If you are like me, A. W. Tozer is an important writer in your Christian journey. The Pursuit of God and Knowledge of the Holy are still two of my favorite books, ones I reread regularly. Tozer is one of those writers that has a special place on my bookshelf because he painted a picture of what it means to hunger after Jesus Christ. Reading his books made me want to be a better Christian, closer to God and eager to learn and experience more of Him.
If this describes your view of Tozer, don’t read this book.
Lyle Dorsett’s A Passion for God highlights two aspects of A. W. Tozer: it shows that he is a godly man who lived a life listening to God and spending hours in prayer; it also displays a man who was a hard, cold man to his family. In short, A. W. Tozer was a real jerk!
This book is filled with juxtapositions. One on hand, Tozer is a backwoods, uneducated hillbilly, and on the other he is a self-educated Renaissance man in later life. He was humble and quiet, yet bold and passionate in his preaching. He loved people and served all of his churches well, yet ignored his wife and children. While the book is a general biography of Tozer (subtitled, “The Spiritual Journey of A. W. Tozer”), the constant frame story in this narrative is that he served God at great cost to his family. Tozer is the star of the story, but the book seems to be about his family, namely Ada, his wife. Throughout the book, I grew more sympathetic to Ada, who was dragged along, not consulted about major life moves, and left to care for seven children while Tozer spoke at conferences around the country. Their distance increased, and Tozer was unaware, or at least he didn’t seem to care.
I enjoyed reading about this deeply flawed man, and how God used him—and continues to use his work—in spite of his shortcomings. If God can use Tozer, think what He can do with me.