Friday, September 18, 2015

18 September 2015 A.D. J.I. Packer: A Biography

18 September 2015 A.D. J.I. Packer: A Biography

Some notes from the Amazon site.

His books have sold over three million copies worldwide and Christianity Today readers named him one of the most influential theological writers of the 20th century. Now J.I. Packer's life and ministry are examined in this admirable biographical work. His books have sold over three million copies worldwide and Christianity Today readers named him one of the most influential theological writers of the 20th century. Now J.I. Packer's life and ministry are examined in this admirable biographical work. His books have sold over three million copies worldwide and Christianity Today readers named him one of the most influential theological writers of the 20th century. Now J.I. Packer's life and ministry are examined in this admirable biographical work.

A word about Alister McGrath.

Alister E. McGrath is a historian, biochemist, and Christian theologian born in Belfast, Northern Ireland. A longtime professor at Oxford University, he now holds the chair in theology, ministry, and education at the University of London. He is the author of several books on theology and history, including Christianity's Dangerous Idea, In the Beginning, and The Twilight of Atheism. He lives in Oxford, England, and lectures regularly in the United States.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful

By Amazon Customer on March 25, 1998
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
McGrath is always worth reading, but for my money McGrath on Packer is one of the best things he has produced to date. I cannot remember when I have enjoyed a book more, but then I am biased! Let me explain. Jim Packer is one of the four or five individuals who have most profoundly shaped my life and ministry - I am an Episcopal priest, by the way. But this book is more than the telling of one man's story. McGrath weaves his biography around the development of theology in the post-World War Two period with breathtaking skill. It tells the story of the worldwide regeneration of evangelical Christianity in the second half of this century - evangelicalism in general, Anglican evangelicalism in particular. I first met Jim Packer when I was a seminarian and was immediately attracted by his solid, no nonsense approach to theology. He introduced me to the theological methodology of the Puritans, an approach to believing that seemed unruffled by the fads and fancies that sweep the Christian world, fashions that so often knock it off its feet. Jim is a man, I discovered, who loves God, loves the Scriptures, and applies his immense intellect to sharing that delight with others. I never thought I would ever be able to do more than admire him from a distance. Then in the early 1970s we moved to Bristol in the West of England, and the Packers became personal friends and neighbors when for several years we lived at opposite ends of the same short street.

One of the treats of those years was occasional chats with Jim over tea or coffee, conversations that were to play a fundamental role in the direction my own life and ministry.

By Matthew Westerholm on May 15, 2001
Format: Hardcover 

Are you looking for a spiritual blood transfusion? Look no further! JI Packer's enthusiasm for God and tenacity for right thinking regarding the bible is contagious! His interactions with Stott and Lloyd-Jones provide brilliant historical insight into the tension of "reform from within" vs. "be ye separate".

Many Christians miss out on the experience that excellent spiritual biographies provide. Don't be one of them!

As far as the previous writer that didn't think McGrath did a good job writing, I couldn't disagree more. Type the words "Alister McGrath" into the Amazon search engine and you'll find many people like the way Dr. McGrath puts sentences together. 

By Kathy F. Cannata on January 1, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Anglican and Evangelical, conservative and ecumenical, Packer has been a central figure in a variety of theological movements in North America and Europe for nearly two generations. Thus is this first major biography of Packer much overdue.

McGrath is an astoundingly prolific writer, but he has taken great care to tell the story of Packer's life in generous detail. Written in a plain, almost artless, style, McGrath provides an exceedingly clear, accessible portrait of a very complex man. A professor of systematic theology at Oxford, McGrath is himself an ex-liberal who, in his migration to the right, is passing many leftward drifting evangelicals. This is evident in this openly sympathetic biography of one of the great statesman of contemporary conservative evangelicalism.

The story begins with Packer's blue-collar childhood in England as the son of a railway worker. His destiny as a scholar is traced to a chance encounter with a schoolyard bully who chased him into traffic. The resulting head injury Packer sustained forced him indoors for a summer, where books and an inexpensive typewriter revealed an exciting new world. While an undergraduate at Oxford, Packer was again redirected by the hand of Providence. As nominal Anglican, Packer was generally mortified by the anti-intellectualism and the sheer tackiness of the evangelical student ministry on campus. Yet he was haunted by and irresistibly drawn to the weighty claims of the Gospel which were so gleefully proclaimed by these same evangelicals. Before erelong Packer was reluctantly but profoundly converted. 

By S. McIntyre on March 18, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I found Alister McGrath's biography of Packer to be most interesting. Here is a man (Packer) who is truly bringing honor to the name of Christ and His church (when in the age of supposed regenerate men that consistently do otherwise). McGrath is a man of like public character and a honorable person to do such a work. I was pleased to read such a work, and am looking forward to further McGrath biographies having to do with such honorable men (McGraths work on Calvin was also quite excellent). This was a easy and uncomplicated read, factual and supposing nothing yet is thorough enough. I would suggest the work highly.
By Jeffrey A. Thompson VINE VOICE on December 25, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Packer wrote the two books, which have profoundly affected my Christian life: "Knowing God" and "Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God." I like McGrath's writings so when I saw the book on the shelf of a bookstore, I grabbed it and almost ran to the checkout counter.

The scope of this book is more than just J. I. Packer. It also covers Packer's influence on Evangelicalism on both sides of the Atlantic. The beginning of the book and the ending chapter were very good. The beginning of the book covers the conversion of a brilliant student of theology into a committed theologian and Christian leader in Great Britain. Packer's boldness and commitment to what he later called 'systematic spirituality' (theology that encourages faithful service) was inspiring. Packer discovered Puritan writings and saw immediately the corrective Puritan life and theology provided for the superficiality of the Church in the 20th century. The ending where the book covers Packer's impact on the 20th and 21st century was very interesting as well. There are sections in the middle that are boring, however; where it covers the theological disputes within Anglicanism and the bickering during the merger of three theological colleges into Trinity College. These sections seem to go on for over a hundred pages.

I strongly recommend the biography. Packer's stress on theology in practice should be a strong exhortation to the Church today and Evangelicalism specifically. His commitment to Church history and theology in light of today's Christianity lite preaching is truly needed. Packer did not preach a prosperity gospel; he preached a historical theology that deepened the soul's thirst for God and its desire to serve God.

This book is challenging in parts and it is dry in parts. The biography tends toward hero worship. Perhaps, a better biography will be written on Packer, but this book tells a good story that needs to be heard.

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