There was once a day when most theology books were written in order to elicit a worshipful response from the reader. This was especially true of books on Christology – these books were intended to make the reader see how awesome, powerful, gracious, kind and all out joy inducing Christ was. However, our theology books have slowly began to be written by specialists out of touch with the heart of the church – and thus these types of theology books have become the exception rather than the norm. Michael Reeves’ book Rejoicing in Christ seeks to take us back to the days when worshipful theology books were the norm. He seeks to present a through and rigorous Christology all the while presenting it in such a way that causes people to (this is not be being clever) rejoice in Christ.
This book is based on the notion that at the center of Christianity is not an idea, rather its not even the “gospel” – the center of Christianity is Christ himself. Everything begins and ends with Christ. At one point he even says that “to be truly Trinitarian we must constantly be Christ centered.” (23) He is absolutely correct!
This little book has 5 short chapters. Chapter 1 covers Christ’s role in creation and his preexistence. Chapter 2 covers his humanity an life prior to the crucifixion. Chapter 3 covers his death and resurrection. Chapter 4 covers how our lives as Christians are grounded in our present union with him. Chapter 5 is concerned with eschatology.
You might summarize the book like this (119):
- Past: Having died with him, we can look no further back into our past than him. Christ, not our failure, is our history.
- Present: United to him, we now share his glad life and standing before the Father. Filled with his Spirit, we are made ever more like him.
- Future: the judge of all the earth is our faithful Savior; when he appears we will be with him, we will be like him and we will be co-heirs with him.
What great news!
There are a couple of themes that weave themselves throughout this work – all themes that many evangelicals have sadly forgotten or just plain ignored. The first is a sort of Adam Christology – here Reeves does not simply cover the typical Romans 5 passage or simply discuss federal headship – rather Reeves consistently comes back to the notion that Christ fulfills Adam’s humanity in a sort recapitulation of Adam’s vocation. The second is an emphasis on union with Christ. This theme was certainly central to the reformers like Calvin and Luther, but has been ignored by many evangelicals up until recently. Both of these themes – which constantly pop up in every chapter of the book are grounded in Patristic themes. This sure makes sense – because a lot of Reeves theology has affinities with T.F. Torrance’s theology. It’s a sort of Reformed take on Patristic theology.
I thoroughly enjoyed the book and I think that you will enjoy it took. Rejoicing in Christ represents the perfect blend of head and heart. Rejoicing in Christ exemplifies what Christian theology ought to look like – its academically rigorous yet always reverent and worshipful. But that is not only the goal of Christian theology – it’s the goal of human beings as well… or as the WST puts it:
- 1. What is the chief end of man?
A. Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.
As you read this wonderful book I have no doubt that you will be led to glorify God because of it and find yourself rejoicing and enjoying Christ more than you did before you even cracked this book open.