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J. I. Packer (1926–2020)

July 20, 2020

J. I. Packer, whose writings and leadership have left an indelible mark on the evangelical world, died on July 17. He was 93.

Packer was a lifelong member of the Anglican church, yet he held commitments that were both evangelical and Reformed. He began his career in England, teaching at a number of schools, including Oxford. In 1979, he transferred continents and took a post at Regent College in Vancouver.

Having taught in Europe and North America, his influence stretched even further through his prodigious publishing. His writing was so prolific that attempts to quantify it have proven futile. Some of his best-known works — and there are many to consider — include Knowing God, Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God, and Fundamentalism and the Word of God.

Packer was a friend to CBMW, and an early and energetic signer of the Nashville Statement, which CBMW published in 2017. At the time, CBMW co-founder Wayne Grudem contacted Packer to inform him of the effort and invite him to sign the document. Grudem recalled how Packer “immediately told me he wanted to enthusiastically add his name to it. His voice was vigorous and strong, and he was extremely happy to be invited to join in this cause.”

Packer was also a champion of the convictions that drive CBMW more broadly. He published a defense of male-only ordination in the pages of Christianity Today, where he argued that the “truest womanly ministry” will occur where the role of elder or presbyter is reserved for “manly men.” He delighted in the God-given distinction between men and women.

The president, executive director, and staff of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood would like to express gratitude for the life, testimony, and ministry of J. I. Packer. His labors have benefited everyone connected to this organization. May his influence on earth multiply even as he rests in glory.

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