Paul D. Wolfe
Banner of Truth, Edinburgh, 2011, 194pp, paperback.
ISBN: 978 1 84871 143 3
Setting our Sights on Heaven. What a marvelous subject to be writing on as a Christian author! Sinclair Ferguson in his ‘Foreword’ is sadly right, when he accurately diagnoses a problem faced by many contemporary churches. He writes: ‘We are inexperienced in breathing in heavenly air. But the soul that has breathed in heaven’s joyful passion for the glory of God senses more and more just how abnormal, fallen, and distorted this-world-focused life has become’ (xi).
The subject matter of this book makes for compelling reading. The work is structured in two parts: Part 1, ‘The World to Come’ and Part 2, ‘The Cure for What Ails Us’. Chapter Two, ‘Show Me the Way To Go Home’ is particularly useful, to help those who fear death, so that they can be comforted with the sure promise of the Christian’s future hope, ‘life on the new earth’ (43). Chapter Three ‘Set Your Minds’, could pastorally help us all, to become re-orientated upon the goal of our faith. This chapter emphasises the exhortation of Peter the apostle, to ‘set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ’ (1 Peter 1:13).
There are two comments that can be made to perhaps improve the readability of this project. Firstly, I could not help but think that this book came across as a systematic theology of the doctrine of heaven. This is not wrong in itself, but the material could have been arranged differently. Secondly, the book would have been greatly enhanced if it had included a chapter which expounded the last two chapters of the Bible: Revelation Chapters 21 and 22. In this section of scripture we encounter the ‘heavenly air’ at it’s freshest.
Even if you do not read this book, may you be gripped anew with a vision of heaven,as John the apostle was, on the Isle of Patmos. ‘And I saw no temple in the city, for it’s temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and it’s lamp is the Lamb’ (Rev. 21:22-23).