Packer's Intro

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Rippon, Dec 25, 2006.

  1. Rippon

    Rippon
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    Recently J.D. said that Packer's Introductory Essay to John Owen's book " The Death Of Death In The Death of Christ " was a favorite book of his . It's just a 40 page booklet standing alone , but WOW ! what gems it contains as it introduces Owen's classic . But for Owen's work a 2 page preface just wouldn't do anyway .

    Packer contrasts the old ( reliable and biblical Gospel ) with the new truncated form . He said our theological currency has been debased if we cling to the new synergistic gospel .

    ... we involve ourselves in a bewildering lind of double-think about salvation , telling ourselves one moment that it all depends on God and the next moment that it all depends on us . The resultant mental muddle deprives God of much of the glory that we should give Him as author and finisher of salvation , and ourselves of much of the comfort we might draw from knowing that God is for us .
    And when we come to preach the gospel , our false preconceptions make us say just the opposite of what we intend . We want ( rightly ) to proclaim Christ as Saviour ; yet we end up saying that Christ , having made salvation possible , has left us to become our own saviours . It comes about in this way . we want to magnify the saving grace of God and the saving power of Christ . So we declare that God's redeeming love extends to every man , and that Christ has died to save every man , and we proclaim that the glory of divine mercy is to be measured by these facts . And then , in order to avoid universalism , we have to depreciate all that we were previously extolling , and to explain that , after all , nothing that God and Christ have done can save us unless we add something to it ; the decisive factor which actually saves us is our own believing . What we say comes to this -- that Christ saves us with our help . This is a hollow anticlimax . But if we start by affirming that God has a saving love for all , and Christ died a saving death for all , and yet balk at becoming universalists , there is nothing else we can say . And let us be clear on what we have done when we have put the matter in this fashion . We have not exalted grace and the Cross ; we have cheapened them . We have limited the atonement far more drastically than Calvinism does , for whereas Calvinism asserts that Christ's death , as such , saves all whom it was meant to save , we have denied that Christ's death , as such , is sufficient to save any of them . We have flattered impenitent sinners by assuring them that it is in their power to repent and believe , though God cannot make them do it . ( p. 21,22,23 )
     
  2. Rippon

    Rippon
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    Continuing ...

    ... Perhaps we have also trivalised faith and repentance in order to make this assurance plausible ( " it's very simple -- just open your heart to the Lord ... " ). Certainly , we have effectively denied God's sovereignty , and undermined the basic conviction of [ Christianity ] -- that man is always in God's hands . In truth , we have lost a great deal . And it is , perhaps , no wonder that our preaching begats so little reverence and humility , and that our professed converts are so self-confident and so deficient in self-knowledge , and in the good works which Scripture regards as the fruit of true repentance .
    It is from degenerate faith and preaching of this kind that Owen's book could set us free . If we listen to him , he will teach us both how to believe the Scripture gospel and how to preach it . For the first : he will lead us to bow down before a sovereign Saviour Who really saves , and to praise Him for a redeeming death which made it certain that all for whom He died will come to glory . It cannot be over-emphasised that we have not seen the full meaning of the Cross till we have seen it as the divines of Dort display it -- as the centre of the gospel , flanked on the one hand by total inability and unconditional election , and on the other by irresistible grace and final preservation . For the full meaning of the Cross only appears when the atonement is defined in terms of these four truths . Christ died to save a certain company of helpless sinners upon whom God had set His free saving love . Christ's death ensured the calling and keeping -- the present and final salvation -- of all whose sins He bore . That is what Calvary meant , and means . The Cross saved ; the Cross saves . ( p. 23,24 )
     
  3. Rippon

    Rippon
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    I neglected to give Packer his full name : James Innell Packer 1926-- . He is most famous for his very wonderful book: " Knowing God ".
     

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