Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Book Review: Taking God Seriously

Taking God Seriously: Vital Things We Need to Know. By J. I. Packer. Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway. pp. 176. 2013. ($12.99 Paperback | $11.99 Kindle | $12.98 Audio)

4 out of 5 stars
When well-respected theologians enter into their eighties and nineties, I think it’s important for younger believers to listen up and pay attention to what they have to say. Their years of experience and awareness of their own fragility tempers and seasons their words and perspective. J. I. Packer turns 87 this year. I want to take seriously what Packer says about Taking God Seriously because this book is written from a perspective that can only be gained after years of experience and faithfulness to God.

Although much could be said about each of the topics Packer covers, the main message of the book is that we, as Christians, need to think about and cling to biblical Christianity. This call is similar to that of the Apostle Paul at the end of his life, when he said to Timothy, a young leader of the next generation of believers, “Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim. 1:13, ESV).

Throughout Taking God Seriously, Packer references the present situation in the Anglican Church, specifically regarding homosexuality. There has been a movement in recent years towards affirming homosexuality as approved by God, which is a radical departure from biblical teaching and a descent into heresy. Packer recognizes that there remains a sizeable majority currently against such a diversion from orthodoxy, but the jury is still out as to whether the Anglican Communion, particularly in the U.S. and Canada, will succumb to the culture around it or remain a beacon for the gospel. I myself am not an Anglican, but Packer’s assessment serves as a warning to every believer in every church that assuming, and thus, presuming upon, the gospel is merely the first step towards man-made religion that reflects more the wiles of the culture around us than it does the character of God.

Packer’s book is a call to return to the fundamentals of the faith and to practice real discipleship—“catechesis”—passing on “the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3).

One last note: The audiobook version of Taking God Seriously was narrated rather woodenly and at times I wasn’t sure if I was listening to an actual person or a computer program. I got used to it after a while, but that was my initial impression.

I received this audio book from christianaudio for the purpose of review.

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