Reformation 21 has posted a wonderful short article on the atonement by J. I. Packer. He avoids the temptation to oversimplify. He also confronts the issues head on. Here’s a quote:

But I do not see how it can be denied that each New Testament book, whatever other job it may be doing, has in view, one way or another, Luther’s primary question: ‘How may a weak, perverse and guilty sinner find a gracious God?’… to the extent that modern developments, by filling our horizon with the great meta-narrative, distract us from pursuing Luther’s question in personal terms, they hinder as well as help in our appreciation of the gospel.


Falantedios said...

Thank you for stopping by Fumbling Towards Eternity. The Guthrie text is really pretty strong. I believe he has a slight bias in favor of the impossibility of apostasy, but in the text itself it is only a slight bias that comes through in a couple of sections. Otherwise, I think he is extremely even-handed and thorough, two things I greatly appreciate in a reference text.

About the Packer quote, I hope no one is denying that "each NT book... has in view, ONE WAY OR ANOTHER..." the question of atonement. However, I think his question arranges the scene backwards. I don't believe the Bible is about men finding God, but rather about God seeking men.

I'll read the whole article and chew on it, though.

in HIS love,

J. K. Jones said...

Thanks for the comment. I appreciate Guthrie too.

The problem with only quoting part of a text is that the context is not communicated. I am glad your are going to read the rest.

“… I hope no one is denying that "each NT book... has in view, ONE WAY OR ANOTHER..." the question of atonement…”

As I read the more recent books, I am not sure what they are trying to communicate. Some seem to ask questions that lead in the wrong directions.

Many of the current authors are very confusing to a layman like me. I do not follow arguments overlaid with technical words or indirectly referencing things I have not read.

Some current authors deny the justice and wrath of God and the sinfulness of men that make atonement necessary. That’s were I get off of the boat.

You are right in saying that God seeks us. I am sure Packer, the author of “Evangelism and The Sovereignty of God,” would agree. None of us seeks Him in ourselves (Romans 3:11). But those born of the Spirit certainly do seek Him and knowledge of what Christ did for them (Romans 8:5).

Augustinian Successor said...

Dear Brother,

I found your blog through Bro. Lito's blog. You said that logic applies to religion in your profile (About Me). I agree wholeheartedly too. Please visit the Trinity Foundation at http://www.trinityfoundation.org
where there is an excellent array of articles on logic and revelation. May you be encouraged by this.


In Christ,

J. K. Jones said...


Thanks for the web address. I check it out.

You might also be interested in some of my other stuff here:


Thanks for your comment.

J. K.

R.T. Jones said...

I am a little bothered by the Packer quote. It seems to me that he is using circular reasoning: Luther's primary question is what the Bible is all about; those who would question whether Luther's question is the same question the Bible is answering are wrong because they are drawing us away from pursuing Luther's question.

Now I don't necessarily disagree with Packer that Luther's question is important, but if it causes us to dismiss a theological position without giving it a fair hearing (the New Perspective on Paul for instance), then my concern is that we have canonized Luther and made him infallible. I would much rather seek to interpret the Bible first and adjust my theology to fall in line than to figure out my theology first and make my interpretation conform to it. It feels like Packer is attempting to do the latter rather than the former.

J. K. Jones said...


I’d like to ask a favor. Please briefly comment on the New Perspective on Paul’s version of justification.

Also, the parts of the Packer article I left out are important to his argument. You might want to follow the links for the whole story.

J. K.

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