From The Pastor At St. Paul's UCC, Freeburg, IL

Heaven Is For Real – But Which Heaven?

Tim Challies’ review of Heaven Is For Real set me to thinking (he doesn’t like it). Why are these books, that purport to tell us of some “life after death” experience, suddenly so popular? Why now, not 20 years ago? Oh there may have been such accounts 20 years ago, but if so it seems to me that they didn’t make the splash that is made now, and are not coming with such regularity as they are now. Why now?

One possibility is that we turn to this “after-this-life” literature when our “this-life” experience isn’t so great. Maybe we’re getting disillusioned about political promises? Maybe the Middle East is looking (again) like an insoluble problem at least in earthly terms? If this is escapist stuff, what is it we’re wanting to escape? Why now?

I haven’t read the book, and have no interest in reading it. I’m basically a skeptic about them. My wife read it and kinda liked it; but she says it didn’t change her life or anything. What does come to my mind is the passage about the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16). Remember, at the end of the story the rich man is in hell and asks Abraham to send Lazarus back to earth (back to life) to warn the rich man’s brothers about hell. He wants his brothers to hear about a “life after death” experience so they’re repent and avoid hell. Abraham’s answer:

But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ And he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.’ ”  Luke 16:29-31 (ESV)

If we don’t get it from Scripture, we won’t get it from anyone else – “it” being the truth about life and life after death. If you really do want to know about heaven, go to the source instead of to 4 year old kids.

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