(The basis of this post was first on Facebook by one of my friends).
This “church” was once a vibrant, growing fellowship of Christians. It was built in 1899 in Toronto, Canada. In 1941 it was purchased by Avenue Road Church, an evangelical congregation pioneered by Charles Templeton (a contemporary of Billy Graham), who later abandoned his faith in God. In 1959, it was pastored by A.W. Tozer, a wonderful man of faith, Spirit taught, whose impact still is felt within Christianity today. Today it is a struggling Hare Krishna temple.
It is interesting how two wonderful works of God could both end so poorly. Yet, I am not surprised. Charles Templeton got caught up in the liberalism of the day. He even tried to influence Billy Graham to turn away from the faith. Billy’s reply was, “I don’t understand all that I believe, but I choose to believe it.” Near the end of his life, Lee Strobel interviewed Charles Templeton. He asked Him if he regretted turning away from Jesus. His reply was, “I miss my friend (Jesus).”
A.W. Tozer boldly spoke out wrote against the liberalism of his day. Most of his “contemporaries” considered him out of touch with modern day thinking. He was! Harley Howard wrote of Tozer: “A. W Tozer, unquestionably one of the greatest men who ever preached the Bible, was a man ridiculed while he lived because he was so ‘out of touch’ with the religious establishment around him. What made him so ‘out of touch’ with those around him was the fact that he was so ‘in touch’ with God.”
Tozer wrote of alarming things he saw in the church of his day. What is interesting is that what he preached and wrote is so relevant for today (he died in 1963). Here are some of the things he said:
“Christ-less Christianity sounds contradictory but it exists as a real phenomenon in our day. Much that is being done In Christ’s name is false to Christ it that it is conceived by the flesh, incorporates fleshly methods, and seeks fleshly ends. Christ is mentioned from time to time in the same way and for the same reason that a self-seeking politician mentions Lincoln and the flag, to provide a sacred front for carnal activities and to deceive the simple hearted listeners. The giveaway is that Christ is not central: he is not all and in all.”
“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.”
“For centuries the Church stood solidly against every form of worldly entertainment, recognizing it for what is was – a device for wasting time, a refuge from the disturbing voice of conscience, a scheme to divert attention from moral accountability.
For this she got herself abused roundly by the sons of this world. But of late she had become tired of the abuse and has given over the struggle. She appears to have decided that if she cannot conquer the great god Entertainment she may as well join forces with him and make what use she can of his powers.
So today we have the astonishing spectacle of millions of dollars being poured out into the unholy job of providing earthly entertainment for the so-called sons of heaven. 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 full approval of evangelical leaders who can even quote a holy text in defense of the delinquency. And hardly a man dares raise his voice against it.
The great god Entertainment amuses his devotes mainly by telling them stories. The love of stories, which is a characteristic of childhood, had taken fast hold of the minds of the retarded saints of our day, so much so that not a few persons 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.”
His words warned a declining church of it’s influence against the evil that had permeated it. The only thing that saved the church was the Revival God sent to Southern California, the “Jesus Movement” that has influenced almost every work of God since. And yet, we see today everything Tozer spoke of once again in the church. And again, the only thing that will save the church of our day is revival.
So, tell me, how’s your church doing?