Thursday, July 13, 2006

Spiritual Life in the 21st Century (JI Packer)

Attended another of Regent's famous public lecture series. The whole chapel is packed to the brim. Half and hour before the start, even the parking lots were filled. Additional chairs were arranged. Unusual? No. Dr JI Packer was the speaker.

After a brief introduction by the Dean of Summer School, Thena Ayres, Packer started his delightful lecture. I am still impressed with his theological depth, sprinkled with his sense of British dry and witty humour. He started by asking what evangelicals need in the culture of secularism, post-Christian generation, alienated atheism, synchretism, Self-ism, challenge of Islam and people who prides in masquerading intellectual perplexity. His simple solution for spirituality --> Back to Holiness. Calling himself a cathechist, he attempts to orthodoxy with vitality.

Be holy for I am holy. Basing his text on 1 Peter 1:15-16, Packer exhorted us to have a renewed focus on holiness, that it should come roaring back into the 21st Century. We need it. The Church need it. The society needs it. The whole world needs it. Barna's recent survey of the modern US mindset is that only one-third of US professed Christians believes that they are called to be holy. That is appalling.

Packer goes on to list 5 points.
1) Holiness means separation and contrast
2) Holiness starts in the heart
3) Holiness grows downwards
4) Holiness looks ahead
5) Holiness anticipates a life full of suffering

I like Packer's phrase: "Suffering is when you don't get what you like and do get what you don't like." It humoured us.

The final word of wisdom from Packer was on holiness is that holiiness = Habit becoming character. Packer is considerably older but his talk and passion smacks of youthful vitality. Praise God for such a man of God. He is such a blessing to Regent College.


No comments:

Latest Posts