God’s Pursuit Of Man, by A.W. Tozer
[Note: This book was provided free of charge by Moody Publishing. All thoughts and opinions are my own.]
Oddly enough, I got this book without asking for it from a publisher, as happens relatively frequently. When one reads as many book as I do–and this is the third book I have read by this author –it seems fairly natural that one would read books that one had not requested. And though I had not requested this book, and though I stand in a very different point of view with regards to the nature of God and especially of the Holy Spirit than the author does , there is still much to appreciate in this book. It is striking, in light of the state of contemporary Christianity, that so many books have come across my attention that deal with the role of the Holy Spirit in the church. This book primarily deals with two subjects, namely the decisive role of God in conversion as well as the power and role of the Holy Spirit, and in both cases the author has a lot to say that will be a subject of controversy and contention in the present world.
Overall, this book is a short volume of about 140 pages or so divided into ten chapters. About half of the chapters look at God’s pursuit of mankind and about half of them deal with the topic of and nature of the Holy Spirit. In both cases the author makes a direct challenge to others. In speaking about God’s role in conversion, the author resolves an apparent contradiction between the Calvinist and Arminian view by pointing out that what is a choice on our part is a conquest on the part of God, showing that divine providence and human will are ultimately two sides of the same coin, namely the active and passive aspects of a single relationship. Likewise, the author’s discussion of the lack of active presence of the Holy Spirit reminds me that the concern over continuation or cessation of the Holy Spirit is by no means a concern only of our times, but one that has been going on for the better part of a century. The author’s discussion of the sterility of a belief in the text of the Bible without the motivating power of God’s Spirit is an immensely worthwhile and relevant one.
Ultimately, as a reader, this book led me to ponder some aspects of the author’s argument and the way it is heard and read in contemporary times. This is a book full of ironies. For one, this is a book written by someone who mistrusts the overreliance of many people on books rather than the experience of a life lived in faith and obedience. Likewise, the author’s view of God’s pursuit of mankind has elements of that feeling of “divine rape” that people associate with Calvinist thought and that has made mainstream Calvinism immensely unpalatable to a large part of the population and even fatal to the political hopes of Calvinists within the United States. Additionally, the author’s toughmindedness concerning other people appears to lack a sense of love and compassion for others. The author seems to struggle with showing love to sinners with a fervent hope for their repentance and a hatred of sin, even if it can be found within ourselves as it so often is. Even so, this is a book that certainly provides tough love, and a rebuke of many contemporary religious trends, and there is definitely a point in that.
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