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Packer, Unpacked

Timothy George attempts to interpret the great 'theologizer.'
J. I. Packer and the Evangelical Future: The Impact of His Life and Thought (Beeson Divinity Studies)
Our Rating
4 Stars - Excellent
Book Title
J. I. Packer and the Evangelical Future: The Impact of His Life and Thought (Beeson Divinity Studies)
Author
Publisher
Baker Academic
Release Date
October 1, 2009
Pages
256
Price
$13.59
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When historians look back on the life of J. I. Packer, this volume may serve as a useful starting point. An accomplished group of contributors, including Timothy George, Alister McGrath, Chuck Colson, Mark Dever, and the late Richard John Neuhaus, come together in its pages to reflect on Packer's legacy. Their conclusion: the Anglican scholar should be seen fundamentally as a "theologizer," a "latter-day catechist," a Reformed prophet standing in the tradition of Irenaeus, Augustine, Calvin, Baxter, and Owen.

Most of the book's chapters were originally delivered at a 2006 Beeson Divinity School conference. According to Beeson dean Timothy George, who organized the conference and edited the resulting volume, "these essays present a mosaic of some major aspects of Packer's life and thought and also a prism through which we may learn something about the evangelical church—its opportunities, dangers, disciplines, and direction." The final chapter is a reflection and response from Packer himself.

Students of Packer's beloved Puritans may hear echoes of John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress throughout. Turning the pages feels rather like walking through the Interpreter's House, in fact, with each essay introducing a series of poignant theology lessons. Packer's interlocutors remind us of profound truths like coram Deo, the necessity of living life "before God's face"; also, that true theology is ultimately doxology.

Other areas of reflection include the following—all critical lessons for pilgrims bound for the Celestial City.

Concentrated Devotion. Packer eschews anthropocentrism in favor of an unapologetic "God-centered" approach to redemptive truth. In his view, only theocentrism fettered to inerrancy and canonical authority ...

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