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Thursday, March 28, 2013

Review of Afterlife by Hank Hanegraaff

Today I'm reviewing Hank Hanegraaff's new book Afterlife: What You Need to Know About Heaven, the Hereafter, and Near-Death Experiences. You might know Hank from his radio program, The Bible Answer Man.

Here's a blurb from Hank's website:

If there was ever a need-to-know book, AfterLife is it. On his daily call-in radio show, the most common questions Hank fields are about the hereafter. For instance, millions are voraciously reading about the near-death experiences of young children. Consumers are desperate for knowledge and reassurance about what comes after life on this earth. Hank Hanegraaff, one of the most remarkable theological minds of the 21st century, explains the marvelous way this physical life connects our past to our eternal future. AfterLife gives readers a clear and concrete understanding about what happens after death to us and to those we love.

One quick glance at Amazon's Religion & Spirituality category yields a plethora of recent books about near-death experiences (NDEs). To name three that are extremely popular: Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon's Journey into the Afterlife by Eben Alexander, To Heaven and Back: A Doctor's Extraordinary Account of Her Death, Heaven, Angels, and Life Again: A True Story by Mary C. Neal, and Heaven is for Real: A Little Boy's Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back by Todd Burpo.

So I was very interested in a more critical look at these near-death experiences, and I found that in Hank's book.  He makes the case clear for the need to evaluate all these books cautiously and carefully. He points out that the myriad of NDEs can not all be true because many of them contradict or cancel each other out. Hank lines them up against what the Bible says, illuminating them all as a whole.

For example, some have NDEs that include Hell or judgment, but others experience no need for anything like that. Can both be true? Or possibly each holds only a piece of the puzzle. Either way, Hank makes a great case for approaching these subjective experiences with caution. Perhaps this just appeals to my analytical brain, but I think we'd all do wiser to be more keen about what we ingest and call fact.

Hank answers questions like the following:
  • What is heaven like? Will there be pets there? Sex? Will we age?
  • What happens between death and heaven? Will we have a temporary body?
  • Is there a transitional hell? What about purgatory? Did Jesus descend into hell?
  • Doesn't a loving God want everyone in heaven? Will all religions lead to heaven? Does suicide prevent entrance into heaven? Can the cremated be resurrected?
  • What about the end times? When will the second coming happen? Will Christians be on earth or heaven during the Tribulation?
  • What must someone do to have eternal life?
Quite fascinating read, really, and definitely one of those books that you'll find yourself thinking about and musing over long after you close the last page.

You can click on the title to purchase AfterLifefrom Amazon.
Hank Hanegraaff is host of the Bible Answer Man broadcast, heard daily throughout the United States and Canada via radio, satellite radio Sirius-XM 131, and the Internet. He's author of the runaway bestsellers The Prayer of Jesus and The Complete Bible Answer Book-Collector's Edition. He and his wife, Kathy, are parents to twelve children.

Let's Analyze

Have you read any of the books mentioned about the afterlife or near-death experiences? What's your take? Do you think we should take those accounts in unequivocally or should we be more cautious?