Tag: Misinformed

Quiet Zeal

A.W. Tozerby A.W. Tozer

It is fine to be zealous, provided the purpose is good, and to be so always and not just when I am with you. Galatians 4:18

There are a certain number of persons that cannot rest until they are making a great noise and stirring up a world of dust. Their temperament demands that they be always burnt up about something. Their type of mind forbids that they let their friends and neighbors alone until they have come over on their side and gotten behind some sure-fire movement to save the world. They are perpetually dashing from door to door collecting signatures demanding the abolishment of this or the establishment of that. One such dear, tender-hearted little lady, deeply in love with the birds, appeared for years every time our state legislators met in Springfield and fervently pressed for a bill to muzzle all cats in the state! So zealous was she that the weary lawmakers finally surrendered to her pressure and passed the bill. (It was later vetoed by the then governor, Adlai Stevenson.)

The truth is that though all godly persons are zealous, not all zealous people are godly. The zeal that accompanies sanctity is rarely boisterous and noisy. So great was the zeal of our Lord that it was said to have eaten Him up, yet Isaiah said of Him: “He will not shout or cry out, or raise his voice in the streets. A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.” And it was He who excoriated the zealots who compassed sea and land to find one convert, only to make him more evil than he was before.

by A.W. Tozer


Misinformed Zeal

A.W. Tozer Imageby A.W. Tozer

It is not good to have zeal without knowledge, nor to be hasty and miss the way. Proverbs 19:2

Zeal, according to Webster, means ardor in the pursuit of anything; ardent and active interest; enthusiasm; fervor. Surely this should describe a Christian, and the better the Christian the more accurately it should apply. The devout soul should and will be fervent. He will pursue the things of God actively and be enthusiastic in his cultivation of the spiritual life. In his attitude toward Christ he will manifest fervid love and burning devotion. So we would seem to go along with the majority who hold zeal to be a sure mark of godliness. But it is only seeming. We do not go along with them, and here are the reasons:

While the true Christian is zealous, it is altogether possible to be zealous and not be a Christian. Zeal proves only that the one who manifests it is healthy, energetic and actively interested in something. As far as my experience goes, the most zealous religionists of our day are the wrongly named Jehovah's Witnesses. If zeal indicates godliness, then these ardent devotees of error are saints of the first order, a notion that could hardly be entertained by anyone who knew them intimately. Next to them, in the degree of temperature they manage to generate over their religion, are the "Peace! It's wonderful" dupes of the little dark, lower-case god, Father Divine. They are ablaze with zeal, but they are nevertheless condemned on every page of the sacred Scriptures. Muslims pray oftener than the best Christians and are making converts to their faith in some parts of the world much faster than the followers of Jesus Christ. And who gave the world its most convincing demonstration of zeal in the last . . . century? Without doubt the Fascists, the Nazis and the Communists!

by A.W. Tozer