Why Packer Mattered
All I remember is that “Knowing God” explained it all to me and my quest from then on was to read everything this man wrote.
I wanted to be a theologian and I wanted to be a good one, so I read all I could find of him and I read the people his books told me to read.
In later years, I was greatly blessed to have a friend that had studied under him and she enabled me to hear classes of his that he taught at Regent College.
On July 8, 2009 beginning at 7:30 AM, I spoke to my teacher for some time…it was my birthday present and one I will carry into eternity.
All of that helped form me, but it’s not what mattered the most.
What mattered the most was the character of J.I. Packer.
If you know me personally, you know that “what would J.I. Packer think” has occupied almost as large a spot in my consciousness as “what would Jesus do”.
Packer was humble and kind, probably to a fault, if such can be.
He was often embroiled in controversy, but engaged in it with Anglican courtesy.
He was ecumenical…though utterly convinced of the truth of Reformed theology, he treated other expressions of the faith with dignity and respect.
He knew his calling and he stuck to his calling despite the cruel and unjustified barbs of his peers.
J.I. Packer was no preening academic, no celebrity preacher…he was a servant of God and a servant of the church.
He was a Christian who made me want to know Christ more fully and an Anglican who made me want to be an Anglican.
From Regent’s obituary;
“For all his accolades and accomplishments, Jim’s focus was always, always, on Christ. He said the Book of Common Prayer’s Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer services at the beginning and end of each day, often arising at 4 am to do so. Even recovering from a broken pelvis in his last year, he would sink to his knees to pray preceding the Eucharist.”
There are Anglican priests who’ve yet to do either…they are posers exposed by Packer’s faithfulness.
J.I. Packer set a standard that I have yet to come close to, a standard informed by his love of the church and his love of Christ.
I thank God for his life and ministry and for being the standard bearer he was.