Finishing our course with joy, ageing with hope
J. I. Packer
IVP, 106 pages, £6.33
Star Rating : 4
This is a timely book, given that a recent survey polled seven out of ten people as no longer considering the prospect of death. Presumably this means they choose not to think about growing old. Living, as we do, in a postmodern, western culture, any thought of what lies beyond the grave has no place in most minds.
Packer ably and persuasively challenges this view. In his customarily clear and concise way, he brings us face-to-face with reality, reminding us of the stark facts of the ageing process.
This is set against a biblical background, Packer pointing out that, as Christians, we age with hope. As the author is in the situation he describes, the book bears all the hallmarks of one who truly understands.
The book is four chapters long, and each one describing what ageing as a Christian is all about. The opening chapter, ‘Growing old’, spells out in specific terms (and drawn from experience) the various prospects of advancing in years. Current secular ideas are not only challenged but refuted.
The second chapter, ‘Soul and body’, seeks to answer the question ‘who we are’, reminding the reader of the biblical view of man.
The third addresses the challenges facing those entering the final lap and is entitled ‘Keeping going’. Here we have a description of the tests, trials and temptations peculiar to that stage of life. There is much in this section to cause those from every walk of life to take heart.
The fourth and final chapter focuses our minds on what lies ahead, describing what we know as the ‘blessed hope’ and the joy of finishing well.
Despite the fact that this paperback is short, it is nevertheless packed with a wealth of Christian teaching on the journey of life. It will benefit all who read it, regardless of age and where they are in the ‘race set before them’.
It is easy to read, a typical Packer repast, which I wholeheartedly recommend.
R. J. Johnston