Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. (Jude 3, NKJV)

Mixed Messages Now From Dr. J.I. Packer

In an interview at Exiled Preacher the other day John Hendryx was asked an important question as this apostasy spreads spiritually as quickly as an Oklahoma wildfire. For those who don’t know Hendryx is:

the executive director of CPR Foundation, a 501c(3) non-profit organization which oversees the production, maintenance and development of Monergism.com and its subsidiaries. The purpose of CPRF is to magnify the grace of God in Jesus Christ by equipping Christians in the truth by making available the finest classic articles and resources of historical orthodoxy. As you may know, I began the Monergism project as a hobby in 2001 and while doing seminary at the same time. After the enormous increase in online traffic we opened an online bookstore. By the grace of God, it is a full time gig now, and as more people partner financially with us through CPRF we hope to make the resources at Monergism.com more accessible and usable to visitors worldwide as we develop new content and streamline the design and backend of the website. (Online source)

You’ll see the link to Monergism.com right on the front page here at Apprising Ministries because as Hendryx points out:

Monergism.com is about the person and work of Jesus Christ. We believe that all reality, both seen and unseen exists for Him; for from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. More specifically, we seek to bring Christ glory by proclaiming to all creation that all spiritual blessings find their source in Him, and nowhere else. Our purpose in proclaiming the gospel is to Cut off the Sinner from All Hope in Himself pointing to Christ as our only hope since Christ does for us what we could not do for ourselves. That we have no power to do anything God requires of us apart from Christ and His cross, and that includes believing the gospel. As J.I. Packer once said, “Sinners cannot obey the gospel, any more than the law, without renewal of heart.” (Online source)

This will now bring us back around to the important question that Guy Davies, “an Evangelical and Reformed Welsh preacher living in voluntary exile in the South West of England,” asks Hendryx: 

GD: What is the biggest problem facing Evangelical Reformed Christianity at this time and how should we respond?

JH: I believe one of the biggest problems facing Evangelicals is the false teaching that Christianity is primarily about what we do for Jesus, not about what He has done for us. This has profoundly negative implications for everything else we exegete in the Bible. Ethics, in this case, has trumped salvation. This error really strikes at the heart of the gospel and there is no doubt the problem has reached crisis levels in our local churches. In the 1980s, some in the church had issue with receiving Christ as Lord, but today the difficulty seems to be with receiving Christ as Savior. It is pretty horrifying. Jesus and Paul seemed to have no difficulty confronting heresy but oddly the spirit of the age drives many Christians to have an aversion to it. Yes, we must respond to the crisis with humility, that is, with personal and corporate repentance and prayer before we boldly confront the heresy.

Also, together with J.I. Packer I also believe that pastors and teachers must become much more familiar with the doctrine of regeneration. A wrong understanding of this doctrine spreads like leaven through all of our other preaching and doctrines. Get this doctrine right and our other doctrines tend to fall into line according to scripture. Thank you again for your questions Guy. May the Lord richly bless your online ministry. (Online source)

With Anglican theologian J.I. Packer appealed to above as someone feeling pastors and teachers like myself “must become much more familiar with the doctrine of regeneration” I find that a few questions arise. As I asked a few friends of mine, not being terribly familiar with Packer outside of his classic book Knowing God, and as a former Roman Catholic, would this then be the same J.I. Packer who signed the Evangelicals & Catholics Together document?

And is this the same J.I. Packer mentioned below by Marco Gonzalez in “The Strong Hold of Ecumenicalism”:

Over the past fifty-plus years, the air of ecumenicalism has been breathed into evangelicalism. With the hopes of “unity,” leading figures in the ecumenical movement have tried to unite in evangelicalism: non-evangelicals, Catholics, and Liberals. The ivory tower of theologians has lessened the cause of Christ and as a result broken fellowship, unity, and Christian Brother-ship. While I believe unity is a high priority for evangelicalism, I have to ask the question: at what cost shall we become unified? Evangelicalism as a whole is plagued with the ideology of ecumenicalism…

Dr. Martin Lloyd-Jones in his own ministry fought against the onslaught of ecumenicalism. He said:

“Is it right to tolerate in the same church people whose views on the essentials of the faith are diametrically opposed? Is that right in the light of the New Testament teaching that we regard such people as “brethren”; that we refer to people who never darken the doors of a place of worship as “lapsed Christians” simply because they have been baptized when infants? Is that compatible with the New Testament teaching with regard to the church, and her unity and her discipline and her life?”

Lloyd-Jones inevitably broke his ties with J.I packer and John Stott over the issue of Anglican-Catholic unity. Lloyd-Jones was a prophet in the wilderness, calling the church back to the main issue: the gospel. Lloyd-Jones was accused of having a separatist temperament and trying to destroy the cause of Christian Unity. (Online source)

But is this the same J.I. Packer whom Dr. James White of the fine labor in the Lord Alpha & Omega Ministries speaks of below:

The framers of ECT have done a disservice, first and foremost to the gospel of Christ, and secondarily to their communities. We call upon such men as Charles Colson, Richard Land, Larry Lewis, Richard Mouw, John White, and especially J.I. Packer, to rethink their position, and withdraw their support from a document that can do nothing more than cause confusion and “give aid and comfort to the enemies of the cause of Christ.” We call upon these men to place the gospel in the first place in their priorities , and so to order all other priorities under the Lordship of Christ by so doing. And we call all Christians to consider again the truth that the power of God, which we long to see at work in our nation, is found in the preaching of the cross of Christ, not in compromise with those who would replace God’s all sufficient grace with a system of merit and works. (Online source)

It happens to be an incontrovertable fact that apostate Roman Catholicism preaches baptismal regeneration, as we show from their own sordid sources, in Roman Catholicism: Another Gospel Of Baptism And Sacraments. So would this be the same J.I. Packer, who when confronted e.g. by Drs R.C. Sproul, John MacArthur, D. James Kennedy, and John Ankerberg (Online source), would then go on to defend his sin of compromise in “Why I Signed It,” an article for the ecumenical neo-evangelical publication Christianity Today:

…though I was not a drafter of the document, I endorsed it. (as cited at Online source)

So I ought to have anticipated that some Protestants would say bleak, skewed, fearful, and fear-driven things about this document — for instance, that it betrays the Reformation; that it barters the gospel for a social agenda … Why, then, should any Protestant, such as myself, want to maximize mission activity in partnership with Roman Catholics? Traditionally, Protestants and Catholics have kept their distance, treating each other as inferiors; each community has seen the other as out to deny precious elements in its own faith and practice, and so has given the other a wide berth. There are sound reasons why this historic stance should be adjusted. First: Do we recognize that good evangelical Protestants and good Roman Catholics — good, I mean, in terms of their own church’s stated ideal of spiritual life — are Christians together? (as cited in Online source)

Protestant Reformers Judged By Scripture The RCC Preaches Another Gospel

“Good” Roman Catholics “in terms of their own church’s ideal”? No doubt we are to love and respect individual Roman Catholics, and it just so happens that the vast majority of my paternal family on both sides are Roman Catholic; however, it is as John MacArthur correctly pointed out when asked the following by John Ankerberg:

JA: one of the things that we told Chuck, and Jim Packer, and Bill Bright, and that was this statement [from the ECT]: “We together, Evangelicals and Catholics, confess our sins against the unity, that Christ intends for all His disciples” (ECT). Now the assumption in that statement is that Evangelicals and Catholics are all Christ’s disciples. What do you think of that assumption?

JM: Well, I think that is in grave error! And just going back, if I can make the point solidly, to borrow the language of the Apostle Paul, “Any attempt at self-righteousness, no matter how noble the effort, no matter how frequently the “God” vocabulary is used and the divine is brought into it—any attempt at self-righteousness, Paul classifies as “skubalon” (Greek), in Philippians 3. That word is about as vivid a word as he could possibly use. It could be translated “rubbish”—the most accurate translation is “dung”…

What you have got [with Roman Catholicism] is a whole system built on “skubalon” and you can’t throw your arms around that system. You can’t embrace it, and simply say, “Well, they talk about Jesus, and they talk about God, and they talk about faith, and they talk about grace, and we have got to embrace them. And if we don’t embrace them then we are violating the unity of the Body, and we are being ungracious to other disciples.” That is a frightening misrepresentation of the distinctiveness of “Justification by faith, and faith alone” …

It is a false religion, it is another religion. When you throw your arms around that you literally have to undo any doctrinal distinction. In fact, ECT doesn’t just do that implicitly, they do that explicitly. In the document, in effect, they say, “we have to accept all baptized Roman Catholics as brothers and sisters in Christ. In an article that followed that up in Christianity Today, J. I. Packer said, “We should acknowledge as brothers and sisters in Christ, anyone who lives to the highest ideals of their communion.” My response to that is the opposite. I maybe could fellowship with a bad Roman Catholic, that is, one who has rejected the system, but was still in the church and came to know Christ. But one who holds the highest ideals of Roman Catholicism—on what grounds do I have spiritual unity?
 (Online source

The reader should know that I am not a “fundamentalist” per se, but rather a Protestant Christian graciously set free from Rome’s religious bondage, who believes the fundamental truths of the Bible concerning the doctrines of grace. And so I wonder, is this the same J.I. Packer who would call my beliefs “cultic” in Reclaiming the Great Tradition: Evangelicals, Catholics & Orthodox in Dialogue:

To be sure, fundamentalists within our three traditions are unlikely to join us in this, for it is the way of fundamentalists to follow the path of contentious orthodoxism, as if the mercy of God in Christ automatically rests on the persons who are notionally correct and is just as automatically withheld from those who fall short of notional correctness on any point of substance. But this concept of, in effect, justification, not by works but by words — words, that is, of notional soundness and precision — is near to being a cultic heresy in its own right and need not detain us further, however much we may regret the fact that some in all our traditions are bogged down in it. (as cited at Online source)

It appears to me as if Packer is the one who ought to brush up on the doctrine of regeneration. But again, would this be the same J.I. Packer who in 1996 endorsed a book by Roman Catholic “apologist” Peter Kreeft called Ecumenical Jihad: On the back cover on my personal copy we read:

This racy little book opens up a far-reaching theme. With entertaining insight Kreeft looks into the attitudes, alliances and strategies that today’s state of affairs requires of believers. Catholics, Protestants and Orthodox alike need to ponder Peter Kreeft’s vision of things–preferably in discussion together. What if he is right? J.I. Packer

Could It Ever Be Right For Christians To Worship Demons Together With Pagans?

What do you think; is Kreeft, an apostate who was “once a Dutch Reformed Protestant, [who] converted to Catholicism” (Online source), “right” when he says of a false World Religion offering sacrifices to demons, not to God (see—1 Corinthians 10:20):

there is Christian-Muslim ecumenicism… Nothing in the Jewish Scriptures contradicts Christianity, but some things in the Qur’an do. Yet even here an “ecumenical jihad” is possible and called for, for the simple and strong reason that Muslims and Christians preach and practice the same First Commandment: islam, total surrender, submission of the human will to the divine will.

We fight side by side not only because we face a common enemy but above all because we serve and worship the same divine Commander. Many Christians, both Protestant and Catholic, do not believe what the Church says about Islam (for example, in Vatican II and in the new Catechism): that Allah is not another God, that we worship the same God… (30)

Why is Islam expanding so spectacularly? Sociologists and physchologists and historians andeconomists and demographers and politicians are quick to explain this growth with “expert” worldly wisdom from each of their specialties; but to any Christian familiar with the Bible, the answer is obvious: because God keeps His promises and blesses those who obey His laws and fear Him… (38)

Since when would the unregenerate ever obey “God’s laws and fear Him”? Is Kreeft “right” that the God of the Bible—as opposed to the “mush god” made in man’s image—has obliged Himself to keep promises and bless those who are in open rebellion against Him while enagaging in worship of  a demon (or demons) they call Allah? So, “What if he’s right”; well, then we really can’t trust what Scripture says and we might as well also invite the Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses aboard the ecumenical “Love Train” as well. Why leave them out; from years of personal witness and dialogue with representatives of each I can testify that Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses are just as devout to their god, and are at least as respectful to Jesus, as Muslims are.

And is this the same J.I. Packer we’re talking about who, in the foreword of Donald Whitney’s Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life, said of Living Spiritual Teacher and Quaker mystic Richard Foster and his quasi-ascetic neo-pietism as perpetuated e.g. by Dallas Willard: “Ever since Richard Foster rang the bell with his Celebration of Discipline (1978), discussing the various disciplines has become a staple element of conservative Christian in-talk in North America. This is a happy thing” (9). It’s “a happy thing” that the mainstream evangelical community is right now running to embrace the dubious doctrines of spurious Spiritual Formation with its corrupt Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism (CSM) and its Contemplative/Centering Prayer (CCP), which flowered in the antibiblical monastic traditions of apostate Roman Catholicism, as a viable way to approach God spiritually in what’s quite literally becoming The Cult of Guru Richard Foster?

Well, if all of this is the same J.I. Packer, and he has repented of these erroneous statements and views, I will be happy to post this information; because for now, I personally haven’t come across any such information. Many are standoffish publicly as it regards Apprising Ministries and I’m considered “a loose cannon” by not a few. So in that regard you may also wish to note that the questions I ask herein are sincere, though I sincerely doubt my critics will take this at face value; and yes, I actually have a critic or two. Hey, tell you what; try standing for the Truth youself while attempting in the Lord to stay away from compromise, and you let me know how you do. *wink*

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