What is theology for?

“What is theology for?” This is the question that Dr. J.I. Packer asked, every time, in a ringing, clear voice at the start of systematic theology class at Regent College. And the answer we called back, every time: “Doxology!” We then stood, and sang it–The Doxology, that is. Because, for Dr. Packer, to talk about God, to talk about ideas about God, for any other reason and in any other frame was, in fact, nonsense. We studied theology to know God. We studied for, and as, worship.

 

Yesterday, Jim Packer went home to be with the Lord. The legacy he left behind is hard to overstate. He left a mark in 20th century evangelical theology, in the life of the Anglican church, in evangelical-Catholic relations, and in many years of teaching at Regent College. You can read about Dr. Packer’s tremendous life and career here.

One part of his legacy is that the call for worship-oriented theology–for theology aiming at doxology–lives on in a small way in the many students he taught. Our work together at Brazos fellows, when we gather in classrooms or around the dinner table, is what it is in no small part because of him. Thank you, Dr. Packer.

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. May he rest in peace. Amen.