Heaven is Real by Don Piper

heaven-is-real

Synopsis
The author draws on his own near-death experience to describe the reality of heaven and to explain how it is possible, by relying on God’s love, to transform life challenges into blessings.

This is the follow up to the book: 90 Minutes in Heaven. Don Piper was killed in a car accident; an 18-wheel truck crushed the car he was in. He was pronounced dead at the scene – and the meds said he was dead for 90 minutes. He tells of how he went to heaven – well the gates, where he met his dead loved ones. He is adamant it was not a near-death experience – there was no white light; he says he instantly went to the gates of heaven.

This book talks of how to appreciate life on earth, but looking forward to heaven. There is the Gospel message in the book, and he teaches how to live in God’s grace, through suffering. The stories he use are extreme – of people who have attempted suicide, or people who have lost loved ones through illness, accidents or drugs. They are powerful stories, and it is moving to see how they have overcome their situation, worked through the pain and adjusted to the “new normal”.

Although the book is full of these stories, I did find myself getting annoyed with Piper. Firstly, he did not seem to grasp the idea of depression that occurs when nothing has happened – the chemical imbalance that causes the depression. He seemed to imply that it was our own fault, how we aren’t walking with God correctly, and that bugged me. Secondly, a lot of the book was about how his previous book and experience has helped other. He makes sure he states he is not boasting, but it does come across like that. And thirdly, he claims to be like Saint Paul. Now this really bugs me, because if he was, he would not state it.

Overall, this is a book with helpful stories for people who have suffered and are Christians who know they are going to heaven, however I missed a lot of the teaching because the way he wrote annoyed me.

5/10

The Passion of Jesus Christ by John Piper

From the back cover:

The most important questions anyone can ask are: Why was Jesus Christ crucified? Why did he suffer so much? What has this to do with me? Finally, who sent him to his death? The answer to the last question is God did. Jesus was God’s Son. The suffering was unsurpassed, but the whole message of the Bible leads to this answer.

Why did Christ suffer and die? The central issue of Jesus’ death is not the cause, but the meaning-God’s meaning. That is what this book is about. John Piper has gathered from the New Testament fifty reasons. Not fifty causes, but fifty purposes-in answer to the most important question that each of us must face: What did God achieve for sinners like us in sending his Son to die?

I think this blurb sums up this book perfectly. It is a short, easy to dip-into book. Every point/purpose is only 2 pages long and based on a couple of short verses. They are short and informative and written in easy to understand language. However, if you read a load of them in one go the theology can take over and block your mind.

This book is great for everyone, whether the call themselves Christian or not. If not a Christian this book is open and gives the reader a way to access Jesus and the life He brings. I would recommend this book for all, perfect bedtime reading as you can read one of the fifty answers a day so it is not too overloading.

8/10