Thomas Kidd Reviews "Packer on the Christian Life"2
Thomas Kidd, Professor of History at Baylor University, and Senior Fellow at Baylor’s Institute for the Study of Religion, recently wrote this review of my book, Packer on the Christian Life. Continue reading . . .
Thomas Kidd, Professor of History at Baylor University, and Senior Fellow at Baylor’s Institute for the Study of Religion, recently wrote this review of my book, Packer on the Christian Life.
“I just finished reading Samuel Storms' wonderful book Packer on the Christian Life. For decades I have admired Packer, the Regent College theologian, having been introduced to his powerful Knowing God as a new Christian. Storms provides a stimulating overview of Packer's vast theological and pastoral writings. Three main points jumped out to me:
1) Packer combines practicality with earnestness about walking in step with the Holy Spirit. North American Christians so often go to extremes with regard to the work of the Spirit, either effectively ignoring his role in our lives, or seeking immediate guidance from the Spirit on trivial matters such as an up-close parking spot. Packer puts enormous emphasis on the Spirit's work, but notes that the Spirit ordinarily moves not through impulses and impressions, but through the Word, preaching, godly advice, and other biblical inputs. Packer pushes us to seek daily, even hourly, guidance from the Spirit, but to avoid mistakes based on our own feelings and flesh.
2) He blends a seriousness about Christian history with practical application of that history. This is especially the case with the Puritans, who for Packer are among history's greatest examples of people consumed by glorifying God and putting God's kingdom first. As with the study of theology, the study of religious history can become a cold intellectual exercise - especially when our subjects of historical study turn out to be human and frail just like us! Nevertheless, we find heroes in the cloud of witnesses to help us understand our own spiritual challenges. They give us hope for greater holiness.
3) Especially as Packer has become an old man, he urges us, with total credibility, to finish our Christian race in an "all-out sprint." Part of the way to do this is to cultivate the mindset of heavenly citizenship, being always "packed and ready to go." If we knew that tomorrow we would be with the Lord, how would we live today? (And of course, we already are with the Lord if the Holy Spirit lives inside us.) We would undoubtedly be as spiritually and relationally sharp as we've ever been, and I suspect we find that sharpness far more satisfying than the dilly-dallying that we so often indulge. The fact is that we're all just one potential step away from being before the Lord. Packer exhorts us to live in light of that reality. Since I finished the book I have been including reflections on being present with the Lord in my daily devotions.
This title is just one of Crossway's series Theologians on the Christian Life - I have read and enjoyed other titles such as Tony Reinke's on John Newton, and Michael Horton's on Calvin. These books are well worth your consideration.”