I admit, it sounds a bit alarmist. How do I know I don’t know God? Rereading Packer’s Knowing God, I’m sadly convinced of it. Mind you, I know about God. I can tell you what one must do to be saved. I can spout off various biblical/theological/doctrinal truths on a whim. I regularly recite the historic Christian creeds. I take the Lord’s Supper (weekly even!). I enjoy reading solid Christian books. (And as Packer mentions, theology used to be a hobby of gentlemen in previous generations). I even own some fantastic bibles. Moreover, I’m employed by various well-known Christian ministries. That said, one may conclude all is well under the hood of my soul.
And yet as I examine my life, is it marked by “gaiety, goodness, and unfetteredness of spirit” (p. 25)? Sadly, no. Instead, I all too often “brood on might-have-beens; [I] think of the things [I] have missed” not of what I’ve gained (p. 25). But wait, there’s more: “…interest in theology, and knowledge about God, and the capacity to think clearly and talk well on Christian themes, is not at all the same thing as knowing him.” (p. 26). Ouch. That one hurts, Jimmy P. Yet he’s right: I need to face myself and deal with this present reality: I don’t know God.
So what does Packer assert are evidences of knowing God? More on that early next week.