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Henri Nouwen - Life of the Beloved and Our Greatest Gift / James I Packer - God has Spoken

Henri Nouwen – Life of the Beloved and Our Greatest Gift
Hodder ISBN 976 1 473 -63534 0 168 Pages £8.99

James I Packer – God has Spoken
Hodder ISBN 978 1 473 63709 2 170 Pages £8.99

I guess that there have not been many reviews that have combined books by Henri Nouwen and JI Packer. They both have books published in the Contemporary Hodder Classics series. 

The words contemporary and classic point to what it special about both these books: they are classics because they have been around for some time, and they are contemporary, not merely because they have new covers but because they still speak with freshness to this generation.  These two voice still need to be heard; maybe there is a greater need for them to be heard today.

Packer seems to have the ability to clearly address issues facing the Church, at the very time they need to be tackled. Again and again he comes up trumps, on knowing God, the work of the Holy Spirit and what it means to be a Christian. Perhaps one of his most crucial contributions is what he has written about Scripture.

Packer wrote God Has Spoken in 1979, two years after Time magazine dubbed 1977, the Year of the Evangelical; people were intrigued by an evangelical view of Scripture but also sceptical about it.  This book stiffened confidence in Scripture for a generation of Christians in the 1980s, which was maybe the hardest decade to evangelise in the past 40 years. It is still worth a read.

Henri Nouwen has the ability to remind me of what it means to be a whole human being, rather than a compartmentalized one. His book in this series combines two little books that talk about how we remind ourselves to remain in an active experience of God’s love, and how we embrace the gift of living and dying.

Give them a try.

John Woods is pastor of Lancing Tabernacle, West Sussex

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