About Providence, Divine Action and the Church

In this blog, Terry J. Wright posts thoughts and shares research on the Christian doctrine of providence. This doctrine testifies to God’s provision for all things through creation’s high priest, the man Christ Jesus. However, the precise meaning and manner of this provision is a perpetually open question, and this blog is a forum for discussion of the many issues relating to providence and the place of the Church within God’s action.

Friday, 25 March 2011

Near-Death Experiences and the Reality of Heaven: A Taste of Things to Come?

While the rest of the world dissects Rob Bell’s Love Wins with all the pleasure and intensity of a deinonychus eviscerating a tenontosaurus, I am pleased to avoid such fine dining by feasting on a topic a little less rich in carbs: the current Amazon US best-seller, Todd Burpo’s Heaven is for Real: A Little Boy’s Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back. As often seems to be the case with those who choose through no fault of their own to analyse Christian paperbacks, I haven’t actually read the book in question, but I’m sure that it’s a really God-honouring and, above all, a good read. And if you misread the blurb on the cover, you’ll see that John Piper Himself has commended this volume. High praise indeed!

The more observant among the readers of this blog post will by now have realised that I’m not going to review Heaven is for Real at all. In fact, it’s unlikely that, unless I get a free copy and a large amount of NZT-48 pills to help me get through the tome-pile that gathers dust near my desk, that I’ll even read the book. Sorry, Todd Burpo. However, it is absolutely my intention to begin reviewing on this blog some of the books on the doctrine of providence that have been loosed into the theological wilderness in the last year or so. Having promised to review Kevin Vanhoozer’s Remythologizing Theology a while ago, I can guarantee that, God willing, I’ll get around to posting on it soon. In the meantime, I plan a review series of Denis Edwards’s latest contribution to the debate around divine action, How God Acts. Not only am I pleased that the author can finally reveal the answer to this most complex and contentious of theological questions, but I am driven to a state of ecstasy by the shiny red cover.


  1. mmmm, shiny red cover...

  2. I believe in Heaven, but I don't know if I believe that people can know what's in Heaven before we go there ourselves for good. If you're a Christian who believes in miracles and likes happy endings, "Heaven is for Real" is a good read. If you're not a Christian but like reading about unexplainable-by-science recoveries and don't mind strong Christian overtones, this book isn't a bad read. It's fast--you could read it from cover to cover in 12 hours or less. As for me? I'm giving the book to my mother, who's a sucker for this kind of story. She'll like it much better than I did, if only because she actually believes it already. More power to her, and more power to the Burpos as well.

  3. I've just started reading Paula Gooder's Heaven, and judging by the first chapter, this will be a good read, too.


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