Tozer On Ravenhill

We cannot get enough of these two:

Talk about a power duo. Talk about some massively important prophetic voices. Talk about fearless watchmen on the wall. Talk about two mighty men of God that were sent to us to waken a sleeping church. Talking about those who shined a very bright and penetrating light into the darkness that surrounds us in the West.

I refer to two champions of the faith: A. W. Tozer (1897-1963) and Leonard Ravenhill (1907-1994). I have discussed both men before in numerous pieces, including these two:

So why revisit them once again? I am writing because an American friend just posted a neat online quote about Tozer. And as I so often do, if the source is not also provided with the quote, I will do some sniffing and digging around. So I found it, and as is sometimes the case, a web search led me to one of my own earlier articles! (That is the trouble with having over 6250 articles – you can easily forget what you have written!) That piece is found here:

So when I found it and reread it, I decided that I must write on the topic again. One of the things I had done in that other piece was to quote from Tozer’s foreword to Leonard Ravenhill’s classic 1959 book, Why Revival Tarries. I had run with around half of what he said, but after pulling Ravenhill’s book from the shelf and rereading that foreword, I decided I must really feature the whole thing.

Image of Why Revival Tarries
Why Revival Tarries by Ravenhill, Leonard (Author) Amazon logo

So here it is, and my hope (as always) is that you will be encouraged to read both Tozer and Ravenhill again – or if need be, for the very first time:

Great industrial concerns have in their employ men who are needed only when there is a breakdown somewhere. When something goes wrong with the machinery, these men spring into action to locate and remove the trouble and get the machinery rolling again.


For these men a smoothly operating system has no interest. They are specialists concerned with trouble and how to find and correct it. In the kingdom of God things are not too different. God has always had His specialists whose chief concern has been the moral breakdown, the decline in the spiritual health of the nation or the church. Such men were Elijah, Jeremiah, Malachi and others of their kind who appeared at critical moments in history to reprove, rebuke and exhort in the name of God and righteousness.


A thousand or ten thousand ordinary priests or pastors or teachers could labor quietly on almost unnoticed while the spiritual life of Israel or the church was normal. But let the people of God go astray from the paths of truth and immediately the specialist appeared almost out of nowhere. His instinct for trouble brought him to the help of the Lord and of Israel.


Such a man was likely to be drastic, radical, possibly at times violent, and the curious crowd that gathered to watch him work soon branded him as extreme, fanatical, negative. And in a sense they were right. He was single-minded, severe, fearless, and these were the qualities the circumstances demanded. He shocked some, frightened others and alienated not a few, but he knew who had called him and what he was sent to do. His ministry was geared to the emergency, and that fact marked him out as different, a man apart.


To such men as this the church owes a debt too heavy to pay. The curious thing is that she seldom tries to pay him while he lives, but the next generation builds his sepulcher and writes his biography, as if instinctively and awkwardly to discharge an obligation the previous generation to a large extent ignored.


Those who know Leonard Ravenhill will recognize in him the religious specialist, the man sent from God not to carry on the conventional work of the church, but to beard the priests of Baal on their own mountaintop, to shame the careless priests at the altar, to face the false prophet and to warn the people who are being led astray by him.


Such a man is not an easy companion. The professional evangelist who leaves the wrought-up meeting as soon as it is over to get to the most expensive restaurant and feast and crack jokes with his retainers will find this man something of an embarrassment, for he cannot turn off the burden of the Holy Ghost as one would turn off a faucet. He insists upon being a Christian all the time, everywhere; and again, that marks him out as different.


Toward Leonard Ravenhill it is impossible to be neutral. His acquaintances are divided pretty neatly into two classes, those who love and admire him out of all proportion and those who hate him with perfect hatred. And what is true of the man is sure to be true of his books, of this book. The reader will either close its pages and seek a place of prayer or toss it away in anger, his heart closed to its warnings and appeals.


Not all books, not even all good books come as a voice from above, but I feel that this one does. It does because its author does, and the spirit of the author breathes through his book.

[893 words]

4 Replies to “Tozer On Ravenhill”

  1. Hi Bill, thank you for another great article discussing these two giants of the Faith, i.e. Tozer and Ravenhill. However I would humbly offer a couple more; R.C. Sproul and Derek Prince. I have many of their books, though probably not as many as you good self. I would also like to offer a contemporary author and Theologian; D.A. Carson. He too is a “stickler” for The Word, is conservative in his theology, and doesn’t suffer fools! Each of these past and present heroes of the Faith, have extended lists of widely publicised quotations on Society as we know and understand it. Bill I know and understand that your article served to highlight Tozer and Ravenhill and their teachings. However, I couldn’t resist offering the names of several more heroes of The Faith who didn’t, and haven’t, bowed their knees to ” the gods of this world”.
    Again Bill your article was devoured and most appreciated, Blessings to you and your Family, Kel.

  2. What a wonderful foreword for such a great book. True watchmen – thanks Bill

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