Adrian Warnock is a longtime staple of the blogosphere. His website, AdrianWarnock.com started in April of 2003 and is home to more than 3500 articles. Married with five children and a medical doctor by trade, Adrian is part of the leadership team of Jubilee church, a multicultural church in London, England, where he has preached regularly for more than ten years.
His first book, Raised with Christ: How the Resurrection Changes Everything, was published by Crossway in January 2010.
A few weeks back, I had the opportunity to read and review Adrian’s book and he has graciously agreed to come by and answer a few questions.
You’re a husband and a father. You serve on your church’s leadership team. You’re a doctor. You preach. You write. How on earth do you manage to balance everything in your life?
I think that one of the main reasons is that I have a very hard working wife who frees me up to focus on all these things. To be honest I also get a lot of help from various people. I am not sure that many books have more acknowledgments than mine. In particular, I have a volunteer editor who helps me with many of my writing projects before they see the publisher or the light of day.
Similarly at church, most of what I do is encourage other leaders to serve God’s purpose. Good team work at home, at church, and at work goes a long way towards getting a lot done. I do work from home, so I don’t have the burden of a daily commute. I also try to use things more than once, so that sermon prep also becomes blog fodder, for example. I don’t watch very much TV either, and to be honest, when things are really busy, sometimes I sleep less than I should.
But I am not sure I do manage to balance everything very well at all times! Someone once said, “If you want something done, ask somebody who is already busy.” I do feel sometimes that I am trying to do too many things, so am trying to learn to say “no” more often.
You’ve run a blog for a number of years now and written a number of book reviews. How does it feel to be on the receiving end, as it were?
It is a real privilege that anyone would want to read anything I have written. When they not only read it, but comment on it, that is so helpful. In fact, even the few that have been a bit critical have helped me. I really believe that our critics serve us more than we realize. Sometimes they say something that helps us see either a weakness in our argument or realize that something we said in one way is being interpreted in an entirely different way!
Do you find it particularly tempting to read the reviews of your book? If so, was there one that really stood out for you, either good or bad?
To be honest, the whole process of publishing a book is a bit of a roller coaster. There are plenty of disappointments along the way that balance out the times when you are really pleased by something. It is so important to be rooted in a family and church who love you and therefore will not get angry like some of the watch bloggers, but yet do not think too highly of you so will not feed your ego. I thank God for my wonderful wife, and those who I know well at Jubilee Church, London. As a result, I think that the review by my pastor, Tope, meant the most to because, other than my wife, he knows me better than anyone, warts and all.
Was there a moment that writing this book became particularly “real” for you?
This is going to sound strange, but in a funny way, it only really became real when I was holding the finished book in my hands. I had never planned to write, and for so long the book seemed like it was so very far away. I worked on it for around three years, so for most of that time it all seemed very unreal.
What’s been the greatest challenge for you in the whole process of writing Raised with Christ?
Learning how to write! Seriously, there were many times I found myself staring at either a blank screen, or a jumbled mess of words that had tumbled out and seemed good to me a few days before. I had not been taught such things as grammar at school, but more than that, sometimes the ideas themselves seemed like they were fighting inside my head! I often asked myself what I was thinking to imagine I could actually get this book finished!
What was the greatest pleasure for you in writing this book?
The resurrection lies at the very heart of our faith. I am convinced that studying it has many, many benefits for us. I definitely feel closer to Jesus as a result. Now I have the rest of my life to try and actually live in light of the implications of this wonderful event.
In your study, what was the one thing that was particularly challenging for you personally? Was there only one thing?
The biggest thing was realizing just how much I had personally been neglecting the resurrection. I had preached sermons that stopped at the cross and never mentioned the gospel, had not explained the full gospel, and I even wrote a tract which omitted the most important part of the gospel we have been entrusted with! How could I and so many others have done that? There were many other challenging points, but they mostly stem from this shameful neglect.
You write that “revival” is best described as “a powerful intensification by Jesus of the Holy Spirit’s normal activity.” I really appreciated this as I’ve only heard it described in terms of signs, wonders and people falling on the ground. Why is it that so many seem to think that revival can occur where God’s Word is not preached?
I suppose because so few people actually read church history! If we read about revivals, a very clear God-centered, Bible-focused prayer-prompted picture of a revival emerges.
How has your study of the Resurrection transformed your faith? What did it reveal as lacking? What strength did it bring?
I think I am still painfully aware that I do not experience the same power that raised Christ from the dead as much as I should. Many Christians who have gone before have had a strong sense of personally knowing the risen Jesus. As Paul put it, I long “that I may know him and the power of his resurrection.” When I am most confident of the resurrection, I am most sure of my own salvation and future resurrection, most full of hope, most joyful, and most aware of Christ’s power in me. I know now that I must never again let the resurrection become something I assume.
The historical fact of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus are continually denied, despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Why do you think this denial continues to be so prevalent when, as you point out in your book, the apostles would not have died for a deliberate deception?
The blindness of unbelief is astonishing. Remember that when Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, rather than believing, the Jewish leaders made plans to kill both Jesus and even Lazarus!
What effect do you hope your book will have on its readers?
I pray it will prompt many of them to begin a lifetime of studying the resurrection, seeing it all over the Bible, reading books about it, sharing it with others, and most importantly of all, living in light of its wonderful implications.
Any final encouragement?
I urge your readers to commit to reading a book about the resurrection this year, or maybe even more than one! It need not be mine, necessarily, but every Christian should read a book about this foundation of our faith.