I was recently given a book by Harper One, an imprint of Harper Collins Publishers.   The name of the book is Revealing Heaven, The Christian Case for Near-Death Experiences by John W. Price.

I love stories about life-after-death experiences — especially with a Christian perspective, so I eagerly anticipated the arrival of this book!

This author is an Episcopal priest.  I shared that tidbit because I was stumped by something he confessed in the beginning of his book.  He had been through theological training as an ordained priest and didn’t even believe in life after death!   For most of the book, I couldn’t let that confession escape me.  I was disturbed that pastors/priests could lead congregations without believing in eternal life!   As a matter of fact, he was only exposed to life-after death experiences because people shared their stories with him due to his profession (which at first he didn’t believe).

I did enjoy reading the testimonies that Mr. Price shared, but from what I gathered through his research he believes:  God is such a loving and forgiving God that IF you were a loving person on earth, you were accepted into heaven (no matter your religion).  If you were a cruel person on earth, you would go to the darkness.   What would be the need for Jesus if we could earn our way into heaven by being good, kind people?

Isaiah 64:6
But we are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; We all fade as a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, Have taken us away.

Ephesians 2:9
Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.

We can’t be righteous enough to earn salvation.  It is only through the blood of Jesus that we can be reconciled to God.

John 3:16
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

Mr. Price shared that there were some commonalities in all of the stories he had heard:

  • An out-of-body experience
  • A sense of movement through a tunnel
  • A great light
  • An overwhelming feeling of love
  • A reunion with deceased loved ones
  • A sense of being in the most beautiful place, with the most beautiful music
  • A review of one’s life
  • A brief period of instruction
  • A border or point of no return
  • Being told, “It is not your time”
  • Waking up in one’s own body

I have also seen these similarities over the years, but this is the first Christian book where I read that people who didn’t call Jesus their Lord actually experienced heaven.  All of the cases I have read or heard have stated the opposite.   Those who didn’t follow Christ were shown what their future would hold in a place of torment.   Those experiences were so terrifying that it changed their lives forever.  They suddenly understood at a level greater than we ever could just what Jesus did for them on the cross.

As someone who recently lost both parents, it is comforting to read about heaven.  I can only imagine what they are seeing and doing right now.   But theologically, this book left me feeling a bit disturbed.   The title of the book led me to believe I would read through a Christian perspective, but theologically I couldn’t agree with some of the cases.

I think a more secular audience wouldn’t question the experiences as a Christian would.

Thanks for reading my review.  I hope it was helpful.