Thursday, February 28, 2008

Dr. J.I. Packer Suspended?

Mike Daley is reporting over at that the esteemed professor and theologian has been suspended. Stay tuned for more info as soon as we get it. We're thinking it may have something to do with the parish he belongs to voting this month to depart the Anglican Church of Canada for the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone. His "suspension" may be the same thing as an Episcopal "inhibition." Has Michael Ingham, who instituted same sex blessings in the Church of Canada, actually done this?


Here's a talk by Dr. Packer:

UPDATE: Here's the update here. Bishop Michael Ingham - you remember him - is threatening Dr. Packer with suspension. Read the post here. And there's more information on the vote taken by St. John's here. And a media story on the recent votes is here. More info from "Nuj" here at T19. Story goes global here. And from here:

As evidence of the escalating crisis in the global Anglican Communion, today one of the of the world’s most esteemed Christian theologians, Dr. J.I. Packer, received a letter threatening suspension from ministry by the controversial Bishop of New Westminster, Michael Ingham. Bishop Ingham accused Dr. Packer, hailed by Time Magazine as the “doctrinal Solomon” of Christian thinkers, “to have abandoned the exercise of ministry” after the church where he is a member voted to separate from the diocese and join the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone under the oversight of Anglican Archbishop Gregory Venables. Dr. Packer, who was ordained in the Church of England, is the author of the Christian classic, “Knowing God,” and joined Billy Graham and Richard John Neuhaus as one of Time Magazine’s 25 most influential evangelicals in 2005.

Dr. Packer, who received his theological education at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford, was ordained a deacon (1952) and priest (1953) in the Church of England. He was Assistant Curate of Harborne Heath in Birmingham 1952-54 and Lecturer at Tyndale Hall, Bristol 1955-61. He was Librarian of Latimer House, Oxford 1961-62 and Principal 1962-69. In 1970 he became Principal of Tyndale Hall, Bristol, and from 1971 until 1979 he was Associate Prinicipal of Trinity College, Bristol. In addition to his published works, he has served as general editor for the English Standard Version of the Bible. He currently serves as the Board of Governors’ Professor of Theology at Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia.

He will be 82 in July.

He's edited The Bible, for goodness sake. Has Ingham lost his mind?

Here's a recent video of Dr. Packer answering questions about God and vocation:

FRIDAY AFTERNOON UPDATE: Well, it looks like the Diocese of New Westminster may be waking up to their incredible public relations blunder. As Nicholas Knisely over at the Diocese of Washington's Episcopal Cafe wrote, "J.I. Packers' teaching and writing is not commonly encountered the Episcopal Church, it is widely known and respected by Evangelicals in the Anglican Communion. The possible suspension of Packer may create a bit of a problem for both the Archbishop of Canada and the Archbishop of Canterbury given the reaction that could be expected from many parts of the Communion." The diocesan "communications officer" has posted over at the Christianity Today blog that Michael Ingham just wants to know if Dr. Packer is leaving the diocese. What's all the fuss? That's a a hoot - and that is not what the letter threatened to do to Dr. Packer if he didn't sufficiently show his loyalty to Ingham. The flak for the diocese makes it sound like the bishop is just inquiring whether he wants to take the 7:00 a.m. flight out or the 9:00 a.m. flight and does he want a window seat or the aisle? Meanwhile, life goes on unabated in the Diocese of Westminster.

FRIDAY EVENING UPDATE: Kendall Harmon at T19 has posted a letter from Lesley Bentley on behalf of of St. John's in Shaughnessy, Vancouver, where Dr. Packer has been an honorary clergy assistant for over twenty years. As opposed to just a harmless little inquiry from Bishop Michael Ingham to Dr. Packer about his future plans, this is fact the information of what he actually received from the Canadian bishop:
Dr. Packer together with the other clergy at St. John's have been served with a Notice of Presumption of Abandonment of the Exercise of the Ministry under Canon XIX and the notice is based on the following facts:

1. that he has publicly renounced the doctrine and discipline of the Anglican Church of Canada; and
2. that you have sought or intend to seek admission into another religious body outside the Anglican Church of Canada.

The notice also states that if Dr. Packer does not take advantage of provisions under the Canons to dispute the facts stated above, Dr. Packer's spiritual authority as a minister of Word and Sacraments conferred in ordination will be revoked on April 21, 2008.
Another word for that is defrocked. Bishop Michael Ingham, a Bishop in the Anglican Church of Canada is threatening to defrock J.I. Packer.

Think about it.

Here's what Dr. Packer wrote in Knowing God:
"For it is often the case, as all saints know, that fellowship with the Father and the Son is most vivid and sweet, and Christian joy is greatest, when the cross is heaviest."
(97 Knowing God).


Alice C. Linsley said...

Yes. He has lost his mind, and worse, he is losing his soul.

Kevin said...


Anonymous said...

Alice - I did not know any mortal was qualified to say who would lose his soul - personally, I am more of a mystic and do believe we see thru a window that is dark and smudged. I pray that you are wrong and truly cannot say with authority that someone has lost their soul. Enough said on this silly and uncaring, rude comment.

Unknown said...

I believe it could be said that Alice was shocked.


Anonymous said...

Ingham, having already found the bottom, is going for the eternal record and continuing to dig.

"The floor of hell is paved with the skulls of bishops."
St. John Chrysostom

Kevin said...

"Enough said on this silly and uncaring, rude comment."

Silly mystic liberal theology meets actual Orthodoxy and makes a silly rude comment about one of the direct lineage branches of Christianity that he doesn't understand?

Kevin said...

If you couldn't guess by my second comment, my "whoa" was in reacting to the bishop's action not the comment one above.

Anonymous said...

Well Kevin I give thanks and praise that you put the question mark at the end of your sentence! It indicates a certain degree of "openness".

Kevin said...

Openness? Probably not as you define it. You declare a judgment on another's comment (which there is a certain amount of irony) citing your basis on your mystical experiences.

At another cafe ... the counter at Denny's, there was a regular that other of us 'fixtures' all knew, he was a dragon slayer and would regal you with tales of all his exploits, woe to you if you challenge his profession. Sometimes openness is best not explored.

So personal mystical understanding meeting centuries of time tested ... sorry, mysticism ungrounded can lead you into all sorts of trouble.

Andy said...

This is truly amazing, but sadly unsurprising. Rev. Dr. Packer is THE seminal orthodox (and thankfully, Anglican) Theologian and thinker of the postmodern era. Rather than threatening to throw Packer+ under the Bus, the entire Communiion should stop and consider the meaning and magnitude of his vote.

At this moment, Packer+ is the proverbial flagman on a dark night warning that the bridge is out. He's ignored at one's own peril.

Anonymous said...

Kevin- Mysticism is a wide term -it is not the same as magical thinking or a belief in dragons or Harry Potter - perhaps you should re-read Julian of Norwich

Kevin said...

Yup, sure is, might even apply the term to myself, but you made your argument based on it.

RMBruton said...

Euripides said it best, "whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad."