A.W. TOZER on TRUE PROPHETS
Great industrial concerns have in their employ men who are
needed only when there is a breakdown somewhere. When
something goes wrong with the machinery, these men spring into
action to locate and remove the trouble and get the machinery
For these men a smoothly operating system has no interest. They
are specialists concerned with trouble and how to find and correct it.
In the kingdom of God things are not too different. God has always
had His specialists whose chief concern has been the moral
breakdown, the decline in the spiritual health of the nation or the
church. Such men were Elijah, Jeremiah, Malachi and others of
their kind who appeared at critical moments in history to reprove,
rebuke and exhort in the name of God and righteousness.
A thousand or ten thousand ordinary priests or pastors or teachers
could labor quietly on almost unnoticed while the spiritual life of
Israel or the church was normal. But let the people of God go
astray from the paths of truth and immediately the specialist
appeared almost out of nowhere. His instinct for trouble brought
him to the help of the Lord and of Israel.
Such a man was likely to be drastic, radical, possibly at times
violent, and the curious crowd that gathered to watch him work
soon branded him as extreme, fanatical, negative. And in a sense
they were right. He was single-minded, severe, fearless, and these
were the qualities the circumstances demanded. He shocked
some, frightened others and alienated not a few, but he knew who
had called him and what he was sent to do. His ministry was
geared to the emergency, and that fact marked him out as different,
a man apart.
To such men as this the church owes a debt too heavy to pay.
The curious thing is that she seldom tries to pay him while he lives,
but the next generation builds his sepulcher and writes his
biography, as if instinctively and awkwardly to discharge an
obligation the previous generation to a large extent ignored...
[-From the Foreword to Leonard Ravenhill's "Why Revival Tarries".
A brilliant book!]
The historian D'Aubigne writes: "A great work of God is never
accomplished by the natural strength of man. It is from the dry
bones, the darkness and the dust of death, that God is pleased to
select the instruments by means of which He designs to scatter
over the earth His light, regeneration and life." [- D'Aubigne's
"History of the Reformation"].
Another writer has observed: "In the various crises that have
occurred in the history of the church, men have come to the front
who have manifested a holy recklessness that astonished their
fellows. When Luther nailed his theses to the door of the cathedral
at Wittenberg, cautious men were astonished at his audacity.
When John Wesley ignored all church restrictions and religious
propriety and preached in the fields and by-ways, men declared
his reputation was ruined. So it has been in all ages. When the
religious condition of the times called for men who were willing to
sacrifice all for Christ, the demand created the supply, and there
have always been found a few who have been willing to be
regarded reckless for the Lord. An utter recklessness concerning
men's opinions and other consequences is the only attitude that
can meet the exigencies of the present times." [Quoted by Frank
Bartleman in "Azusa Street", pg 46. (Also published as "Another
Wave Rolls in"). - Another brilliant book!]
God bless you all.