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Voice of a Prophet: Who Speaks for God?
During his ministry, which included extended pastorates in Chicago and Toronto, Dr. Tozer was often referred to as a prophet. That doesn’t mean he predicted future events, but rather spoke God’s truth to believers and the culture, even if it meant disrupting the status quo. Even in the Bible, prophets were much more likely to hold God’s people and their leaders accountable to the truth of God’s Word than they were to foretell the future. The encouragement in Voice of a Prophet is that the church today is in desperate need of the kind of prophet Tozer embodied and describes in this important new book. Using the lives of such prophets as Elijah, Elisha and John the Baptist, Tozer underscores the importance of the ministry of the prophet in today’s church.
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Aiden Wilson Tozer (April 21, 1897 – May 12, 1963) was an American Christian pastor, author, magazine editor, and spiritual mentor. For his accomplishments, he received honorary doctorates from Wheaton and Houghton Colleges. Tozer hailed from a tiny farming community in western La Jose, Pennsylvania. He was converted to Christianity as a teenager in Akron, Ohio: while on his way home from work at a tire company, he overheard a street preacher say, "If you don't know how to be saved ... just call on God, saying, 'Lord, be merciful to me a sinner.'" Upon returning home, he climbed into the attic and heeded the preacher's advice.
In 1919, five years after his conversion and without formal education in Christian theology, Tozer accepted an offer to serve as pastor of his first church. That began 44 years of ministry associated with the Christian and Missionary Alliance (C&MA), a Protestant Evangelical denomination, 33 of them serving as a pastor in several different congregations (his first, a small storefront church in Nutter Fort, West Virginia). Later, and for thirty years (1928 to 1959), he was the pastor of Southside Alliance Church in Chicago; the final years of his life he spent as pastor of Avenue Road Church in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Observing contemporary Christian living, Tozer felt the church was on a dangerous course toward compromising with "worldly" concerns.
Born into poverty, Tozer was self-educated and taught himself what he missed in high school and university.
In May 1950, Tozer was elected the editor of Alliance Weekly magazine (now Alliance Life), a position he filled until his death in 1963. Alliance Life is the official publication of the C&MA and is currently a bi-monthly magazine. From his first editorial, titled Quality vs Quantity dated June 3, 1950, Tozer wrote, "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."
Among the more than 60 books that bear his name, most of which were compiled after his death from sermons he preached and articles he wrote, at least two are regarded as Christian classics: The Pursuit of God and The Knowledge of the Holy. Many of his books impress on the reader the possibility and necessity for a deeper relationship with God.
He spent his last years of ministry at Avenue Road Church in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, where he died from a heart attack. He was buried in Ellet Cemetery, Akron, Ohio, with a simple epitaph marking his grave: "A. W. Tozer - A Man of God."  His last message, The Waning Authority of Christ in the Churches, printed in the Alliance Weekly and dated May 15, 1963, was published 3 days after his death. His biographer James L. Snyder has suggested that "In a sense it was his valedictory, for it expressed the concern of his heart." Tozer says here "Among the gospel churches Christ is in fact little more than a beloved symbol ... The Lordship of Jesus is not quite forgotten, but it has been mostly relegated to the hymnal where all responsibility toward it may be discharged in a glow of pleasant religious emotion."