One of the great thinkers and preachers of the 20th Century was A.W. Tozer. Out of the forty books that Tozer wrote, two became Christian Classics, The Pursuit of God and Knowledge of the Holy. However, in another book entitled, He Dwelt Among Us, Tozer spoke of a burden that he had for the church— he called it the problem of spiritual boredom. He explained that spiritual boredom happens to Christians when they become more interested in the world around them than the eternal Word within them. According to Tozer, spiritual boredom is the consequence of spiritual immaturity, and he summed it up this way by stating,
To a large degree, familiarity has brought boredom to the evangelical church, especially in America. We have heard the same thing repeated until we are bored. I do not blame those who repeat, because it is necessary that we continue to say the same things. What I complain about is that we are unconscious of that Presence of the one who can take the familiar word and make it brilliantly new.
I too feel Tozer’s burden as I look at today’s church. Spiritual Boredom has affected the church due to the lack of a growing relationship with Christ. Biblical spiritual disciplines are viewed as old-fashioned ideas, not as a means of drawing closer to God. As the church seeks to become relevant in today’s culture many sacrifice doctrinal integrity on the altar of political correctness. Lacking in theological bread, they feast on the crumbs of culture; all the while they become increasingly spiritually impoverished and doctrinally uninformed. In many churches, gone are the days where prayer prevailed, preaching inspired holy living, and spiritual songs filled the air teaching worshipers to focus on God. The modern church looks more like a rock concert with worshipers jumping up and down in an emotional frenzy while the harshness of the music overpowers the message—this is a far cry from a house of worship. The spiritual boredom due to an ailing relationship with God has pushed modern worshipers towards a narcissistic religious environment—where worship is more centered on the worshiper than on the one being worshiped, God. In many ways the society at large, and even within the culture of many churches, an emphasis of the iGeneration has formed. More focus is placed on one’s felt needs than on the faith of the Gospel and the righteousness of Christ. The 17th Century Mathematician and Christian Philosopher Blaise Pascal said,
Knowing God without knowing our wretchedness leads to pride.
Knowing our wretchedness without knowing God leads to despair.
Knowing Christ gives the balance.
Pascal is right! Knowing Christ gives balance. However, I would add that the knowledge of Christ alone will not suffice. In addition to knowledge, the believer must know Christ experientially. Paul said, “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death” (Philippians 3:10.) My prayer for this generation is that a spiritual renewal will ignite the heart with the flames of biblical passion to know Christ in power, precept, and principle.
Missional Until He Comes,
Dr. David Sampson