A.W. Tozer on PROPHETIC Leadership

11/15/2009

If Christianity is to receive a rejuvenation, it must be by other means than any now being used. If the Church in the second half of this century is to recover from the injuries she suffered in the first half, there must appear a new type of leader. The proper, ruler-of-the-synagogue type will never do. Neither will the priestly type of man who carries out his duties, takes his pay and asks no questions, nor the smooth-talking pastoral type who knows how to make the Christian religion acceptable to everyone. All these have been tried and found wanting.

Another kind of religious leader must arise among us. He must be of the old prophet type, a man who has seen visions of God and has heard a voice from the Throne. When he comes (and I pray God there will be not one but many), he will stand in flat contradiction to everything our smirking, smooth civilization holds dear. He will contradict, denounce and protest in the name of God and will earn the hatred and opposition of a large segment of Christendom. Such a man is likely to be lean, rugged, blunt-spoken and a little bit angry with the world. He will love Christ and the souls of men to the point of willingness to die for the glory of the One and the salvation of the other. But he will fear nothing that breathes with mortal breath.

This is only to say that we need to have the gifts of the Spirit restored again to the Church. And it is my belief that the one gift we need most now is the gift of prophecy. Not “fortune-telling” but Prophetic insight. It is not ability to predict that we need, but the anointed eye, the power of spiritual penetration and interpretation, the ability to appraise the religious scene as viewed from God’s position, and to tell us what is actually going on....

Where is the man who can see through the ticker tape and confetti to discover which way the parade is headed, why it started in the first place and, particularly, who is riding up front in the seat of honor?

What is needed desperately today is prophetic insight. Scholars can interpret the past; it takes prophets to interpret the present. Learning will enable a man to pass judgment on our yesterdays, but it requires a gift of clear seeing to pass sentence on our own day....

“Lord, I pray for that gift of prophetic insight. Move me beyond the knowledge You’ve enabled me to gain through education, reading, and study. I pray that I might lead as one ‘who has seen visions of God and has heard a voice from the throne. Amen.”

(One response to the above Tozer excerpt)

Does anyone really WANT “Prophetic Leadership”? : )

Morning, I would imagine that a large number of men in the religious world reading this writing of Tozers would say as he did, with great enthusiasm and sincerity: “give me visions from God; let me hear the voice of God so that i can lead”.

But, i would also venture a guess that if this request were granted, most of these men would be set RUNNING when they began to EXPERIENCE such a life, rather than the façade.

Because of the “extraordinary character of the revelations” that Paul received, because of the abundance of insight into God’s will, because of Paul’s obedience to God’s call on his life...this was Paul’s life:

“...with much greater labors, with far more imprisonments, with more severe beatings, facing death many times. Five times I received from the Jews forty lashes less one. Three times I was beaten with a rod. Once I received a stoning. Three times I suffered shipwreck. A night and a day I spent adrift in the open sea. I have been on journeys many times, in dangers from rivers, in dangers from robbers, in dangers from my own countrymen, in dangers from Gentiles, in dangers in the city, in dangers in the wilderness, in dangers at sea, in dangers from false brothers, in hard work and toil, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, many times without food, in cold and without enough clothing. Apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxious concern for all the churches” (2Cor 11:23b-29).

The above could all be rewritten to fit today’s culture.

And If that life wouldn’t send many men running then what about this: To help Paul keep the human man sobered, humbled and fit to house all of this enormous revelation and insight, God allowed a thorn to remain in Paul’s flesh. I wouldn’t venture to even guess what that thorn might have been for Paul, but many men would be frustrated with God for not delivering them from this messenger of satan. I was picturing Moses alone with God and God telling him to go tell what he has just heard to the people. Maybe Moses was stuttering so badly as he repeated God’s words to the people, taking five minutes to say what another man would say in a minute...someone with such an impediment probably wouldn’t be allowed in a “pulpit” today. Perhaps, because of the abundance of revelation and the knowledge of human nature, the weakness of stuttering allowed the power of God to continue to be spoken without the mixture of human pride, arrogance, and impatience.

The point? Again,

I would imagine that a large number of men in the religious world reading this writing of Tozers would say as he did, with great enthusiasm and sincerity: “give me visions from God; let me hear the voice of God so that i can lead”.

But, i would also venture a guess that if this request were granted, most of these men would be set RUNNING when they began to EXPERIENCE such a life, rather than the façade of the religious world and its accepted mixture of the Holy and the Profane. The REAL Thing, that JESUS Experienced and Authored, is far more dangerous and far less “lucrative” than common religious man would ever desire and seldom endure.

—l.c.

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