Wednesday, May 11, 2011

"Heaven Revealed" Book Review

Heaven Revealed by Paul Enns is an insightful book that is full of both joy and hope. While I certainly did not agree with with Enns on everything he wrote, I often found myself celebrating and rejoicing in this profoundly biblical book.

Enns, who lost his wife some six years ago, seeks to answer questions many people have about Heaven. Full disclosure is needed here: Enns is a dispensational premillenialist. As a result, he interprets the passages on Heaven in a very literal way. Again, while I disagree with some of Enns' conclusions, I largely celebrate the work he has done here.

Rather than exploring the contents of each chapter (which would be quite the feat considering the amount of material Enns is able to cover per chapter), it is best to summarize the strengths and weaknesses of the book as a whole.

First, Enns is profoundly biblical. Each chapter is full of scripture quotations.
Second, Enns is a very clear writer. He is a very good communicator of the truth.
Third, Enns is very thorough. He often raised questions that I had not considered and answered the efficiently.
Fourth, Heaven Revealed is a fascinating read. To be honest, there were times I had trouble putting the book down! It is also profoundly readable!
Fifth, Enns is very personal and as a result, the book is very applicable. Enns writes from the heart and discusses how the doctrines he presents helped him through the grieving process. This is a book pastors should read, if for no other reason than to understand how the joy of Heaven can reach into the hearts of those who are grieving.

First, while Enns is profoundly biblical, there are times that his presuppositions get in the way. There are many times when he extrapolates more from the text than is actually there. More than once I found myself saying, "But that isn't what the text is talking about!"
Second, Enns theological system presents a distorted view of the kingdom of God. As a result, he views God's rule as purely futuristic rather than already/not yet.
Third, Enns completely ignores Surprised by Hope by N.T. Wright, a book which has large implications for the doctrine of Heaven. While I understand that Enns was writing for the layperson, it seems inexcusable to at least not interact with perhaps the most important book written on a popular level on the topic of Heaven in the past few years. Considering that Enns has endnotes throughout the book, his exclusion of Wright becomes even more baffling.

That said, though I disagree with many of Enns' conclusions, the book as a whole is a good resource and should be read. While I personally think Wright's book is a better (more accurate) understanding of eschatology, I nevertheless was greatly enriched by reading Heaven Revealed.

*I received this book free from Moody Publishers as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not
required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.*

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the review, Daniel. I wonder if one reason Enns dismisses "Surprised by Hope" is because it is utterly amil. (not to mention Wright's generous helping of inaugurated eschatology). Have you checked out "Heaven" by Randy Alcorn? Wright even recommends it in SBH as a more popular level intro. Thanks again