James Innell Packer, better known to many as J. I. Packer, was one of the most famous and influential evangelical leaders of our time. He died Friday, July 17, at age 93. Reports reveal that he died by natural causes. Packer was influential for many and his works including his book titled 'Knowing God' that had changed more than a few lives. The book was said to be one of, if not his, best works.
Don Carson, founder of the Gospel Coalition writes: "Regardless of how we do or do not align with the critics, there are very few Christians who would demur at the claim that Packer belongs to the heritage of the goodly company of Puritans whom he himself called 'God's giants.'"
J. I. Packer is regarded as one of the most influential evangelicals in North America. He is Board of Governors' Professor of Theology at Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia, and his writings include books such as Knowing God, A Quest for Godliness, Growing in Christ (Crossway) and Rediscovering Holiness.
He has preached and lectured widely in Great Britain and North America and served as general editor of the English Standard Version of the Bible published in 2001, and theological editor of the Study Bible version. In 2014, Packer was named Author of the Year by the Association of Logos Bookstores.
He is a frequent contributor to and an executive editor of Christianity Today and has written numerous articles published in journals such as Churchman, SouthWestern Journal, Reformation & Revival Journal and Touchstone. He received a BA, MA and PhD from Oxford University.
In 2016, at age 89, Packer announced his vision had deteriorated (due to macular degeneration), and that he could no longer read or write. Ivan Mesa of the Gospel Coalition interviewed Packer shortly after the announcement. "God knows what he's up to," Packer told him. "Some good, something for his glory is going to come out of it."
Packer didn't dwell on his dimming sight, but he did talk about the importance of the local church in an individualistic era. When Mesa asked Packer for any final words to the church, Packer replied: "I think I can boil it down to four words: 'Glorify Christ every way."