The Christian community knows Adrian Warnock as an avid Evangelical Christian blogger. With the release of Raised with Christ, Warnock will also be known as an accomplished theologian who understands how to relate truth to life. What Warnock shares in his Conclusion, aptly summarizes the power and point of his entire book.
"Christians have the same power that raised Christ Jesus from the dead living inside them. One day that power will complete the work of saving us, but in the meantime the normal Christian life can be one in which we are very aware of the change that the resurrection brings. We are citizens of the age to come, living in a world that is dead to God. But we are not dead to him. We live to him. May God help us live in the light of that fact more each day. One day we will all see that, thanks to the death and resurrection of Jesus, everything really has been changed. The whole creation will have been renewed, and we will be like him."
Warnock's consistent message proclaims that because Christians are in Christ, Christ's resurrection implies our resurrection. Raised with Christ unpacks the massive implications of this spiritual reality. His commensurate premise states that while the early Church and believers throughout Church history emphasized Christ's death and resurrection, Christians today tend to highlight Christ's death for our sin, while minimizing the importance of, or being ignorant about, the implications of Christ's resurrection.
Of course, unless the tomb truly was empty, our claims of resurrection power today are equally empty. Thus, Warnock begins by exploring the biblical evidence for Christ's resurrection. After this opening section, Raised with Christ addresses "two essential questions that will occupy us throughout the rest 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?"
In laymen's terms, Warnock addresses every common and uncommon argument against the resurrection of Christ. He concludes this impressive section with N. T. Wright's conviction that, "The only possible reason why early Christianity began and took the shape that it did is that the tomb really was empty and that people really did meet Jesus, alive again."
Sadly, those prone to disbelief will likely be left unconvinced by these two foundational chapters, no matter how well-written and researched. Nonetheless, for those with eyes to see and ears to hear, Warnock builds the rest of Raised with Christ on this platform of biblical truth, reliable historical evidence, and logical rational suppositions.
Resurrection Accepted and Applied or Neglected and Ignored
Perhaps equally sad is the realization that motivated Warnock's writing of this book. Even among those who accept the reality of Christ's resurrection, our daily lives all-too-infrequently evidence a depth acceptance and application of that earth-shaking, heaven-invading actuality.
Warnock encapsulates his message beautifully and powerfully when he states:
"I am not con¬cerned that there is too much emphasis on the cross. I am, however, anxious that as we "survey the wondrous cross" we also study the resur¬rection. We must remember that the cross is just as empty as the tomb, and Christ is now glorified, having completed his work. The truth is, we cannot be truly cross-centered without also being empty-grave-centered! Jesus was not just our prophet and priest--he is our reigning King."
If you forget everything else, remember this about Raised with Christ. We must be empty-grave-centered!
After a brief summation of why we tend to neglect the resurrection, Warnock returns his readers to the first-century Church to expose their resurrection-centric theology and lives. Additionally, he traces the theme of resurrection throughout the Old Testament. Clearly, the Bible is resurrection-centric.
What Did the Resurrection Ever Do for Us?
To motivate believers today to become resurrection-centric, the rest of Raised with Christ emphasizes the with Christ aspect of the resurrection. Bravely, Warnock introduces this essential topic with an illustration from Monty Python's Flying Circus (you'll just have to buy and read Raised with Christ). He derives from this the principle that we can assume things without ever realizing their full impact on our lives.
So, for the next 150 pages, Warnock delineates the impact of Christ's resurrection on our lives by answering the fundamental question, "What did the resurrection every do for us?" His answers comprehensively apply resurrection truth to our complete salvation. Unlike some Evangelicals who seemingly stop at justification (as vital as this spiritual truth is), Warnock addresses justification, reconciliation, regeneration, and redemption. What has the resurrection ever done for us? It has given us new pardon, peace, personhood, and power.
It is impossible in a review to capture all the theological truth packed in these 150 pages. Plus, it is important to realize that with each theological truth, Warnock offers not only personal application, but realistic biblical principles for practically applying the resurrection to our daily lives, relationships, and ministries.
One "motif" or running theme Warnock conveys throughout Raised with Christ is "revival." Christ's resurrection results in a revived new creation and it ought to result in revived prayer, revived relationships to one another and to Christ, revived application of the Word, revived unity in the Body of Christ, revived assurance of eternal salvation, revived filling of the Spirit, revived fulfillment of our mission, and much more.
The Resurrection of All Things
The Bible tell us that, "He must remain in heaven until the time comes for God to restore everything" (Acts 3:21). Christ's resurrection not only has individual and corporate implications; it has universal repercussions. Powerfully, Warnock tells the tale of those everlasting ramifications. Then, as he consistently does, he addresses the "So what?" question. How do we live today in light of our eternal resurrection living? In his own words:
"God himself is living inside us! We experience the power and pres¬ence of a Jesus who is living, active, and doing things today. In every cir¬cumstance of our life the resurrection can make the difference, bringing hope when things are hard and joyful deliverances when the power of the age to come breaks through. The kingdom really is now and not yet!"
Adrian Warnock's Raised with Christ presents theological truth in a first-rate communication style. His compelling message is straightforward and profoundly life-changing. Jesus is alive. His resurrection changes everything for everyone.
Reviewed By: Bob Kellemen, Ph.D., LCPC, Author of Soul Physicians, Spiritual Friends, Beyond the Suffering, Sacred Friendships, and God's Healing for Life's Losses.