These 38 essays chosen by Harry Verploegh were, as many other compilations, editorials Tozer wrote for the Alliance Life. Tozer did not believe the Christian experienced “accidents,” because he or she travels an appointed way. Our way is ordered by God’s hidden providence, and true faith displaces any possibility for chance or misfortune. Learning to discern and identify God’s ways while cultivating a disciplined and obedient walk with Him will instill a faith based on certainty, not chance.
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Aiden Wilson Tozer (1897-1963) was born on a small farm in what is now Newburg, PA. His family moved to Akron, Ohio, when he was just a young boy. At the age of 17, Tozer heard a street preacher, responded to the calling of Christ, and began his lifelong pursuit of God. After becoming an active witness of Jesus as a lay preacher, he joined The Christian and Missionary Alliance and was soon serving as the pastor of West Virginia’s Alliance Church, in 1919. He transferred to the Southside Alliance Church in Chicago in 1928, and his ministry continued there for 31 years. During that time he preached on the Moody Bible Institute’s radio station. In the 1940s Tozer was invited to speak at Wheaton College, and seldom a year passed after World War II that he didn’t preach in the college’s Pierce Chapel. In 1950 he became the editor of The Alliance Life magazine and served in that capacity until his death.
Self-taught, with no formal Bible training, Tozer has been called a twentieth-century prophet within his own lifetime. Through years of diligent study and constant prayer, he sought the mind of God. A master craftsman in the use of the English language, he was able to write in a simple, cogent style the principles of truth he had learned. For Tozer, “there was no substitute for knowing God firsthand.” He wrote many of his books with one idea in mind—that his reader would achieve the heart’s true goal in God and maintain that relationship with Him.
Tozer moved to Toronto in 1959 and spent the final years of his life as the pastor of Avenue Road Church. He and his wife, Ada, lived a simple, non-materialistic lifestyle and let much of the royalties from his books go to those in need. The Tozers had seven children, six boys and one girl. James L. Snyder, said of Tozer that his “preaching as well as his writings were but extensions of his prayer life. He had the ability to make his listeners face themselves in the light of what God was saying to them.”
“To know God, this is eternal life; this is the purpose for which we are and were created” (Page 73)
“We need to cultivate a healthy skepticism toward everything that cannot be supported by the plain teaching of the Bible. Belief is faith only when it has God’s revealed truth for its object; beyond that it may be fully as injurious as unbelief itself.” (Pages 3–4)
“The safe rule is, whenever we look at ourselves, be penitent; when we look at Christ, be joyous. And look at Christ most of the time, looking inward only to correct our faults and grieve for our imperfections.” (Pages 70–71)
“A crooked tree does not straighten with age; neither does a crooked Christian.” (Page 68)
“The part of wisdom is to accept our Christian brothers and sisters for what they are rather than for what they should be.” (Page 55)