My review of Brandon Crowe’s The Hope of Israel: The Resurrection of Christ in the Acts of the Apostles by the Baker Publishing Group.
What does this book offer the Church?
Back when I was in college, the church I attended and served hosted both a Good Friday service (called Proclaim) and an Easter morning service. It was the closest thing we had to following the Church Calendar, so we discussed the death of Jesus at length on Friday, and (presumably) discussed his resurrection on Sunday morning. I had always stayed at school for the Good Friday service, but went home for the weekend, missing the Sunday service. I used to joke that Jesus died, but I never learned if he came back after.
Like Caiaphas, who was an unknowing prophet, I spoke something with far more depth than I expected. Many churches today do not celebrate, discuss, or understanding the importance of the resurrection. Brandon Crowe’s monograph on the resurrection of Acts helps refocus our attention on this turning point in human history, reminding us of the importance of this event and doctrine.
The book is split into two distinct halves. The first half focuses on the resurrection in the book of Acts. He focuses on the sermons and discussions in Acts, highlighting the important role the resurrection plays in each. He looks at Peter, Paul, and others who talk about it, looking at each’s unique contributions and how they inform the rest of the Bible and New Testament doctrine as well. The second half of the book looks at how the resurrection impacts systematic theology, looking at the orud salutis and historia salutis. Both of these halves together make a compelling work, challenging the Church to re-engage with a core doctrine.
How well does this book accomplish its goals?
When I found this book on Netgalley, I was excited, and proceeded to read the entire book in a single night. It was well written and easy to follow, but I think I was super excited for the book because I have felt the distinct lack of resurrection-speak in our churches. For the most part, a lot of churches are content speaking about the Cross, never bringing Jesus all the way back to life (let alone the ascension). For this alone, the book is worth reading.
But thankfully, the book is well-written. It brings readers into the Greek text, but it doesn’t expect Greek fluency. The Greek words used are translated, and Crowe shows us why these words are important. The section on systematic theology is similarly easy to understand, but it features some deep dives into how the resurrection changes history and how it impacts our theology. One section that was particularly helpful for me was the section on how the resurrection validates Scripture by showing how the OT pointed toward the resurrection.
(On an entirely personal note, it’s been a while since I’ve read a book focusing on a singular aspect of a book of the Bible, as I’ve been reading more general commentaries lately. I forgot how refreshing these types of books can be!)
Crowe has given the book a handy and engaging tool to rediscover one of her core doctrines. It would be a shame if the Church wasted this opportunity to come back to the resurrection of Christ, one of the most improtant turning points in world history.
You can read more about the book on Baker Publishing Group’s website. You can pre-order the book on Barnes & Noble and Amazon’s websites. I received a free review copy from Netgalley and the publisher, but I was not required to write a good review, only an honest one.