Discipleship: What It Truly Means To Be A Christian–Collected Insights From A.W. Tozer
[Note: This book was provided free of charge by Moody Publishers. All thoughts and opinions are my own.]
As someone who has read at least some of Tozer’s writings , this book is something of an almost unmixed pleasure to read. Tozer is at his best when he writes about the moral demands of following God and at his worst when he tries to discuss matters of theological speculations. This is an exceptionally tough-minded work form Tozer, and precisely the sort of work I most appreciate from him as an antidote to the sort of lazy ragamuffin Christianity that the author so properly condemns here that was becoming popular during his own time and is an even larger problem at present. This is a short book, to be sure, but one that offers some powerful encouragement to the reader to take their Christian life seriously as a matter of being a disciple of Jesus Christ rather than accepting Him as a savior in the way that someone would accept some spare change that one found on the ground in the course of one’s travels.
This book of about 150 pages is divided into thirteen chapters that are likely collected from other sources not cited here by the editor. Tozer was apparently a prolific writer from the various books of his that I have found over time that include fragments of his. The author begins with the marks of discipleship (1) and moves on to a discussion of true and false disciples that includes a lot of comical descriptions of false disciples (2). After this he discusses the fallacy of “accepting” Christ (3) and a discussion of the invisible birth that happens to those who receive Him (4). The author comments that obedience is not an “option” for believers (5) and that one cannot face two directions but must choose what they are committed to (6). A couple of chapters discuss the fact that believers are crucified with Christ as Paul was (7) and that we are enjoined to take up our cross daily (8) in the practice of self-denial. Tozer encourages the reader to love righteousness and hate evil (9) as well as to be holy (10), and closes his book with a discussion of the importance of deeds as the outgrowth of conversion (11), our preparation for the kingdom of God through righteous living (12), and our obligation to share our way with others (13).
It is pretty easy to understand why Tozer might have been a difficult person for others to get along with during his short but productive life. Tozer doesn’t appear to be the sort of person who suffered fools gladly or was very soft towards the weaknesses and shortcomings of others. He was likely pretty demanding of the people he was close to, which they may not have appreciated. One must wonder, though, if the author was so much harder on himself than he ever was on others. He would not have written so forcefully and so eloquently about the difficulties people have in living a godly life if he had not struggled against the social currents of an easy acceptance of sin in his own life and in his own experience. If he had not been so sensitive to the moral decay of his time, moral decay that has only accelerated after his death, it is likely that his writing would have come off as less tough, but when one lives in ages where everything is going soft and flabby, it is hard not to be a bit too tough in response to that, and wise for us to resist the pull of the current downstream even if it takes a lot out of us.
 See, for example: