I give this work three stars because of two reasons: 1) It is written by Alister McGrath who has again written in an easy to read and unamerican style. 2)Mcgrath does not seem to notice that his evangelicalsim has changed as has Packers.
In regard to point 2, I share some of the sentiments of the other reviewer, Matthew Wills. He is right when he states that McGrath 'seems to gloss over' the shift that seems to have taken place within JI Packer's theology and doctrine over many issues-most especially his signing of the ECT document. One has to wonder how JI Packer can write such classics as his introductions to Luther's, The Bondage of the Will and John Owen's, The Death of Death in the Death of Christ and then turn around and sign ECT. McGrath also likewise seems to make the mistake of thinking that what Packer stood for in the 1950's-60s is what he stands for in the late 90's-01's.
Like Packer I am also an Anglican and a Calvinist and I still find his writings very useful. So beside the criticisms I do reccomend this book for all Packer fans.
When I first read this book, I believed it was deserving of 4 or 5 stars. But now, I believe my opinion towards it has changed.
After reading other books, such as 'Evangelicalism Divided: A Record of Crucial Change in the Years 1950 to 2000' by Iain H Murray, I would have to say some of 'To Know and Serve God' is overly sympathetic to JI Packer. While I respect JI Packer and many of his writings, McGrath's analysis of The Evangelicals and Catholics Together issue (page 264 and following) seems to gloss over the shift in doctrine that had occurred in Packer's theology up to this time.
Overall, a fascinating read about the life of a great Christian leader, yet one could not help but feeling more focus could have been given to Packer's development in his thoughts and theology over his years.