8/27/12

Book Review: Heaven is For Real

By: Jonathan Harris

You may wonder how a review of the book Heaven is For Real even fits into the mission and theme of this blog. Liberal professors on a college campus don't usually push any brand of Christianity (they're against all of it), and students generally don't defend a certain brand of Christianity (they're just trying to hold on for dear life and defend the basic elements that define generic Christianity). I would like to suggest a different strategy for those defending Christianity in secular environments, including college campuses. Defend it biblically. What do you mean? I mean defend a brand of it. Defend the biblical brand. Don't defend something that undermines itself. What does this have to do with Heaven is for Real? Here's what it has to do with it. In our postmodern day and age, experience is everything. I mean, we are more prone to leave the defenses of a logical argument in favor of an experiential story (not that experience is always bad) because we think its more convincing and less likely to be questioned. You're intolerant if you question experience aren't you?

This is where Todd Burpo's Heaven is for Real fits in. It's a modern apologetic. You mean Heaven is For Real should be put on the same shelf as Evidence that Demands a Verdict and The Case for Christ? Yeah, that's basically what I'm saying. Listen to the title for a minute. This book is trying to authenticate the idea that heaven is not just a fairy tale as your college professor may have you believe. It is a real place. Here's my question though. What's the source of authority? Is it God or a little boy who happened to supposedly have a trip there? If it's man, then we have a problem. The very point of Christianity is to trust God above all---not man. But can't a little boy lead you to trusting God? That's like saying, won't candy lead me to healthy food? I'm not demeaning personal testimonies here. There's a place for them, and the apostles regularly gave their own experiences...but always in subservience to the Word of God. In other words, their testimony was consistent with God's word (Heaven is for Real contradicts it), and they tried to sway their audience by showing that God is the only reasonable truth center there is. It went like this: God is real, therefore my experience is in line with this truth. Not, my experience is line with this truth, therefore, God is real. Others have done a better job cataloging the Scriptural problems with this book. So I'll point you to one of them now (Heaven is for Real Review). My main point however is this: If your foundation is the Word of God, don't use as your authentication something outside the Word, especially something that undermines it. This is not a work of apologetics. It's at best an overconfident work of personal testimony, and at worst a work of fantasy. Not something you want to give your classmates or your professors.

Book Review: The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History

By: Jonathan Harris

On the whole, I give Thomas E. Wood's The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History two thumbs up. It's by far the most helpful, informative, and interesting installment in the Guide series I've reviewed so far. First of all, Woods is smart. I mean really smart. He's probably one the smartest men out there right now when it comes to cultural, political, and economic history. He's also original. Well, there are people who agree with him. In fact, you'll find that if you go back to the historical period he writes about, most people, or at least a sizable amount, agree with his modern-day conclusions. You just never hear about them because they were typically the silent majority (i.e. they weren't the newspaper owners, history book writers, victors in their own causes or wars). So Wood's bringing up their right conclusions on controversial questions such as Should we have fought WWI? or Were Jim Crow laws racist? will serve to be a new tune to your ear. Every student, after taking their high school history course, should read this book to gain a broad overview of everything they missed, and to wet their appetite toward further study.
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