A.W. Tozer. Culture: Living as Citizens of Heaven on Earth—-Collected Insights from A.W. Tozer. Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2016. See here to purchase the book.
A.W. Tozer was a pastor and Christian author who lived from 1897 to 1963. This book, Culture,
is a collection of (mostly) short excerpts from Tozer’s writings. If
there is a common topic throughout the book, it is the church as it
exists in and relates to the world. The internal life of the church is
There are themes in this book that overlap with themes in other books
by Tozer that I have read. Tozer advocates an authentic spirituality,
which includes being filled with the Holy Spirit and having a genuine
knowledge of God. In this book, Tozer goes further and criticizes
dispensationalists who maintain that the Sermon on the Mount is
inapplicable to Christians today. For Tozer, the Sermon on the Mount is
practically a constitution for what Christians should be like, and
adherence to its principles set Christians apart from the world. Tozer
laments that many professing Christians fail to take the Sermon on the
Mount seriously, including its exhortations about forgiveness and
reconciliation with others.
Tozer interacts with other themes as well. He is critical of
Christians who fit in too well with the world, noting that Jesus was
maladjusted. Tozer says that spirit-filled Christians will excel in
love, yet he is critical of the culture’s emphasis on tolerance. Tozer
talks about how Jesus spoke simply. Tozer also discusses public prayer
and the income tax.
Unlike in other books by Tozer that I have read, Tozer is
self-deprecating in this book and is candid about his flaws. Tozer
laments his lack of patience. At the same time, while he is somewhat
critical of his fearless, tells-it-like-it-is approach, he also
justifies that approach, on some level.
The book is thoughtful, as Tozer’s writings usually are. Tozer’s advocacy of a genuine adherence to Christianity is attractive.
In terms of criticisms, Tozer could have been more specific about
what exactly Christians are standing for before the world, and what sets
them apart in their outlook and behavior. He could have spoken more
about giving to the poor, or, if Tozer has written about that topic, the
compilers of the book could have included more about it. Charity is
emphasized throughout the Bible, and it is certainly in contrast with
the self-seeking that the world so often promotes. Tozer himself comes
across as rather politically conservative in this book, but that need
not preclude one from advocating charity for the poor.
I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the publisher, in exchange for an honest review.
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