Packer on the Christian Life: Knowing God in Christ, Walking by the Spirit (Theologians on the Christian Life) by Sam Storms
This is the fifth book I’ve read from this series and the first one which features a figure who is still living.
One can’t peruse a well stocked Reformed/Evangelical library for long without being confronted with the profound influence of the Anglican theologian J. I. Packer. Through his books, such as Knowing God, and his endorsements and forewords, Packer has left a mark on nineteenth century Christian publishing. His influence extends far beyond the publishing world.–evidenced in his role at Regent college, his work on the ESV, his involvement in the inerrancy controversy, his leadership in the Anglican church, and his membership in the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood.
There is no question that Packer’s written corpus, massive as it is, provides rich fodder for gleaning a distinct view of the Christian life. And there is no escaping his massive influence and role in shaping where the church is at today. It is therefore fitting that this series would include J. I. Packer, even though unlike most of the other people, he is not a deceased luminary.
Storms does a fine job of conveying the main emphasis of Packer’s life work, straightforwardly acknowledging his debt to the “Puritan, Theological Exegete, and Later-Day Catechist.”. The book is loaded with substantial quotations from Packer’s pen (or typewriter?), establishing a careful presentation of how he interacted with the Scriptures and the ideas of his day. Packer’s piety (or spirituality) seeps through Storms’ work. There are brilliant sections on suffering, the role of the atonement, Romans 7, prayer, and theocentricity.
This is unlikely to be the “bestseller” in this series. Neither will it generate as much excitement as some of the other titles. Nevertheless, there is almost no aspect in which it is inferior to the others, and it exceeds most of the ones I’ve read so far. This is a solid resource and certainly one of the best ones in this series. It is well worth reading, and I hope many more do so!
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