginning with infinitude prepares us to dwell in the thoughts of God being infinitely rich and bountiful in all things, and the other nine attributes that are to come. Each chapter grows on the previous. Focusing on God's Immensity also helps us peel away from Earth's smallness and to give us a new perspective of size. On God's Goodness, Tozer observes how the tide of Christianity rises or falls with people's perception of this attribute. The Church's "unworthy conception of God" will not help stem the tide of negative perceptions in secular society. This leads us to God's Justice in which Tozer brilliantly balances both justice and mercy to show us the magnitude and magnificence of God's judgment. Following this comes God's Mercy where we are assured that God's mercy is deeper than the deepest ocean. In our world peppered with all kinds of understanding about grace and hypergrace, Tozer's description of God's Grace brings us closer to biblical truth. He points out the errors of some preachers who teach the false dichotomy: Moses taught law while Christ taught grace. Instead, we learn to look at grace in two ways. First, the popular way is to see God's grace in terms of how sinful we were to receive forgiveness. Second, when God gives us grace, it is not simply a gift dished out on sinful people. It is the very nature of God to give grace. Unlike the first way which boxes grace only in terms of receiving grace only when there is sin, this second way focuses less on human perspective but more on God's. God is also OmniPresent and this is not simply about us feeling God's presence near us. It is more than that. We are encouraged to be more like God. The primary reason why many do not feel God's presence is due to our dissimilarity. God's Immanence is that God's Person penetrates everything, and this is closely linked to all of the other attributes pointed out so far. The last two attributes: God's Holiness and God's Perfection sum up all of the attributes of God neatly. The former is the one attribute mentioned most frequently in the Scriptures and exposes our own human need to worship something. If we are not worshiping God, we are in fact susceptible to all kinds of idol worship. God's Perfection reminds us of our spiritual journeys toward God. This is our calling.
Tozer has been a powerful spiritual influence for many, both in his preaching and more in in writing. The world now has changed. It is more secular than before and more people are getting bolder to accost the holy perceptions of God. This is partly due to the failure of the Church to take these attributes of God more seriously. This is most unfortunate. If God is great, and the Church called to be the Bride of Christ, should we not be at the forefront of declaring the praises of God boldly and widely? Shouldn't believers take up their bugles of praise and sound the clarion call to lift up the banner of Christ for all to see? Jesus has said that when He is lifted up high above the earth, He will draw all people unto Him. Yet, the Church, especially in the West is shrinking. More young people are abandoning the Church. Many claim to believe but choose to stay home and not participate in anything relating to Church. When Tozer wrote about "more Christians, and more people going to Church," he probably didn't know how the year 2020 would look like. He might have adapted his words to reflect the present times. Having said that, while the facts of Church going have changed, the need for spirituality has not change. In that sense, Tozer is still relevant for today. The context of his words was to compare attending Church and growing spiritually. Just going to Church does not reflect one's spirituality. While the numbers have changed, the need to embark on this quest for God has not changed.
If there is any one reason to buy this book, it would be the author. Tozer writes with conviction and is never shy about critiquing the state of Christianity. It is difficult to find an equivalent voice for this era. It is almost 60 years since Tozer passed away, but the writings are surprisingly fresh and relevant. One of Tozer's best-known book is entitled "The Pursuit of God," which describes the passion of one seeking after God. We can use this book as an extension of this very pursuit, to desire to see God more clearly and more personally. Biblically, it is God's goodness that pursues us (Ps 23:6).
Finally, I enjoy this new edition also because of the study guide included at the end of the book. This guide updates the book's content and make it helpful for contemporary times as well as to give readers a chance to discuss the topics in a group setting. The guide can be used for facilitators as well as members.
Aiden Wilson Tozer (1897-1963) started his lifelong pursuit of God at the age of 17. Famously hailed as one who is theologically astute without a formal theological education, he served for 44 years as a pastor under the Christian and Missionary Alliance. However, his influence goes beyond the Church he serves. Through his books, his teaching and spiritual writings have garnered a worldwide audience.
Rating: 4 stars of 5.
This book has been provided courtesy of Moody Publishers without requiring a positive review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied