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Posts Tagged ‘Raised with Christ’

Special thanks to Connie of Crossway for a review copy of this book.

Whenever I hear about a book that deals with resurrection in some form, I get excited.  As I’ve been teaching the Bible in a local church context for a few years, I’ve encountered few people with much knowledge regarding the Bible’s teaching on resurrection.  Christians believe that Jesus rose from the dead, but that’s about it.  When I ask what the implications are of Christ’s resurrection, I’m answered with confused looks and blank stares.  Every now and then someone will refer to Romans 6:4, “…raised to walk in newness of life,” in a discussion.  Almost no one has mentioned the resurrection of the body from 1 Corinthians 15.  Ephesians 1:18-19?  Silence.  You get the idea.

So naturally I’d gravitate toward a book like Adrian Warnock’s Raised with Christ: How the Resurrection Changes Everything.  Warnock, himself a local church preacher and teacher, has noticed a dearth of resurrection related sermons and books.  He notes that there has been such a strong focus on the cross, which is certainly central, that we might forget just how crucial the resurrection is to Christian faith and life.  Warnock helps us correct this neglect with this book.

In 260 pages, Warnock tries to cover a lot of ground.  He delves a little into apologetics for the empty tomb, though not enough to convince an unbeliever (nor do I think he was trying to).  His discussion on the central role of Jesus’ resurrection in the book of Acts was extremely helpful.  I’m not sure how anyone could not reference the resurrection in their evangelism after reading this chapter!  I’d love to see Warnock take advantage of the related website (see below) and post more thoughts on the importance of the resurrection to the book of Acts and our evangelism.

But have you ever been a little disappointed in a book, only you have to admit that you aren’t being entirely fair?  That’s my relationship with Warnock’s book.  I had an idea of what I thought the book would be when I started reading, only to find out that Warnock had a different idea.  Is it fair for me to critique a book based on how I would have written it?  Probably not.  But let me explain where I’m coming from.

What I had anticipated was a series of sustained expositions and focused reflections on relevant biblical passages.  Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of Scripture references included; they are sprinkled all throughout the book.  But I didn’t want to be sprinkled; I wanted to be immersed (baptist humor, sorry).

Even in his helpful discussion on the resurrection of believers, I felt like Warnock missed some possibilities to demonstrate how the biblical writers applied this doctrine.  For instance, 1 Corinthians 6:12-20 contains a reference to God raising our bodies just like he raised Jesus’ (v14).  Warnock cites this verse once, and that at the heading of a chapter.  But Paul doesn’t mention this purely to teach about the resurrection of the believers (a topic he picks up in 1 Corinthians 15), he makes an important connection to how we should honor God with our bodies now.  If there were less prooftexting and more exposition, I felt like passages like this wouldn’t slip through the cracks.  Adrian doesn’t have to try to convince me that the resurrection “changes everything”- Paul does it for him!

I have a couple other smaller critiques.  First, and this is more for the editors than Warnock himself, but when did it become acceptable not to cite authors of articles contained in books?  For example, a footnote will cite the Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels, with the editors’ names, but not the actual article and writer quoted.  This happens multiple times.  I guess I’m just sensitive to it because this practice would have been ripped apart by my seminary professors.

Second, there were a few times when I was confused about why Warnock chose to include something.  There were a couple chapters on revivial, which included a number of good thoughts.  In fact, if Warnock is looking for a topic for a second book, he’d probably do well with that one.  But I kept wondering, what does this have to do with the resurrection?  Spending multiple pages on Elijah as an example of reviving prayer is all well and good, but I’m not sure how we got from “Jesus is Risen” to “Pray like Elijah!”

Along those same lines, Warnock devoted a couple pages to the idea that the theophanies of the Old Testament (Ezekiel 10, Isaiah 6, etc) were actually visions of Jesus.  Besides being a debatable interpretation, I kept wondering, what does this have to do with the resurrection?  And when this interpretation forces Warnock to conclude that Jesus is “both the Son of Man and the Ancient of Days” (152, italics original), I have to think he’s pushing it too much.  After all, how is this different from saying “the Son is the Father,” a theological position I doubt Warnock wants to convey?

I realize that these points will make it appear that I didn’t like the book.  In fact, I gained a lot from it.  Like Warnock, I care deeply about this subject and burn to make known the glory of Christ’s resurrection (hence a review over my self-imposed world limit).  I’m so grateful to have a book on this subject that I can turn to and learn from.  My guess is that this book will repay further readings.

There were a couple places where Warnock was simply outstanding.  I mentioned his discussion on Acts, but perhaps the most powerful place for me was in his discussion of experiencing the risen Savior.  As I read through quotes from the likes of Edwards and Spurgeon, I literally had to stop reading multiple times because I was so thoroughly convicted by my own apathy.  Keep in mind, this almost never happens with me.  If I truly believe that the same power that God used to raise Christ from the dead exists in me, I would not be so complacent.  Oh Lord, forgive me!

So as you read my critique of the book, keep in mind that I came into it with an idea of how the book would be written.  That alone can color how one reads a book, largely unfairly.  I think this book would be a wonderful resource for Christians and small groups, and it can even be complemented with Warnock’s website: http://raisedwithchrist.net/.  Most importantly, this book will inspire readers to search the Bible more deeply to understand what the resurrection means for us, and how it truly does change everything.

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