Monday, June 13, 2005

Of Things of Heaven...and Earth

The following post appeared over at The Book Den but I thought it appropriate to also print it here...

There's been some good reading in the last couple of weeks: another couple of Helen MacInnes thrillers polished off, a return to Nevil Shute with In The Wet, getting a little further in John Ciardi's translation of Purgatorio, and (inspired by Jane Austen's sweet teasing of Gothic novels in Northanger Abbey) the prototype of the genre, Horace Walpole's The Castle of Otranto. I really like them all. Well, okay; I've not been too crazy about Purgatorio, but the rest have been quite good with Shute's In The Wet being the most significant and rewarding.

However, far above these earth-related novels was the experience of reading Randy Alcorn's magnificent biblical study, Heaven. Several of us gathered in our living room last week to discuss the book (Heaven was one of the Vital Signs Ministries Book It! selections for this summer) and it was clear that the impact had been tremendous on us all. One must be careful of using such words as life-changing when describing anything -- there is a serious responsibility inherent in doing so -- but I use the term with ease and complete confidence in describing my reaction to Randy's thoroughly thrilling book. It was a delightful, inspiring, informative, provocative...and yes, life-changing book for both Claire and me.

Those of you who have checked out my list of Indispensables, the ten books I believe are most valuable for Christians, will know that Heaven, Your Real Home by Joni Eareckson-Tada is on that list. Well, Randy Alcorn's book will not displace Joni's...but it will nevertheless shoulder its way in beside it!

Heaven by Randy Alcorn will challenge your preconceptions, enlighten your fondest hopes, and shake up your suppressed fears that heaven is going to be a never-ending church service!

I recommend it as heartily as any book I've ever discussed on The Book Den.

For a copy, check your local bookstore or zip over to the web site of Eternal Perspective Ministries. In fact, the latter course will show you some nifty extras such as comments about the book, interviews with the author, a study guide especially helpful for group use, and more.