J.I. Packer Reflection Paper

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Jonathan Gamble
Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God Reflection Paper When he sat down to write Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God, J.I. Packer sought to explain the incredible importance of understanding the antinomy – or tension, as some call it – between the undeniable sovereignty of God and the free will of men. Throughout the book, Packer puts an emphasis on reconciling these two commonly misconstrued components of Christian doctrine. There are two primary points that the author stresses to the reader: the divine sovereignty of God and the free will of man, and evangelism and what it means for churches and individuals. The first point J.I. Packer makes in his book is the seemingly contradictory doctrine of the divine sovereignty of God and the free will of men. This opposition – as some would call it – is remedied by Packer early on in the book. On page 23 of the text, the author states, “Man is a responsible moral agent, though he is also divinely controlled; man is divinely controlled, though he is also a responsible moral agent. God’s sovereignty is a reality, and man’s responsibility is a reality too.” Though it may seem confusing to unbelievers and believers alike, this statement truly encapsulates Packer’s argument and helps to alleviate doubt toward this apparent opposition in Christian doctrine. Man is a moral being; meaning, he has free will, but was designed (by God) to be virtuous and upright in morality. Humans have the power to do as they please (free will); they can either live according to God’s laws or reject His teaching. God allows man to possess free will because He wants men to choose His teachings willingly and on their own accord, not forced into God’s law against his will. However, Packer states that man is also divinely controlled, which seems to be at odds with the previous statement. Though man has free will, to a certain extent he is still controlled by a divine being (God)....
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