Taking God seriously
J. I. Packer
IVP, 176 pages, £8.99, ISBN: 978-1-84474-609-5
Star Rating : 4
J. I. Packer is the well-known author of numerous helpful and highly readable books. He has a wonderful gift of summing up profound truths in succinct, wise and memorable phrases and sentences. It is good to know that, even though he is now in his mid-eighties, he is continuing to use his gifts for the building up of God’s people.
Taking God seriously is a collection of essays on some of the basics of Christian doctrine and living, with a call for them all to be taken much more seriously.
The author writes from an Anglican background and this is reflected at times in the content of the book, as is the crisis in the Anglican Church generally, and in the Canadian church in particular, over the question of gay marriage and ordination.
However, much of the content is relevant for the whole church. I went through the book highlighting all the memorable (and probably quotable) phrases with an orange highlighter and the result is a mass of orange!
Packer is convinced that one of the missing features of the modern church is ‘catechising’, by which he means ‘intentional, orderly instruction in the truths that Christians are called to live by, linked with equally intentional and orderly instruction on how they are to do this’. He believes that it is because of the lack of this that so many Christians are ‘undernourished and hence spiritually sluggish’.
This book could well be a handbook for this kind of ‘catechising’ and would be useful for any pastor who wanted to ground church members in the basics of Christian truth and life; or for any new, or for that matter, older Christian who wanted to grow in serious understanding of the faith.
There are chapters on Christian doctrine, faith, repentance, the church, unity, the Holy Spirit, baptism (not everyone will agree with his acceptance of infant baptism), and the Lord’s Supper. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book.