2022 Foreword INDIES Bronze Book Award Winner for Religion (Adult Nonfiction)
All theology is doxology.
Anglican theologian J. I. Packer was one of the most widely respected Christian writers of the twentieth century. Author of over forty books and named one of the most influential evangelicals by Time magazine and the readers of Christianity Today, Packer’s impact is immense. He was known for profound theological writing that was always lively and worshipful.
Pointing to the Pasturelands recovers several decades of Packer’s contributions to the pages of Christianity Today. This includes his editorial columns, longer articles, and brief answers to readers’ theology questions. The book concludes with a profile of Packer from Mark A. Noll. Enjoy timeless insights from a man whose life was devoted to knowing God and making him known.
Some writers find it difficult to be boring; Jim Packer was one of them. How many evangelicals do you know who could (or would) write a column titled “It’s wrong to eat people”? Or there’s Jim avowing that he is God’s plumber and sewage man. I think I read every one of these pieces when they first appeared; I am grateful beyond words that this new format allows me to read them again.
—D. A. Carson, emeritus professor of New Testament, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
Years ago I bought access to Christianity Today’s digital archive simply to harvest the best of J. I. Packer’s columns and articles. The painstaking work yielded bushels beyond what I expected—nearly six decades of gold. But if I was a more patient man, I could have just waited for this collection, an indispensable volume for any Packer reader.
—Tony Reinke, journalist, and author of Newton on the Christian Life: To Live Is Christ
There was—and is—no churchman and theologian from whom I have learned more about Christianity than Dr. Packer, who in life exemplified a model of orthodoxy and grace combined with an enviable gift for clarity. While many know him through his books, he also enjoyed influence as a writer of journalistic pieces for Christianity Today, where he brought his wit, wisdom, and faith to bear on a variety of issues. At once both a commentary on the times and explications of the faith, these shorter pieces are delightful, devotional gems.
—Carl R. Trueman, professor of biblical & religious studies, Grove City College
This valuable collection of the late Jim Packer's essays in Christianity Today reveals a man who was often insightful, occasionally whimsical, and always deeply personal. Readers will discover his opinions on a wide range of subjects and quarry this volume for quotes and illustrations they can use in their own ministries. A valuable resource that will keep its author's name alive for the next generation and beyond.
—Gerald Bray, research professor of divinity, Beeson Divinity School
J. I. Packer is one of those figures from Christian history whose words will long outlast him. Though his columns and articles and books spoke to challenges in his day, they speak with clarity to the challenges of ours. This collection of his work should be in the possession of every pastor, every Christian leader, everyone who dares to live out the gospel. Keep this volume on your shelf and make it a habit to read one or two selections every day.
—Daniel Darling, Director of the Land Center for Cultural Engagement at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
“Liberating Ministry from the Success Syndrome. The authors, Kent and Barbara Hughes,” (Page 35)
“Though we negate secular humanist doctrine, we live by its value system and suffer its symptoms: Man-centeredness as a way of life, with God there to care for me; preoccupation with wealth, luxury, success, and lots of happy sex as means to my fulfillment; unconcern about self-denial, self-control, truthfulness, and modesty; high tolerance of moral lapses, with readiness to make excuses for ourselves and others in the name of charity; indifference to demands for personal and church discipline; prizing ability above character, and ducking out of personal responsibilities—is any of that Christian? The truth is that we have met the secular humanist enemy, and ethically, it is us. Shame on us? Yes, every time.” (Page 26)
“What I find that I know about writing boils down to this: There are four rules. First, have something clear to say. Second, keep it simple. Third, make it flow. Fourth, be willing to redraft as often as is necessary to meet these requirements.” (Page 23)
“Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, even as he is pure’ (1 John 3:3). The hope of a holy heaven, to be enjoyed in company with our holy Savior, is a potent motive to holiness now.” (Pages 51–52)
“Light reading is not for killing time (that’s ungodly), but for refitting the mind to tackle life’s heavy tasks (that’s the Protestant work ethic, and it’s true).” (Page 8)
Since 1956, Christianity Today has been the voice of evangelicalism in America—a bellwether of theology, politics, and culture for evangelicals. The Best of Christianity Today is a new series, featuring the most enduring articles from decades of Christianity Today written by the most respected voices in modern evangelicalism. Lexham Press is proud to partner with Christianity Today to bring these treasures of evangelicalism's heritage to readers today.
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J. I. Packer (1926–2020) was educated at Oxford and ordained a priest at St. John’s Harborne. In 1970 he became principal at Tyndale Hall, and joined the faculty at Regent College in Vancouver, Canada in 1979. He served as Honourary Assistant at St. John’s Anglican Church in Vancouver for thirty-seven years.
Packer wrote over forty books, including Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God, Knowing God, and A Quest for Godliness. He co-authored over a dozen other books, was an editor at Christianity Today for more than thirty years, and served as general editor of The English Standard Version Bible. Time magazine named him one of the “25 Most Influential Evangelicals in America” in 2005.
Since 1956, Christianity Today has been the voice of evangelicalism in America—a bellwether of theology, politics, and culture for evangelicals. Some of the most influential and respected modern evangelical leaders have written for Christianity Today, shaping the minds and hearts of millions of Christians for more than half a century.