Guest / Limited Access /
Doctrine that Actually Delights

In my first sermon, I wanted to aim high. So I plagiarized from Knowing God, by J. I. Packer.

I was to preach for the first time to my home church in northern Ontario, having returned from a year of Bible school. I wanted to make good in the eyes of those who had discipled me, so I drew on the best book of theology I had ever read—which, of course, meant the best of about a dozen.

And by "drew on," of course, I mean "stole shamelessly from." In fact, I tried to summarize J. I. Packer's 35-page chapter on our adoption by God, perhaps one of the best treatments ever of that subject and itself a model of concision. My attempt to compress the already pithy certainly failed, and my plagiarism is inexcusable, but you have to admit: I had good theological taste already, even at the tender age of 17.

Forty years after its publication in 1973, Knowing God continues to bless readers around the world. It continues to inspire authors, too, as it does what very few books have been able to do: present page after page of carefully nuanced Christian doctrine in a style that people actually enjoy reading.

In so many churches, even those that pride themselves on serious preaching, you will hear pastors pause apologetically to warn their congregations, "Now, I'm afraid we have to stop here for a moment for some theology."

(One wonders, of course, what they thought they were doing before that, and what they think they will be doing after the dread theological interlude….)

J. I. Packer's Knowing God, however, makes no apology for theology. Or, rather, it does: it defends the value of theology from its very first pages, both telling and showing that knowledge of God, while it ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Support Christian thought journalism. Donate to our nonprofit ministry today.
Read These NextSee Our Latest
Current IssueThe Title IX Lives of Christian Colleges
Subscriber Access Only
The Title IX Lives of Christian Colleges
Why CCCU schools are split on claiming one of their legal rights.
RecommendedThe Secret Religion of the Slaves
Subscriber Access Only The Secret Religion of the Slaves
They often risked floggings to worship God.
TrendingWhy Do We Have Christmas Trees?
Why Do We Have Christmas Trees?
The history behind evergreens, ornaments, and holiday gift giving.
Editor's PickThe Bible Never Says ‘All Men Are Created Equal’
The Bible Never Says ‘All Men Are Created Equal’
How the New Testament offers a better, higher calling than the Declaration of Independence.
%%var.bookTitle%%
Knowing God
InterVarsity Press
1993-07-24
286 pp., $11.60
Buy %%var.bookTitle%% from Amazon
Christianity Today
Doctrine that Actually Delights
hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

December 2013

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.