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"Fundamentalism" and the Word of God (1958)

por J. I. Packer

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This modern classic by the author of Knowing God provides a comprehensive statement of the doctrine of Scripture from an evangelical perspective. J. I. Packer explores the meaning of the word "fundamentalism" and offers a clear and well-reasoned argument for the authority of the Bible and its proper role in the Christian life.… (mais)
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I think the best way to describe the contents of this book is this quote from the end, “The only right attitude for us is to confess that our works are vile and our wisdom foolishness, and to receive with thankfulness the flawless righteousness and the perfect Scriptures which God in mercy gives us. Anything else is a conceited affront to divine grace.” - page 173-174. Throughout this book, Packer attempts to refute the accusations thrown at Fundamentalism, which he claims is just a form of Evangelicalism, from the liberals. He is very careful to define what an Evangelical is and also what a Liberal is. He also comes right out and says that he believes that the heart of the issue is the disagreement over biblical authority. He does a good job of describing the issue and showing where it comes from. I have to agree with much of what he says as to the authority of the Bible, which takes up the first half of the book. At one point I think he goes a little far when he says, “Now, all the divine utterances which faith apprehends are in fact scriptural affirmations; for there are no words of God spoken to us at all today except the words of Scripture (direct revelations having now ceased)”. Having personally experienced divine revelations I know that they do still exist, but we keep with the idea of divine authority by always checking “divine revelations” by what the Bible says.
Packer then goes on to discuss faith, reason, and liberalism. I have to agree with just about everything that he mentions in this section of the book. He does a good job of explaining faith, and I think he put the relationship of faith and reason very nicely when he said, “Faith is not created by reasoning, but neither is it created without it.” Reasoning is a very important part of the Christian life. We need to use reason in applying Scripture, or when Scripture doesn't specifically speak to something, but our human reasoning can never contradict the Scripture, because otherwise we become the definers of truth instead of allowing God to define truth.
When Packer talks about liberalism he is very careful to not come out and say that liberals are not Christians. I respect him for this, because we are not able to judge whether they are or not. He does a good job of defining what Christianity is and pointing out where they fall short, but he never actually says that they are not Christians, and I think that some of them very well may be. I have to disagree with him though, when he goes as far as to say, “Unscriptural ideas in our theology are like germs in our system. They tend only to weaken and destroy life, and their effect is always damaging, more or less. But they provoke resistance. Heretical notions may occupy Christian men's heads, leading to error of thought and practice and spiritual impoverishment; But these notions cannot wholly control their hearts. As regenerate men, it is their nature to be better than the unscriptural parts of their creed would allow.” Christian men may have small differences between them, we may differ slightly in our belief on some things, but when our beliefs differ to the point of one of them being a heresy, at that point I believe that one of us has stepped out of the realm of Christianity. To call a heretic a regenerate man, I believe, is to stretch the term to apply to those to whom it is not meant to apply.
All in all, however, I agree with the ideas set forth in the book. He seems to have a good handle on things and he does a good job of backing up his ideas with Scripture. As he says himself in the beginning of the book, “But it is even more important to remember that the essential step in sound theologizing is to bring all views – one's own as well as those of others – to the touchstone of Scripture.”
  NGood | Feb 19, 2014 |
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This modern classic by the author of Knowing God provides a comprehensive statement of the doctrine of Scripture from an evangelical perspective. J. I. Packer explores the meaning of the word "fundamentalism" and offers a clear and well-reasoned argument for the authority of the Bible and its proper role in the Christian life.

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