Tozer: The Value of a Sanctified Imagination

When Christ came with His blazing spiritual penetration and His fine moral sensitivity He appeared to the Pharisee to be a devotee of another kind of religion, which indeed He was if the world had only understood. He could see the soul of the text while the Pharisee could see only the body, and he could always prove Christ wrong by an appeal to the letter of the law or to an interpretation hallowed by tradition. The breach between them was too great to permit them to coexist; so the Pharisee, who was in a position to do it, had the young Seer put to death…

The imagination, since it is a faculty of the natural mind, must necessarily suffer both from its intrinsic limitations and from an inherent bent toward evil…A purified and Spirit-controlled imagination is, however, quite another thing, and it is this I have in mind here. I long to see the imagination released from its prison and given to its proper place among the Sons of the new creation. What I am trying to describe here is the sacred gift of seeing, the ability to peer beyond the veil and gaze with astonished wonder upon the beauties and mysteries of things holy and eternal.

The stodgy pedestrian mind does no credit to Christianity. Let it dominate the church long enough and it will force her to take one of two directions: either toward liberalism, where she will find relief in a false freedom, or toward the world, where she will find an enjoyable but fatal pleasure.

But I wonder whether this is not all included in the words of our Lord as recorded in the Gospel of John “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you” (16:13, 14).

To possess a Spirit-indwelt mind is the Christian’s privilege under grace, and this embraces all I have been trying to say here.

The full essay is part of a collection of essays by A.W. Tozer called Born After Midnight.

One thought on “Tozer: The Value of a Sanctified Imagination”

  1. Greg Joens says:

    Do you really believe that the imagination deficient church will lead to liberalism or worldliness?

    I see a ‘stodgy pedestrian’ mindset in the church leading to either an over-intellectualized Christianity that suffers from ‘paralysis of analysis’ or to your typical fundamentalist, legalistic church where God is reduced down to a list of ‘dos and don’t’s’

    The most creative church I’ve been a part of is at least left of the legalists, if not left of center. The biggest danger in that church is that they can be a magnet towards worldly people.

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