The Ascension and Exaltation of Christ

This past Thursday (5/17/2012) was the celebration of the Ascension of Jesus Christ by the Western church, although many churches will celebrate it this Sunday. As I have looked at resources for the Ascension, I realized that there have been few books in English on this topic. There are a few current books that are essential:

Gerrit Scott Dawson, Jesus Ascended: The Meaning of Christ’s Continuing Incarnation

Douglas B. Farrow, Ascension Theology and Ascension and Ecclesia: On the Significance of the Doctrine of the Ascension for Ecclesiology and Christian Cosmology

There are a few older works that should be consulted if available:

  • William Milligan, The Ascension and Heavenly Priesthood of our Lord (1891)
  • H. B. Swete, The Ascended Christ: A Study in the Earliest Christian Teaching (1922)
  • Arthur J. Tait, An Introduction to the History of Doctrine The Heavenly Session of Our Lord: a Study in the History of Doctrine (1912)
  • J. G. Davies, He Ascended into Heaven (1958)

And then two newels works that are out of print (written for a broader audience):

  • Brian K. Donne, Christ Ascended: The Significance of the Ascension in the New Testament (1983)
  • Peter Toon, The Ascension of Our Lord (1984)
  • Derek Thomas, Take Up to Heaven (1996)
  • Derek Prime, The Ascension: The Shout of a King (1999)

There is often a section on the ascension in books on the resurrection, such as Thomas F. Torrance, Space, Time and Resurrection (1976), Murray J. Harris, Raised Immortal (1983), and N. T. Wright, Surprised by Hope (2008).


I am not “in love with” Jesus

Yes, you read that correctly, but it was not original with me. Prof. John Stackhouse wrote this blog: “Jesus, I’m NOT in Love with You.” He has nailed the issue in regard to sentimental gospel songs and revivalist hymns. He gives three main reasons:

  • The phrase “in love with” is reserved for one person only: my wife.
  • There is a deeper gender issue going on here. Men are usually opposed to singing that they are “in love with” another man [and they should be opposed to singing that], and many women [not all] often love telling Jesus that they are in love with him [which is not how it should be].
  • Finally, this ignores the corporate, covenantal, collective aspect of the people of God. Stackhouse says, “Jesus is not your boyfriend, notyour fiancé, and not your eventual husband.” He isn’t.

Go read the rest of the post. I think it is an excellent corrective so some of the sentimentalism that is taking place in the church these days.

[HT: Justin Taylor]