Friday, June 29, 2012

Book Review. "The Life of A.W. Tozer: In Pursuit of God," by James L. Snyder

"The Life of A.W. Tozer: In Pursuit of God," by James L. Snyder is a quaint and pithy collection of Tozer snippets. An enjoyable read to be sure, it nevertheless falls short of its claim to be an "authorized biography" of the famed pastor.

This work is almost entirely a collection of loose quotations and undated anecdotes from those who knew him best. As such, it tends to read more like a funeral eulogy than a historical survey of the man's life and ministry.

Most of the recollections given of personal experiences with Tozer are general in scope. The author treats the reader to a rather monotonous series of fond memories, invariably beginning with "once," "on another occasion," or "one time..." For this reason, the total work gives the impression of pearls strung together in a loosely chronological but predominantly thematic order.

Very little attention is given to some of the significant moments in Tozer's life: his wedding to Ada, for instance, is treated with little more than two lines. His reception of honorary degrees (Tozer did not attend seminary) is only mentioned incidentally. His relations with other prominent evangelicals (outside the Christian Missionary Alliance which the author highly regards) such as Martin Lloyd-Jones is only regarded tangentially. His theological framework--such as it was--is lightly regarded.

Those accustomed to a more historical, annotated style of biography would probably do well to skip this particular volume on the life of A.W. Tozer, in favor of something more scholastic.

All in all, this book did what it was probably written to do, viz. provide some food for thought holding up Tozer's memorable quotations (already found in plethora in his collected writings) as the center-piece.

Matthew Everhard is the Senior Pastor of Faith Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Brooksville, Florida.


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