A word for this hour?
The electronic world in which we now live has given rise to a plethora of 'prophecies'. But in all the hype, speculation, wishful thinking where are those who accurately articulate the purposes of God?
first published 16/12/2007
Written in the 20th century, but for today....???
Aiden Wilson Tozer 1897 - 1963
This frightening hour calls aloud for men with the gift of prophetic insight. Instead we have men who conduct surveys, polls and panel discussions. We need men with the gift of knowledge. In their place we have men with scholarship---nothing more.
If the church in the second half of this century is to recover from the injuries she suffered in the first half, there must appear a new type of preacher. The proper, ruler-of-the-synagogue type will never do. Neither will the priestly type of man who carries out his duties, takes his pay and asks no questions, nor the smooth-talking pastoral type who knows how to make the Christian religion acceptable to everyone.
All these have been tried and found wanting. Another kind of religious leader must arise among us. He must be of the old prophet type, a man who has seen visions of God and has heard a voice from the Throne. When he comes (and I pray God there will be not one but many) he will stand in flat contradiction to everything our smirking, smooth civilization holds dear. He will contradict, denounce and protest in the name of God and will earn the hatred and opposition of a large segment of Christendom.
We desperately need seers who can see through the mist---Christian leaders with prophetic vision. Unless they come soon it will be too late for this generation. And if they do come we will no doubt crucify a few of them in the name of our worldly orthodoxy.
Christianity is so entangled with the world that millions never guess how radically they have missed the New Testament pattern. Compromise is everywhere.
Keep your feet on the ground, but let your heart soar as high as it will. Refuse to be average or to surrender to the chill of your spiritual environment.
Perhaps our greatest present need may be the coming of a prophet to dash the stones at the foot of the mountain and call the Church out to repentance or to judgment.
For a man to understand revealed truth requires an act of God equal to the original act which inspired the text.
We need to learn that truth consists not in correct doctrine, but in correct doctrine plus the inward enlightenment of the Holy Spirit.
Men who have been used of God in any generation from Calvary down to this hour have not invented and preached new truths. They have simply had the anointed vision to discover truths that had been obscured by the overemphasis of certain other truths.
The church has lost her testimony. She has no longer anything to say to the world. Her once robust shout of assurance has faded away to an apologetic whisper. She who one time went out to declare now goes out to inquire. Her dogmatic declaration has become a respectful suggestion, a word of religious advice, given with the understanding that it is after all only an opinion and not meant to sound bigoted.
Pure Christianity, instead of being shaped by its environment, actually stands in sharp opposition to it.
Could it be that too many of God's true children, and especially the preachers, are sinning against God by guilty silence?...I for one am waiting to hear the loud voices of the prophets and reformers sounding once more over a sluggish and drowsy church. They'll pay a price for their boldness, but the results will be worth it.
To be right with God has often meant to be in trouble with men. This is such a common truth that one hesitates to mention it, yet it appears to have been overlooked by the majority of Christians today.
Apart from God nothing matters. We think that health matters, that freedom matters, or knowledge or art or civilization. And but for one insistent word they would matter indeed. That word is eternity.
We are in real need of a reformation that will lead to revival among the churches.
The man who has been taught by the Holy Spirit will be a seer rather than a scholar. The difference is that the scholar sees and the seer sees through; and that is a mighty difference indeed.
The apostles went to jail, and that is not too revealing because they went against their will; but when they got out of jail and could go where they would they immediately went to the praying company. The choices of life, not the compulsions, reveal character.
Moral power has always accompanied definitive beliefs. Great saints have always been dogmatic. We need right now a return to a gentle dogmatism that smiles while it stands stubborn and firm on the Word of God that liveth and abideth forever.
The unsatisfied longings of the prophets for human understanding caused them to cry out in their complaint, and even our Lord Himself suffered in the same way. The man who has passed on into the divine Presence in actual inner experience will not find many who understand him.
I believe that the imperative need of the day is not simply revival, but a radical reformation that will go to the root of our moral and spiritual maladies and deal with causes rather than with consequences, with the disease rather than with symptoms.
When the children of God accept the world's values it is time some Christians spoke up. Babylon may have her gods, her own way of life and moral standards. It is when Israel begins to adopt them that the prophet of God becomes responsible to rise and cry out against them.
Truth consists not merely in correct doctrine but in correct doctrine to which is added the inward enlightenment of the Holy Spirit...John the Baptist said, "A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven" (John 3:27). He was not referring to men's gifts. He was speaking of spiritual truth.
The radical element in testimony and life that once made Christians hated by the world is missing from present-day evangelicalism.
It is useless for large companies of believers to spend long hours begging God to send revival. Unless we intend to reform we may as well not pray. Unless praying men have the insight and faith to amend their whole way of life to conform to the New Testament pattern there can be no true revival.
The fact is that we are not today producing saints. We are making converts to an effete type of Christianity that bears little resemblance to that of the New Testament. The average so-called Bible Christian in our times is but a wretched parody on true sainthood. Yet we put millions of dollars behind movements to perpetuate this degenerate form of religion and attack the man who dares to challenge the wisdom of it.
And when the deliverers come---reformers, revivalists, prophets---they will be men of God and men of courage. They will have God on their side because they will be careful to stay on God's side. They will be co-workers with Christ and instruments in the hand of the Holy Ghost. Such men will be baptized with the Spirit indeed...
Our only hope is that renewed spiritual pressure will be exerted increasingly by self-effacing and courageous men who desire nothing but the glory of God and the purity of the church. May God send us many of them.
Today we need prophetic preachers; not preachers of prophecy merely, but preachers with a gift of prophecy. The word of wisdom is missing. We need the gift of discernment again in our pulpits.
What is needed desperately today is prophetic insight. Scholars can interpret the past; it takes prophets to interpret the present.
Any spirit that permits compromise with the world is a false spirit. Any religious movement that imitates the world in any of its manifestations is false to the cross of Christ and on the side of the devil.
The popular notion that the first obligation of the church is to spread the gospel to the uttermost parts of the earth is false. Her first obligation is to be spiritually worthy of it.
Some who desire to be teachers of the Word, but who understand neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm, insist upon "naked" faith as the only way to know spiritual things. By this they mean a conviction of the trustworthiness of the Word of God (a conviction, it may be noted, which the devils share with them). But the man who has been taught even slightly by the Spirit of Truth will rebel at this perversion. His language will be, "I have heard Him and observed Him. What have I to do any more with idols?" For he cannot love a God who is no more than a deduction from a text.
The man who preaches truth and applies it to the lives of his hearers will feel the nails and the thorns. He will lead a hard life, but a glorious one. May God raise up many such prophets. The church needs them badly.
The truly spiritual man is indeed something of an oddity. He lives not for himself but to promote the interests of Another...He finds few who care to talk about that which is the supreme object of his interest, so he is often silent and preoccupied in the midst of noisy religious shoptalk. For this he earns the reputation of being dull and over-serious, so he is avoided and the gulf between him and society widens.
A W Tozer, 08/12/2015