Table of Contents
Chip's Practical Wisdom
Investments: When asked about investing time and effort into pastor-level ministry vs. doing so in intentional evangelism, Chip says:
I like to think that sowing seed all over the place gets more done than limiting yourself to preaching to the same 50 people every week.
Calling: When asked about a “call to ministry” for pastoral-level ministry, Chip says:
It's hard for me not to believe there was some kind of a calling going on in Philadelphia, but a calling now is kind of like updating a bathroom in a burned down house.
Church Shopping: When asked about what he wants out of a church, Chip says
I'm looking for a church that will not oppose my evangelism ministry.
Arthur Walkington Pink (1 April 1886 – 15 July 1952) was an English Bible teacher…
In 1908 Pink renounced Theosophy for evangelical Christianity. Desiring to become a minister but unwilling to attend a liberal theological college in England, Pink very briefly studied at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago in 1910
Pink had become acquainted with prominent dispensationalist Fundamentalists, such as Harry Ironside and Arno C. Gaebelein, and his first two books, published in 1917 and 1918, were in agreement with that theological position. Sadly, however, A.W. Pink became a staunch Calvinist.
His writings, however, especially his work in pictures and types, are still valuable. If you do read Pink, read him critically lest you fall to the feet of Catholic Calvin and Augustinianism as he did…
- Gleanings in Genesis
- Gleanings in Exodus (this one first)
- Gleanings in Joshua (this one last)
- Gleanings from Elisha
If you want to savor the taste of Calvin's filth, read Pink's The Sovereignty of God. Truly and genuinely awful.
The Tragic Sin of Preachers
A.W. Pink (1886-1952)
Hosea 8.4: “…of their silver and their gold have they made them idols, that they may be cut off.”
Sad indeed is the above passage–and the more so, because we have seen such a tragic repetition of it in our own days.
Oh what earthly-mindedness, what indulging of the flesh, what sinful extravagance–are now seen among professing Christians today!
How practical godliness has waned; how the denying of self has disappeared; how covetousness, pleasure and worldliness now possess the great majority of those calling themselves the people of God.
Yet as great as the sin of the people is–far greater is that of most of the preachers, who, instead of warning, admonishing, rebuking, and setting before their people an example of sobriety and contentment, criminally remain silent upon the crying sins of their hearers, while they themselves encourage the reckless indulgence of worldly lusts.
The Time Has Arrived!
A.W. Pink (1886-1952)
If the time had arrived in Pink's day… I wonder what we could say about the mess we see in churches today?
2 Timothy 4:1-4: I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
That time has arrived! Church-goers today will not endure “sound doctrine.”
Those who preach the total depravity of man, who insist upon the imperative necessity of the new birth, who set forth the inflexible righteousness and holiness of God, and who warn against the eternal and conscious torment awaiting every rejecter of Christ, find it almost impossible to obtain a hearing! Such preachers are regarded as puritanic pessimists, and are not wanted.
In these degenerate times, the masses demand that which will soothe them in their sins–and amuse them while they journey down the Broad Road which leads to eternal destruction! The multitude is affected with “itching ears” which crave novelty and that which will amuse them.
Not only are many of our Seminaries cesspools of spiritual corruption…
Not only are hundreds of our pulpits now filled by traitors to the cause they profess to champion…
Not only is every cardinal doctrine of the faith attacked and denied by the very ones paid to defend them…
But the evil effects of such teaching from our religious leaders have influenced multitudes of souls committed to their care.
The man in the pew, following the lead of his teachers, has lost faith in the Bible as a Divine revelation, and in consequence, no longer submits to its authority.
What a Farce!
A.W. Pink (1886-1952)
The vast majority of the churches are in a sorry state! Those that are out-and-out worldly are at their wits end to invent new devices for drawing a crowd. Others which still preserve an outward form of godliness often provide nothing substantial for the soul; there is little ministering of Christ to the heart, and little preaching of sound doctrine, without which souls cannot be built up and established in the faith.
The great majority of the pastors summon to their aid some professional speaker, who puts on a high-pressure campaign and secures sufficient new “converts” to take the place of those who have “lapsed” since he was last with them.
What a farce it all is!
Aiden Wilson Tozer (April 21, 1897 – May 12, 1963) was an American Christian pastor, author, magazine editor, and spiritual mentor.
Tozer grew up in a tiny farming community in western La Jose, Pennsylvania. He was converted to Christianity as a teenager in Akron, Ohio: while on his way home from work at a tire company, he overheard a street preacher say, “If you don't know how to be saved … just call on God, saying, 'Lord, be merciful to me a sinner.'” Upon returning home, he climbed into the attic and heeded the preacher's advice.
In 1919, five years after his conversion and without formal education in Christian theology, Tozer accepted an offer to serve as pastor of his first church. That began 44 years of ministry… 33 of them serving as a pastor in several different congregations…
Observing contemporary Christian living, Tozer felt the church was on a dangerous course toward compromising with “worldly” concerns.
Tozer wrote: “It will cost something to walk slow in the parade of the ages, while excited men of time rush about confusing motion with progress. But it will pay in the long run and the true Christian is not much interested in anything short of that.”
He was buried in Ellet Cemetery, Akron, Ohio, with a simple epitaph marking his grave: “A. W. Tozer - A Man of God.”
Anger & Grief in My Spirit
A.W. Tozer (1897-1963)
There is grief in my spirit when I go into the average church, for we have become a generation rapidly losing all sense of divine sacredness and reverence in our worship. God has been abridged, reduced, modified, edited, changed and amended–until He is no longer the God whom Isaiah saw, high and lifted up!
We've reduced the God of Abraham and Jacob, to a “stuffed God” that can be appealed to by anybody at any time. The religious clown on the radio can break into his fun and say, “Now we will have a minute of prayer.” In the religious concert, the half-converted cowboy dressed like an idiot will say after he's twanged out some catchy numbers, “Now I'll do a holy number for you.”
The God of today's Christianity is a weakling–a little cheap, palsy God that you can pal around with. He's “the man upstairs.” He's the fellow that can help you when you're in difficulty–and not bother you too much when you're not.
It is a major tragedy in the life of any man, to live in a church from childhood to old age with nothing more than some synthetic God compounded of sentimentality and logic–but having no eyes to see, no ears to hear and no heart to love the holy God of Scripture!
In the majority of our church meetings, there is scarcely a trace of reverent thought, little sense of the divine Presence, no moment of stillness, no solemnity, no wonder, no holy fear. But so often there is a dull or a breezy song leader full of awkward jokes, in an effort to make everything hold together.
The most pressing need just now is that we who call ourselves Christians should frankly acknowledge to each other and to God that we are gone far astray. We should confess that we are worldly, that our moral standards are low, and that we are spiritually cold and lethargic.
We need to cease our multitude of unscriptural activities, and cease trying to sanctify carnal and worldly projects by promoting them “in the name of the Lord” and “for the glory of God.”
We need to return to the message, methods and objectives of the New Testament!
We need boldly and indignantly to cleanse the temple of all who sell cattle in the holy place, and overthrow the tables of the money-changers! This must be done in our own lives first–and then in the churches of whom we are a part!
We need men and women who love the Savior, until adoration becomes the music of their soul–until they don't have to be fooled with entertainment and amusement!
Another Kind of Religious Leader
If Christianity is to receive a rejuvenation, it must be by other means than any now being used. If the Church in the second half of this century is to recover from the injuries she suffered in the first half, there must appear a new type of preacher.
The proper, ruler-of-the-synagogue type will never do. Neither will the priestly type of man who carries out his duties, takes his pay, and asks no questions; nor the smooth-talking pastor type who knows how to make the Christian religion acceptable to everyone. All these have been tried and found wanting.
Another kind of religious leader must arise among us. He must be of the old prophet type…
When he comes (and I pray there will be not one but many), he will stand in flat contradiction to everything our smirking, smooth civilization holds dear. He will contradict, denounce, and protest in the name of God, and will earn the hatred and opposition of a large segment of Christendom. Such a man is likely to be lean, rugged, blunt-spoken, and a little bit angry with the world. He will love Christ and the souls of men to the point of willingness to die for the glory of the One and the salvation of the other. But he will fear nothing that breathes with mortal breath.
The Average Church Member
A.W. Tozer (1897-1963)
I read stuff like this and it just makes me angry. It's not what is said in the quote that makes me angry. It's the fact that no one else seems to echo the sentiments of quotes like these. Simply put: no one cares. If they did… they would do something about it.
Christianity to the average evangelical church member is simply an avenue to a good and pleasant time, with a little biblical devotional material thrown in for good measure!
I hope I do not live to see the day when God has to turn from men and women who have heard His holy truth and have played with it, fooled with it, and equated it with fun and entertainment and religious nonsense!
The church has become a religious theater where amateur entertainers are paid to amuse those who attend.
In many churches, Christianity has been watered down until the solution is so weak, that if it were poison–it would not hurt anyone; and if it were medicine–it would not cure anyone!
Heresy of Method
A.W. Tozer (1897-1963)
Talk like this makes “Christians” today say, “Meany! Meany! Where's love and the fruit of the Spirit? God is love and you aren't being loving and gentle toward all men!” Nevermind that he was right. Nevermind that his anger and indignation were completely reasonable, warranted, and justified.
Note: “extra-Scriptural” simply means “outside of Scripture”
Those Christians who belong to the Evangelical wing of the Church have over the last half-century shown an increasing impatience with invisible and eternal things–and have demanded and gotten a host of visible and temporal things to satisfy their fleshly appetites.
The temptation to introduce “new” things into the work of God, has always been too strong for some people to resist. The Church has suffered untold injury at the hands of well-intentioned but misguided persons, who have felt that they know more about running God's work, than Christ and His apostles did! A solid train of boxcars would not suffice to haul away the religious gimmicks which have been brought into the service of the Church with the hope of improving on the original pattern. These things have been, one and all, great hindrances to the progress of the Truth, and have so altered the divinely planned structure that the apostles, were they to return to earth today, would scarcely recognize the misshapen thing which has resulted!
Every generation is sure to have its ambitious amateur to come up with some shiny gadget which he proceeds to urge upon the church. That the Scriptures do not justify its existence–does not seem to bother him at all. It is brought in anyway and presented in the very name of orthodoxy. Soon it is identified in the minds of the Christian public, with all that is good and holy. Then, of course, to attack the gadget is to attack the Truth itself. This is an old familiar technique so often and so long practiced by the devotees of error, that I marvel how the children of God can be taken in by it!
We of the evangelical faith are in the rather awkward position of criticizing Roman Catholicism for its weight of unscriptural impediments–and at the same time tolerating in our own churches a world of religious fribble as bad as holy water or the adored host. Heresy of method may be as deadly as heresy of message! Evangelicalism has been smothered to death by extra-Scriptural rubbish! Unless we in gospel churches wake up soon, we shall most surely die by the same means!
A.W. Tozer (1897-1963)
As you read the following quote by A.W. Tozer, think about the churches that you have been in that have been set up and designed to reflect entertainment centers (theaters, concerts, coffee shops, etc.). How many have black ceilings? How many have disco balls hanging from the ceiling? How many have stage lighting? How many have “dramas” and choreographed dancing? How many “sermons” are now “stories,” following the current fad of “narrative preaching”?
The church that cannot worship is the church that must be entertained. And “pastors” who refuse to lead a church biblically must provide the “flock” with entertainment. Tozer saw it decades ago. How much more prevalent is it today? I'd say it's not prevalent at all… I'd said it's rampant. And, frankly, it's pathetic.
Here's Tozer's quote:
A great company of evangelical churches have already gone over into the area of religious entertainment, so that many churches are tramping on the doorstep of the theater!
The tragic results of this spirit are all about us: shallow lives, hollow religious philosophies, the preponderance of the element of fun in gospel meetings, the glorification of men, trust in religious externalities, quasi-religious fellowships, salesmanship methods, the mistaking of dynamic personality for the power of the Spirit.
These and such as these, are the symptoms of an evil disease–a deep and serious malady of the soul.
Religious entertainment has so corrupted the Church, that millions don't know that it's a heresy. Millions of evangelicals throughout the world have devoted themselves to religious entertainment. They don't know that it's as much heresy, as the “counting of beads” or the “splashing of holy water” or something else. To expose this, of course, raises a storm of angry protest among the people.
Isn't there a difference between worship and entertainment?
The church that can't worship, must be entertained. And men who can't lead a church to worship, must provide the entertainment. That is why we have the great evangelical heresy here today–the heresy of religious entertainment!
Retarded Saints & Entertainment
A.W. Tozer (1897-1963)
2Timothy 4.3-4: For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
The great god 'Entertainment' amuses his devotees mainly by telling them stories. The love of stories, which is characteristic of childhood, has taken fast hold of the minds of the retarded saints of our day, so much so that many manage to make a comfortable living by spinning yarns and serving them up in various disguises to church people. What is natural and beautiful in a child, may be shocking when it persists into adulthood, and more so when it appears in the sanctuary and seeks to pass for true religion!
So today we have the astonishing spectacle of millions of dollars being poured into the unholy job of providing earthly entertainment for the so-called people of God. Religious entertainment is in many places rapidly crowding out the serious things of God. Many churches these days have become little more than poor theaters, where fifth-rate 'producers' peddle their shoddy wares with the approval of evangelical leaders who can even quote a holy text in defense of their delinquency. And hardly a man dares raise his voice against it!
Martyn Lloyd-Jones: “Once you have lost the division between the world and the Church–the Church ceases to be truly Christian!”
Charles Spurgeon: “Pleasure, so called, is the murderer of serious thought. This is the age of excessive amusement. Everybody craves for it, like a babe for its rattle!”
MacLeod: In the Market Place
George MacLeod (1938–1967)
I simply argue that the cross be raised again at the center of the market place as well as on the steeple of the church. I am recovering the claim that Jesus was not crucified in a cathedral between two candles, but on a cross between two thieves; on a town garbage heap; at a crossroad of politics so cosmopolitan that they had to write His title in Hebrew and Latin and in Greek… at the kind of place where cynics talk smut, and thieves curse and soldiers gamble. Because that is what He died about. And that is where Christ's men ought to be, and what church people ought to be about.
Ruckman on Life
Dr. Peter S. Ruckman (1921-2016)
I find life to be, from an individual standpoint, an outstanding example of God giving a sinner break, after break, after break that he didn’t deserve; and reward, after reward, after reward, that he didn’t earn; and has let not handfuls of purpose, but barrels full of purpose fall his way.
Spurgeon: She is a Traitor
Charles H. Spurgeon (1834-1892)
She is a traitor to the Master who sent her if she is so beguiled by the beauties of taste and art as to forget that to “preach Christ… and Him crucified” is the only object for which she exists among the sons of men. The business of the Church is salvation of souls.
by Gary Gilley, in his book Is that You Lord? (p. 23), quoting Monte E. Wilson.
Take worship for example. Monte E. Wilson has noted, “For the modern evangelical, worship is defined exclusively in terms of the individual's experience. Worship, then, is not about adoring God but about being nourished with religious feelings, so much so that the worshiper has become the object of worship.”
The cause for this type of worship, Wilson believes, is the loss of devotion to Scripture…
[Wilson] writes… “Others… have utterly neglected any commitment to the content of the Word and have ended with narcissistic 'worship' services where everyone drowns in a sea of subjectivism and calls it 'being bathed in the presence of the Holy Spirit.' These people come to church exclusively to 'feel' God.”
Some churches have even decided to call their worship services “experiences.”