Now Available: New City Catechism App (For Android)

Here’s a welcome addition to Droid apps that arrived with surprisingly little fanfare: Redeemer’s  New City Catechism. Unlike the iPhone version, this app also includes an unexpected bonus: Packer’s Concise Theology. It’s even seamlessly integrated with the catechism or to read as a stand alone book. Golden. And it’s all free! What a gift to the Church.

The app’s developer also released some other great apps, including Matthias Media’s popular gospel presentation Two Ways to Live and Who Will Be King, a kid-friendly version of TWTL.

Amper (the apps’ developer) only recently entered the app developing scene. From what little I know about that world, he’s off to a smashing start.

04/04/14: Regrettably, Packer’s Concise Theology is no longer included in the app. (But it’s still a great tool!)

J.I. Packer’s (Bite-Size) Systematic Theology

While we’re waiting for Packer’s Systematic Theology, here’s a bite-size version to bide your time.

ImageConcise Theology: A Guide to Historic Christian Beliefs, published 20 years ago, is the book I give to budding theologians, and one which I still frequently read.

The book is divided into four main sections: 1.) God Revealed as Creator, 2.) God Revealed as Redeemer , 3.) God Revealed as Lord of Grace, and 4.) God Revealed as Lord of Destiny. There are 94 chapters, but each chapter is only 2-3 pages long. It’s simple and highly readable (without being simplistic).

In the Preface, Packer describes the book as “Reformational and evangelical,  and as such, so I maintain, historic and classic mainstream.” (p. xi)

Packer continues:

These short studies of great subjects feel to me…rather like the lightning tours of England that enterprising bus companies run for American visitors  (fifteen minutes at Stonehenge, two hours in Oxford, theatre and overnight in Stratford, an hour and a half in York, an afternoon in the Lake District—phew!). Each chapter is a mere sketchy note. Yet I dare to hope that my compressed material, Packer-packed as it is, might expand in readers’ minds to lift their hearts Godward, in the way that a different form of hot air lifts balloons and their passengers skyward. We shall see.

—(pp. xii-xiii)

20 years later, Packer’s premonitions have proved true. If you don’t own it, as a seminary professor of mine was fond of saying, “sell the shirt off your back and get it!”

However, if you’re looking for something more substantive, this forthcoming Systematic Theology looks stellar.

On J.I. Packer and Tyndale: A Word of Encouragement

Many of you responded to the previous post asking for prayer for J.I. Packer’s health and to contact Tyndale and encourage them to forge ahead with Packer’s Systematic Theology. I asked someone at Tyndale if he found the e-mails encouraging (admittedly a risky question). Here’s part of his reply:

 …we appreciate the sincerity and lack of animosity in the emails we’ve received. Too often in situations like this, the calls and emails we receive are belligerent and that has not been the case at all[Bold emphases mine.]

Now one would think that a Christian publishing ministry like Tyndale would rarely receive such unbecoming correspondence. Sadly, that doesn’t appear to be the case. And I’m guessing their experience is too often a shared one. Would that it wasn’t so.

So thank you for reaching out to Tyndale, and doing so civilly and with genuine Christian charity. You’re an encouraging model of how this type of rallying correspondence should work.

Please continue praying for Packer. Pray for Tyndale (they really are listening). Pray for all who are involved in the project. May our Lord be glorified with the outcome as we fully commit Packer and his planned Systematic Theology to his perfect and sovereign care.

J.I. Packer’s Systematic Theology: A (Bold) Proposal

J.I. Packer’s long-planned magnum opus Systematic Theology (hereafter ST) is apparently still slated for publication.

Last week I spoke with a representative at Tyndale, who are under contract to publish it (and have been for decades). I then spoke with Dr. Packer to seek further clarification. He said it is still in the works, although he couldn’t give me a timetable. He then asked for prayers for his health.

I hope ST is published before Packer is called home to glory. Let’s pray that God grants Dr. Packer strength to finish it, and for Tyndale to publish it.

But…

Let’s take the discussion one step further.

It’s one thing to hope and pray it will be completed, and another to try to do something about it. After all, the two are not mutually exclusive.

Here’s a bold proposal: That Packer’s ST is published by his 90th birthday, i.e. July 22, 2016.

This work is simply too important for today’s church for it not to materialize. And, hoping that Packer lives till 90 years old (and only the Lord knows), it would be a sweet gift to him and his family to see this work finally come to fruition.

So, what can you do to help Packer’s ST become a reality? Five critical things:

  1. Pray for Packer, that God will sustain him during these final years of ministry. (Please, before you read any further, take a moment and pray for him.)
  2. Encourage Tyndale to kick things into high gear. (Please take a quick moment to contact them here. They must hear from you. If they see that demand is high for it, they will respond. Please encourage, not berate, them.)
  3. Pray that whoever else is involved with the project will, in collaboration with Packer and Tyndale, push this through.
  4. Spread the word. May thousands of saints pray for Dr. Packer’s health and the completion of this work.
  5. Pray that God will be glorified in the process.

Thank you.

Update: I just received this response from a representative at Tyndale:

Greetings-

Thank you for your interest in Tyndale House and J.I. Packer. We are working towards publication of Packer’s Systematic Theology, which we do feel would be a work of great significance in today’s Christian community. However, it is not ready for publication and we do not have a timeline for its release; we will wait until the work is complete and meets the high standards set by J.I. Packer and Tyndale House Publishers. Please pray for health and discernment of all parties involved.

 Have a nice day.

Stay tuned for further updates. And please, if you haven’t yet contacted Tyndale, do so here.

November 21, 2013

When I spoke with Dr. Packer about his forthcoming Systematic Theology, I did so without the intent of blogging about it. Initially, I didn’t speak with him as a blogger but as someone with a profound and deep appreciation for his work. However, eventually I wrote the above post. In hindsight, I should have sought Dr. Packer’s approval to go public with what was thought to be a private conversation. 

The above post was in no way intended to be intrusive into his private affairs. I publicly apologize to Dr. Packer for any undue attention or embarrassment this post may have caused him and his family. My aim was simply to rally fellow brothers and sisters to pray for him and encourage Tyndale to help his ST come to fruition.

God forbid the day this blog ever smells like a scandalous Christian version of TMZ, exploiting famous or up and coming Reformed personalities in sensational ways to elicit cheap voyeuristic thrills and acquire blog hits.

In the future, when corresponding with anyone for the purposes of this blog (supposedly famous or otherwise), I will explicitly state that I write for this blog, clearly securing permission to use the contents of our correspondence for public purposes.

Soli Deo Gloria,

Michael