This review appeared in the Jan-Mar 2012 vol. 169 no. 1 issue of Biblotheca Sacra, DTS’s quarterly academic journal.Subscribe Today
Raised with Christ: How the Resurrection Changes EverythingCrossway, Wheaton, IL December 22, 2009
Warnock serves on the leadership team at Jubilee Church in London, where he regularly preaches. He is a medical doctor and an avid Christian blogger. In this book he writes “about the resurrection of Jesus and its effects on us today” (p. 13). He observes, “What the Spirit does for believers today is only possible as a result of the resurrection” (p. 14). In short, “without Jesus’ resurrection there is no good news at all” (p. 19). So he defines a Christian as “someone who believes in the physical resurrection of Jesus Christ and lives in light of the implications of that event” (p. 20, italics his), and the book represents “my own attempts to be sure that I am not missing or underemphasizing any vital element of the gospel’s message” (p. 26).
Having laid the foundation in chapter 1, Warnock presents a survey of the biblical evidences of the resurrection in chapter 2. This then frames two questions for the remainder of the book: “Can we believe in the physical resurrection of Jesus Christ? And, what does it mean to live in light of the implications of that event?” (p. 41). Chapter 3 answers the first question by presenting the historical evidence for the resurrection, following Gary Habermas’s twelve facts that are considered historically knowable (Gary Habermas, The Historical Jesus [Joplin, MO: College, 1996]). Warnock argues that “the church did not create the resurrection stories; instead the resurrection stories created the church” (p. 47).
Chapter 4 raises the question of whether the church has inadvertently neglected the resurrection. The author concludes that it has in many ways been eclipsed by the cross in emphasis, but he argues that “we must not use either the cross or the resurrection to reduce the value of the other” (p. 66). Chapter 5 then highlights the prominence of the resurrection in Scripture, seeing it “stressed throughout Scripture from Genesis to Revelation” (p. 69). Warnock argues that Paul uses a kind of shorthand so that “when he referred to either the death or resurrection of Jesus individually, he usually intended to refer to both events” (p. 73). Warnock finds support for this idea in Calvin, who argued “that Jesus’ death and resurrection are so closely interrelated and connected to each other, they constitute one saving event” (p. 75). Accordingly, “the perfect life, obedient death, and life-giving resurrection of Jesus should be thought of as one saving work—a combined and inseparable act of God” (p. 77). Chapters 6 and 7 look at evidence for the resurrection in the Old Testament and the Gospels.
In chapter 8, Warnock begins unpacking the importance of the resurrection in order to answer the question, “What does it mean to live in light of the implications of that event?” The chapter itself is a survey of preaching in Acts where, as Warnock notes, “the resurrection is stressed and the cross is assumed” (p. 105). Chapters 9–11 explore the relationship between resurrection and justification, the new birth, and the spiritual life.
Starting in chapter 12, Warnock focuses on the connection between resurrection and revival. He says, “The single greatest need of the church today is to connect to the resurrection power of God seen in the book of Acts and mirrored throughout church history in revivals” (p. 168). Noting that revival in the church centers on prayer and the Word of God, Warnock turns in chapter 13 to the reviving effects of prayer by examining the prayers of Elijah. Chapter 14 examines the reviving effects of God’s Word by expounding key verses in Psalm 119. In chapter 15 Warnock explores the testimony of several key figures in Christian history who have had an intimate relationship with the risen Christ, arguing that it is normative for believers to have that kind of relationship. This then leads to a discussion of assurance of salvation (chap. 16), missions on behalf of the risen Jesus (chap. 17), the hope of experiencing the resurrection of our bodies (chap. 18), and the hope of the restoration of all things (chap. 19).
An interesting feature of the book is the short introductory footnotes on some authors early on in the book. The fact that he identifies people like John MacArthur, John Stott, C. S. Lewis, and Francis Schaeffer shows that the target audience for the book is broad. Elements like this make the book helpful not only for general Christian lay audiences but for new Christians and non-Christians as well. Another unusual feature is the prevalence of quotations from online sources, especially in his use of historical sources. This makes sense, given Warnock’s status as a popular Christian blogger, but it is slightly unusual for most theological books. Although scholars would prefer that an author interact with critical editions of these works, Warnock’s use of Internet sources makes these historical documents accessible for a broad audience.
Overall this is a clear and concise book on a topic crucial to the Christian faith. Warnock seeks to provide an exegetical and historical basis for his understanding of the resurrection of Christ as well as its past, present, and future effects in the life of the believer and the church. Warnock quotes heavily from historical figures like John Calvin, Charles Spurgeon, Jonathan Edwards, as well as modern-day leaders such as D. Martyn Lloyd Jones, John Piper, and Mark Driscoll. In so doing, he provides compelling support for his argument from the biblical text and Christian tradition. Although there is little new in this book, it is an excellent reminder of the importance of the doctrine of the resurrection. After all, the resurrection of Christ is not only the basis of Christian hope; it is also the heart of the gospel (1 Cor. 15:12–19).
—Nate Claiborne with Glenn R. Kreider