Mandy Baker Johnson

Living without Shadows

From The Resurrection To His Return

From the Resurrection to His Return by Dr Don A Carson is a short book which is full of  practical, sound advice.  It has only five chapters which are centred around the last half of the apostle Paul’s second letter to Timothy.  Each chapter leads into the next in a logical way.  I think this is an ideal book for people who don’t particularly enjoy reading because it is so concise; its very shortness makes it accessible.

Dr Carson looks at the fact that in these last days we live in difficult times, with evil people becoming more evil.  Therefore, he exhorts us to choose godly mentors who we can look up to and imitate, as we see them following Jesus Christ.  Some of you, like me, may feel woefully inadeqate to say to a younger Christian:  ‘Do you want to know what Christianity is like?  Watch me.’  Yet Dr Carson insists that it is unbiblical not to do this.  The apostle Paul had sussed that many things are learned as much by example as they are by word, and Dr Carson agrees with him.  He then backs this up by telling a powerful true story (you’ll have to read the book to find out what it is – but it’s both challenging and heart-warming).

In the third chapter, Dr Carson warns Christians not to be naive with regard to evil.  He writes:  ‘Christians should never, ever be surprised by evil.  While we should always be horrified by evil, we should never be surprised by it.  Do not adopt a Pollyannaish view of things.  Do not be surprised by evil.  Hold few illusions about the world.  There are many times we should be horrified – surprised, never.’

In the last two chapters, Dr Carson exhorts us to hold onto the Bible and to pass it on to others.  It’s not a magic book, as in ‘a verse a day keeps the devil away’ but it’s a book that points us to Jesus.  The Jesus who saves and transforms lives, and who by His death and resurrection offers us a relationship with God.  The Bible makes us ‘wise to salvation’ – it shows us Jesus and His Father and how much they love us.  It tells us of the wonderful gift of the Holy Spirit, who they are very happy to pour out on anyone who asks for Him.

Finally, Dr Carson encourages us to share Bible truths with others.  In doing so, we become part of a long relay race stretching back to Jesus and the first apostles, and looking ahead to the next generation.

From the Resurrection to His Return is a valuable book because it warns us from the Scriptures of the pitfalls of living in the last days, and shows us practically how to live aright in our time.

I am grateful to Christian Focus Publications for providing me with a complimentary Kindle version of this book for the purposes of writing a review.  I can highly recommend it.

2 Comments

  1. Andy Wilcock

    15/03/2012 at 7:39 am

    And what’s wrong with Pollyanna? “Pollyannaish” Maybe I need to read the book, but my understanding of her attitude was that everyone has the potential for good, even though their actions may be evil. If this attitude is wrong – are their certain people, who have lost the right to hear the gospel and respond to it. Society and particularly the media (in an almost “Eye for an Eye” kind of approach) demonise certain crimes/criminals, writing them off as human beings (Evil). But because of our created likeness to God (although fallen) and because of Christ I believe despite the actions of the past anyone can be reformed in fact transformed and therefore has the potential for good. “Hate the sin and not the sinner”. That does not mean that an alcoholic can drink sensibly, or a paedophile could work with children, but their is hope for them in Christ. Society says otherwise. But then again my background is working with young offenders and alcohol dependency. That is why Jesus was nearly thrown off a cliff – the crowd was basically racist and incensed by Jesus telling them that in the past Elisha had healed a syrian terrorist and that Elijah had provided for a heathen widow – maybe even the widow of a terrorist.
    Thanks for the article, its helpful, but don’t diss Pollyanna, I like what she stands for it gives me hope in preaching the gospel. God can transform and save the very worst off sinners and therefor we must love them.

    • mandyj-blog

      22/03/2012 at 4:11 pm

      Pollyanna was a character who played the ‘Glad Game’. She tried hard from within herself to find something glad in every situation, no matter how bad. It’s a lovely story for a book, and there’s certainly something to be said for developing a positive attitude, but it’s not possible to apply ‘gladness’ to tough real life situations, not without Christ anyway. And then it’s His joy that gives you the strength to be glad, not something conjured up from within you.

      Pollyanna was also delightfully naive, which is great for a book but probably dangerous for real life. I agree with you Andy that we should look for the good in people, and it’s important to show trust in people, but we mustn’t be naive about it. I think that’s what Dr Carson is trying to get at.

      Thanks for your comments.

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