40 years, experiences, and the Honorable J.I. Packer

orlando_photos_r2_c3.jpgReformed Theological Seminary has just celebrated 40 years. The Orlando Campus is only about 20 years old, but the very first campus of Reformed Theological Seminary began in 1966. RTS was formed as a response to the liberalism of mainline Presbyterian churches. Many liberals and even some conservatives did not believe it would last. However, God is faithful to those who love Him.

Thousands of young men have been prepared for the ministry, of which I am one. I am deeply grateful for the influence RTS has had on my life in these past 5 semesters. Though long and troublesome at times, I have gained much from the godliness of my professors and the many friends God has brought to my life.

My classroom experiences have been replenished with humor, technicalities, debates, student outburst, pleasant conversations, and a sense of divine presence in all things. In what environment will you ever see Professor John Frame and Reggie Kidd discussing the merits of weekly communion in class? Or where will you hear the stories and voice of Steve Brown? How about the confrontational, but yet life-changing teaching of Richard Pratt?

125px-jipacker.jpgDr. Packer spoke this past Wednesday to a group of about 300 attendants at our chapel. He spoke on Ecclesiastes 3 on the topic: “Nothing Better.” How appropriate in light of how contemporary Christians treat this present life. Packer encouraged Christians to enjoy God’s great gifts.

When instability prevails in our contemporary Christian environment, Dr. Packer bings to us a wisdom that only the author of “Knowing God” can bring. Anyone familiar with the spiritual journey of J.I. Packer is aware of the many controversies he has been involved in the last 30 years. Many of them deriving from Dr. Packer’s irenic nature. Those who desire that things be one way and one way only, often find Dr. Packer repulsive. This was evident during the controversy of the Evangelicals and Catholics Together.

After the morning service, we ate together and had an informal Q&A session where we penetrated his mind. We asked him questions concerning his devotional life, which naturally led him to reflect at great length about the beloved Puritans. How we need more Anglicans who love the Puritans! At the same time he did not shy from expressing his concern with Islam. He urged our seminaries to add classes on Islam to their curriculum. Time will tell if RTS takes heed to Packer’s words.

Unlike many seminaries RTS has remained a conservative haven for those who wish to see the Reformed faith spread throughout the country and the world. From the very first professor to be hired (Morton Smith) to our most recent addition (Scott Swain and Mike Glodo) RTS proves to be a bastion of Reformed thought and a defender of the apostolic faith.

About Uri Brito

I am the Pastor of Providence Church (CREC) in Pensacola, Fl.
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