on 7 November 1997
One of the absolute best books I've ever read...of any genre! There are many "devotional" style books out there, but very few come close to this in either writing style, but more importantly in content. Probably the author's best work. Writes clearly, simply, and very powerfully. Best read in small chunks because even though the writing is clear, the thoughts are deep and require reflection before moving on.
on 22 July 1999
There are not many books that are so timeless and challenging as The Pursuit of God. If you are tired of modern evangelicalism's false ideas that we can come to Christ without forsaking the world, that being a Christian means nothing more than to sidestep hell one day, this book is for you. Prepare to glow with the presence of God while you read this - we were created to know God intimately, and this book beautifully makes that known. Read it and be changed forever.
on 11 December 2008
THIS BOOK POINTS OUT THE VERY ESSENCE OF CHRISTIANITY AND OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD.I'M ONLY HALFWAY THROUGH IT AND ALREADY I CAN HONESTLY SAY ITS RIGHT UP THERE WITH MY FAVOURITE BOOKS,PROBABLY NUMBER 1 (BESIDES THE HOLY BIBLE WHICH IS ETERNALLY NUMBER ONE).THE PURSUIT OF GOD IS MY NUMBER ONE BOOK, NOT BECAUSE IT NECESSARILY EXCITES ME,ALTHOUGH IT CERTAINLY DOES,BUT MOST IMPORTANTLY BECAUSE IT CONVICTS ME TO THE VERY CORE OF MY SOUL.THE BOOK REALLY TEACHES US WHAT CHRISTIANITY IS REALLY ABOUT, ESPECIALLY IN AN AGE WHERE IT SEEMS TO HAVE LOST ITS ESSENTIAL MEANING.ONE REVIEWER SAID THE THAT THE CONTENT OF THIS BOOK IS SOMEWHAT PROPHETIC AND I HAVE TO SAY THAT I AGREE 100%.ITS SO RELEVANT TO OUR DAY THAT YOU CAN ONLY CONCLUDE THAT IT IS PROPHETIC,ITS AS IF A.W TOZER IS WITH US TODAY AND WROTE THIS BOOK YESTERDAY.TIMELESS!TIMELESS!TIMELESS! NOW I WILL BE HONEST, THE BOOK IS QUITE SMALL(ABOUT 93 PAGES) BUT ITS TAKING ME A LITTLE WHILE TO FINISH READING IT BECAUSE I HAVE SPENT MUCH TIME PONDERING ON THE RICHNESS OF TRUTH WITHIN ITS PAGES IN EVERY CHAPTER. I THINK I HAVE READ SOME CHAPTERS THREE TIMES OVER. WHAT AN AMAZINGLY LIFE CHANGING BOOK! A.W TOZER WAS AND THROUGH HIS WORKS STILL IS A GIFT TO THE BODY OF CHRIST,HIS WORKS HAVE STOOD THE TEST OF TIME, DEFINATELY ONE OF THE GREATEST CONTEMPORARY PREACHERS/LEADERS OF OUR GENERATION. I KNOW HE IS WITH THE LORD UP IN HEAVENLY GLORY BUT HIS WORKS HAVE BEEN PRESERVED SO THAT MANY OF US WHO ARE TRULY SEEKING GOD WOULD ENCOUNTER HIM(GOD)DAILY IN OUR LIVES.I AM A YOUNG 25 YEAR OLD MINISTER OF THE GOSPEL AND I HAVE BEEN PERSUADED OF THE TIMELESS TRUTHS IN THIS BOOK. BOTH YOUNG AND OLD NEED THIS BOOK PERIOD. NOTHING HE HAS WRITTEN IN THIS BOOK IS BEYOND THE SCRIPTURES.HE IS EXPOSITING SOME REAL BIBLICAL TRUTHS AND THAT IS CERTAINLY WHAT THE BODY OF CHRIST NEEDS RIGHT HERE RIGHT NOW.THIS BOOK HAS THE SIGNATURE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT ALL OVER IT, SO DONT HESITATE, BUY IT NOW, NOW, NOW! HALLELUJAH AND AMEN!!
on 15 March 2015
This is a difficult book to review, both because it's considered a classic among those in the know, and because I'm not one of them! Nor do I have any experience of the kinds described by the author, A W Tozer, sometimes regarded as an evangelical Protestant mystic. Aiden Wilson Tozer (1897-1963) was an evangelical pastor who worked with congregations in both the United States and Canada. He also wrote extensively for the magazine of his denomination, and authored several books.
“The Pursuit of God” is Tozer's short introduction to the higher Christian life of the spirit. The author is critical of the worldly and non-spiritual state of the churches, with their emphasis on doctrine over experience, preoccupation with administration and organization, commercial tendencies, and/or empty ritualism. Tozer doesn't reject the inspiration of the Bible or the necessity of sound doctrine (his denomination, the Christian and Missionary Alliance, was theologically conservative), but he strongly emphasizes that the Bible, taken by itself, isn't “the” divine revelation, but rather one of its products, the revelation itself being God's living Voice or Word, which is forever active throughout creation. The most important tasks of Christian believers is to pursue this divine, living Voice.
Interestingly, Tozer quotes Catholic (pre-Reformation) mystics, such as Augustine, Nicholas of Cusa and the anonymous author of “The Cloud of Unknowing”. This strongly suggests that the author seeks a mystical experience of God's manifest presence. His mysticism is intensely “personal”, not impersonal, since God is a living, loving and willing person, with whom human persons can enter into intense communion. Apart from prayer and humbleness, Tozer says very little about how the beholding of God's presence should be accomplished, although he does emphasize that it can't come about without suffering, forsaking and “dying from the world”. The fall of man is a terrible reality which stands in the way of a right relation with God.
An interesting chapter discusses the meaning of faith. In Tozer's opinion, the Bible doesn't give us a fully-fledged philosophical answer to the question of what faith actually *is* in essence. Rather, it emphasizes how faith operates in the soul of the believer, and what its fruits are. Therefore, *these* are the important questions to tackle. Humans can only understand faith in experiential terms. Tozer's description of faith sounds very concrete – he seems to believe that it’s an actual spiritual force which enters the heart of man and makes it possible for him to constantly remember and adore God. “The gaze of the soul” is an important concept for Tozer. Less reverently, we could perhaps call this “seeing is believing”. The author emphasizes that God is real, speaking today, and that his creation is real, too (he attacks the babble of the subjective idealists at this point). Therefore, faith is also based on something real and tangible, the above-mentioned “gaze of the soul” upon God.
In several chapters, the author rebukes empty ritualism, both the Catholic variety and its intrusions into Protestantism. “Holy days” and holy places are absurd concepts, since everything is potentially holy. God can and should be worshipped even while the believer is working, eating or attending school. This comes from Luther or Calvin, of course. In Tozer's version, there seems to be connection between this and the previously mentioned notion that faith is an actual spiritual force implanted into men's hearts. It's presumably this faith which makes it possible for the Christian to constantly offer silent homage to God.
“The Pursuit of God” is probably not a text one can simply “read” or “study”. It's rather a signpost to a wholly different kind of living. Hence, a recovering materialist like me found it difficult relating to – this is actually the third time I try to read it, and the first time I finished it! That being said, I will give A W Tozer's spiritual classic four stars.
on 31 December 2010
Definitely a 'classic'. Each page is packed with truths that challenge you right to the core of your being. Was given this as a present, and have been giving this out as a present ever since! A must-have-on-your-shelf of Tozer's.
One thing I will say, though - I ordered it thinking I would get the book as displayed, instead I recieved one with a different cover. Not that it mattes hugely as the content is still the same, but it does have a different look to it.
on 8 December 2010
This book came to me as a recommended follow to up to J.I. Packer's Knowing God. The first thing you will notice about this book is that it is extremely short. However, don't let that deceive you; it is very rich and almost paragraph gives food for thought.
Reading the biographical details of Tozer's life could lead you towards thinking he had abandoned sound theology for wishful mysticism. There are some traces in the book that caused me to raise my eyebrow where Tozer seemed to advocate an experientialist approach to theology, rather than sola scriptura. However, he states at the start that all experience has to be founded on sound theology. In this respect, it is very much a case for those looking for "solid food" that Paul refers to in 1 Corinthians 3. As such, I would not recommend this to a new christian or to someone who is investigating christianity, as there is much foundational knowledge which is assumed throughout. Were someone to start with Tozer, it would be very easy to get the wrong end of the stick.
But with that cautionary word out of the way, I have to say that this was a joy to read. Clearly written from a passionate heart, Tozer shows us a glimpse of what it means to move from merely knowing about God, to knowing God himself. One of my habits that gets me funny looks from fellow commuters on the train is my habit of underlining quotes in various books. Usually, this is quite rarefied, but in this instance it was more practical to keep my pen in my hand as I was reading than to keep putting it away and bring it back out again.
There is one genuine flaw in it, I believe. In a few instances dotted throughout the book, Tozer seems to adopt a slightly anti-intellectual and anti-science viewpoint, indicating that they are incompatible with christian belief. However, as a christian with a scientific background, I cannot agree with this worldview. A true understanding the power of science can only obtained when you understand its limitations. In my opinion, since God is outside of nature, no naturalistic outlook can ever lead to a complete understanding of God; science is the exploration of creation, working out how God put the cosmos together and how it works. So it is not a case that science is anti-christian, but rather that scientific methodology is (to borrow an analogy from N.T. Wright) like shooting arrows at the sun: it can take aim at God, but it will never hit.
This is a serious book for serious people. It is certainly one that I will be coming back to in the future, and would recommend for anyone wanting a guide in helping them get closer to God.