Raised with Christ: Review part 8 and conclusion

This is the concluding part 8 of my review of Adrian Warnock’s book Raised with Christ, which I started herepart 2, part 3, part 4, part 5, part 6, part 7.

Adrian concludes his book with two chapters about how the resurrection gives Christians hope for the future.

In chapter 18 he looks at the future hope for individual believers. He notes how this helps us to endure difficulties in this life. But he rejects how

many Christians associate “going to heaven to be with Jesus when we die” with a disembodied “spiritual” resurrection. (p.243)

He also rejects the idea of “soul sleep”, noting that “Our spirits are already with Christ in heaven” (p.244, citing Ephesians 2:6) and suggesting that after the death of the body

We remain distinct, aware beings, but in heaven we still await our eternal destiny of a physical resurrection. When we die we only become aware of what is already true of us. (p.245)

The very same bodies that are placed in our tombs will one day rise again. … We will, however, be changed from being weak, frail, and mortal into being glorious and eternal. (p.246)

In passing Adrian quotes Spurgeon agreeing with me that resurrection bodies have blood (p.243).

In his concluding chapter 19 Adrian moves on to the broader hope of the “The Resurrection of All Things”. He looks at the renewal of creation without death. associated with “the actual revealing of the resurrected children of God” (p.250). Thus he answers the question of where our resurrection bodies will live, which (in agreement with N.T. Wright’s view) will not be in heaven as popularly understood:

in the new creation heaven will be a place on earth as the heavenly Jerusalem descends. We will live on earth with renewed bodies … (p.252)

Adrian then looks at the judgment to come at the return of Christ. He ignores controversial issues of chronology as he describes three possible outcomes: condemnation, leading to real pain, but not for Christians; being saved “as through fire”; and rewards for those who have been faithful.

The last section of the chapter is a look at the kingdom of God, which is eternal, but already present now, as

God himself is living inside us! We experience the power and presence of a Jesus who is living, active, and doing things today. …  The kingdom really is now and not yet! (p.259)

We have already been raised with Christ, and yet we are waiting for the final day when our bodies will be resurrected with Christ. (p.261)

Adrian may have in mind some of his more conservative and “cessationist” Reformed friends when he writes:

It is sobering that Paul warned us that in the last days there would be people “having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power” (2 Timothy 3:5). I trust that none of us deny the power of Jesus’ resurrection to work in our lives and change us. But I hope that as we have been studying this subject, we are now more desperate than ever to see his transforming power at work, changing everything in our lives and in those around us. (p.261)

Adrian fittingly closes the book by quoting Ephesians 1:17-21 as a prayer for his readers.

I nearly wrote that I was pleasantly surprised by “Raised with Christ”. I was certainly pleased by it. But I wasn’t really surprised to find that Adrian could put aside the sometimes polemical tone he uses on his “blog” and write something as well argued and positive as this book. As I would expect it is not at a high academic level, and this occasionally comes through in minor weaknesses in the argument. But this ensures that the book is accessible to ordinary people with a reasonable education.

The only significant reservations I have are really because, as an Arminian charismatic suspicious of much “Reformed” evangelicalism, I do not fit into Adrian’s target audience. That is why I found somewhat grating the way in which he keeps quoting Spurgeon, Lloyd-Jones, and Piper, as well as older Puritans. But I know that for Adrian’s intended audience of Reformed readers, “cessationist” as well as charismatic, these are the traditionally accepted authorities, and so it is important for Adrian’s case to show that these preachers and writers support it.

I would thoroughly recommend this book to anyone whose background is “Reformed” or conservative evangelical and whose faith seems to be somewhat doctrine-centred and dry. In fact I can think of people I might like to give it to. I would think that anyone like that who read this book would find it acceptable – and if they then took its message to heart their faith would be transformed. I hope and pray that God uses the book in this way to revitalise many Christian lives.

0 thoughts on “Raised with Christ: Review part 8 and conclusion

  1. Pingback: Gentle Wisdom» Blog Archive » Raised with Christ: Review part 1

  2. Thanks Peter for the encouragement. The resurrection really is something we should all be able to unite around. May we wall know the risen Christ more and more, and may the churches be filled with the preaching of the wondrous implications of his resurrection. I agree that the message of the death AND resurrection of Jesus really should change all of us.

  3. A humorous aside: My five-year-old daughter has been asking about our resurrection bodies for a few weeks. Recently, she asked me, “So, God will peel off our old, wrinkly skin?” I told her no, and that we would have entirely new bodies, not just the skin. She thought about it a while, then asked, “So, God is going to pull off our meat, too?”

  4. Well it’s taken me a while, but when better than Easter morning itself to work my way through this?

    So would I be right in thinking there’s little or no mention in Adrian’s book about being crucified with Christ as the way in which we get raised with Christ? If so, that worries me. Because we live in a world where death and pain and suffering are all around us, where talk of the resurrection sounds like a pipe dream and a fairy tale… for me, the resurrection remains a hope, albeit tentative, something I clutch at like a drowning man clutching at straws, hanging on by the skin of my teeth… but Christ crucified: there’s a god I can relate to, a god in the midst of all the agony and grief, torn apart by it…

    Lord, help me, because I so want to believe…

  5. Phil, thanks for the timely comment, and for the link to Part 1 in your post.

    Although my review was in your own words “probably the most comprehensive”, I couldn’t look at every detail. Adrian does look at Galatians 2:20 in his chapter 10, where he writes:

    When Christ died, we died, and when Christ rose, we rose. … (p.139)

    We are saved not only be believing the fact that Christ died for our sins, but by union with the crucified and risen, exalted Savior. … We are united to both his death and resurrection. (pp.141-142).

    So Adrian doesn’t ignore the cross, far from it. He assumes the rather strong Reformed theology of the cross. That has been the focus of so many books from that wing of the church. So it is a refreshing change to find one with a different main focus.

  6. Thanks Peter — appreciate that. The phrase “Easter Sunday people in a Good Friday world” comes to mind, can’t remember who said it (and too idle to Google it) — I think much of the time I’m more of a Black Sabbath person with an Easter Sunday dream…

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