Saturday, July 6, 2013

Weakness is the Way: A Recommendation

J.I. Packer, Weakness is the Way: Life with Christ Our Strength. Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway, 2013. 125pp.

J.I. Packer is well established in the evangelical community. Rightly so. He is a gifted theologian, and fruitful writer, having authored over 40 books. It is Packer who wrote the modern Christian classic Knowing God. Packer has taken a topic and once again, delivered in content exposition and clarity of discussion.

Weakness is the Way deals with the place of weakness in the Christian life. Using 2 Corinthians as his guide, Packer argues that for Christians, weakness should be our way of life. He doesn't make such claims as a passive witness. Packer lives in weakness. As a boy he was hit by a truck. This accident forced him for a decade to wear a metal patch to cover the hole in his head. He experienced utter weakness. Now aged, with his deteriorating body, he is again experiencing profound weakness. 

Packer's exposition of 2 Corinthians is profound and clear. One of Paul's themes in 2 Corinthians was his own weakness, his thorn in the flesh. Packer discusses Paul's weakness as an example of how we should view our own weaknesses. He starts off the book defining and describing weakness. He then discusses how weakness relates to Christian's calling, giving and hoping. Each topic has its own chapter. Like the book itself, the chapters are small but insightful. In varying ways, weakness in the Christian life relates to each of these topics. The book is divided as follows:


I: About Weakness
II. Christ and the Christian's Calling
III: Christ and the Christian's Giving
IV: Christ and the Christian's Hoping

Weakness is the Way is a little book. The content, however, is huge. In every area of life, the Christian must see Jesus Christ as the fulfillment. We are weak, Christ is our strength.  We must learn to embrace this reality in our lives. Says Packer:
"The truth, however is that in many respects, and certainly in spiritual matters, we are all weak and inadequate, and we need to face it. Sin, which disrupts all relationships, has disabled us all across the board. We need to be aware of our limitations and to let this awareness work in us humility and self-distrust, and a realization of our helplessness on our own. Thus we may learn our need to depend on Christ, our Savior and Lord, at every turn of the road, to practice that dependence as one of the constant habits of our heart, and hereby to discover what Paul discovered before us: 'when I am weak, then I am strong' (2 Cor. 12:10)" (pp. 15-16)
Though Packer is in the twilight of his life, he is continuing to be a gift to the church. Weakness is the Way  is an excellent read and worthy of your time. Join Packer on this journey of weakness and experience the joy of Christ, your strength.