A.W. Tozer (1897-1963) began his lifelong pursuit of God after hearing a street preacher in Akron, Ohio at the age of seventeen. The self-taught theologian committed his life to the ministry of God’s Word as a pastor, teacher, and writer. For his flowing prose, Spirit-filled words, and deep conviction, many have called him a modern-day prophet. He is the author of the beloved The Pursuit of God and dozens of other works.
Culture: Living as Citizens of Heaven on Earth — Collected Insights by A.W. Tozer is a book that compiles twenty-four selections of Tozer’s writings over his life meant to inspire and instruct the reader on what it means to live as a citizen of God’s kingdom here on earth. He addresses a wide range of topics, all of which center on what a Godward life necessarily looks like.
Interestingly, though the title of this book explicitly states its supposed subject-matter, there’s really only a small slice of its content that deals with culture, or even living as a Christian in today’s culture. The overwhelming weight of this book presses on the meaning of the church, the function of the church, the purity of the church, and the perceived impotence of the church in Tozer’s day. While talk of the church implicitly addresses its contrast against the culture in a roundabout way, Culture contains very little which would instruct a church or a church member on what it means and looks like to serve as a redemptive agent in a secular culture. For this reason, I found myself quite disappointed as I made my way through each chapter.
Nevertheless, it’s an utter impossibility to read Tozer without being challenged and encouraged to pursue God afresh. His terse, pointed manner of communicating the truths of God is regularly the sort of challenge that I need and, I suspect, that many more of us need as well. From his dunking on nominalism to his keen theological insights to his pastoral sensibilities, Tozer walks his reader through a full spectrum of emotions and responses, all of which are profitable when received with humility. So, despite its somewhat misleading title, Culture is a book that I consider a must-read for church members, as I do all of Tozer’s works.
[I received this book free of charge from Moody Publishers in exchange for an honest review.]