19 June 2011

Packer: Pietist and Theologian

Packer, introducing the 2005 edition of Keep in Step with the Spirit:
My British peers used to think of me as a bit of an oddity, and maybe they were right. Pietists are supposed to be cool towards theology, and theologians are not expected to see the furthering of devotion as particularly their business, but I find myself to be at the same time a theological pietist and a pietistic theologian.

I call myself a pietist because I view one's relationship with God as, quite simply, the most important thing in one's life. God gave me pastoral instincts, and my desire for all theology, first and foremost my own, is that it should help people forward in faith, worship, obedience, holiness, and spiritual growth.

I call myself a theological pietist because I was always aware that biblical godliness, which is utterly radical in its moral and experiential thrust as it searches, shatters, reintegrates, and transforms us, is equally so in its intellectual impact, so that becoming mature in Christ depends directly on learning to think in terms of biblical truths and values and un-learning all the alternative ways of thought that the world offers.

And I call myself a pietistic theologian because . . . I have found the quest for knowledge, good judgment, insight, wisdom, and the discerning of limits in dealing with divine things inescapably urgent all along; and I have had that sense of urgency increased by being made responsible for sharing the outcomes of my quest widely, for the spiritual well-being of others.
--J. I. Packer, Keep in Step with the Spirit (rev. ed., Baker, 2005), p. 10

1 comment:

Gary Horn said...

One of the best books I've ever read on the Holy Spirit. Highly recommended.