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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Commotion Instead of Devotion

I heard part of this piece from A.W. Tozer quoted on Mars Hill Audio Journal #104 & was pleasantly surprised. I hunted it down & here it is.

"The accent in the Church today," says Leonard Ravenhill, the English evangelist, "is not on devotion, but on commotion." Religious extroversion has been carried to such an extreme in evangelical circles that hardly anyone has the desire, to say nothing of the courage, to question the soundness of it. Externalism has taken over. God now speaks by the wind and the earthquake only; the still small voice can be heard no more. The whole religious machine has become a noisemaker. The adolescent taste which loves the loud horn and the thundering exhaust has gotten into the activities of modern Christians. The old question, "What is the chief end of man?" is now answered, "To dash about the world and add to the din thereof." And all this is done in the name of Him who did not strive nor cry nor make His voice to be heard in the streets (Mat. 12:18-21).

We must begin the needed reform by challenging the spiritual validity of externalism. What a man is must be shown to be more important than what he does. While the moral quality of any act is imparted by the condition of the heart, there may be a world of religious activity which arises not from within but from without and which would seem to have little or no moral content. Such religious conduct is imitative or reflex. It stems from the current cult of commotion and possesses no sound inner life.

The message "Christ in you, the hope of glory," needs to be restored to the Church. We must show a new generation of nervous, almost frantic, Christians that power lies at the center of the life. Speed and noise are evidences of weakness, not strength. Eternity is silent; time is noisy. Our preoccupation with time is sad evidence of our basic want of faith. The desire to be dramatically active is proof of our religious infantilism; it is a type of exhibitionism common to the kindergarten.

A.W. Tozer, “The Root of the Righteous”, Chapter 21 To Be or To Do; ©1955; accessed 13 January 2011 http://lovestthoume.com/Books/RRchapter21.html

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