Author: Tim Chester & Jonny Woodrow
Publisher: Christian Focus Publishing
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Buy The Ascension: Humanity in the Presence
Reading Level: Easy
Recently I wrote that the ascension is often the neglected chapter of the gospel story. Next thing you know Tim Chester and Jonny Woodrow are putting out Ascension: Humanity in the Presence of God. Coincidence? I think not. All joking aside. This is a valuable addition to the current gospel-centered dialogue. It highlights a crucial element in the progression of redemptive history. Without the ascension we would have no assurance. Succinctly Chester and Woodrow explain,
But one of the greatest wonders of the ascension is that a human being is now in the presence of God” (p. 55)The entire book slowly unfolds these truths. Chester and Woodrow work to tease out the implications of Jesus’s ascension especially in light of his humanity for the gospel. For instance, they say, “Atonement was not complete until Jesus stood before God on our behalf” (p. 22). Also helpful,
“The scandal is not just that God has left heaven to be ‘enfleshed’ on earth, but that God will return to heaven in the flesh. As John (‘Rabbi’) Duncan, the Scottish theologian and missionary, said, ‘The dust of the earth sits on the throne of heaven’” (p. 58)
The ascension secures our royal identity and locates it with Jesus in the presence of the Father. Far from delivery of our royal identity, it is the even that secures it. Because of the ascension we are seated at the right hand of the Father (Eph. 2:6). (p. 79)
There was also some interesting application near the end of the book. Chester and Woodrow contrast incarnational ministry with ascension ministry; they also examine the Lord’s Supper in light of Christ’s ascension. Both sections rely heavily on a robust understanding of Christ’s reigning from heaven and his sending the Spirit. For the first, he argues Jesus doesn’t need a replacement body to do incarnation ministry because he reigns embodied through the power of the Spirit. For the second, he argues against the Roman Catholic and Lutheran understanding of the real presence insisting instead what happens when we eat and drinks at the table is the Spirit draw us into throne room where Christ sits at the right hand of the Father.
I highly recommend this book for all Christians. There’s so few books written about the ascension especially on the level any one could understand. Ascension: Humanity in the Presence of God fills this hole. You won’t find a book that has such a strong right hook in such a little frame (just under one hundred pages).
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received The Ascension: Humanity in the Presence of God free from the Christian Focus Publishing. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
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