James Innell Packer, more widely known as J.I. Packer, went home to be with Jesus on July 17, 2020 at 93 years of age.
J.I. Packer was one of the most influential evangelical theologians of the twentieth century. Over his lifetime he published over 160 books, and was best known as the author of the 1973 best-selling book Knowing God, that sold over 1.5 million copies and has been translated into more than a dozen languages.
Packer was born in Gloucester, England on July 22, 1926 and grew up in an Anglican household. At the age of seven he was struck by a truck that resulted in a serious head injury, and gave him an everlasting dent in the side of his head. But more life-changing event happened while he was attending an evangelistic service hosted by the InterVarsity as a Freshman while at Oxford University and committed his life to Christ in October of 1944.
He sat under the teaching of Martyn Lloyd-Jones while at Westminster Chapel who influenced his thinking greatly.
Packer was the general editor of the English Standard Version Bible (ESV), and the theological editor of the ESV Study Bible.
A ChurchLeaders.com article entitled J.I. Packer’s Beautiful Explanation of Salvation and Repentance reveals what might be the best couple of paragraphs Packer ever wrote. In his book, A Quest for Godliness, Packer addressed the question “What must I do to be saved?”
The entire article can be read here.
Due to macular degeneration, Packer’s eyesight declined so badly that he was not able to read or write and therefore halted his public ministry in 2016 at the age of 89.
Ivan Mesa of the Gospel Coalition interviewed J.I. Packer shortly after the announcement was made that he’d have end his public ministry. Mesa asked Packer to share any final words to the church. Packer replied: “I think I can boil it down to four words: ‘Glorify Christ every way.”
Ministry Leaders Remember J.I. Packer
Greg Stier: I read this morning that #JIPacker died. His book, Knowing God, had a profound impact on me when I read it at the age of 20 while @my_ccu . It’s in my top 10 books of all time. Now Mr Packer no longer sees through a glass darkly but face-to-face. Now he truly knows God.
Michael Horton: Having just heard about the home going of J. I. Packer, I am filled with mixed emotions: joy for him, sadness for us. I first met him when I was about 15. I can’t calculate how much I owe to him, not only his teaching and writing but his godly example. #jipacker
Mark Dever: J. I. Packer passed away today. He was a dearly loved mentor and teacher by many people, including me. His books Knowing God, Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God and ‘Fundamentalism’ and the Word of God, & various of his essays are among the most formative readings in my life.
Albert Mohler: I just heard the news of the death of Dr. J. I. Packer, 1926-2020, one of the most important figures in English-speaking evangelicalism. His book, “Knowing God,” came to me as a lifeline when I was an 18-year-old Christian. He introduced me to the Puritans and far more.