J.I. Packer and Paul

This originally appeared as an email delivered on
Saturday, September 5th, 2020.

James Innell Packer was a covenantal Calvinist and Anglican. He was a very influential evangelical theologian and writer in the 20th century. He died this summer.

During his life there was division in his denomination. He had to make choices whether to remain or leave. He explained how he made choices about his doctrine:

“My primary authority is a Bible writer named Paul. For many decades now, I have asked myself at every turn of my theological road: Would Paul be with me in this? What would he say if he were in my shoes? I have never dared to offer a view on anything that I did not have good reason to think he would endorse.”

Amen and amen.

He was not mid-Acts nor was he dispensational, but he understood that the apostle Paul defined the church and its ministry. Theologians have understood this for centuries.

When it comes to defining your church and doctrine, follow Paul. He is the apostle with primary authority in defining the nature, doctrine, and work of the church of Jesus Christ.

Don’t be ashamed of the testimony of the Lord nor of the one he revealed it through, the apostle Paul (2 Timothy 1:8).

For the Lord Jesus Christ,

Justin “Pauline” Johnson

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