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Our view of the future affects how we feel and act in the present. Stephen Witmer excites us about where the world is heading, gives certainty about where we as individuals are heading, and thrills us about how eternity really does change everything in our daily lives.
If you are worried about your future… or if your future doesn’t seem to make any difference to your now… or if you simply want to get more excited about where you will spend eternity… read this book!
Any book that encourages us to think about, and live in light of, eternity is a welcome addition. It's a real challenge to think of books (both good and bad) that specifically do this. It is for this reason then, that this book is a welcomed addition. That said, I found this book disappointing. Positives: In addition to the point above, Stephen can clearly write clearly and creatively. It makes it an easy to read book. He has a helpful illustration of naughts and crosses, and this is certainly something I'll use in conversation in the future. Negatives: While Witmer's view that, not all things on earth are destroyed and that things of this earth remain in their current form in the new creation, it is an increasingly popular view I struggled to see his biblical argument. He rightly says that we must 'read individual passages in the context of the whole Bible', he then goes on to give one verse as the basis of his whole argument. In doing so, he also ignores other passages that say something quite different to his argument (ie. 2 Peter 3, Rev 21) While you could say this was something that people differ on, I fear that this book could influence people to have a wrong view of their work and productivity. This book is clearly written for a US market. While I don't like reading books with US spellings, I'm not a big fan. (Let's be fair, as a dyslexic I'm hardly in a place to be critical of spelling!) But it's not just a case of problematic spelling. Early on in the book Winter gives an example of how he, as an american made an avoidable cultural misunderstanding regarding pants/trousers. However, later on in the book he does the same thing, while making a good point. It undermines his point, and sadly makes him look a bit silly. While Winter is a good writer, there is a point on many pages where the reader is asked to 'imagine' or 'You've perhaps heard the story of...' or "I've a friend who...'. While I'm all in favour for examples and illustrations to help make a point, the book is so full of them, that it became a bit nauseating. Like I said earlier, it's great to a have a book that helps us think more about eternity, especially heaven, but sadly I think this book could have been a lot better.
How are we to live in the light of Christ's return? Witmer calls us to restless patience: restless for heaven, but patient while we wait for our certain hope. You could argue about his eschatology (our work now surviving into the new creation) when the Bible says that the world will be destroyed by fire. Nonetheless I think it is a helpful book and it does not get bogged down in millenarian debates. At 116 pages it is a quick read.
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