Remembering J. I. Packer (1926–2020) | Crossway Articles

Anglican Evangelical 'giant' J. I. Packer dies, aged 93As many of you may know, a week ago today influential Anglican theologian, teacher, and author J. (James) I. Packer died. Perhaps best known for his wonderful book Knowing God, Packer was known for his staunch adherence to orthodox Christianity (the sovereignty of God, the authority of His Word, and the substitutionary atonement of Jesus Christ especially), his love for the Puritans (some even referred to him as “the last Puritan”). and his humble, gracious spirit.

I recall reading his classic Knowing God for the first time and growing deeply in my knowledge of and nearness to the Lord. Packer didn’t just show you who God in all His glory was; he took you into His majestic presence (If you have not yet read this work, you need to do so.). It was also through Packer that I was introduced to and learned to appreciate the Puritans (A Quest for Godliness), especially their powerful wedding together of Christian doctrine and practice.

A number of tributes have been posted online, including ones from Leland Ryken, Mark Noll, D. A. Carson, and Carl Trueman. I love the story Trueman relates at the end of his tribute, for it reveals the convictions and character of the man:

I close with one anecdote a friend told me yesterday. He was in a line after hearing Dr. Packer preach to thank him for his sermon. The woman in front of him offered Dr. Packer her Bible and asked him to sign it. ‘I’m afraid I can’t,’ he replied, ‘You see, I didn’t write it.’ That is a very English response, and one that tells us much about how Dr. Packer thought of himself and his ministry in relation to the God who saved him.

The most varied and complete tribute to Packer may be found on Crossway’s website, including a nice documentary video, a listing of significant articles and books he authored, and links to other tributes.

Packer was not without his weaknesses, including his involvement with and signing of the ECT document (“Evangelicals and Catholics Together”), but that is true of every “clay pot” God uses in His church. For the good that Packer accomplished through His work and writings as a devoted churchman, we may thank the Lord of sovereign grace. Now would be a good time to learn how God used him in His kingdom.

*Nota bene: I forgot to add this list of 40 good quotes from Matt Smethurst at The Gospel Coalition. Here are a few gems – read the rest at the link provided:

“Were I asked to focus the New Testament message in three words, my proposal would be adoption through propitiation, and I do not expect ever to meet a richer or more pregnant summary of the gospel than that.”

“To know that nothing happens in God’s world apart from God’s will may frighten the godless, but it stabilizes the saints.”

“People treat God’s sovereignty as a matter of controversy, but in Scripture it is a matter of worship.”

“The Christian’s motto should not be ‘Let go and let God’ but ‘Trust God and get going.’”

“I need not torment myself with the fear that my faith may fail; as grace led me to faith in the first place, so grace will keep me believing to the end. Faith, both in its origin and continuance, is a gift of grace.”

“Doctrinal preaching certainly bores the hypocrites; but it is only doctrinal preaching that will save Christ’s sheep.”

“The Puritan ethic of marriage was first to look not for a partner whom you do love passionately at this moment but rather for one whom you can love steadily as your best friend for life, then to proceed with God’s help to do just that.”

“God uses chronic pain and weakness, along with other afflictions, as his chisel for sculpting our lives. Felt weakness deepens dependence on Christ for strength each day. The weaker we feel, the harder we lean. And the harder we lean, the stronger we grow spiritually, even while our bodies waste away. To live with your ‘thorn’ uncomplainingly—that is, sweet, patient, and free in heart to love and help others, even though every day you feel weak—is true sanctification. It is true healing for the spirit. It is a supreme victory of grace.”

Source: Remembering J. I. Packer (1926–2020) | Crossway Articles

Published in: on July 24, 2020 at 6:44 AM  Leave a Comment  

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