Tolle Lege: To Be A Christian by J.I. Packer

In a day when the evangelical church is breaking doctrinal fetters in pursuance of wokeness, intersectionality and progressivism, “To Be a Christian” reads like a breath of fresh air.  I’ve been told more than once not to “put God in a box.”  But I’ve lately come to realize that Scripture already has.  Sound doctrine forms the parameters by which our infinite God is to be known and worshipped and taught.  Confessions, creeds, and catechisms, are an historically reliable way to teach those parameters.

In “To Be a Christian” the Anglican Church aims to catechize its members, both young and old, in the basic tenants of the Christian faith.  It does this by means of the traditional Question/Answer format and often in an eloquent manner well-deserving of quoting and memorization. For example, #5 under Salvation reads:

“Can you save yourself from the way of sin and death?  No. I have no power to save myself, for sin has corrupted my con- science, confused my mind, and captured my will. Only God can save me.” (25)

What makes this catechism unique from others in the reformed tradition is that it is written by Anglicans for Anglicans.  This becomes overtly apparent in the section, “Concerning Sacraments”  i.e. #149:

“What is absolution?  In absolution, a priest, acting under God’s authority, pronounces God’s forgiveness in response to repentance and confession of sin.” (62).

Now if that ain’t the Anglicanist thing you ever did hear!

I’m going to shelf this one for reference, but wouldn’t recommend it for use in family worship or instruction.  Unless ye be Anglican, of course.  Still, it was a comfort to read that in the essentials of the Christian faith, the Anglican Church seems to be upholding and instructing sound doctrine to its members.

I received a copy of this book free from the publisher but am not obligated to write favorable review.

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