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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 ...

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Carlos Ramirez Trevino

December 17, 2013  5:11am

The opening lines - "On January 7, 1855, the minister of New Park Street Chapel, Southwark, England, opened his morning sermon as follows: It has been said by someone that "the proper study of mankind is man." I will not oppose the idea, but I believe it is equally true that the proper study of God's elect is God; the proper study of a Christian is the Godhead. The highest science, the loftiest speculation, the mightiest philosophy, which can ever engage the attention of a child of God, is the name, the nature, the person, the work, the doings, and the existence of the great God whom he calls his Father. There is something exceedingly improving to the mind in a contemplation of the Divinity. It is a subject so vast, that all our thoughts are lost in its immensity; so deep, that our pride is drowned in its infinity." I want to keep reading! It thrills my soul to think about this mighty God of the Universe. I get excited at the mention of the name of Jesus. This book does that for me

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Carlos Ramirez Trevino

December 17, 2013  4:57am

Well Gary, I have to defend Packer. It all depends on how you define dull. Do you mean that it isn't emotion packed and sentimental? Or do you mean that its depth, theological simplicity, and clarity are not where your interests lay? I have noticed that these days it is difficult to get Christians to discuss theology. Are you saying that hard theological facts are dull? Personally, I thought it was one of the best books ever written and felt it put a lot of things in perspective for me as a young Christian trying to grapple with the tough questions about the nature of the one and only true God. Sproul, Packer, Lewis, Spurgeon, Calvin, Luther, Wesley, Berkhoff, Schaeffer, these are the men that have shaped our thinking in contemporary Christendom. Maybe we both need to reread this book. You might have a different perspective on it now. I found it inspiring and profound. I think every Christian ought to read it and know it well.

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Thomas Gary

December 16, 2013  11:52pm

I hate to be a buzz kill but I thought this book was rather dull when I read it years ago. Sorry. But bless you all who loved it! Jesus is the Word made Flesh! Happy Advent!

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Carlos Ramirez Trevino

December 16, 2013  9:08am

Packer has also had a great influence in my life. The interesting thing is that while we talk about embracing theological thinking, most seem to prefer to be told what to think so that it saves them the effort. Are we really willing to explore and revisit our theological perspectives or are we more comfortable rejecting off-hand anything that deviates from the norm? If I were to challenge our thinking, would anyone reading this consider my arguments or just simply reject them and laugh them off without a moment's thought? Most likely, if it doesn't conform to the current theological mold, it won't even be reviewed. Take for example the concept that God created the existing universe and everything in it for one simple reason; to bring Christ into creation (Hebrews 10:5) so that He could eradicate corruption and establish eternal perfection in creation (Dan 9:24). That is a simple enough idea, but how many people will give it more than a moment's thought? What does it mean to say that all things were created by Christ and FOR Christ (Ephesians 3:9; Colossians 1:16)? We often overlook that little word FOR. Why did Christ come into the world? Was it just to rescue man because man sinned? Or did man sin so that Christ could come into the world to put an end to sin, corruption, pain, suffering, and decay? See Revelation 21:1-4; Isaiah 25:8, 61:2-3; Acts 3:21, 13:34; Romans 8:21; Hebrews 12:27 and 2 Peter 3:13. Think about it. A wise God creates this elaborate existence (universe, angels, matter, animals, mankind) so that He could annihilate the potential and existential evil that would of necessity infest His creation. That is, the mere act of creating something had as its necessary attendant, corruption (Ezekiel 27). God didn’t create corruption. Creating matter, for example, meant that matter would eventually corrupt, decay, deteriorate, and rust. Creating persons brought another type of corruption called sin, good, evil, or morality. All things were created to make it possible for Christ to have the victory over sin and corruption; not just in man, but also in all of creation – to include the angels (1 Corinthians 15:35 – 57, Ephesians 3;10, Romans 8:18 - 23). See the difference in the above and the current thinking about why God created man? Drno0099@yahoo.com.

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Rad Rev

December 12, 2013  10:06pm

Pop Seal - great post!

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Jim Ricker

December 12, 2013  6:01pm

Theology is not boring or pointless. It is the person who is boring and/or unable to pass it along to others properly that gives theology a bad reputation.

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Pop Seal

December 10, 2013  11:01pm

Biblical theology is a pursuit of the soul as much the intellect. For example, comprehending the triune nature of God is best entered by those who have 'felt' the conviction of sin after breaking the laws of the Father, come to Christ for redemption and reconciliation, then finally appropriated the regenerating resurrection life now available to the repentant faithful. You can't write a book about it. We can only 'enter it'. Biblical theology is experienced, otherwise it is gobbledygook.

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Rick Dalbey

December 10, 2013  4:07pm

For some, theology is an abstract intellectual pursuit, a game of chess that is played with great skill and energy with other theologians. For others the knowledge of God is personal, daily and carries deep emotional weight. A friendship with the Holy Spirit is not a doctrine or theology but a necessary and dear experience. They read the news with the Bible in one hand and the newspaper in the other and the prayer of Maranatha on their lips. I'm always amazed that for all JI Packer's scholasticism, he was an a millennial preterist. Perhaps theology needs that kind of eschatological stasis to flourish as an occupation.

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Rick Dalbey

December 10, 2013  2:10pm

It's Pygmy, not Pigmy.

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Duane Bartz

December 10, 2013  10:35am

Between Scylla and Charybdis - between accurate, thorough, sterile and lifeless scholarship, and warm, practical and subjective relevancy. Both of these 'rocks' are good things. Dangerously good. It is tempting to thrive on energy of intellect or soul. But these can substitute for the best - ie. a rigorous grasp of the Truth outside of myself ("Your words") into ("entrance") myself ("simple"). "The entrance of Your words gives light; It gives understanding to the simple." (Ps.119:130). Brother Stackhouse has the objective "Your words"; Jeri has the "entrance" - David has the synergy of the two. Over reliance on intellectual study or subjective practicality can lead to "shipwreck". http://heychristianyouarewrong.blogspot.com/

Jeri Bidinger

December 09, 2013  11:51pm

Methinks you perhaps overrate the need for advanced formal theological training to do good, deep colloquial theology. Solitude, prayer, meditation, ongoing application to real life, community of others who live by these things...one doesn't need to be an academic to "know," in Packer's sense, God.

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PROF IRVING HEXHAM

December 09, 2013  1:20pm

Packer also played the drums in a jazz band - perhaps that helped him remain down to earth and practical.

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