Packer’s Forthcoming Systematic Theology

j-i-packer.jpgThe Wikipedia entry for J. I. Packer says that “he is now at work on his magnum opus, a systematic theology.” This was the first I’d heard about this. I’d love to find out more. Can anyone verify that this is true and perhaps share some additional information like (1) the expected length, (2) how far along he is, (3) the expected publication date, and (4) the publisher?

A Google search didn’t yield anything concrete. The best information I found was from a couple of comments on Mark Dever’s blog post “Where’d All These Calvinists Come From? Part 7 of 10” (J. I. Packer):

Shannon Lewis | Aug 1, 2007 8:28:18 AM

Praise the Lord for Packer. Not only has his writing influenced me profoundly, but his life, through a few mutual friends, and Alister McGrath’s incredible biography, has been an inspiration to me as well. I hear he’s working on a Systematic Theology—THAT is one I can’t wait to get a hold of!

Al Hsu | Aug 8, 2007 9:57:01 AM

A comment above alludes to Packer’s systematic theology—alas, this long-awaited book may never develop. Publishers have been hoping for a systematic theology from Packer for decades, but for various reasons, it’s not likely ever to materialize. Knowing God may be the closest we ever get, though The J. I. Packer Collection (edited by Alister McGrath) brings together key Packer essays from over the years that provides a mini-systematic sampling of his thought. Out of print now, but available used online.

Update: In some personal correspondence with Justin Taylor, he shared with me the following:

I saw your post on the Packer ST. It’s pitched, he told me, at about the same level as Lloyd-Jones’ volumes on doctrine (Great Doctrines of the Bible). In other words, it won’t be textbook style.

As Al Hsu intimated, it’s been in the works for decades. My best guess is that it will only be published after he dies. He simply doesn’t say “no” to enough present-day projects for it to see the light of day while he’s alive. (Though I’ll be happy to be proved wrong on that!) His daughter was a theology student, and I think she’ll be the one to pull together his unpublished materials.

You can order his ST lectures here:

See also my previous three posts relating to Packer:

, ,

7 Responses to Packer’s Forthcoming Systematic Theology

  1. Andy Naselli September 7, 2007 at 11:07 am #

    I noticed this several years ago when I read through Handbook of Evangelical Theologians, edited by Walter A. Elwell (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1998). Roger Nicole’s chapter on J. I. Packer says, “For years he has been at work on a comprehensive systematic theology that he is uniquely qualified to write.” I’ve asked around about that within the last couple years, and the responses have been similar to Al Hsu’s above.

  2. Phil Gons September 7, 2007 at 11:12 am #

    Thanks for pointing out the Nicole quote and for the info on the responses that you’ve received. That’s too bad.

  3. Mike Aubrey December 1, 2007 at 6:19 pm #

    Phil, have you seen these volumes of Packer’s Collected Writings (plug the ISBNs into Amazon)?

    Celebrating the Saving Work of God – 0853648964

    Serving the People of God – 0853649049

    Honouring the Written Word of God – 0853648824

    Honouring the People of God – 0853649057

    they’d be good in Logos…

  4. Tin Desmond March 27, 2008 at 8:29 pm #

    If it ever gets published, I will definitely get a copy of it in addition to a number of volumes of systematic theology from other equally qualified theologians.

  5. Andrew Kenny October 30, 2010 at 2:13 pm #

    I met J I Packer in Belfast some years ago ( about 15 years) and asked him about the Systematic Theology that had been rumoured. He was cagey but gave a slight intimation that it would one day come. I’m thinking now that it will be published after his death so he will miss out on the rave reviews!

  6. Alejandro Peluffo May 25, 2011 at 6:29 am #

    I saw a big theology by him in (30.25 hs), called “Systematic Theology Overview”:

  7. dodiboy January 14, 2013 at 7:22 pm #

    At Regent College he said he needed about another 5 years on it. That was about 4 years ago.