Wednesday, August 06, 2008
A Word from J.I. Packer
Theologian J.I. Packer is always a man of great insight. His book, "Knowing God," is a classic in evangelical literature. It's very sad that in his twilight years, he had to be faced with the decision to leave his fellowship — the Canadian Anglican Church — due to its ever-increasing lurch into heresy.
In his blog today, Southern Baptist theologian Dr. Al Mohler discusses the Anglican meltdown in his usual astute way. But the quote he used from Dr. Packer really grabbed me. Substitute the name of any theologically liberal church for "Anglicanism," and you'll have a spot-on diagnosis of the problem at its root. A disdain for God's Word. Here are the words of J.I. Packer:
Sadly, however, the present-day reality of Anglican comprehensiveness is not like that. It is both more complex and more painful. There are two reasons for this.
One is that since biblical criticism, in the sense of systematic study of the origins, composition, literary character and purpose of the biblical books as human documents, established itself in the Protestant world a century ago, many Anglicans have ceased to view Bible doctrine as God’s revealed truth, and no longer let biblical thoughts determine their thinking. Allowing Scripture great human authority as a primary witness to archetypal Christian experience, they deny it divine authority as instruction from heaven. So at every turn we find them distinguishing divine realities from New Testament ideas about them, and refusing to concede that they lose touch with the former by questioning the latter.
But to those who believe that the Holy Spirit spoke by the prophets and their apostolic counterparts, making biblical testimony as truly God’s utterance as were the words of the incarnate Son, and who take the fundamentals to be just what Scripture says they are, the claim to uphold those fundamentals while relativizing or recasting Scripture statements about them seems incoherent nonsense. Thus discussion of fundamentals falls into deep confusion, and the question whether there is essential agreement on what is essential to the essentials becomes-problematical to the last degree.
Wow! Just . . . wow.