Aiden Wilson (A. W.) Tozer was born in a small farming community in Western Pennsylvania on April 21, 115 years ago. His spiritual path opened up when, as a 15-year-old, Tozer responded to a street evangelist. Five years later, with no theological training, he began pastoring his first church.
Tozer spent the rest of his life as a pastor, rising to national prominence during his tenure at Southside Alliance Church, Chicago, IL (1928–1959). Tozer wrote the spiritual classic The Pursuit of God during his time in Chicago, and over his lifetime authored more than 40 books. His steadfast call to repentance and faith earned him the nickname “the 20th-century prophet.”
On May 12, 1963, he went to be with his Lord after suffering a heart attack. The epitaph on his tombstone simply reads: “A. W. Tozer—A Man of God.”
To celebrate this remarkable man of faith, I put together 10 of my favorite Tozer quotes:
- “I want the presence of God Himself, or I don’t want anything at all to do with religion. You would never get me interested in the old maids’ social club with a little bit of Christianity thrown in to give it respectability. I want all that God has, or I don’t want any.”—from The Counselor
- “I wonder also how many Christians in our day have truly and completely abandoned themselves to Jesus Christ as their Lord. We are very busy telling people to “accept Christ”—and that seems to be the only word we are using. We arrange a painless acceptance.”—from Who Put Jesus on the Cross?
- “The world lives in such a time of crisis. Christians alone are in a position to rescue the perishing. We dare not settle down to try to live as if things were normal.”—from Born After Midnight
- “But a lot of people have gone too far and have written books and poetry that gets everybody believing that God is so kind and loving and gentle. God is so kind that infinity won’t measure it. And God is so loving that He is immeasurably loving. But God is also holy and just.”—from The Attributes of God, Volume One
- “I can only say, let us be tolerant wherever we can be, and let us be charitable toward all those we cannot tolerate. But let us not imagine for a minute that we are called upon to take a top-of-the-fence stand, never knowing exactly what we believe.”—from Faith Beyond Reason
- “It is a high Christian privilege to pray for one another within each local church body and then for other believers throughout the world. As a Christian minister, I have no right to preach to people I have not prayed for. That is my strong conviction.”—from Tragedy in the Church: The Missing Gifts
- “In some circles, God has been abridged, reduced, modified, edited, changed and amended until He is no longer the God whom Isaiah saw, high and lifted up.”—from Whatever Happened to Worship?
- “No matter what the circumstances, we Christians should keep our heads. God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, of love and of a sound mind. It is a dismal thing to see a son of heaven cringe in terror before the sons of earth.”—from The Warfare of the Spirit
- “Rightly understood, faith is not a substitute for moral conduct but a means toward it. The tree does not serve in lieu of fruit but as an agent by which fruit is secured. Fruit, not trees, is the end God has in mind in yonder orchard; so Christ-like conduct is the end of Christian faith.”—from Size of the Soul
- “The only fear I have is to fear to get out of the will of God. Outside of the will of God, there’s nothing I want, and in the will of God there’s nothing I fear, for God has sworn to keep me in His will.”—from Success and the Christian: The Cost of Spiritual Maturity