April 21, 2013

Taking God Seriously - Book Review

Taking God Seriously by J. I. Packer was not at all what I expected it to be.

I have read a couple of other Packer books.  I have thoroughly enjoyed everything that I have read from him in the past, so when this new book became available through Christian Audio, I was happy to listen to it in order to write a review.

Having read these other books by Packer, I was expecting this book to deal with big thoughts of how we need to take God seriously.  I was ready to soak in some over-arching themes on the importance of really listening to God and doing what He says.

My first surprise came when he started talking extensively about issues in the Anglican church.  Not only did I not know that Packer was Anglican, I had also never seen him refer to any current denominational issues.  This book contains numerous references to current issues that are plaguing the Anglican church and many other churches in the world today.  Much of this book felt like an address to others in the Anglican church to ... well ... take God seriously.

The next surprise that this book delivered was related to the content.  Sure, he addressed some issues that I expected, like repentance, but he also addressed some issues that I didn't expect, like church, baptism and communion.  Even though I didn't necessarily agree with everything he said, I also didn't find myself disagreeing with anything he said either. I found the information landing on very common ground and very Biblical, at the same time. But what made this surprise content really enlightening was that while I was listening to it, I found myself realizing that I hadn't been taking Baptism or Communion as seriously as I should, and that the question of taking God seriously couldn't really be dealt with until these issues were addressed.

If you've never encountered a book by J.I. Packer, this is a great place to start. He has a straight-forward, no-nonsense style of writing that I find refreshing.  He doesn't beat around the bush, he goes straight to the point, and he brought this direct style of writing, which I've normally encountered in his theological works, into this current, culturally relevant book.