"Patriarch" Continued...

Issue: "Homegrown terror," Dec. 5, 2009

He is maintaining literary productivity as he gets older, sometimes taking on collaborators. Packer served as general editor for the English Standard Version of the Bible, first published in 2001, and it is supplanting both the New International Version and the New American Standard Version as the p­referred text for many evangelicals. Meanwhile, one of his books, Concise Theology: A Guide to Historic Christian Beliefs, is quietly becoming a standard text both at many seminaries and among serious lay readers of theology.

He also remains an active churchman. Packer now works closely with the Anglican Mission in America (AMiA), a group of theologically conservative Anglicans that has separated from the Episcopal Church. Recently, AMiA joined with other biblically orthodox Anglican groups to form the Anglican Church of North America. One of the leaders of that movement, Bishop Chuck Murphy, studied under Packer in England in the early 1970s, and Packer has been instrumental in the creation of ordination standards and other theological statements for this new group.

But one book is missing from the Packer canon: a systematic theology. He has been teaching systematic theology at Regent for years, so he certainly has done heavy lifting for such a book. Will one be forthcoming? "I have a plan," he said. "But I may not have the time. I would like to leave the world theology that was both catechetical and definitive. But we shall have to see what God has in store."

Packer's advice

To new husbands: My advice to a new husband is nothing more than "husbands, love your wives." And "love your wife as Christ has loved the church." Never forget that you are Christ's representative in serving your wife.

To new pastors: You have three priorities: teach, teach, and teach. Evangelical churches are weaker than we realize because we don't teach the confessions and doctrine. Set new standards in teaching. Understand the word catechesis, and practice that art.

To web devotees: I'm amazed at the amount of time people spend on the internet. I'm not against technology, but all tools should be used to their best advantage. We should be spending our time on things that have staying power, instead of on the latest thought of the latest blogger-and then moving on quickly to the next blogger. That makes us more superficial, not more thoughtful.

Warren Cole Smith
Warren Cole Smith

Warren is vice president of mission advancement for The Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview and the host of WORLD Radio’s Listening In. Follow Warren on Twitter @WarrenColeSmith.


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