Raised with Christ: Review part 1

I thank Adrian Warnock and his publishers, Crossway, for sending me a complimentary copy for review of Adrian’s new book Raised with Christ: How the Resurrection Changes Everything. Long time readers of this blog will know that I have had many disagreements with Adrian. But I am very pleased that he has put his Bible knowledge and his sharp mind to good use in writing about the neglected subject of the resurrection and its implications.

Anyway, I had better be nice to Adrian as, in an endorsement on the cover, Mark Driscoll calls him “my friend”. I wouldn’t want to meet Mark Driscoll on a dark night after being nasty to one of his friends! 😉

I propose to review this book in a number of posts, as I read through it. So far I have read the Foreword by Terry Virgo, the Preface, and the introductory Chapter 1.

In the Preface Adrian notes that he writes “as an ordinary Christian, and not a theologian” (p.15). Indeed he writes for a popular audience. But of course that is no excuse for making theological errors. I suppose I wonder, as I start reading, how well he will do, without formal theological training, at avoiding doctrinal pitfalls. Well, I will see – and point out in this review anything serious that I find.

Here is how Adrian starts chapter 1:

“WHAT! DID JESUS COME BACK to life again?” This was the surprised reaction when a young Englishwoman heard about the resurrection of Jesus. (p.19)

It is indeed amazing that a woman, old enough to be a mother and living in a country so full of Christians, could be so ignorant of basic Christian teaching.

She hadn’t rejected the gospel. No one had ever told her about it! (p.19)

Well, indeed. But perhaps she had heard a presentation of the gospel not including the resurrection. Such presentations are produced not only by liberal Christians who have doubts about the resurrection, but also by good conservative evangelicals who strongly affirm its truth – but only when someone else brings up the subject!

See for example this version of The Bridge – A Gospel Illustration, attributed to Bill Hybels & Mark Mittelberg, which mentions Jesus “coming to earth as one of us, and dying on the cross to pay the death penalty we owed”, but not his resurrection. Someone could be taken through this presentation and told that they had become a Christian, “immediately adopted into His family as His son or daughter”, without hearing even a word about the resurrection.

Adrian continues his first chapter by explaining “HOW THIS BOOK CAME TO BE WRITTEN”:

I was asked to preach on Easter Sunday 2007. … Preachers don’t often talk about how they decide what to speak about. … I woke suddenly in the night. A simple phrase was burning in my mind: “Adrian, preach about the resurrection.” (p.21)

I must say I am amazed. In what other Christian tradition would it take a voice from God (at least that’s what Adrian implies this was) to get a preacher to choose the resurrection as his or her sermon topic for Easter Sunday? Some of us Anglicans may not have much to say on the subject, but at least it is the default theme on this one Sunday of the year. One wonders whether in New Frontiers (Adrian’s church grouping) this doctrine ever gets a mention, barring divine intervention.

Adrian goes on to consider the current state of the church, which he sees as “general decline” but with “many encouraging signs”. I would agree. I might not agree on exactly which signs are encouraging, but I do accept the one example Adrian names: Mark Driscoll’s Mars Hill Church in Seattle. However, I have a problem with how Adrian divides the churches which are attracting growing numbers of younger people into “Two distinct groups”:

One group, calling itself the “emerging church,” is willing to change everything about church to better fit in with postmodern, informal, twenty-first century culture. By some, even the message is adapted for increased appeal.

The second group, the “young, restless, and reformed,” is also willing to change many aspects of church organization, worship meetings, and the style of music. However, they seek, if anything, a more traditional message than their parents … (p.25)

It is clear that Adrian prefers the latter group. But I wonder if it is helpful to make this kind of distinction. If we leave aside those by whom “the message is adapted”, whether “for increased appeal” or just to be “more traditional”, what really is the difference between a relatively conservative “emerging church” and one like Driscoll’s Mars Hill? They would probably disagree about women in leadership, but not much else. Is this the unmentioned shibboleth which separates Adrian’s two groups?

Anyway, if Adrian is writing primarily to those who neglect the resurrection in a misguided attempt to hold to “a more traditional message than their parents”, then I can only wish him well, and hope that his readers understand that their message needs to be not so much “more traditional” as closer in its overall balance to the teaching of the New Testament.

Continued in part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5, part 6, part 7, part 8 and conclusion.

0 thoughts on “Raised with Christ: Review part 1

  1. Thanks for this first part of a review, Peter. I trust that all Christians can agree that the resurrection has been neglected and we *must* refocus on it.

    I agree that many so-called gospel presentations do not include the resurrection. I would argue that the biblical gospel has not been preached at all if the resurrection is not included. It is to my shame that I too shared such an incomplete gospel often in the past.

    You might be surprised to know that even some Easter Sunday services are even devoid of the resurrection, especially in churches without a Good Friday service-hopefully not many of course! Whatever it was that happened to me that morning, it really wasn’t just about that Sunday, but started for me an insatiable desire to study and proclaim the resurrection of our Lord and Savior.

    I wondered how long it would take you to get to the role of women! Believe it or not that issue is not as significant to me as you imply. What concerns me much more is the attitude of some to the Bible and its authority in our lives today. There are people who disagree with me on many things but who accept “Sola Scriptura” and endeavor to submit themselves to the Bible’s message as best as they can understand it. These I can and do respect.

    I look forward to reading the rest of your review posts. If you have any ideas for things that should be addressed in the study guide that would be helpful too.

  2. Thank you, Adrian. I will try to keep going with the book and the review.

    If it’s not the women issue which makes the big difference between Driscoll and the more conservative of the emerging crowd, what is it? I really don’t understand why people like you love Driscoll but hate, for example, Brian McLaren. Could it be that you reject statements of McLaren’s like this one?:

    I believe people are saved not by objective truth, but by Jesus. Their faith isn’t in their knowledge, but in God.

    Or is it more that “McLaren has been an outspoken advocate of issues such as social justice and peace”?

  3. Pingback: Gentle Wisdom» Blog Archive » Raised with Christ: Review part 2

  4. Pingback: Gentle Wisdom» Blog Archive » Raised with Christ: Review part 4

  5. Pingback: Gentle Wisdom» Blog Archive » Raised with Christ: Review part 5

  6. Pingback: Gentle Wisdom» Blog Archive » Effective prayer: James 5:16-17

  7. Pingback: Gentle Wisdom» Blog Archive » Raised with Christ: Review part 6

  8. Pingback: Gentle Wisdom» Blog Archive » Raised with Christ: Review part 7

  9. Pingback: Gentle Wisdom» Blog Archive » Raised with Christ: Review part 8 and conclusion

  10. Hi Peter – long time no see! Don’t know how I missed this but never mind: I shall now have to spend a happy hour or two perusing the series.

    I’ll happily affirm that Driscoll is a nutjob, by the way … and that McLaren is cool … but J outshines both and the rest of us put together and seems quite willing to live within the tension of our differences. Mind you, when you’ve been to hell and back, I guess that kinda gives you a different perspective on things, even when you’re a god!

  11. Pingback: Alleluia: Christ is Risen! « UKCBD: The Christian Bookshops Blog

  12. Pingback: Adrian Warnock reopens comments - Gentle Wisdom

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

To prove you're a person (not a spam script), type the security word shown in the picture. Click on the picture to hear an audio file of the word.
Anti-spam image