Saturday, August 11, 2007

Quote of the Week

A theological fact becomes a spiritual truth only when it is received by a humble mind.
The proud mind, however orthodox, can never know spiritual truth. Light means nothing to a blind man.

A.W. Tozer from essay, Evangelical Snobbery


Mark Goodyear said...

Interesting quote! I need to read more Tozer.

The last sentence makes me think of Paul and Plato. In Plato's myth of the cave, light doesn't mean anything to those who aren't enlightened.

But when Paul is blinded by the light, the light still means something to him before the scales come off his eyes.

Did Paul have a humble mind on the road to Damascus?

Real Live Preacher said...

This is a beautifully succinct way of capturing much of what is driving the emergent church movement. We've discovered the huge numbers of people who are doctrinally and theologically correct, but lacking something in their souls.

Heather said...

Good quote.
This relates to something my husband and I struggle with right now. We've started going to an Anglican church (from a Bible church). We love this church, but we wonder how we'll feel in a year or so. The sermons are not the exegetical Bible church sermons. To be honest, right now, we're okay with that. My husband and I both study with groups and together, so the exhorting (and often times convicting, though I'd rather not go there) sermons are what we need. And we see a body of people that love and act in love (are those two different, really?). But we wonder, will we want a church that teaches more exegetically after a while, not even necessarily for us but to be part of a group that (ideally) acts out of this oh-so-deep knowledge?
The answer is (and the survey says): what's the diff? If people in the Bible church knew every answer and spent every waking moment studying but didn't feed the poor, what good is it? Sure, we'd like to hope that the congregation in our new church takes Sunday morning as a springboard to read God's love letter to His people more and more everyday. Some do and I'm sure some don't. But it won't create any more of a problem than if you read and read and don't care.

Every Square Inch said...


I really like a lot of what Tozer wrote...I don't read much of his stuff these days but this quote caught my eye because of our recent discussion on humility.


Thanks for your thoughts here. Sound doctrine without application isn't good and I'm think you're right - it's what fuels the emergents.

However, application without sound doctrine misses the mark as well.

I guess my view is that doctrine is vitally necessary but insufficient. But, I'm not one to toss away sound doctrine.

(BTW, I'm not saying that is what you're suggesting)

Every Square Inch said...


Thanks so much for stopping by with a comment.

I hope that you and your husband will find a God exalting community that loves truth - both to teach it and to live it.

It's a difficult combination to find, isn't it?

Grace to you and your husband in your search for your church home.

Craver Vii said...

I like to think that Paul was humbled on the way to Damascus. He didn't give his heart to Jesus; Jesus just took it. And if you could ask Paul about this today, I'd guess that he doesn't mind one bit that he was taken against his unsanctified will.

Craver Vii said...

Did someone say "evangelical shrubbery? Nih!

Every Square Inch said...


Love your answer to mark. That's the gospel, isn't it?

Paul was spiritually blind, but God opened his eyes by humbling him and changing his heart. Ironically, he made Paul "see" the light by blinding him.


Mark Goodyear said...

What we really need is.... ANOTHER evangelical shrubbery. That way we can get the effect of two theological levels. With a little path running between them.

(Monty Python, ESI.)

Every Square Inch said...

Ah yes, the knights of nih...

Tony Rossell said...

The quote reminds me of Isaiah 57:15

"For thus says the One who is high and lifted up,
who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy:
'I dwell in the high and holy place,
and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit,
to revive the spirit of the lowly,
and to revive the heart of the contrite.'"

L.L. Barkat said...

I found myself wondering right off... is it true that light means nothing to a blind man? (You will forgive me yet again, yes, for the way my mind works?)

Because light is also warmth. And light is electric. And light gives guidance to those around the blind man. So maybe light does mean something to the blind man. Except that he hardly understands what.

Every Square Inch said...


Good to hear from you and see your photo. Thanks for commenting and sharing the passage from Isaiah.

We can talk about humility all day long but scripture brings it into sharp focus, doesn't it. It's about seeing ourselves in light of God's holiness.

Every Square Inch said...


Tozer's example of light meaning nothing to the blind man probably isn't airtight...but I think it's still a powerful picture of our blindness apart from God's grace.