Thursday, October 04, 2007

Book Review

I've often wondered if anyone really gives a hoot what I say on this blog....apparently one reader does because she e-mailed me to ask if I've finished 90 Minutes in Heaven and if I liked it (hope you're reading, e.a. :]) Anyway, I've finished the book and would like to make just a few comments.

The first couple of chapters are about the accident that Rev. Piper had in which he was declared clinically dead for 90 minutes and the subsequent journey to Heaven that took place within those 90 minutes. From there the story goes on to describe the severe depression and physical pain that the author went through during the time of his recovery after coming back to life (and earth.)

The last few chapters of the book speak of Rev. Piper's acceptance of all that happened and his willingness to tell others about the accident and about Heaven.

This has been an interesting story for me but I'm a skeptic. I kept reading through Rev. Piper's testimony with a critical eye...looking for whatever flaw I could find.

I really haven't found any, except perhaps that I was dismayed that he would have no thoughts about his family when he was in Heaven. He said that he never once thought about his wife and children during those 90 minutes. I thought that was terrible...but then I read the end of the book. Here's a quote from pgs. 202-203:

  • One time I shared my experiences with a large congregation that included my wife's parents, Eldon and Ethel Pentecost. They've been consistently supportive and made great sacrifices during my accident and lengthy recovery.

  • After the service, we went to their home. At one point, Eldon and I were alone, and he told me, I was angry the first time you shared your story of your trip to heaven."

  • I had no idea he felt that way.

  • "You finished by saying you never wanted to come back to earth."

  • I just nodded in affirmation, not knowing where this was going.

  • "I didn't understand it then, but I've changed. now when I hear you talk about heaven's beauty, I understand a little better why you'd willingly be separated from my daughter and grandkids for a while. You know--you really do know, don't you--that they'll join you someday?"

  • "Without a doubt," I said.

Rev. Piper goes on to say that he knew that his wife and kids were saved and that they would be there to join him. He said that people in Heaven don't have an awareness of who's not there, only those who are.

That's the part that's tripped me up. I've always felt that if we don't share with people and they don't get saved because we've never spread the word, then we're going to realize they aren't there because of us. It's probably not a Scriptural thing and I would love for someone to clarify this from the Bible for me.

So, all in all I like the book. Whether Rev. Piper actually went to Heaven or not isn't something I need to dwell on. One day I'm going to get there. And as I get older and I see the world deteriorating day by day, I'm looking more and more forward to eternity with Jesus.


Supernatural said...

Hmm... I am, perhaps, more cynical than you. I found flaws the moment he "entered" into Heaven.

For one, he stated that during the entire time, he had no idea where God was. God simply wasn't there. How can that be? When you go to Heaven, you are filled with God's presence.

Another thing, when he got to Heaven, he was the only one being greeted. What about other believers that had died? Where were they? How come they weren't with him, and weren't greeted in the same fashion? And during the whole 90 minutes of splendor and wonder, not one more believer was brought to Heaven.

And why, when he was sent back to earth, was he so full of anger, and depression? It was very clear at that point that God's intent was to keep him on earth, and to keep ministering, and for one who was so in love with the Lord, he sure did spend most of his time in the book wallowing in his own greif and bitterness. If I had just been to Heaven and come back, I think I would have done things differently, and used what I "saw" as an example in my teachings (which, he did, in the end).

My thoughts are that God gave him a very realistic hallucination - and nothing more. I do not think that he went to Heaven. I think he was given a glimps of Heaven, in a way to teach him.

So yeah. That's what I think. :)

Rita T. said...

You are stating some of the things that I thought but was afraid I would be too harsh if I said.

When the thief hanging on the cross with Jesus asked for forgiveness, Jesus said, "Today you shall be with me in Paradise." So yeah, to say that this man never saw Jesus (or the Father) in Heaven was suspicious to me too.

As a joke, there really are people who think they'll be the only ones in Heaven and that everyone and everything will focus on them, rather than on God - the whole essence of Heaven and Creator of all things.

Great comments, thank you!

SuzyScribbles said...

OK, Rita, I just had to comment. I know it's an old post, but I'm so glad somebody reviewed this. I've been interested in reading it, but heard that only the first few chapters were about heaven and the rest about his recovery. Not my cup of tea....

Anyway, I just can't get past the verse that says, "It is appointed unto man ONCE to die, and after that the judgment." I just can't go for the "die...go to heaven...come back to earth again.." I realize that Lazarus came back to earth. Funny thing.... nobody EVER hears anything about what HE experienced, and I tell you what...that was no 90 minutes in heaven...that was 4 days! Surely it was something worth talking about.

So I'm a little skeptical, but I feel badly, as Cec Murphey (the co-writer) is a highly respected and talented author with a good reputation in the industry. He's spoken at our writers group and he's a godly man. So there you have the dichotomy I feel when I think about 90 Minutes in Heaven.

I prefer Randy Alcorn's Heaven book, which has energized me into keeping an eternal perspective on a daily basis--when things are a little down in this old world. Read it and I think your review would be spectacular! He freely admits when his imagination is totally his imagination, but everything else he bases on Scripture and Scripture alone. I've read it twice and can't recommend it enough.

I think I'll skip 90 Minutes. :-)

I can't understand how anyone--once seeing the glory of heaven and the Lamb--would be DEPRESSED and full of pain once he's "back" on earth. The very thought of what's waiting for us I would think would energize us to speak the Word every minute.

Heaven and God are interchangeable. Without God there is no heaven. Without Heaven there is no God. (I saw what Supernatural said).