Friday, February 20, 2015

Tozer on Worship and Entertainment - Book Review

This book was put together by James L. Snyder and is a collection of sermons snippets, essays and book excerpts of Tozer's commentary on worship and entertainment in the church.

Almost ever paragraph in this book is quotable. I collect quotes that make me think and I love word play to make a point, and this book is full of them. I want to say this because despite the awesome quotes, the book was almost unbearable to read. It was unbearable only because Tozer would say something awesome on church culture and then you would get to the end of the paragraph and that was it. It was just  a snippet of something he said and Mr. Snyder would move on to the next snippet. It was so frustrating! I wanted an elaboration on what he just said. I wanted some verses to dig up. I wanted his whole thought process and another example. It was like being hungry at a restaurant and having the waiter come bring your meal, eating one bite of it and then having him take it away.

Despite the frustration though, there were great things I got from this book. I couldn't believe how long ago Tozer wrote this, and throughout my reading I wondered what he would have to say now that there seems to be more lights and sounds and "entertainment" techniques used during church service.  So much of what he had to say on this subject can be applied as a warning and a grievance of the condition of the American church today.

I've included some of the best quotes in the book below:

"We can't worship these days because we do not have a high enough opinion of God. God has been reduced, modified, edited, changed and amended until He is not the God Isaiah saw high and lifted up but something else.. .. Worship rises and falls in the church altogether depending on whether the idea of God is low or high"

"The holy art of worship seems to have passed away . . . As a result, we are left to our own devices and forced to make up the lack of spontaneous worship by bringing in countless cheap and tawdry activities to hold the attention of the church people."

"...if your life doesn't worship God, your lips don't worship God either."

"Let us practice the art of Bible meditation. But please don't grab that phrase and go out and form a club - we are organized to death already. Just meditate. Let us just be plain, thoughtful Christians. Let us open our Bibles, spread them out on a chair and meditate on the Word of God. It will open itself to us and the Spirit of God will come and brood over it"

"If you do not know the presence of God in your office, your factory,  your home, then God is not in the church when you attend"

"The presence of God in our midst - ...godly fear - this is largely missing today. You cannot induce it by soft organ music and light streaming... You cannot induce it by any kind or any amount of mumbo-jumbo. What people feel in the presence of that kind of paganism is not the true fear of God. It is just the inducement of a superstitious dread."

"God wants worshipers before workers"

"We begin to grow up when our worship passes from thanksgiving to admiration"

"We cannot afford to let down our Christian standards just to hold the interest of people who want to go to hell and still belong to a church."

There were many more quotes I wanted to include, but I think you get the idea with the couple I have sprinkled here. This is a great book when one is looking for quotes or insights for a sermon or a Bible class on the subject of worship and entertainment. Thankfully, Mr. Snyder provides where each snippet or excerpt is taken from just in case the reader wants to research more. Because of this book, I will have to add more books to my reading list!

As I mature in my faith, the thought of worshiping God forever seems more attractive and desirable.  I love those moments when His awesome splendor and holy majesty leave me speechless. I cannot even come close to imagining feeling that way for eternity. I feel like I would burst!

As American's we have lowered worship to be about us. It isn't. It cannot be. Whether our preference is hymns, contemporary, acapella, lights, no lights. All of it is for naught if we do not look at the words being sung and what we think when we hear those words. Amos 5 warns the false worshiper. The one who doesn't humble himself before God. The one who lives his life without fear of God. In verse 21 in that chapter God says, "I HATE, I despise your religious festivals; your assemblies are a stench to me! And in verse 23 "Away with the noise of your songs!" There is a wrong way to worship God. Anything where He is not center, is not worthy of Him.

You can buy this book here


  1. Great review and encouragement! I pray Christians today would come into true worship before our Holy God. So many are missing out with counterfeit worship. Thanks for sharing about this book. I love Tozer and I'll have to check this one out.

    God bless. : )