In honor of the Homer G. Lindsay Lifetime of Ministry Award for 2015 on a 90 minute video was made about the renowned Reformed theologian J.I. Packer, called J.I. Packer: In His Own Words. Crossway (who obtained the rights to the video) will be releasing it November 3. Crossway even created jipacker.com in conjunction with the video’s release. Is this a sign of a dedicated Packer website (even outside of anything Crossway related)? One can only hope.
You can watch an extended trailer here.
Not coming to a theater near you! (Screenshot of “J.I. Packer: In His Own Words.”)
Why isn’t J.I. Packer a Christian hedonist?
Recently the phrase ‘Christian hedonism’ has gained prominence as a tag for the truth that the God who promises his people joy and delight in their relationship with him, both here and hereafter, does in fact fulfill his promise here and now. [Here Packer footnotes John Piper’s watershed book Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist]
…’Christian hedonism’ is not a good phrase for its purpose; for it seems to say that rating pleasure as life’s supreme value is something that Christianity itself teaches us to do, and that is not so. Biblical Christianity does not teach that any pleasure or good feelings, or any form of present ease and contentment, should be sought as life’s highest good.
What it teaches, rather, is that glorifying God by our worship and service is the true human goal, that rejoicing and delighting in God is central to worship, and that the firstfruits of our heritage of pleasures forevermore will be given us as we set ourselves to do this. But should we start to seek pleasure rather than God, we would be in danger in losing both.
It is apparent that this is what the exponents of Christian hedonism do themselves think; so my difficulty is limited to their choice of words.
—J.I. Packer, God’s Plans for You, pp. 76-77. Reformatted for readability.
Recently, a friend of mine who’s a pastor in New England lost his wife after a long battle with cancer. Now a widower with two small children under age seven, I wanted to give him something to help him process his grief. I sent him A Grief Sanctified: Through Sorrow to Eternal Hope by J.I. Packer.
Here’s the publisher’s description:
Their love story is not one of fairy tales. It is one of faithfulness from the beginning through to its tragic ending.
Richard and Margaret Baxter had been married only nineteen years before she died at age forty-five. A prominent pastor and prolific author, Baxter sought consolation and relief the only true way he knew- in Scripture with his discipline of writing. Within days he produced a lover’s tribute to his mate and a pastor’s celebration of God’s grace. It is spiritual storytelling at its best, made all the more poignant by the author’s unveiling of his grief.
J. I. Packer has added his own astute reflections along with his edited version of this exquisite memoir that considers six of life’s realities-love, faith, death, grief, hope, and patience. He guides you in comparing and contrasting the world’s and the Bible’s ideals on coping with these tides of life. The powerful combination of Packer’s insights and Baxter’s grief gives you a beacon if you are searching for God, a pathfinder for your relationships, and a lifeline if you are grieving.
Whatever the circumstances of the reader, the book is a beautiful love story.
Learn more about Packer’s A Grief Sanctified here.