J.I. Packer is not just one of the great theologians of the modern era, but of the entire post-Reformation era, in my opinion.
His seminal work, “Knowing God”, is the book that brought me fully to the Reformed faith. Other than the bible, no other book has meant more to my walk with God and love for Christ than Packer’s book. Many books come and go, “Knowing God” is a classic that will continue to withstand the test of time and be cherished by manifold generations to come.
James Innell Packer, born July 22, 1926 in Gloucester, England, is described (by Theopedia) as a conservative evangelical Anglican, author, and theologian in the Calvinist tradition. He currently serves as the Board of Governors' Professor of Theology at Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia. He is considered widely to be one of the most important evangelical theologians of the late 20th century. He has been called the “doctrinal Solomon” of Christian thinkers. Other than his support of a certain level of ecumenism with Roman Catholics and his commitment to the Episcopalian form of church government, there is little J.I. Packer has written or said that I disagree with. He has been a very wise servant of Christ for his eighty-plus years.
Recently he has come under fire for his outspoken opposition to the Anglican Church’s failure to uphold biblical standards in the area of homosexuality. In fact, Packer has been attending (and occasionally preaching at) a church (St. John’s) that recently voted to leave the Anglican Church of Canada because of the several ways in which the larger church has been growing increasingly liberal. In response the Bishop of the Diocese of New Westminster, Michael Ingham, sent Packer a letter threatening suspension from ministry. The letter claims that Packer “abandoned the exercise of ministry” after the church voted to separate from the diocese and join the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone under the oversight of Anglican Archbishop Gregory Venables.
It certainly would be something if a church that is doing whatever it can to legitimize homosexual practice, even among it’s ministers, would bring an act of discipline against it’s most notable theologian for protesting such a position. Homosexual practice good, you can stay ordained. Protesting homosexual practice bad, you will get defrocked. This shows how far things have fallen in the Anglican fellowship.
The above clip is very recent and shows Packer giving a wise explanation regarding his opposition to homosexual practice and the overall importance of the issue for the Church.
For more rich Packer fare, check out Jay Bennett's current entry here.