As I was saying about myself...
April 18, 2015
I profited from Paul Levy's review of Dangerous Calling by Paul Tripp (Carl Trueman today called it a "penetrating review"). In the review Levy makes the following point:
"The memorable if somewhat ironic statement 'The bottom line is this: proud people tend to talk about themselves a lot' (p175) in a book that has more personal illustrations than any other I've known. The book is very, very autobiographical and by that I mean I probably know more about Paul Tripp than I do about my Assistant Minister."
Now, it seems to me that with the present plethora of personal websites (i.e., the site bears the name of the person as the domain name) reflects an excessive type of self-promotion. There may be exceptions, but there's a narcissistic feel to them.
Which brings me to my point: I've read a lot from John Owen and Thomas Goodwin. But, after having invested literally hundreds of hours into reading their Works, I still know relatively little about the men. There's an almost infuriating paucity of information regarding their personal lives.
But I will say this: after having read their Works I've come away knowing a great deal more about Christ, God, and my sin.
Did you know that J.I. Packer has a notepad which he uses to send notes, and there is a standard heading at the top of each note: "A note from Mr. James Packer". It is what you do when you don't have email!
Mr. James Packer, not Rev. Dr. ...
Mr. James Packer, not "A note from Rev. Dr. James Packer, Honorary Assistant Rector at St. John's, Research Professor at Regent College, Baxter and Owen Expert, and probably the best living writer in the Christian world."
All of the above is true, but "weakness is the way".
How many D.Min's would have "Mr" at the top of their notepad?
While we're on the subject of Mr Packer, Sandy Finlayson recounted a story to me today:
People still get their Bibles and hymnals signed today. I once had someone ask me to sign their Trinity hymnal. I said I would if they could find me, "Shine, Jesus, Shine" in the hymnal.I heard J.I. Packer speak at Knox Presbyterian Church in Toronto about 35 years ago. I confess I don't remember what he preached on, but the night remains in my memory because of what happened after the service. As Packer was meeting people, a lady came up to him and asked "Dr. Packer, would you please sign my Bible"? There was what seemed like a very, very long pause, and then he gently replied "I'm sorry madam, I can't; I didn't write it".
As a friend said to me today: "I look at the Geoff Thomases and the Lloyd Joneses and the Packers -- for all their faults, they were basically serious men doing a serious job, honoured and thrilled to be preachers, and not making a noise about it." Indeed.
Rev. Dr. Mark Jones would love to relinquish his titles but they come in handy in certain quarters of the Reformed evangelical world.