Hey, great style, the story is really well-written. The book is worth 3 stars almost for that alone (that's mainly where they come from in my evaluation, anyway).
It's fun to read the book. The facts (and their interpretations) are presented in a direct sort of way, much appreciated after having found lots of book that try to convince the reader of something with sly non-arguments and tautologies (here the tautology is internal, the author is not trying to convince you).
For the rest, it's a bit controversial to me.
The book tells two stories: the story, terrain, normal, common (and still moving), of a family with a child that undergoes life-saving surgery while at the very brink of death; and the story of the credulity of people that, having their perception of reality modified (I would say distorted, but let's remain as neutral as possible) by a Bible-centered interpretation of the facts, want or even need to see everything in that light and, by doing so (nothing else is needed), are reinforced in their belief.
When one says fruit and the other understands orange; when one says what time it is and the other, who doesn't see the clock nor is willing to look for one, marvels at the wonder; when one tells a story, that can only be centered on what he grasps in his finite understanding and perception (and is very difficult that resembles reality even by far, but is taken as universal truth), a story becomes incrementally rich as the one finds that the others listen to and believe it and are hungry for more details and present no critical question whatsoever because they are already sold to the idea since before this particular story is conceived... then there is something that clearly is not working and there begin my doubts.
[These are examples of what happens in the book, made general so they don't spoiler really the events of the book.]
Our confidence in the promise of eternity rests on the Word of God, not the testimony of those who claim to have visited. To say, "it is in the Bible, but now I believe it because someone has a compelling story," is to insult the sufficiency of Scripture. There is much theologically troubling regarding this account along with others. Primarily, the focus of comfort is on the reunion with other humans, or the niceness of Jesus, not on the unspeakable glory of God as in Scriptural visions. Hebrews 11 makes it clear that none have gone before have "received what was promised" that we all might be glorified together. Our resurrected bodies are received at return of Christ when the dead are raised.
As for the theological information that the son apparently learned in heaven, as the pastor of a four year old girl, we have covered all these topics and I find it hard to believe a pastor would not have had those conversations on multiple occasions with their children. Not to mention the high exposure to church lessons and books that his son would have had. The other information regarding the grandfather and miscarriage could have been gleaned through conversations that the child overheard. However, there is a more sinister possibility in all of these accounts. Satan masks as an angel of light. The demons of Jesus' day were rebuked for openly proclaiming him as the Son of God, even though those who heard would have been saved if they had believed it. Paul rebuked the demon possessed girl who was proclaiming, "These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved." What the agenda would be, we cannot say, unless it is to mix in false teaching, or to turn our focus onto a reunion in the sky with confidence based on extra-biblical testimony over a focus on sin and repentance through the gospel and the glory of God.
Like "90 Minutes in Heaven", there is an authorial self-focus in this account that is also troubling - though not to the same degree as Don Piper's story....Continua
loved reading the description of Heaven through the eyes of a child: simple, to the point, and beautiful.