Reformed Churchmen

We are Confessional Calvinists and a Prayer Book Church-people. In 2012, we remembered the 350th anniversary of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer; also, we remembered the 450th anniversary of John Jewel's sober, scholarly, and Reformed "An Apology of the Church of England." In 2013, we remembered the publication of the "Heidelberg Catechism" and the influence of Reformed theologians in England, including Heinrich Bullinger's Decades. For 2014: Tyndale's NT translation. For 2015, John Roger, Rowland Taylor and Bishop John Hooper's martyrdom, burned at the stakes. Books of the month. December 2014: Alan Jacob's "Book of Common Prayer" at: January 2015: A.F. Pollard's "Thomas Cranmer and the English Reformation: 1489-1556" at: February 2015: Jaspar Ridley's "Thomas Cranmer" at:

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

22 July 1926 A.D. Mr. (Rev.Dr.Prof.) James I. Packer Born

22 July 1926 A.D. Mr. (Rev.Dr.Prof.) James I. Packer Born

James Innell Packer (born 22 July 1926) is a British-born Canadian Christian theologian in the low church Anglican and Reformed traditions. He currently serves as the Board of Governors' Professor of Theology at Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia. He is considered one of the most influential evangelicals in North America.[1]



Born in Gloucester, England, the son of a clerk for the Great Western Railway, Packer won a scholarship to Oxford University. He was educated at Corpus Christi College, obtaining the degrees of Bachelor of Arts (1948), Master of Arts (1954), and Doctor of Philosophy (1954).

It was as a student at Oxford that he first heard lectures from C. S. Lewis, whose teachings would (though he never knew Lewis personally) become a major influence in his life. In a meeting of the Oxford Inter-Collegiate Christian Union, Packer committed his life to Christian service.

He spent a brief time teaching Greek at Oak Hill Theological College in London, and in 1949 entered Wycliffe Hall, Oxford to study theology. He was ordained a deacon (1952) and priest (1953) in the Church of England, within which he was associated with the Evangelical movement. He was Assistant Curate of Harborne Heath in Birmingham 1952–54 and Lecturer at Tyndale Hall, Bristol 1955–61. He was Librarian of Latimer House, Oxford 1961–62 and Principal 1962–69. In 1970 he became Principal of Tyndale Hall, Bristol, and from 1971 until 1979 he was Associate Principal of Trinity College, Bristol, which had been formed from the amalgamation of Tyndale Hall with Clifton College and Dalton House-St Michael's.

In 1979, Packer moved to Vancouver to take up a position at Regent College, eventually being named the first Sangwoo Youtong Chee Professor of Theology, a title he held until he was named a Regent College Board of Governors' Professor of Theology in 1996. Packer had a huge impact on students during his time at Regent, as evidenced by one of them, author Gary Thomas, dedicating his book "Holy Available," and including a lengthy tribute, in honor of Dr. Packer's 80th birthday.[2] He is a prolific writer and frequent lecturer, but he is best known for his book, "Knowing God". He is a frequent contributor to and an executive editor of Christianity Today.

Packer served as General Editor of the English Standard Version, an Evangelical revision of the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, and Theological Editor of the Study Bible version.

Packer is associated with St. John's Vancouver Anglican Church, which in February 2008 voted to leave the Anglican Church of Canada (ACC) over the issue of same-sex blessings. St. John's joined the Anglican Network in Canada.[3] Packer, on 23 April, handed in his licence from the Bishop of New Westminster.[4] In December 2008 Dr Packer was appointed an honorary Clerical Canon of St Andrew's Cathedral in Sydney in recognition of his long and distinguished ministry as a faithful teacher of Biblical theology.[5]

Theological views


In 1978, he signed the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy, which affirmed a conservative position on Biblical inerrancy.

Gender roles

Packer is a Complementarian and serves on the advisory board of Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. He thus subscribes to a traditional view of gender roles – that a husband should lovingly lead, protect and provide for his wife and that a wife should joyfully affirm and submit to her husband's leadership. Complementarians also believe the Bible teaches that men are to bear primary responsibility to lead in the church and that as such only men should be elders.[6] In 1991 Packer set forth his reasons for this in an influential yet controversial article called 'Let's Stop Making Women Presbyters'.[7]


Packer holds to Reformed theology, also known as Calvinism.[8]


In 2008 Packer wrote an endorsement for a book called 'Creation or Evolution: Do We have to Choose?' by Denis Alexander. The book advocates theistic evolution and is critical of Intelligent Design. Packer said of the book: 'Surely the best informed, clearest and most judicious treatment of the question in its title that you can find anywhere today.'[9] This perhaps reveals Packer's current position in the evolution/intelligent design debate.

However, he has also expressed caution as to whether the theory of evolution is actually true, 'its only a hypothesis... its only a guess... so as science, in terms of philosophy of science... evolution is by no means proven and as a guess it is very strange and contrary to all analogies...' He also said, 'the biblical narratives of creation... don't obviously say anything that bears one way or another on the question of whether the evolutionary hypothesis might be true or not...'[10]

The most recent information on Packer's position on evolution comes from his foreword to Reclaiming Genesis by Melvin Tinker.[11] Reclaiming Genesis is a 'pro-evolution' book with the subtitle 'The Theatre of God's Glory – Or a Scientific Story?' in it Packer writes "Melvin Tinker is fully on wavelength in this lively and enlivening series of expositions. His book is wise, popular, and powerful. I heartily commend it."


In recent years, he has supported the ecumenical movement but believes that unity should not come at the expense of abandoning orthodox Protestant doctrine. Nonetheless, his advocacy of ecumenicism has brought sharp criticism from some conservatives, particularly after the publication of the book Evangelicals and Catholics Together: Toward a Common Mission (ed. Charles Colson, Richard J. Neuhaus) in which Packer was one of the contributors. Some conservatives also feel that Packer's views on Mother Teresa are quite liberal.[12]

Packer took the side of evangelical ecumenism in opposition to Martyn Lloyd-Jones in 1966, then co-authored a work with two Anglo-Catholics in 1970 (Growing into Union) that many evangelicals felt conceded too much biblical ground on critical doctrinal issues. The publication of that work led to the formal break between Lloyd-Jones and Packer, bringing an end to the Puritan Conferences.


Fundamentalism and the Word of God (1958; reprinted 1984) ISBN 0-8028-1147-7

Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God (1961 by Inter-Varsity Fellowship) (reprinted 1991) ISBN 0-8308-1339-X

Our Lord's Understanding of the Law of God (1962)

The Church of England and the Methodist Church: Ten Essays (1963)

God Speaks To Man: Revelation and the Bible (1965)

Tomorrow's Worship (1966)

Guidelines: Anglican Evangelicals Face the Future (1967)

Knowing God (1973, reprinted 1993) ISBN 0-8308-1650-X

I Want To Be A Christian (1977) ISBN 978-0-8423-1842-6

The Ten Commandments (1977) ISBN 978-0-8423-7004-2

The Evangelical Anglican Identity Problem: An Analysis (1978) ISBN 978-0-946307-00-5

The New Man (1978) ISBN 978-0-8028-1768-6

For Man's Sake! (1978) ISBN 978-0-85364-217-6

Knowing Man (1979)

God Has Spoken (1979) ISBN 978-0-87784-656-7

Beyond the Battle for the Bible (1980) ISBN 978-0-89107-195-2

Freedom and Authority (1981: International Council on Biblical Inerrancy)

A Kind of Noah's Ark? : The Anglican Commitment to Comprehensiveness (1981) ISBN 978-0-946307-09-8

God's Words: Studies of Key Bible Themes (1981) ISBN 978-0-87784-367-2

Freedom, Authority and Scripture (1982) ISBN 978-0-85110-445-4

Keep In Step With The Spirit: Finding Fullness In Our Walk With God (1984, reprinted 2005) ISBN 0-8010-6558-5

The Thirty-Nine Articles: Their Place and Use Today (1984)

Through the Year with J. I. Packer (1986) ISBN 978-0-340-40141-5

Hot Tub Religion (1987) ISBN 978-0-8423-1854-9

Among God's Giants: Aspects of Puritan Christianity (1991) ISBN 978-0-86065-452-0

A Passion for Holiness (1992) ISBN 1-85684-043-3

Rediscovering Holiness (1992) ISBN 0-89283-734-9

Concise Theology: A Guide to Historic Christian Beliefs (1993) ISBN 0-8423-3960-4

A Quest for Godliness: The Puritan Vision of the Christian Life (1994) ISBN 0-89107-819-3

Knowing Christianity (1995) ISBN 978-0-87788-058-5

A Passion for Faithfulness: Wisdom from the Book of Nehemiah (1995) ISBN 978-0-89107-733-6

Decisions – Finding God's Will: 6 Studies for Individuals or Groups (1996) ISBN 978-0-85111-376-0

Truth & Power: The Place of Scripture in the Christian Life (1996) ISBN 978-0-87788-815-4

Life in the Spirit (1996) ISBN 978-0-340-64174-3

Meeting God (2001) ISBN 978-1-85999-480-1

God's Plans for You (2001) ISBN 978-1-58134-290-1

Divine Sovereignty and Human Responsibility (2002)

Faithfulness and Holiness: The Witness of J. C. Ryle (2002) ISBN 978-1-58134-358-8

The Redemption and Restoration of Man in the Thought of Richard Baxter (2003, based on his 1954 Oxford dissertation) ISBN 1-57383-174-3

Knowing God Through The Year (2004) ISBN 978-0-8308-3292-7

18 Words: The Most Important Words You Will Ever Know (2007)

Praying the Lord's Prayer (2007) ISBN 978-1-58134-963-4

Affirming the Apostles' Creed (2008) ISBN 978-1-4335-0210-1

Collected Shorter Writings in four volumes

In the Anglican Agenda series

Taking Faith Seriously (2006) ISBN 978-0-9781653-0-7

Taking Doctrine Seriously (2007) ISBN 978-1-897538-00-5

Taking Repentance Seriously (2007) ISBN 978-0-9781653-4-5

Taking Christian Unity Seriously (2007) ISBN 978-0-9781653-6-9


The J. I. Packer Collection, edited by Alister McGrath (1999) ISBN 978-0-8308-2287-4

Collected Shorter Writings of J. I. Packer

Volume 1: Celebrating the Saving Work of God (1998) ISBN 978-0-85364-896-3

Volume 2: Serving the People of God (1998) ISBN 978-0-85364-904-5

Volume 3: Honouring the Written Word of God (1999) ISBN 978-0-85364-882-6

Volume 4: Honouring the People of God (1999) ISBN 978-0-85364-905-2


The Spirit Within You: The Church's Neglected Possession with Alan Stibbs (1979) ISBN 978-0-8010-8142-2

The Bible Almanac with Merrill C. Tenney and William White (1980) ISBN 978-0-8407-5162-1

Christianity: The True Humanism with Thomas Howard (1985) ISBN 1-57383-058-5

New Dictionary of Theology with Sinclair B Ferguson and David F Wright (1988) ISBN 978-0-8308-1400-8

Knowing and Doing the Will of God with LaVonne Neff (1995) ISBN 978-0-89283-927-8

Great Power with Beth Feia (1997) ISBN 978-0-85476-836-3

Great Grace with Beth Feia (1997) ISBN 978-0-85476-837-0

Great Joy with Beth Feia (1999) ISBN 978-0-85476-838-7

Never Beyond Hope: How God Touches and Uses Imperfect People with Carolyn Nystrom (2000) ISBN 978-0-8308-2232-4

Knowing God Journal with Carolyn Nystrom (2000) ISBN 978-0-8308-1185-4

J. I. Packer Answers Questions for Today with Wendy Murray Zoba (2001) ISBN 978-0-8423-3615-4

Hope, Never Beyond Hope: Six Studies for Individuals or Groups with Leader's Notes with Carolyn Nystrom (2003) ISBN 978-0-85111-355-5

One Faith: The Evangelical Consensus with Thomas Oden (2004) ISBN 0-8308-3239-4

Battle for the Soul of Canada: Raising up the Emerging Generation of Leaders (2006) ISBN 978-0-9782022-0-0

Praying: Finding Our Way Through Duty To Delight with Carolyn Nystrom (2006) ISBN 978-0-8308-3345-0

Guard Us, Guide Us: Divine Leading in Life's Decisions with Carolyn Nystrom (2008) ISBN 978-0-8010-1303-4

In My Place Condemned He Stood: Celebrating the Glory of the Atonement with Mark Dever (2008) ISBN 978-1-4335-0200-2

Works about

Alister E McGrath, To Know and Serve God: A Life of James I. Packer (1997) ISBN 978-0-340-56571-1

Alister E McGrath, J. I. Packer: A Biography (1997) ISBN 978-0-8010-1157-3

Roger Steer, Guarding the Holy Fire: The Evangelicalism of John R. W. Stott, J. I. Packer and Alister McGrath (1999) ISBN 978-0-8010-5846-2

Don J Payne, The Theology of the Christian Life in J. I. Packer's Thought: Theological Anthropology, Theological Method, and the Doctrine of Sanctification (2006) ISBN 978-1-84227-397-5

Timothy F George, J. I. Packer and the Evangelical Future: The Impact of His Life and Thought (2009) ISBN 978-0-8010-3387-2


Jump up ^ "The 25 Most Influential Evangelicals in America". TIME. 7 February 2005. Retrieved 2008-07-24. 

Jump up ^ Thomas, Gary (2009). Holy Available. Zondervan. ISBN 9780310866268. 

Jump up ^ Chantal Eustace (14 February 2008). Anglican congregation votes to split over same-sex blessings. The Vancouver Sun. 

Jump up ^ Christianity Today, 11 February 1991

Jump up ^ see, for example, his book 'Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God'

Jump up ^ click on the 'look inside' link and view the front cover which is where this statement is found

Jump up ^ in this talk Packer goes into some detail about his views on evolution and creation, the quote above is found at about 19 minutes through

External links

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