Tozer on Worship – 1

A dear friend and brother lent me a wonderful book titled “Tozer on Worship and Entertainment”. It is a compilation of quotations (oral and written) spanning several years and volumes of A.W. Tozer’s ministry. Tozer preached many years in Chicago and passed away in the early 1960s. I find myself very challenged by some of his comments. He was quite critical of the church for its worldliness. Were he alive today I suspect he would doubt he’d made any dent all, though he might have shifted his emphasis a bit since our society is generally less “religious” than it was 50 years ago. Then again, just as he saw the cheapening of the gospel at work, today he would be vindicated in his appraisal of its affect on the church and society at large. Here follows a few snippets of quotes pulled from this volume – I plan to post more of these in the future…


The impulse to worship is universal. Everyone worships something.

We can only worship what we honor, admire, are fascinated by, astonished by, love. We can do those things without worship, but not vice-versa.

A sense of sublime is not worship.

A man who does not believe in God cannot worship God. The heart that knows God can find God everywhere. But the heart that doesn’t know God can feel the emotions of nature worship without rising to spiritual worship at all. No worship is wholly pleasing to God until there is nothing in us displeasing to God.

We don’t need to be consoled – we need to be disillusioned.

If you cannot worship God 7 days a week you cannot worship him one day a week.

God says, “I dwell in your thoughts. Make your thoughts a sanctuary in which I can dwell. See to it.” Think pure thoughts, regardless of the emotion.

God wants worshipers first. Jesus did not redeem us to make workers; he redeemed us to make us worshipers. And then, out of the blazing worship of our hearts springs work.

Every glimpse we have of heaven shows creatures there worshiping.

If I haven’t absolute confidence in God I can’t worship him.

God wants sincerity, not formality.

Without an infusion of the Holy Spirit there can be no true worship.

Worship is to feel in your heart and to express in some appropriate manner a humbling but delightful sense of admiring awe and astonished wonder and overpowering love in the presence of that most ancient Mystery, that Majesty which philosophers call the First Cause but which we call Our Father Which Art in Heaven.

While we may worship (and thousands of Christians do) without the use of any formal creed, it is impossible to worship acceptably without some knowledge of the One we seek to worship. And that knowledge is our creed whether it is ever formalized or not. It is not enough to say that we may have a mystical or numinous experience of God without any doctrinal knowledge and that is sufficient. No, it is not sufficient. We must worship in truth as well as spirit; and truth can be stated and when it is stated it becomes creed.

About Lance Ponder

Christian author of "Ask James one"; public speaker; husband and father. Available to speak on Creation and the Gospel.
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