8. We Must Be Still to Know

The “Church” Paradigm (a la Tozer)

Neil Girrard

Scriptures Referenced in This Article:
          (Follow the Scripture links if you want to study the Scriptures for yourself.)
1 Sam. 9:2-3 π 1 Sam. 18:11-12 π 1 Ki. 12:27-28 π 1 Ki. 15:34 π Isa. 6:9-10 π Mt. 7:22-23 π Mt. 20:25-26 π Mk. 7:13 π Lk. 13:3 π Jn. 1:1 π Jn. 3:19 π Jn. 7:17 π Jn. 14:6 π Jn. 16:13 π Jn. 18:37 π Rom. 2:8 π 1 Cor. 3:12-13 π 2 Cor. 11:4 π 2 Ths. 2:3 π 2 Ths. 2:10 π 2 Ths. 2:10-12 π 2 Tim. 4:3-4 π Jude 3 π Rev. 3:16

All quotes from A.W. Tozer are from his book, God Tells the Man Who Cares unless otherwise specified.

Tozer wrote:

One of the most popular current errors, and the one out of which springs most of the noisy, blustering religious activity being carried on in evangelical circles these days, is the notion that as times change the church must change with them. Christians must adapt their methods by the demands of the people. If they want 10-minute sermons, give them 10-minute sermons. If they want truth in capsule form, give it to them. If they want pictures, give them plenty of pictures. If they like stories, tell them stories. If they prefer to absorb their religious instruction through the drama, go along with them – give them what they want. “The message is the same, only the method changes,” say the advocates of compromise.

“Whom the gods would destroy they first make mad,” the old Greeks said, and they were wiser than they knew. That mentality which mistakes Sodom for Jerusalem and Hollywood for the Holy City is too gravely astray to be explained otherwise than as a judicial madness visited upon professed Christians for affronts committed against the Spirit of God. “Be ever hearing, but never understanding; be ever seeing, but never perceiving. Make the heart of this people calloused; make their ears dull and close their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed.” ( Isa. 6:9-10; top ) (“We Must Be Still to Know,” p. 15)

It is difficult to know how to improve upon this quote. If the people who have read Tozer – and a lot of “pastors” and religious leaders have read his writings – would have simply heeded this message, the landscape of Christianity might be vastly different than it is now.

“…as the times change,” Tozer wrote quoting advocates of compromise, “the church must change with them.” This, as Tozer is so aptly pointing out, is a short-sighted recipe for spiritual disaster if there ever was one.

The traditions of men can still make the word of God of no effect! ( Mk. 7:13; top )

“Christians,” wrote Tozer again quoting the advocates of compromise, “must adapt their methods by the demands of the people.” Then just who is “God” here? The people! But what Tozer fails to see is that the whole of “church” – from the “pastor” who gets some “word of the Lord” for the people (so that they need not have a personally submissive relationship with God for themselves) to the pulpit (which proclaims loudly the “superior” spirituality of the speaker behind it – whether he has any or not is immaterial) to the “church” building (which bleeds dry the financial abilities of most congregations) – is nothing but methodologies of men geared to draw people in. Lost (or drowned out if it is actually preached from a pulpit) is the message of “Repent lest you also perish!” ( Lk. 13:3; top )

“‘The message is the same only the method changes,’ say the advocates of compromise,” wrote Tozer. No! Jesus is the word, the Message, the Person who is what God is all about. ( Jn. 1:1 ) Whenever He is not in personal command of any work done in His name, it is but wood, hay, straw ( 1 Cor. 3:12-13 ) or truly nothing but lawlessness, doing what is right in one’s own eyes. ( Mt. 7:22-23 ) The “church” pulls many of its most “sacred” traditions from Greek and Roman paganism! As but one small example, the word “pastor” is a Latin word – so just how did that get into the original Greek? There is only one Person, Christ Jesus, who can help us sort out what is truly of the original faith given once for all. ( Jude 3; top ) Anything else will only prove to be the traditions of men or the teachings of demons designed to rob us of our inheritance in Christ.

“That mentality which mistakes Sodom for Jerusalem and Hollywood for the Holy City,” wrote Tozer, “is too gravely astray to be explained otherwise than as a judicial madness visited upon professed Christians for affronts against the Spirit of God.” Fifty years after this was written, “that mentality” is the mentality (spirit) that rules the “church”! And this quote is consistent with Paul’s prophecy regarding the apostasy that would come before the return of Christ. ( 2 Ths. 2:3 ) Paul wrote:

“Because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved…God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” ( 2 Ths. 2:10-12; top )

Those who do receive the love of the truth will choose to reject all lies when they encounter deception and delusion. But those who do not receive the love of the truth – and Jesus is the truth ( Jn. 14:6 ) – will receive from God strong delusion, a judicial madness, that they will choose to appropriate unto themselves so that all those who take pleasure in unrighteousness (anything other than what is right in God’s eyes) will rightly be condemned. Because their actions and attitudes toward God are lukewarm, God will give them opportunity to repent or He will harden their hearts by giving them over to the deception and unrighteousness they have preferred to a genuine relationship with Him. Then He will forcibly eject them from His body ( Rev. 3:16; top ) These may continue for years as faithful “church” members, “deacons,” “elders” and “pastors” but they are inwardly controlled by a complete inability to see the truth when it is put before them – even when it is clearly presented in black and white and simply counting the number of people involved in a particular “ministry” would confirm the findings!

This is the nature of the apostasy: they are ever hearing – they have heaped up teachers ( 2 Tim. 4:3-4 ) – but never understanding what they have heard because they have a different spirit than the Spirit of God who guides us into all truth. ( Jn. 16:13 ; 2 Cor. 11:4 ) They are ever seeing – “pastors” and their followers (who actually look into such things) know that their “churches” produce abominable results (3-5% conversion “success” rates, 5%, at best, ministry involvement by the people, rampant sin and worldliness in the congregation, etc.) – but they never perceive the damage they do to the people. Their hearts are calloused – the “pastor” and staff see nothing wrong with driving off anyone and everyone who disagrees with their peculiar distinctives, doctrines, philosophies or practices or who does not support their “ministry.” Their ears are dull – because they do not truly desire God’s will ( Jn. 7:17 ), they cannot spiritually discern whether a teaching or a song is really coming from God, men or even demons. Their eyes are closed – men still love darkness, even the darkness in their own hearts, and want nothing do with God’s light. ( Jn. 3:19; top ) Otherwise, they might see and hear and understand and turn and be healed.

Make no mistake. There is no salvation apart from the love of the truth. ( 2 Ths. 2:10 ; Rom. 2:8 ; Jn. 18:37; top )

7. The Wasp and the Church Member (Part 2) π 9. The Era of an Absentee God
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