Category Archives: J.I. Packer
J.I. Packer, who turns 85-years-old today, wrote these words:
An evangelical theologian, dying, cabled a colleague: “I am so thankful for the active obedience (righteousness) of Christ. No hope without it.” As I grow old, I want to tell everyone who will listen: “I am so thankful for the penal substitutionary death of Christ. No hope without it.”
Entertainers Andy Griffith, Marilyn Monroe, and Miles Davis entered the world in May and June of 1926. A few weeks later, on July 22, a boy was delivered in England and given the name James Innell Packer. We know him today simply as J.I. Packer, and tomorrow marks his 85th birthday. This birthday — and the many birthdays before it — give us a good reason to pause to thank God for this man’s faithful theological influence and for his many years of fruitful writing.
It seems fitting that we celebrate his birthday and his legacy by giving away a few of his books, all made possible by our generous friends at Crossway Books.
I have four Packer books to give away and now I need four randomly selected winners to give them to. Those four winners will each choose one free book from this list of options:
- A Quest for Godliness: The Puritan Vision of the Christian Life
- In My Place Condemned He Stood: Celebrating the Glory of the Atonement
- Faithfulness and Holiness: The Witness of J. C. Ryle
- Growing in Christ
- A Grief Sanctified: Through Sorrow to Eternal Hope
- A Passion for Faithfulness: Wisdom From the Book of Nehemiah
- God’s Plans for You
- Keeping the Ten Commandments
- Praying the Lord’s Prayer
Here’s how to enter:
- You can enter through Twitter. Just re-tweet this and you’re entered.
- You can enter through a comment on this post. Leave a brief, or even a blank, comment (and please include your email address, which will not be published).
- Entries will be received until 7 am EST tomorrow morning (Fri). Winning entries will be randomly selected and I’ll announce winners at that time.
- The winning books can be shipped within the continental United States only. Sorry.
- Canadian readers (one in particular), please keep your snarky comments to a minimum.
Thanks for entering the contest!
Speaking of his books, here’s a brief video of Packer describing his early days as the Lord was confirming his writing gift.
From J.I. Packer, lecture notes:
The resurrection of Jesus:
- demonstrated his victory over death (Acts 2:24; cf. 1 Cor. 15:54–57);
- vindicated him as righteous (Jn. 16:10);
- vindicated his divine identity (Rom. 1:4);
- led on to his enthronements, through his ascension (Acts 2:36; Phil. 2:9f);
- guaranteed our hope of resurrection after death (1 Cor. 15:18);
- guaranteed the eventual renewal of the universe (1 Cor. 15:24; Eph. 1:10; Phil. 3:21);
- is the basis of our resurrection life now (Rom. 6; Eph. 1:18-2:10; Col. 2:9-15, 3:1-4).
From a seminary lecture by J.I. Packer to class of pastors:
You can define fellowship as toing and froing. That’s as good as definition as any. Fellowship is a two-way street not just a one-way street. [As pastors] we should look to those for whom we minister to give us what they have got. What that means will vary from one situation to another, but at the least one trusts it will be love and good will, which we should humbly receive.
If we are not thinking of fellowship as a two-way street then the chances are that, in our constant giving out, we shall become, in our mindset, conceited rather than humble, and self-sufficient rather than God-reliant, and maybe we will become Christian workaholics because we so love the feeling of giving out right, left, and center. Then we have burnout and breakdown, and we shall thoroughly deserve it. Are you with me? It’s the two-way street of fellowship that keeps us going. It’s the receiving of love and support from others as we seek to share with them. Maybe they have more than love and support to give us—maybe they have some wisdom to give us, too.
Go into every relational situation with Christians expecting to receive as well as to give and you will get through your 40s, and your 50s, and your 60s, and your 70s and you will still be rejoicing in the Lord. It’s a mindset thing, but it’s very foundational.
J.I. Packer, Knowing God (IVP, 1993), pages 254–255:
The wise person … reads the Bible as God’s personal letter to each of his spiritual children, and therefore to him as much as to anyone. Read Romans this way and you will find that it has unique power to search out and deal with things which are so much part of you that ordinarily you do not give them a thought—your sinful habits and attitudes; your instinct for hypocrisy; your natural self-righteousness and self-reliance; your constant unbelief; your moral frivolity, and shallowness in repentance; your halfheartedness, worldliness, fearfulness, despondency; your spiritual conceit and insensitivity. And you will also find that this shattering letter has unique power to evoke the joy, assurance, boldness, liberty and ardor of spirit which God both requires of and gives to those who love him.
Another gem from the writings of Dr. J.I. Packer. This one is from his book Growing in Christ (Crossway, 1996), page 120:
God’s eternal Son became Jesus the Christ by incarnation; to put away our sins he tasted death by crucifixion; he resumed bodily life for all eternity by resurrection; and he reentered heaven’s glory by ascension. This is the Christ-event. It is truly historical, for it happened in Palestine 2,000 years ago. Equally true, however, it is trans-historical, in the sense of not being bounded by space and time as other events are: it can touch and involve in itself any person at any time anywhere. Faith in Jesus occasions that involving touch, so that in terms of rock-bottom reality every believer has actually died and risen, and now lives and reigns, with Jesus and through Jesus. This is the new creation aspect of our link with Jesus. …. The way to express it is that in the Jesus to whom we go in faith the power of the whole Christ-event resides, and that in saving us he not only sets us right with God, but also, so to speak, plugs us in to his own dying, rising, and reigning. Thus we live in joyful fellowship with him, knowing ourselves justified by faith through his death, and finding therewith freedom from sin’s tyranny and foretastes of heaven on earth through the transforming power within us that his dying and rising exerts. This is an over-short statement of an overwhelming truth.
The magnitude of Christ’s work is mind-numbing. And the thought that I am now “plugged in” to his completed work causes me to marvel at God’s grace!
“Those who still believe in the wrath of God (not all do) say little about it; perhaps they do not think much about it. To an age which has unashamedly sold itself to the gods of greed, pride, sex and self-will, the church mumbles on about God’s kindness but says virtually nothing about his judgment. How often during the past year did you hear, or, if you are a minister, did you preach, a sermon on the wrath of God? How long is it, I wonder, since a Christian spoke straight on this subject on radio or television, or in one of those half-column sermonettes that appear in some national dailies and magazines? (And if one did so, how long would it be before he would be asked to speak or write again?) The fact is that the subject of divine wrath has become taboo in modern society, and Christians by and large have accepted the taboo and conditioned themselves never to raise the matter.”
–J.I. Packer, Knowing God, 148–149.
“…But one book is missing from the Packer canon: a systematic theology. He has been teaching systematic theology at Regent for years, so he certainly has done heavy lifting for such a book. Will one be forthcoming? ‘I have a plan,’ he said. ‘But I may not have the time. I would like to leave the world theology that was both catechetical and definitive. But we shall have to see what God has in store.’”
—Warren Cole Smith in his feature of 80-year-old J.I. Packer titled “Patriarch” that appeared recently in WORLD Magazine (Dec 5, 2009, Vol. 24, No. 24). Online here. Pray for health and longevity!
Reformed Theological Seminary has blessed the wider Church by offering many class lectures for online download. These are available trough the iTunes store and come through your computer (for free!). Recently RTS may have added their best resource yet – History and Theology of the Puritans, a 16-part series delivered by Dr. J.I. Packer. [Packer penned the popular, A Quest For Godliness: The Puritan Vision of the Christian Life (Crossway: 1994).]
In over 11 hours of lectures, Packer covers …
1. The Puritan Identity – pt. 1 (45:14)
2. The Puritan Identity – pt. 2 (33:10)
3. Puritan Theological Concerns – pt. 1 (45:54)
4. Puritan Theological Concerns – pt. 2 (45:03)
5. The Bible in Puritan Theology – pt. 1 (46:53)
6. The Bible in Puritan Theology – pt. 2 (46:01)
7. Salvation by Grace – pt. 1 (46:41)
8. Salvation by Grace – pt. 2 (46:37)
9. Faith and Assurance – pt. 1 (46:32)
10. Faith and Assurance – pt. 2 (46:16)
11. The Good Fight – pt. 1 (46:22)
12. The Good Fight – pt. 2 (31:45)
13. Conscience (44:06)
14. Reformed Monasticism (43:01)
15. The Christian Minister (44:22)
16. Worship, Fellowship, and Discipline in the Church (27:40)
I hear you asking, So how do I enjoy this yummy goodness?
1. First, install the program iTunes on your computer by clicking here and following directions. Check first because there is a chance iTunes is already installed on your computer.
2. Once you have iTunes loaded you need to go to this website and click on the button under “Click to launch RTS on iTunes.”
3. You should now be in the RTS page in the iTunes store. Under “RTS Virtual Courses” click on “Church History.”
4. Then click on “History and Theology of the Puritans.” This will take you to the page for downloads.
5. To download just click the button “Get tracks” on the top (to get them all at once) or the button “Get” on the right side of each track (for individual downloads). The audio files will be downloaded into iTunes on your computer and from here you can listen to the mp3s, burn them to audio CDs, etc.
6. And be sure to download a PDF copy of the course syllabus.
And that, my Puritan friends, is how you get the yummy goodness of Packer on the Puritans into your computer and into your head!
Happy listening. And thank you to the gracious folks at RTS!