|Dr. James I. Packer|
The conservatives in the Anglican Communion, including those in Church Society in the United Kingdom and those in Sydney Diocese, Australia, are more faithful to ecumenical relations than to Evangelical essentials, the Protestant Reformation, or the five solas of the Reformation. "Evangelical" has become such a loose term that for all practical purposes it has no meaning any longer.
Even worse, the so-called conservative Reformed or Presbyterian denominations here in the United States are more in agreement with neo-orthodoxy than with the fundamental doctrines of the Christian faith or with their own Reformed confessional standards. Mike Horton, a professor at
Dr. Packer has vacillated in key areas of Evangelical and Protestant theology since at least the 1970s and his more recent vacillations indicate that Packer has softened his commitment to Sola Scriptura as the final authority in all matters of faith and practice. An article at Wikipedia point out at least two areas where Packer has compromised biblical dogma and propositional revelation. Those areas are creation and the Protestant Reformation. For example, since at least 1970 Packer has been more committed to ecumenical relationships with apostate church communions than to fellowship based on the doctrines of the Bible:
In recent years, he has supported the ecumenical movement but believes that unity should not come at the expense of abandoning orthodox Protestant doctrine. Nonetheless, his advocacy of ecumenicism has brought sharp criticism from some conservatives, particularly after the publication of the book Evangelicals and Catholics Together: Toward a Common Mission (ed. Charles Colson, Richard J. Neuhaus) in which Packer was one of the contributors. Some conservatives also feel that Packer's views on Mother Teresa are quite liberal.
Packer took the side of evangelical ecumenism in opposition to Martyn Lloyd-Jones in 1966, then co-authored a work with two Anglo-Catholics in 1970 (Growing into Union) that many evangelicals felt conceded too much biblical ground on critical doctrinal issues. The publication of that work led to the formal break between Lloyd-Jones and Packer, bringing an end to the Puritan Conferences. Wikipedia, J. I. Packer.
I was not aware of Packer's vague endorsement of theistic evolution until I saw this comment:
In 2008 Packer wrote an endorsement for a book called 'Creation or Evolution: Do We have to Choose?' by Denis Alexander. The book advocates theistic evolution and is critical of Intelligent Design. Packer said of the book: 'Surely the best informed, clearest and most judicious treatment of the question in its title that you can find anywhere today.' This perhaps reveals Packer's current position in the evolution/intelligent design debate.
However, he has also expressed caution as to whether the theory of evolution is actually true, 'its only a hypothesis... its only a guess... so as science, in terms of philosophy of science... evolution is by no means proven and as a guess it is very strange and contrary to all analogies...' He also said, 'the biblical narratives of creation... don't obviously say anything that bears one way or another on the question of whether the evolutionary hypothesis might be true or not...'
The most recent information on Packer's position on evolution comes from his foreword to Reclaiming Genesis by Melvin Tinker. Reclaiming Genesis is a 'pro-evolution' book with the subtitle 'The Theatre of God's Glory – Or a Scientific Story?' in it Packer writes "Melvin Tinker is fully on wavelength in this lively and enlivening series of expositions. His book is wise, popular, and powerful. I heartily commend it." Wikipedia: J. I. PackerThe idea that theistic evolution is the way God created the universe and mankind is a direct rejection of biblical creation. Dr. Gordon H. Clark rejected not only creation science as untenable but also all attempts to introduce limited inerrancy views that for all practical purposes lead to the rejection of inerrancy altogether. Princeton Seminary and Fuller Seminary are both examples of this slide into neo-orthodoxy and liberalism. Most recently Dr. Bruce Waltke of the Reformed Theological Seminary, Orlando, was forced to resign because he rejected biblical creationism. (See: On Theistic Evolution, Justin Taylor).
In 2009 I attended a lecture given by Dr. Packer which was sponsored by Wycliffe Hall and Reformed Theological Seminary, Orlando, Florida. In that lecture, Dr. Packer openly endorsed the Anglican Quadrilateral as the basis of fellowship and union among Anglicans. Unfortunately, the Lambeth Quadrilateral is doctrinally reductionist, affirms the sacerdotalist view of the sacraments, and apostolic succession. (See: Chicago Lambeth Quadrilateral).
The Reformed Episcopal Church, once a bastion of Evangelical and Calvinist orthodoxy, became enamoured with the theonomic views of Greg Bahnsen, Gary North and other advocates of the late Cornelius Van Til's theology of paradox. The adoption of contradiction into theology almost always leads to neo-orthodoxy and liberalism. The REC now openly advocates for a theology that can only be called a full blown endorsement of smells, bells and high church Anglo-Catholicism.
The bottom line here is that Evangelicalism in both the Anglican Communion and in Reformed/Presbyterian circles has become bankrupt, neo-orthodox, or worse. Another indication of this ongoing apostasy is the Presbyterian Church in America's recent approval of the Federal Vision heresy at its General Assembly. (See: PCA SJC Rules on Overtures in the Leithart Case).
Co-belligerence is not an option for Protestants committed to the principles of the Protestant Reformation, including the five solas. There can be no cooperation between those advocating false doctrine and those who stand for the truth of the Gospel. Separation is a painful reality to face. However, remaining in fellowship with those who endorse heterodoxy and heresy is impossible. (2 Corinthians 6:17-18).
If the doctrine of justification by faith alone is essential to saving faith, then no compromise or fellowship with those promoting a false gospel of justification by an infused righteousness or justification by faith plus works can be tolerated. On this basis I call for David Virtue, Church Society, the Sydney Anglicans, the Anglican Church League, Dr. Mark Thompson, J. I. Packer, Mike Horton, Bruce Waltke, Ligon Duncan, Albert Mohler, Lee Gatiss, Gerald Bray, the Reformed Episcopal Church, the Anglican Church in North America, the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, the Presbyterian Church in America, Westminster Seminary, CA and PA, and all other Reformed or Anglican ministers and ministries to repent and return to the biblical and confessional standards of the Protestant Reformation. (2 Timothy 3:16; Ephesians 2:8-9; Romans 4:1-8; Galatians 2:16-21).
Furthermore, if Scripture is the Christian axiom, all compromises with common grace, general revelation, natural reason, natural law, modernism, neo-orthodoxy, theological liberalism, and moral relativism must rejected in favor of absolute biblical inerrancy, plenary verbal inspiration, and Scriptural authority in all matters of faith and practice. Scientific creationism, theistic evolution, intelligent design, rational arguments for God's existence, evidentialism, empiricism, and irrationalism are all equally dismissed as epistemological bankruptcy that can only end in skepticism.
Charlie J. Ray