I just finished reading Alister McGrath's J. I. Packer: A Biography (Baker, 1997). McGrath goes into great detail about the various intrigues regarding Packer's academic appointments (reminding me of one wag's comment that when it comes to academic politics never do the passions run so high when the stakes are so low), his influence as an evangelical within Anglicanism, his break with "The Doctor" (Martin Lloyd-Jones) over separation, controversy over his signing of "Evangelicals and Catholics Together," etc.
On the other hand, he says almost nothing about Packer's personal life or family. There is some mention of his marriage to Kit but there are exactly two sentences about Packer's children: "The Packers subsequently adopted three children: Ruth, Naomi, and Martin" (p. 69) and "His children's education could be arranged" (p. 234; in reference to his move to Vancouver). Can you know the man without knowing his family?
I know your question is rhetorical, but I shall answer a resounding, "no". This makes me think of how many Christian biographies I've read with little or no mention of the family life. It does say much about the man. Too bad this was not included in Packer's biography.
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