Every once in a while a publisher or author asks me to do a review of a book and post it to my blog. They give me a copy of the book but there are no expectations as to what I will say about the book. Of course they are hoping I will say good things. In the case of Revealing Heaven by John W. Price, I can certainly say good things.
Price has traveled an interesting road of faith. He was what I would call a mainline liberal Episcopal priest who become confronted by something far more mysterious and wonderful than he could ever imagine and it changed him forever. In his early days of ministry, talk of life after death seemed like so much pie-in-the-sky. What really mattered was making the lives of people better. The social programs of the 60’s fit very nicely with his theology. But God seemed to have other plans.
Price was confronted by people who confided in him that they had died and experienced something wonderful before being resuscitated or even simply reviving without the aid of anyone else. At first Price found such tales somewhat embarrassing and uncomfortable. But for some reason he was confronted enough times and eventually by credible people that he knew something was up. He had to investigate. And investigate he did. He has spoken with more than 150 people about their experiences and come up with some fascinating similarities.
The sub-title of the book is, A Christian Case for Near-Death Experiences. While Price is clearly a believer in Christ who has moved away from his early mainline liberal positions in many ways, he does not present a theology that all evangelicals will embrace. There is not the clear call for a faith in Jesus Christ in the way many evangelicals would think is needed in order to have a blessed near-death experience. But this is not about what happens to people when the finally die, only about what has happened to many who saw beyond the curtain of this life, encountered something/someone glorious who in most cases sent them back with a mission to accomplish or changes to make.
But all was not beautiful light and pleasant encounters with the holy. Price talks about twelve people who had hellish near-death experiences. The accounts are often demonic and brutal. In a few cases the people who related the accounts experienced amazing change in personality and behavior. In some cases the person did not change, in spite of people warning them that what they say was their future in hell.
This is a well written book taking the form of stories more than a theological treatise. That is part of it’s appeal. You get the stories of real people, recounted by a man who at one time discounted such talk of life beyond death. It is a small book but one I suspect with give encouragement and hope to many who read it.
You can order the book from Amazon.