8 Favorite Quotes From the Book “J. I. Packer: His Life and Thought” (Alister McGarth)

Here’s some quotes from the book, J. I. Packer: His Life and Thought by Alister McGarth published by InterVarsityPress. If you like these quotes, consider supporting the author by purchasing the book by clicking this link.

“In studying the past, we can think of ourselves as stepping into the laboratory of faith, seeing how ideas were developed and explored, and checked out against their biblical moorings, their apologetic potential and their capacity to deepen our love for God – to mention just three criteria, to which more could be easily added.”

Packer’s basic point is simple: enjoy looking at the trees – but make sure you can see the forest as well. Packer put this well in his 2008 introduction to ‘Reading the Bible Theologically’ in the English Standard Version Study Bible: ‘Scripture is no ragbag of religious bits and pieces, unrelated to each other; rather, it is a tapestry in which
all the complexities of the weave display a single pattern of judgment and mercy, promise and fulfilment.’”

“Packer, however, was convinced that good preaching and pastoral practice emerged from good theology, which was the fundamental resource on which Christian ministry was ultimately based. What was required was the coordination of theology and the life of faith – a vision which Packer found in the preaching, pastoral practices and spiritual disciplines of the Puritans.”

“An authentic Christian theology can never be an abstract intellectual pursuit, disengaged from the Christian life or the Church. While Warden of Latimer House, Packer made it clear that he did not wish to conduct what he perhaps unfairly dismissed as ‘ivory tower theology’; his commitment was to a theology that was attentive to the pastoral, homiletic and spiritual ministry of the Church.”

“Packer concludes by declaring that ‘knowing God’ consists of three components, which must be taken together, and seen as inseparable aspects of a greater whole: grasping who God is; applying to ourselves what God is and what God gives; and adoring God as the one who gives these gifts. “

” Rediscovering the corporate and historic nature of the Christian faith reduces the
danger of entire communities of faith being misled by charismatic individuals, and affirms the ongoing importance of the Christian past as a stabilising influence in potentially turbulent times.”

“We could think of Packer as an ‘organic theologian’ – someone whose standing and
influence are the natural outcome of the respect in which he is held within a specific community, which recognises that he takes their hopes, fears and needs seriously, and that he is able to address them in a manner that is both trustworthy and approachable. “

“For Packer, ‘the proper subject-matter of systematic theology is God actively relating in and through all created things to human beings’. Theology must therefore be recognised to be ‘a devotional discipline, a verifying in experience of Aquinas’ beautiful remark that theology is taught by God, teaches God, and takes us to God’. “

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