A.W. Tozer And Preaching Theology

There is scarcely anything so dull and meaningless as Bible doctrine taught for its own sake. Truth divorced from life is not truth in its Biblical sense, but something else and something less…No man is better for knowing that God in the beginning created the heaven and the earth. The devil knows that, and so did Ahab and Judas Iscariot. No man is better for knowing that God so loved the world of men that He gave His only begotten Son to die for their redemption. In hell there are millions who know that. Theological truth is useless until it is obeyed. The purpose behind all doctrine is to secure moral action.

While there are a few bits in Tozer’s quote here that I would quibble with, I think he is generally right. I had two classes this last semester that taught theology. One did it in a lecture style that sought to just present theology, and the other did it with an intense purpose to be applied to life and ministry. The first class was hardly memorable, but the second will stay with me for the rest of my ministry. Theology is different from philosophy, there is no playing from the sideline. Theology must be taught, but it must also always call people unto the field to play and live it out. The truths of doctrine are like a stagnant pool of water if there is no life in them. It is through demonstration that the truths become a flowing spring.



4 Responses

  1. Ryan, your words are like a flowing stream.

  2. Seriously though, good stuff. Thanks for the post.

  3. A year of purgatory spent in the German Dr. Klein’s classes, 4 of 5 in one semester, tested me to the point of melt-down one fine spring day at Denver Seminary. On my 56th SCANTRON test I suddenly lifted my foggy zombie face and thought to myself “Even if I score 10/10 on this one for just this once…the guy I passed this morning still needs to know about Jesus and would not be the least bit interested in the order of the Gospels as they were written”. I was frustrated and fried and simply not ready to comprehend the importance of how to use the information given to me. Thankfully, I was so stricken with cancerous information that it permeated my whole self and I am still going through things mentioned three years ago by the amazing tin man, good heart but no flexibility, Doctor. My point is simply that there is a time and place for everything and though it was only a year spent flunking out of Seminary, it was information that has proved useful in the line of work I do and should I have to do it again, I would be ready for the spiritual deadening that comes with such statistical standards. Having had a context to use this percentage and that dating and even some of the Greek…I am thankful for the most part but balanced with an understanding of when and where things will be useful from here on out.


  4. i love this quote, Jesus is teaching me this right now as I have a big tendency to just learn theological facts to gain knowledge and not see them as an opportunity to deepen my relationship with Christ…

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