Despite the fact that the widely esteemed theologian J. I. Packer never lived in the United States, the theologian greatly influenced American evangelicals. One key way this transpired occurred through Packer’s longstanding relationship with Christianity Today.
Packer’s first piece—a lengthy article on the opportunity and challenges for evangelicalism—was published in 1958. After the publication of his best-known work, Knowing God, he became contributing editor at Christianity Today in 1983 and then senior editor in 1985. He continued to serve the magazine in similar roles for the next three decades. In 1992, he wrote about how he envisaged his relationship with the publication:
One role of CT, which is a features-news-and-thought journal anchored in the historic faith, is to keep you posted, one way and another, on the theological front. I suppose I should see myself as a kind of point man for this purpose.
But most of all, I want to be a plumber and sewage man, as I said when I started, and most of all, I want CT always to be showing how head and heart should be joining in mature discipleship today. Head-without-heart journals and heart-without-head journals make for misshapen and underdeveloped Christians. It is important that we should find and follow the better way.
Timothy George, distinguished professor of divinity at Beeson Divinity School, was a contemporary of Packer’s at CT.
“I would say his role at CT was a mentor to the whole enterprise, especially to all the editors,” said George. “For me and others that worked with him constantly in those days, we respected him and looked to him as someone who was a pioneer in the very thing that we were giving our lives to.”
George joined global media manager Morgan Lee and editorial ...1
Already a CT subscriber? Log in for full digital access.
Subscribe to Christianity Today and get access to this article plus 60+ years of archives.
- Home delivery of CT magazine
- Complete access to articles on ChristianityToday.com
- Over 120 years of magazine archives plus full access to all of CT’s online archives
- Learn more