Thursday, June 5, 2014

John MacArthur and AiG Take No Prisoners With Review of "Heaven Is For Real"

John MacArthur has a strong criticism of 'heaven and hell tourism' (credit for the term here) which is published on Answers in Genesis, here.

There was no soft-pedalling in this article. With refreshing harshness (I can almost imagine JMac pounding his fists on a table, though anger is an emotion you're unlikely to see this man display, even when he's at his most animated!), the paragraphs begin with lines like these:

"Stories like Colton’s are as dangerous as they are seductive."

"We live in a narcissistic culture, and it shows in these accounts of people who claim they’ve been to heaven."

"Sadly, undiscerning readers abound, and they take these postmodern accounts of heaven altogether seriously."

"There is simply no reason to believe anyone who claims to have gone to heaven and returned."

"Far too much of the present interest in heaven, angels, and the afterlife stems from carnal curiosity."

"Scripture never indulges that desire."

"Those who demand to know more than Scripture tells us about heaven are sinning"
and he backs it up.

I really appreciated that he fleshed out the concept of comparing actual Biblical people's encounters with heaven to the modern-day nonsense, even more than I or Elizabeth Prata did. He adds Micaiah, Stephen and Lazarus (plus some others) to the list of people who we know must have seen something, but if they ever told anyone more than what we have recorded in the Bible, we're not told of it. JMac also emphasizes the fact that none of these were near-death experiences. With the exception of Lazarus, all of the men saw waking visions. And Lazarus wasn't near death. He was dead. JMac points out "They also mentioned their own fear and shame in the presence of such glory." His is more scholarly and authoritative (in a credibility sense, because he's a theologian, not because he has the prerogative to determine doctrine) than my post on this, but I'm fascinated that we've touched on similar themes. This continues to be encouraging to me, because as I wrote in my preface to "Compare the Uncertain to the Certain,"
It's fun when I realize that an idea I had, or very nearly had, shows up in other's writings, be it from blogs, pastors, or long-dead theologians, to name a few. Clearly, nothing I wrote influenced them. But I can't recall having read the particular production of theirs before, so it seems rather that our thoughts were trending down a common path, to individually arrive at a common conclusion.
That's one of the things that encourages me in my faith: that other believers invariably arrive at the same beliefs over time. The similarities are in many cases extremely specific, and it is awe-inspiring to recognize that it can't be by chance, but because we are mentally led along by the same Influence, namely, the Illumination provided to each saint by the Holy Spirit. It just makes me happy. It's hard to express it any other way. 
There's a fine line between promoting oneself and expressing glee over what one has discovered. God knows which is the case when I compare myself to others, and at other times. It is my hope that when I share something out of a motivation of joy, that it doesn't give anyone a cause to stumble.

~ Rak Chazak

1 comment:

  1. I am so glad I am not the only one to have thought this. I work in a Christian bookstore and there are far too many undiscerning readers. They take it all as gospel, when that couldn't be further from the truth. It is a pet peeve of mine.