Thoughts on the Way Home

Thursday, February 24, 2011

A.W. Tozer

There has been a good deal of buzz lately surrounding a new Tozer biography by Lyle Dorsett. Dorsett brings out several negative things regarding Tozer's home life, most of which centers around the alleged neglect of his wife. After he died and his wife remarried, she is recorded as saying, "I have never been happier in my life...Aiden loved Jesus Christ, but Leonard Odam loves me."

John Piper, responding to comments on the subject, offers a caution about jumping to conclusions based off his wife's testimony:
We would need to be as penetrating in our analysis of her spiritual condition as we are of A. W. Tozer’s. Not feeling loved and not being loved are not the same. Jesus loved all people well. And many did not like the way he loved them. Was David’s zeal for the Lord imbalanced because his wife Michal despised him for it? Was Job’s devotion to the Lord inordinate because his wife urged him to curse God and die? Would Gomer be a reliable witness to Hosea’s devotion? I know nothing about Tozer’s wife. She may have been far more godly than he. Or maybe not. It would be helpful to know.
...I have seen so much emotional blackmail in my ministry I am jealous to raise a warning against it. Emotional blackmail happens when a person equates his or her emotional pain with another person’s failure to love. They aren’t the same. A person may love well and the beloved still feel hurt, and use the hurt to blackmail the lover into admitting guilt he or she does not have.
I agree. What would Francis Schaeffer's reputation be at the moment if Franky Schaeffer hadn't been called on the carpet by Os Guiness (who knew them both firsthand) for not portraying an accurate picture of Francis' life?

There is much we don't know. But I get a bad sense when I read the statements Tozer's wife makes about him. And I get a sense of God when I read and listen to Tozer himself. So I'm simply putting this whole issue away until the Day makes the whole matter known. And until then I'll continue to wear out my already worn out copy of The Pursuit of God.