J.I. Packer, renowned theologian and author, dies

James Innell (J.I.) Packer, a world-renowned theologian and author, died July 17, 2020. He was 93.

“He exemplified the best of the Christian intellectual tradition, continuing the trajectory that can be traced through Athanasius, Augustine, Anselm, Aquinas, Luther, Calvin, Baxter, Owen, Edwards and Lewis,” wrote David Dockery, distinguished professor of theology at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, in a tribute to Packer.

“He was able to speak prophetically to this generation because he mastered so well the contributions of the past 2,000 years,” continued Dockery, former president of Union University. “Not only has his work been in continuity with this great tradition, but it has become an extension of it.”

Born in Twyning, Gloucestershire, England, on July 22, 1926, Packer studied theology at Oxford and was ordained a deacon and then a priest in the Church of England in 1953. He taught systematic theology at Regent College in Vancouver, Canada, teaching courses at the school until he was nearly 90 years old.

A champion of biblical inerrancy and prolific writer in the Calvinist tradition, Packer authored more than 30 books, including “Fundamentalism and the Word of God,” “Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God,” “Keep in Step with the Spirit,” and “Knowing God,” which many consider among the most important Christian works of the 20th century.

Packer served as editor of the Evangelical Quarterly and as executive editor for Christianity Today. He also was general editor of the English Standard Version Bible, a translation used by millions of Christians.