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"Fundamentalism" and the Word of God Paperback – March, 1958


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 191 pages
  • Publisher: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. (March 1958)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802811477
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802811479
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.3 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #455,204 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Ignatious Valve on December 24, 2003
Format: Paperback
JI Packer wrote this book over 45 years ago. Some of the issues he addresses are not issues today. But the premise behind the book is timeless- the authority of the Word of God. Even though liberalism may not be as strong as it was 50 years ago, today Christendom is wandering farther and farther away from the authority of God?s Word. This fact can be seen in the growth of cults. It can also be seen in how Christians today depend on human authors instead of God?s Word. Yet another manifestation of this wrong notion is the branch of Christianity that replaces God?s Word with emotion and feelings. So though the issue of Liberalism may not be significant today, the issue of authority definitely is.
I read the book for a class on ?The History of Fundamentalism in America?. The book does not really trace the history of Fundamentalism, but the book does cover the central issue in the Fundamentalism/Liberalism debate. Before reading the book, I would suggest reading the first two pages of the conclusion, where the author gives an overview of the entire book. The book is very logically laid out, with each chapter subject building on top of the last chapter subject. The only chapter I had problems with was the chapter on faith. The author tries to explain man?s inability to express faith, showing the author?s reformed presuppositions. I didn?t understand how this tied into the argument and flow of the book, and I think the notion is unbiblical (but this is a discussion for a different book review). The main argument of the book was one of presuppositions (as found in presuppositional apologetics). On page 109 the author writes, ?We should not abandon faith in anything that God has taught us merely because we cannot solve all the problems which it raises.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Brett D. McLaughlin on October 10, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There's not much that J. I. Packer writes that isn't worth taking the time to read. His arguments are sound and well-written, and his thinking bears emulation. His works on reformed thinking and evangelism are seminal.

This particular work is focused specifically on so-called fundamentalist thinking and the evangelical position on Scripture. It's well-written, and his chapter on Authority in particular is spectacular.

However, the book is largely contextual, set against the emergence of "anti-fundamentalism thought" in Britain in the 40s and 50s. This makes much of the argument in the book dated, and if you're not familiar with thought in the mid-20th century, or at a minimum, the issues surrounding conservative and liberal positions regarding the authority and inspiration of Scripture, it's easy to get lost.

Still, this is a good work, again, worth the price for the writing on authority and Scripture's view of itself.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By John A. Van Devender on October 27, 2008
Format: Paperback
Solid, dependable but dated exposition of the original Fundamentalist position (ala Machen) before the term got stolen and mis-apportioned to a more narrow sect within the Christian community. Packer clearly states that the term is not "useful for Evangelicals today" (1958) and he was and is right. The book is well worth reading, along with Machen's "Christianity and Liberalism" for a strong sense of the basic challenges orthodox, Evangelical Christians face. In the post-modern era those basic challenges are still present though now characterized in different dress. As Packer says (pg. 42)- "The problem of authority is the most fundamental problem that the Christian Church ever faces." Absolutely true and now as much as ever. Packer's work has abiding interest for anyone seeking to establish themselves within the flow of Christian apologetics and self-understanding.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jacques Schoeman on September 25, 2007
Format: Paperback
The fundamentalist movement began as a response to the rising liberalism of the 19th century, especially as found in the church. In contrast to the dictates and the wisdom of modern men stood Holy Scripture, which was to be the sole authority. That much they knew:

'The problem of authority is the most fundamental problem that the Christian Church ever faces.' p 42

But they also knew their convictions would not go unchallenged:

'Modern man, sceptical and indifferent as he is to dogmatic pronouncements about the supernatural order, may find it hard to take seriously the idea that one's eternal welfare may depend on what one believes; but the apostles were sure it was so. Theological error was to them a grim reality, as was the spiritual shipwreck which comes in its wake.' p 43

On the other hand, JI Packer also extends a historical reminder to those who err in thinking that J Gresham Machen was fundamentalist. 'He saw fundamentalism as a debased evangelicalism which at point after point was at variance with that for which he stood.' p 36 Packer quotes Machen's own analysis which shows that he could not resign himself to the fundamentalist position: 'The emergence of new emphases and the lack of others, the presence at times of a zeal not according to knowledge and the frequent absence of historical perspective...Oftentimes pietistic and perfectionist vagaries have come to be accepted as the hallmark of fundamentalism. And a one-sided other-worldliness, often associated with a dogmatic commitment to a futuristic chiliasm, has come to be widely regarded as essential to fundamentalist orthodoxy.'
Ned B Stonehouse, J Gresham Machen: A Biographical Memoir p 336
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More About the Author

J.I. Packer currently serves as the Board of Governors' Professor of Theology at Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia. An ordained Anglican minister, he hold a D.Phil. from Oxford University. Dr. Packer's many published works include "Rediscovering Holiness, Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God," and the best-selling "Knowing God."

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