Reading Good Theology

From Marilynne Robinson’s The Death of Adam: Essays on Modern Thought (Picador, 2005), page 117:

“Good theology is always a kind of giant and intricate poetry, like epic or saga. It is written for those who know the tale already, the urgent messages and the dying words, and who attend to its retelling with a special alertness, because the story has a claim on them and they on it. … Theology is written for the small community of those who would think of reading it. So it need not define freighted words like ‘faith’ or ‘grace’ but may instead reveal what they contain. To the degree that it does them any justice, its community of readers will say yes, enjoying the insight as their own and affirming it in that way.”

A Systematic from J.I. Packer?

“…But one book is missing from the Packer canon: a systematic theology. He has been teaching systematic theology at Regent for years, so he certainly has done heavy lifting for such a book. Will one be forthcoming? ‘I have a plan,’ he said. ‘But I may not have the time. I would like to leave the world theology that was both catechetical and definitive. But we shall have to see what God has in store.’”

—Warren Cole Smith in his feature of 80-year-old J.I. Packer titled “Patriarch” that appeared recently in WORLD Magazine (Dec 5, 2009, Vol. 24, No. 24). Online here. Pray for health and longevity!