Chip Ingram and Lance Witt. The Real Heaven: What the Bible Actually Says. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2016. 192 pp. $12.99.
Heaven is a popular topic, and it has been for a while now. With books and movies depicting journeys beyond and back again as well as depictions of angels, it is no wonder that people are fascinated by the topic.
Of course, far more important is the fact that God created humans for eternity. We need to know what happens to us and our loved ones after death.
The Real Heaven is a new, accessible work that helps to put the importance of knowing about eternity in its proper place. The authors work to help answer important questions about what happens after we die, what heaven will be like, and how can we be sure we are going there.
On the positive side, this book is a helpful reminder of the fact that we exist for eternity. God has created us for far more than this earthly life. The authors also point out the significant truth that heaven is not some sort of cloudy, harp-playing existence that nobody really wants to experience. Instead, they accurately show that heaven, the final heaven, will be God with us on a recreated earth. I applaud the clarity of the authors in declaring that we only go to heaven when forgiven by God by grace through faith in Christ.
By means of a caution, the authors of this book clearly write from one point of view regarding end times events and their order. This book presents a very standard, dispensational, pre-tribulational view of how the end times will work out. For some readers who have a differing eschatological view regarding the tribulation or the millennium, the lack of any acknowledgement of an alternative view in this work could be off-putting.
My recommendation of this work is cautious. I certainly believe that this book has much to recommend it regarding our need to think eternally and to actually look forward to and long for heaven. At the same time, the lack of mention of alternative views to some frequently debated positions such as dispensationalism and predestination leave me unimpressed. Obviously, a person who holds positions in agreement with the authors will likely enjoy this work. Those who disagree with the authors will struggle.
In general, I recommend Heaven by Randy Alcorn as a more thorough look at the afterlife. However, in fairness, Alcorn’s book is twice as long as Ingram and Witt’s, and thus it may not be an apples to apples comparison.
I received a free audio copy of this book from ChristianAudio.com as part of their reviewers program. As always, the audio quality of the product is excellent.