Monday, June 6, 2011

I Talk Back to the Devil, by A.W. Tozer


A bit lackluster, honestly. I haven't read Tozer before, but I will try not to hold this book against him in the future. It's not entirely clear what the point of the book is. The subtitle has changed since the original edition, and the title itself is a bit confusing. Spiritual warfare isn't really the theme of the book at all. Instead, the book is one long exhortation not to accept Christian mediocrity, but to press on toward perfection and the standard set by Christ. Tozer is right to criticize the modern Christian contentment with merely "adequate" faith, but he sometimes seems to believe that perfection is an attainable goal. Which is not only patently false--we will never attain perfection in this life--but does his readers a disservice, since the inevitable failure of this "quest for perfection" tends to lead to guilt and depression. The book doesn't really seem to say much of anything. He exhorts Christians to be filled with the spirit, to be set on fire with love of God, which is all well and good. The modern churchgoer is far too reluctant to be a fanatic for Jesus (not in the legalistic, hateful way portrayed on news shows, but in a sold-out-for-Jesus sort of way). But I didn't feel like Tozer really helped the reader get there. The book seemed to be more about selling the reader on the idea than actually providing meaningful guidance. So all in all, I would have to say that it kind of lacked substance. Which feels like a very critical thing to say about someone of Tozer's stature, but there you have it. Not a bad book, by any means, and my own spiritual mediocrity may be coloring my perception, but all in all, I expected better. Then again, this is not one of his best-known books. Maybe there's a reason for that.

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