Knowing God is considered a classic work of practical theology, and deservedly so. I have been slowly reading it for the past several months and have thoroughly enjoyed Packer’s insights on the character of God and the nature of our relationship with Him.
Packer is not afraid to call out heresies by name. He comes down especially hard on Catholicism for its graven images and relics, and also for its doctrine that you cannot know for sure that God has saved you. Viewed in light of the Biblical metaphor for salvation, adoption into God’s family, conditional security is indeed a misrepresentation of the perfect Father. Packer supports his points quite well and I have to say I agree with him, though the truths he writes may be somewhat unpleasant.
But it’s unfair to paint this book as a mere attack on Catholicism. Packer spends more time focusing on good theology than tearing down bad. I especially enjoyed the chapter on God’s guidance in the life of the believer, and the emphasis on salvation as adoption. The parent-child relationship is so rich with interaction and meaning, and seeing ourselves as God’s children sheds light on so many truths of the Word. We are full heirs of the estate… we are disciplined because we are loved… we are secure in God’s family. And it all glorifies the Father.
Packer is a Reformed theologian and his writing reflects the Scriptural theme of sovereign grace. The knowledge of God’s perfect sovereignty unifies the Christian life, with all its varying experiences and doctrines, into a cohesive whole. Life makes sense from the perspective that God is in control. It is a comfort to know that nothing, not even our individual choices, can nullify God’s plan.
This isn’t a fluffy book about positive thinking with a dash of theology thrown in for good measure. Packer really gets into the Word and all his arguments are based on Scripture. I highly recommend this book to anyone seeking to grow in his/her walk with the Lord. It is certainly a book I will reread. ( )