- 21 April 1897-13 May 1963
A. W. (Aiden Wilson) Tozer is perhaps the most widely-known and influential member of the Christian and Missionary Alliance (C&MA). He was born on 21 April 1897 in La Jose (now Newburg) Pa., and died in Toronto, Ont. on 13 May 1963. He was ordained as a minister in the C&MA in 1920 and served pastorates in Toledo, Oh. (1921-23); Indianapolis, Ind. (1923-1928); Chicago, Ill (1928-1959); and Toronto, Ont. (1959-1963). He also served as vice-president of the C&MA (1946-1950) and, most significantly, as editor of the denomination’s official organ The Alliance Weekly (1950-1957) and its successor The Alliance Witness (1958-1963).
Tozer was a convinced evangelical and a staunch supporter of the ideals of the C&MA. His first book, Wingspread: Albert B. Simpson, a Study in Spiritual Altitude (Harrisburg, Ps.: Christian Publications, 1943) was a spiritual biography of the founder of the Alliance. Although loyal to the Alliance, Tozer had an ecumenical spirit. He felt a sense of spiritual community with all true Christians, regardless of their denominational affiliation.
Regarded by many of his admirers as a prophet, Tozer exerted an influence that extended beyond evangelicalism and beyond North America through his insightful books and editorials on the spiritual life. His writings reveal a mystical approach to the Christian life that was founded on his love of the Christian spiritual classics. He was in great demand as a speaker, and during the 1950’s many of his sermons were broadcast over Chicago’s WMBI radio. Tozer wrote nine books during his lifetime, the most influential of which were The Pursuit of God (1948) and The Knowledge of the Holy (1961). An additional twenty volumes of his sermons and editorials have been published since his death. For further biographical information see Fant, David J. A. W. Tozer: A Twentieth Century Prophet (Harrisburg, Pa.: Christian Publications, 1964).