A.W. Tozer.. A Short
his life and ministry, Tozer called believers to return to an authentic,
Biblical position that characterized the early church - a position of deep
faith and holiness. "He belonged to the whole church," says James
Snyder in the book, In Pursuit of God: The Life Of A. W. Tozer. "He
embraced true Christianity wherever he found it."
his lifetime, Tozer pastored several Christian and Missionary Alliance (CMA)
churches, authored more than forty books, and served as editor of Alliance
Life, the monthly denominational publication for the CMA. At least two of
Tozer's books are considered spiritual classics, The ‘Pursuit of God’
and ‘The Knowledge of the Holy’, a tremendous accomplishment for a man
who never received a formal theological education. The presence of God was his
classroom. His notebooks and tools consisted of prayer and the writings of
early Christians and theologians—the Puritans and great men of
conversion to Christianity came when he was seventeen. As a result he gained an
insatiable hunger and thirst for the things of God. A cleaned-out area in the family's
basement became his refuge where he could pray and meditate on the goodness of
wrote, "I have found God to be cordial and generous and in every way easy
to live with." To him the love and grace of Jesus Christ were a recurring
astonishment," writes Snydner.
he had not attended Bible college or seminary, Tozer received two honorary
doctorates. He accepted an offer to pastor his first church in West Virginia in
1916. By December 1921, Tozer and his wife, Ada, moved to Morgantown where they
had the first of seven children, six boys and a girl. Money was extremely
tight in the early days of his ministry. The Tozers made a pact to trust God
for all their needs regardless of the circumstances. "We are convinced that
God can send money to His believing children—but it becomes a pretty cheap
thing to get excited about the money and fail to give the glory to Him who is
the Giver!" Tozer never swayed from this principle. Material things
were never an issue. Many have said if Tozer had food, clothing, and his books,
he was content. The family never owned a car. Tozer, instead, opted for the bus
and train for travel. Even after becoming a well-known Christian author, Tozer
signed away much of his royalties to those who were in need.
message was as fresh as it was uncompromising. His single purpose in life was
to know God personally, and he encouraged others to do the same. He quickly
discovered a deep, abiding relationship with God was something that had to be
pastoring a church in Indianapolis, Tozer noticed his ministry changing. While
he did not depart from the theme of evangelism, God began to lead him into a
new phase of ministry. For the first time he began to record his thoughts on
paper. This change eventually carved out a place for him as a prolific
1928, Tozer accepted a call to pastor the Southside Gospel Tabernacle in
Chicago, where he remained for thirty years. The church grew from a small
parachurch to a full-fledged church. Missions and the deeper life in Jesus
Christ were its two primary focuses. "Tozer's sermons were never
shallow," writes Snyder. "There was hard thinking behind them, and
[he] forced his hearers to think with him. He had the ability to make his
listeners face themselves in the light of what God was saying to them. The
flippant did not like Tozer; the serious who wanted to know what God was saying
to them loved him."
Tozer taught and preached came out of the time he spent in prayer with God. It
was there that he shut out the world and its confusion, focusing instead only
on God. "Our religious activities should be ordered in such a way as to
leave plenty of time for the cultivation of the fruits of solitude and
silence," wrote Tozer. He realized early in his ministry that Christ was
calling him to a different type of devotion—one that required an emptying of
self and a hunger to be filled to overflowing with God's Spirit. It was also a
devotion that consumed him throughout his life.
Ravenhill once said of Tozer, "I fear that we shall never see another
Tozer. Men like him are not college bred but Spirit
discovers Himself to 'babes,'" wrote Tozer, "and hides Himself in
thick darkness from the wise and the prudent. We must simplify our approach to
Him. We must strip down to essentials and they will be found to be blessedly
W. Tozer died on Monday, May 12, 1963, almost a week after preaching his last
sermon. The pursuit was over, the destination reached. A simple epitaph marks
his grave in Akron, Ohio: A. W. Tozer—A Man of God.
A. W. TOZER
Aiden Wilson Tozer was born April
21, 1897, on a small farm among the spiny ridges of Western Pennsylvania.
Within a few short years, Tozer, as he preferred to be called, would earn the
reputation and title of a "20th-century prophet."
Able to express his thoughts in a simple but
forceful manner, Tozer combined the power of God and the power of words to
nourish hungry souls, pierce human hearts, and draw earthbound minds toward
When he was 15 years old, Tozer's family moved
to Akron, Ohio. One afternoon as he walked home from his job at Goodyear, he
overheard a street preacher say, "If you don't know how to be saved . . .
just call on God." When he got home, he climbed the narrow stairs to the
attic where, heeding the preacher's advice, Tozer was launched into a lifelong
pursuit of God.
In 1919, without formal education, Tozer was
called to pastor a small storefront church in Nutter Fort, West Virginia. That
humble beginning thrust him and his new wife Ada Cecelia Pfautz, into a 44-year
ministry with The Christian and Missionary Alliance.
Thirty-one of those years were spent at
Chicago's Southside Alliance Church. The congregation, captivated by Tozer's
preaching, grew from 80 to 800.
In 1950 Tozer was elected editor of the Alliance
Weekly now called Alliance Life. The circulation doubled almost
immediately. In the first editorial dated June 3, 1950, he set the tone:
"It will cost something to walk slow in the parade of the ages while
excited men of time rush about confusing motion with progress. But it will pay
in the long run and the true Christian is not much interested in anything short
Tozer's forte was his prayer life which often
found him walking the aisles of a sanctuary or lying face down on the floor. He
noted, "As a man prays, so is he." To him the worship of God was
paramount in his life and ministry. "His preaching as well as his writings
were but extensions of his prayer life," comments Tozer biographer James
L. Snyder. An earlier biographer noted, "He spent more time on his knees
than at his desk."
Tozer's love for words also pervaded his family
life. He quizzed his children on what they read and made up bedtime stories for
them. "The thing I remember most about my father," reflects his
daughter Rebecca, "was those marvelous stories he would tell."
Son Wendell, one of six boys born before the
arrival of Rebecca, remembers that, "We all would rather be treated to the
lilac switch by our mother than to have a talking-to by our dad."
Tozer's final years of ministry were spent at
Avenue Road Church in Toronto, Canada. On May 12, 1963, his earthly pursuit of
God ended when he died of a heart attack at age 66. In a small cemetery in
Akron, Ohio, his tombstone bears this simple epitaph: "A Man of God."
Some wonder why Tozer's writings are as fresh
today as when he was alive. It is because, as one friend commented, "He
left the superficial, the obvious and the trivial for others to toss around. .
. . [His] books reach deep into the heart."
His humor, written and spoken, has been compared
to that of Will Rogers--honest and homespun. Congregations could one moment be
swept by gales of laughter and the next sit in a holy hush.
For almost 50 years, Tozer walked with God. Even
though he is gone, he continues to speak, ministering to those who are eager to
experience God. As someone put it, "This man makes you want to know and
declares the believing heart confesses without the need of further proof.
Indeed, to seek proof is to admit doubt, and to obtain proof is to render faith
superfluous." The Knowledge of the Holy
"Without faith it is impossible to please God, but not all faith pleases
God and Men
flaw in current evangelism lies in its humanistic approach. It struggles to be
supernaturalistic but never quite makes it. It is frankly fascinated by the
great, noisy, aggressive world with its big names, its hero worship, its wealth
and its garish pageantry. To the millions of disappointed persons who have
always yearned for worldly glory but never attained to it, the modern evangel
offers quick and easy short cut to their heart’s desire. Peace of mind,
happiness, prosperity, social acceptance, publicity, success in sports,
business, the entertainment field and perchance to sit occasionally at the same
banquet table with celebrity - all this on earth and heaven at last. Certainly
no insurance company can offer half as much." Born After Midnight
"Real faith invariably produces holiness of heart and righteousness of
The Dwelling Place of God
"To most people God is an inference, not a reality." Pursuit of God
one fairly familiar with the contemporary religious scene, I say without hesitation
that a part, a very large part, of the activities carried on today in
evangelical circles are not only influenced by pragmatism but almost completely
controlled by it. Religious methodology is geared to it; it appears large in
our youth meetings; magazines and books constantly glorify it; conventions are
dominated by it; and the whole religious atmosphere is alive with it." God Tells the Man Who Cares
"Often acts done in the spirit of religious irritation have consequences
far beyond anything we could have guessed. " Of God and Men
"Whence then does the true fear of God arise? From the knowledge of our
own sinfulness and a sense of he presence of God." The Root of Righteousness
does holiness mean? Is it a negative kind of piety...No, of course not!
Holiness in the Bible means moral wholeness - a positive quality which actually
includes kindness, mercy, purity, moral blamelessness and godliness. It is
always to be thought of in a positive, white intensity of degree." I Call it Heresy
Lord told His disciples that love and obedience were organically united. The
final test of love is obedience." The Incredible Christian
"So today we have the astonishing spectacle of millions of dollars being
poured into the unholy job of providing earthly entertainment for the so-called
sons of heaven. Religious entertainment is in many places rapidly crowding out
the serious things of God. Many churches these days have become little more
than poor theatres where fifth-rate "produces" peddle their shoddy
wares with the full approval of evangelical leaders who can even quote a holy
text in defense of their delinquency. And hardly a man dares to raise his voice
against it." The
Root of Righteousness
unattended garden will soon be overrun with weeds; the heart that fails to
cultivate truth and root out error will shortly be a theological
The Dwelling Place of God
"Prayer will become effective
when we stop using it as a substitute for obedience." Of God and Men
we go to God with a request, there are two conditions we must meet:  we must
pray in the will of God, and  we must be living lives pleasing to God."
Always Answer Prayer
as Paul saw it, was a living, flaming thing leading to surrender and obedience
to the commandments of Christ." Paths to Power
"...the religion of today is not transforming the people; rather it is
being transformed by people. It is not raising the moral level of society; it
is descending to society's own level and congratulating itself that it has
scored a victory because society is smilingly accepting its
Price of Neglect
have salvation without righteousness and right doctrine without right
God and Men
need for solitude and quietness was never so great than it is
God and Men
the followers of Jesus Christ lose their interest in heaven they will no longer
be happy Christians and when they are no longer happy Christians they cannot be
a powerful force in a sad and sinful world."
Who Put Jesus on the Cross
man that believes will obey; failure to obey is convincing proof that there is
no true faith present. To attempt the impossible God must give faith or there
will be none, and He gives faith to the obedient heart only." Man the Dwelling Place of God
that presence [presence of God], Isaiah found no place for joking or for clever
cynicism or for human familiarity. He found strangeness in God, that is, a
presence unknown to the sinful and worldly and self-sufficient human." Whatever Happened to Worship?
is scarcely possible in most paces to get anyone to attend a meeting where the
only attraction is God."
Man the Dwelling
Place of God
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Aiden Wilson Tozer
Born April 21, 1897(1897-04-21)
La Jose (now Newburg), Pennsylvania, USA
Died May 12, 1963 (aged 66)
Occupation pastor, author
Religion Christian and Missionary Alliance (C&MA)
Spouse(s) Ada Cecelia Pfautz
Aiden Wilson Tozer (April 21, 1897 - May 12, 1963) was an
American Christian pastor, preacher, author, magazine editor, Bible conference
speaker, and spiritual mentor. For his work, he received two honorary
Hailing from a tiny farming community in western
Pennsylvania, his conversion was as a teenager in Akron, Ohio. While on his way
home from work at a tire company, he overheard a street preacher say: "If
you don't know how to be saved... just call on God." Upon returning home,
he climbed into the attic and heeded the preacher’s advice.
In 1919, five years after his conversion, and without formal
theological training, Tozer accepted an offer to pastor his first church. This
began 44 years of ministry, associated with the Christian and Missionary
Alliance (C&MA), a Protestant evangelical denomination; 33 of those years
were served as a pastor in a number of churches. His first pastorate was in a
small storefront church in Nutter Fort, West Virginia. Tozer also served as
pastor for 30 years at Southside Alliance Church, in Chicago (1928 to 1959),
and the final years of his life were spent as pastor of Avenue Road Church, in
Toronto, Canada. In observing contemporary Christian living, he felt that the
church was on a dangerous course toward compromising with "worldly"
In 1950, Tozer received an honorary Doctor of Letters degree
from Wheaton College. It was May 1950, when Tozer was elected editor of the
Alliance Weekly magazine, now called, Alliance Life, the official publication
of the C&MA. From his first editorial, dated June 3, 1950, he wrote,
"It will cost something to walk slow in the parade of the ages, while
excited men of time rush about confusing motion with progress. But it will pay in
the long run and the true Christian is not much interested in anything short of
that." In 1952, he received an LL.D. degree from Houghton College.
Among the more than 40 books that he authored, at least two
are regarded as Christian classics: The Pursuit of God and The Knowledge of the
Holy. His books impress on the reader the possibility and necessity for a
deeper relationship with God.
Living a simple and non-materialistic lifestyle, he and his
wife, Ada Cecelia Pfautz, never owned a car, preferring bus and train travel.
Even after becoming a well-known Christian author, Tozer signed away much of
his royalties to those who were in need.
Tozer had seven children, six boys and one girl. He was
buried in Ellet Cemetery, Akron, Ohio, with a simple epitaph marking his grave:
"A. W. Tozer - A Man of God."
Prayer was of vital personal importance for Tozer. "His
preaching as well as his writings were but extensions of his prayer life,"
comments his biographer, James L. Snyder, in the book, In Pursuit of God: The
Life Of A.W. Tozer. "He had the ability to make his listeners face
themselves in the light of what God was saying to them," writes Snyder.
 Published works
Books by A. W. Tozer include the following:
Let My People Go
Man : the Dwelling Place of God
Paths to Power
The Divine Conquest
The Pursuit of God, (1957) Camp Hill, PA: Christian
Publications, ISBN 0-87509-522-4 (Online E-text)
The Knowledge of the Holy, (1961) New York: Harper &
Row, ISBN 0-06-068412-7
The Root of the Righteous
There are also many compilations of sermons and other
writings which were edited and published by Christian Publications, Inc., after
Tozer's death. Although the following books were published posthumously,
authorship is attributed to A. W. Tozer. (This list is by no means complete.):
The Attributes of God, Volume One with study guide by David
E. Fessenden (1997) ISBN 0-87509-957-2
The Attributes of God, Volume Two with study guide by David
E. Fessenden (2001) ISBN 0-87509-988-2
The Best of A. W. Tozer, Book 1 (1979) ISBN 0-87509-458-9
The Best of A. W. Tozer, Book 2 (1995) ISBN 0-87509-594-1
The Best of A. W. Tozer, 52 Favourite Chapters Compiled by
Warren W Wiersbe (1991), Crossway Books ISBN 1-85684-007-7
When He is Come (1968) ISBN 0-87509-221-7
I Call It Heresy! (1974) ISBN 0-87509-209-8
Who Put Jesus on the Cross? (1975) 0-87509-212-8
The Pursuit of God (1976) STL Books, Bromley, Kent ISBN
That Incredible Christian (1977) ISBN 0-8423-7025-0
Knowledge of the Holy (1978) ISBN 0-06-068412-7
Gems from Tozer (1979) ISBN 0-87509-163-6
Renewed Day by Day: Daily Devotional (1980) ISBN
A Treasury of A. W. Tozer (1980) ISBN 0-8010-8851-8
Echoes from Eden: The Voices of God Calling Man (1981) ISBN 0-87509-227-6
Originally published as, The Tozer Pulpit Vol. 8: Ten Sermons on the Voices of
God Calling Man
Leaning Into The Wind (1985) STL Books, Bromley, Kent ISBN
Whatever Happened to Worship? (1985) ISBN 0-87509-367-1
Whatever Happened to Worship? (1986) OM Publishing,
Carlisle, ISBN 1-85078-010-2
Faith Beyond Reason (1987) OM Publishing, Bromley, Kent ISBN
Jesus, Our Man in Glory (1987) ISBN 0-87509-390-6
Jesus, Author of Our Faith (1988) ISBN 0-87509-406-6
Men Who Met God (1989) OM Publishing, Bromley, Kent ISBN
That Incredible Christian (1989) OM Publishing, Bromley,
Kent ISBN 1-85078-064-1
I Talk Back to the Devil: Essays in Spiritual Perfection
(1990) ISBN 0-87509-437-6
The Coming King (1990) STL Books, Bromley, Kent ISBN
Christ the Eternal Son (1991) ISBN 978-1-60066-047-4
Man: The Dwelling Place of God (1992) ISBN 0-87509-415-5
God Tells the Man Who Cares (1992) ISBN 0-87509-508-9
We Travel an Appointed Way (1992) OM Publishing, Bromley,
Kent ISBN 1-85078-116-8
The Knowledge of the Holy (1992) ISBN 0-06-069865-9
The Knowledge of the Holy: The Attributes of God: Their
Meaning in Christian Life (1997) ISBN 0-8027-2707-7
The Tozer Topical Reader (1999) ISBN 0-87509-838-X
The Radical Cross (2005) ISBN 0-88965-236-8
The Worship-Driven Life: The Reason We Were Created (2008)
Signposts: A Collection of Sayings from A.W. Tozer ISBN
Tozer on the Almighty God: A 366-Day Devotional ISBN
The Pursuit of God ISBN 1-60066-015-0
Faith Beyond Reason ISBN 1-60066-033-9
Warfare Of The Spirit ISBN 1-60066-059-2
The Pursuit Of God With Study Guide ISBN 1-60066-106-8
^ Harris, Lynn (1992). The Mystic Spirituality of A.W.
Tozer. Edwin Mellen Pr. ISBN 0773498729.
^ The Alliance Witness: Dr. A.W. Tozer Memorial Issue,
www.cmalliance.org. 1963-07-24. Accessed 2009-05-07.
^ Directions to Tozer's Grave, Central District Christian
& Missionary Alliance.org. Accessed 2009-04-28.
The Young Tozer
Aiden Wilson Tozer was born April 21, 1897 on a small farm in Western Pennsylvania, the third of six children. And although he would inspire millions with his preaching and writing, he was given very little education during his childhood. Instead, he was needed at home for physical labor. In 1907, when his brother left home to work for the Goodrich Rubber Company in Akron, Ohio, Tozer was called upon to do the difficult work of a farm-hand. At 15, his entire family moved to Akron and Tozer went to work at Goodyear. One afternoon walking home from his job, he heard a street preacher say, “If you don't know how to be saved . . . just call on God.” When he got home, he climbed the narrow stairs to his attic and gave his life to God. Within a few years, Tozer would gain a reputation as a “20th-century prophet.”
His First Pastorate
Tozer joined the Missionary Alliance Church shortly after his conversion, where he met Ada Pfautz, whom he married at the age of twenty-one. In 1919, ordained, married, and without formal education, Tozer was called to pastor a small storefront church in Nutter Fort, West Virginia. Able to express his thoughts in a simple and forceful manner, Tozer’s preaching began bringing the power of God to hungry souls, and people couldn’t get enough of him. That humble pastorate in West Virginia sparked Tozer’s 44 year ministry with The Christian and Missionary Alliance. He spent most of those years at Chicago's Southside Alliance Church where the congregation, captivated by his preaching, grew from 80 to 800. In 1950 Tozer became the editor of the Alliance Weekly, and its circulation doubled almost immediately. His ministry was fueled by constant prayer, and he would often be seen walking the aisles of a sanctuary or laying face down on the floor, praying. He noted once that, “As a man prays, so is he.” An early biographer noted his consistent prayer life: “Tozer spent more time on his knees than at his desk.”
His Continuing Legacy
A. W. Tozer was 66 when he died of a heart attack on May 12, 1963. Buried in a small cemetery in Akron, his tombstone simply and appropriately reads, “A Man of God.” He left behind many books that continue to give Christians encouragement and guidance. His writings are as fresh today as when he was alive because, as a friend commented, “His books reach deep into the heart.” His honest and colloquial humor has been known to sweep up congregations in gales of laughter. And his wisdom has left them silent and stunned. For almost 50 years Tozer walked with God, and even though he is gone, he continues to minister to those who are eager to experience God.