I was very blessed, about thirty or more years ago, to get to know Dr. James I. Packer as a person. He very humbly responded to me as a younger man and gospel minister and not only preached for me but came to my home on several occasions. This began a long-term friendship that has been one of God’s real gifts to my life. Writing this could sound like I am name-dropping but the fact is we are friends and have shared many hours of personal fellowship, conversation and prayer over these years.
For this, and several other reasons, I found two things about Jim Packer extremely interesting this past week. First, there is his excellent article posted on Christianity Today’s site on "Happiness." I encourage you to click the link and read Packer’s wonderfully warm and evangelical piece. Several years ago Jim had a heart attack. God graciously spared him and some of the best work he has done has come as a result of his being given longer life. As I previously shared on this site we ministered side-by-side at the Anglican Mission Winter Conference in Dallas and this audio will soon be available as a podcast on our site. Make sure you sign up for these weekly podcasts of sermons, lectures and interviews.
The second interesting thing this week is the remarkable response of the Bishop of Westminster (Vancouver, Canada) to strip Packer of his credentials because he would not go along with the homosexual direction of the diocese. It is a very sad day in the visible church when one of the most brilliant and faithful theologians of our era is disciplined by a wayward and incorrigible bishop who acted foolishly. May God have mercy on his soul for this incredible response.
One of the most remarkable things I heard Jim say in our time in Dallas was when a young minister asked him if he still held to the same view he espoused regarding pictures of Jesus in his classic best-seller, Knowing God. Jim said, "No, I do not." How refreshing to then hear the author of one of the best-selling books of theology in our era say, "I have changed my mind." This just underscored why I love Jim so much and respect him even more than ever. He is truly a man "in whom there is no guile." The folks who attack him so publicly ought to be ashamed of themselves but then they think they are doing God’s people a favor by attacking this faithful man who never attacks back in any sense at all.