Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Helpful comment re: 90 Minutes in Heaven

Here's what my friend Jim Pierce commented over on the Wittenberg Trail about my review of 90 Minutes in Heaven:

I think the story of Lazarus and the Rich man holds a key biblical insight on this topic.

"And he called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame.’ But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.’" —Luke 16:24-26 ESV

Jesus is pretty clear in pointing out that those who "pass from here" are not able to come back over once they have died. I don't see any way around our Lord's words. So, I think you are correct with your assessment that such stories are explained physiologically and/or psychologically. Since the soul may not "cross over" once it is in heaven, or hell, then that must mean this man didn't really die and we must find another explanation for his experience.

Thanks, Jim! Good stuff!


Anonymous said...

I'm a skeptic by nature and I have often wondered what the Lutheran view of near-death experiences, ghostly encounters etc. This was very informative. I don't know what these people did or did not experience and I don't know why it happened but I do feel that we have to be careful when we say things like "prayed back into my body" just because it makes it seem like those of us who are unable to do those things for a loved one are somehow lacking in faith.

Great blog.

Rene Jorgensen said...

It's a good book and Piper should be congratulated for sharing his Near Death Experience. Only readers should be aware of one serious mistake he makes in the book which is to jump from hearing songs praising Jesus and meeting fellow Christians in heaven to religious fundamentalism. Research of Near Death Experiences show that there is no evidence to support that heaven is exclusively for Christians, or a narrow interpretation of the Bible, as experiences of heaven happen in all cultures and religions. Cross cultural studies of Near Death Experiences show that the Golden Rule truly means that we must love our neighbor - even if this person is of another faith - and "hell" is not something we can simply throw around when we disagree with people. If you have not fallen asleep in Christ, or simply use reason as well, and want to know what people who have Near Death Experiences truly experience in Heaven, have a look at my book Behind 90 Minutes in Heaven.

Kurt Onken said...

Mr. Jorgensen...if you disagree with Piper's version of what he saw in heaven, how can you accept those NDE's of heaven which leave out the praise of Jesus and meeting fellow Christians? That seems to be inconsistent.

Rev. Michael L Mueller said...

First of all, Jesus comment regarding Sheol is that one cannot cross over from Paradise to Hell. Paradise is where believers were held until Christ paid the price of their sins. Their spirits are now with Christ in heaven. The unbelievers are still in the hell side of Sheol awaiting their judgment and sentence of the eternal lake of fire. Second, heaven is a spiritual place and not a physical place, so no recognizing ones friends or relatives. Third, after Christ's return and the Judgment, there will be a resurrection of our physical bodies in the like manner as Christ's transfiguration. Then, we'll be recognizable and there will be a second heaven--don't know what that will be like. Paul says it's WOW!!!!

Jesus is life. Dead people just couldn't stay that way when He was around. Lazarus was in Paradise for four days and then was resurrected. The Saducees wanted to kill him because they didn't believe in a resurrection.

So, did Piper vist heaven? Undoubtedly no! But not for the reasons given here. But, for the reasons stated above.

Kurt Onken said...

Pastor Mueller...thanks for checking out my blog and for commenting. I've never been convinced, however, that Paradise and Heaven are not synonymous.