Adrian Warnock serves on the leadership team at Jubilee Church in London where he regularly preaches. He is medical doctor by trade but also is an avid Christian blogger. In this book, he is writing “about the resurrection of Jesus and its effects on us today” (p. 13). As he observes, “what the Spirit does for believers today is only possible as a result of the resurrection” (p. 14). Because of this, “without Jesus’ resurrection there is no good news at all” (p. 19). Accordingly, Warnock 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, emphasis 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. Structurally, Warnock follows Gary Habermas’s twelve facts that are considered historically knowable (Gary Habermas, The Historical Jesus [Joplin, MO: College Press: 1996]). Through his survey, 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. He concludes that it has in many ways been eclipsed by the cross, but 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 and “when he referred to either the death or resurrection of Jesus individually, he usually intended to refer to both events” (p. 73). Warnock find support for this idea in Calvin, who “is implying 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). Chapter 6 then looks back through the Old Testament for glimpses of the resurrection while chapter 7 mines the glimpses in the gospels.
In chapter 8, Warnock begins unpacking the importance of the resurrection in order to answer the second question, “what does it mean to live in light of the implications of that event?” The chapter itself is a survey of the preaching in Acts where, as Warnock notes, “the resurrection is stressed and the cross is assumed” (p.105). Chapter 9 turns a corner and begins exploring how the resurrection is connected to our justification. Chapter 10 examines conversion and connects our experience of new birth to the saving power of Jesus’ resurrection. Chapter 11 is an extended invitation to meditate on the glory of Christ and experience the transforming power of the resurrection.
Staring in chapter 12, Warnock begins a short section on the connection between resurrection and revival. As Warnock 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 expositing key verses through Psalm 119. In chapter 15 Warnock explores the examples of historical church leaders who have had an intimate relationship with the risen Christ, arguing that is in fact normative for believers to have that kind of relationship. This then leads to a discussion of assurance of salvation (chapter 16), before turning to our mission on behalf of the risen Jesus (chapter 17), our personal hope in experiencing the resurrection of our bodies (chapter 18) and our hope in the restoration of all things (chapter 19).
Some interesting features of the book are the short introductory footnotes on some authors early on in the book. It seems that his target audience is unfamiliar with people like John MacArthur, John Stott, C. S. Lewis and Francis Shaeffer, which means Warnock is casting a wide net and seeking to provide a book on the resurrection that is not only for general Christian lay audiences but new Christians and non-Christians as well. Another interesting feature is the prevalence of quotations from online sources. This makes sense given Warnock’s status as a popular Christian blogger, but is slightly unusual for most theological books. All of the quotations from Edwards are from the online source as are many of the ones from Charles Spurgeon and even several from John Piper’s online articles. In some cases, it may have been better to run the quote to round, as in a certain quote from John Owen which was a quoted in a work by Peter Toon but accessed in an online article by John Piper. More advanced readers would appreciate the use of primary, hard copy sources for quotations.
Overall, this is a very clear and concise book for the topic it endeavors to cover. Warnock seeks to provide both 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 more modern ones like D. Martyn Lloyd Jones, John Piper, and even Mark Driscoll. Warnock rests most of his argumentation on those who have come before him, and does a good job of grounding his ideas in the biblical text as well as the thinking of past theologians. The effect is that the book does not really present much in the way of new ideas, but by mining the depths of past reflections on the resurrection, Warnock is able to present a book that is a breath of fresh air in the world of contemporary evangelical books.
- Paperback: 272pgs
- Publisher: Crossway (December 22, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1433507161