June 02, 2011

Two Book Reviews

I posted this over at my other blog, but figured I could post them over here as well:

Two book reviews

Heaven is For Real - Todd Burpo
Safe in the Arms of God - John MacArthur

I told you a few weeks ago that I had read “Heaven is For Real” by Todd Burpo. It’s a story about Todd’s 3 year old son whose appendix ruptured and who almost died. While in surgery, Colton experienced 3 minutes in Heaven. It was months before his parents realized this, months of hearing their son say strange things, thinking that his Sunday school teachers were really doing a truly exceptional job, and finally realizing that their son had experienced something extraordinary.

He claimed to have met Jesus, John the Baptist (who, apparently is “really nice”), his dad’s grandpa (whom he had never met and never really been told about), and his sister who died before she was born (his mom had a miscarriage they had not told Colton about).

Sounds crazy, right? That’s what I thought. Then I read the book. Skeptically, of course. It is an amazing story. I don’t know if it’s a true story. I don’t know if I believe it. But I’d like to. I’d like to believe that this pastor is not just making this story up. The Scripture throughout the book is sound. The story presents the Gospel, as well as many amazing thoughts about Heaven, as presented by a very young child.

Am I still skeptical? Yes. Do I want to believe Colton’s story, presented in this book by his father? Yes. Does the book make me look forward to Heaven more as a truly “real” place? Yes, in fact, it does.

I recommend it. If you have lost a child, or anyone close to you to Heaven, I’ll warn you now, it’s a tear-jerker of a read. But it is also an encouraging and uplifting read.

The other book I’ve read in the wake of Hope’s death has been “Safe in the Arms of God” by John MacArthur.

While I want to believe the story in “Heaven is For Real” - I find “Safe in the Arms of God” to be far more encouraging. It reads more like a Bible study, although it isn’t. It’s John MacArthur’s personal Bible study that he has done to find Scriptural evidence that babies who die before they are born, stillborn babies, babies who die shortly after they are born, very young toddlers, and people who never mature mentally past early childhood go to Heaven and are safe in the arms of Jesus. It is a short read, it is an easy read (though not as easy a read as “Heaven is For Real”), and it is theologically sound as far as I can tell from what I’ve looked up and read as I studied MacArthur’s study.

This book is the Scriptural evidence for something I have always believed, but didn’t know (because I hadn’t done the Scriptural research) WHY I believed it. Presented clearly, honestly, and with a vast number of Scriptural references (most of which I have looked up myself now and read commentaries on in order to make sure I wasn’t just taking for truth something that wasn’t), this book is definitely something I would recommend to anyone who has had a miscarriage, lost a baby or very young child, or anyone who has a child with a disability that makes it so they will not mature mentally past the capabilities of a young child. All are included in this book (though it focuses primarily on parents who have lost a child). I would also recommend this to you if you know anyone who is in the above categories.

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