Book Review: Heaven: The Place We Long For

Heaven:  The Place We Long For, by Dwight L. Moody

[Note:  This book was provided free of charge by Aneko Press.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.]

To be sure, my own thoughts about the kingdom of heaven are somewhat different than the author’s views and that of others [1].  That said, there is one thing I agree with the author very much, and that is on the importance of talking about the kingdom of heaven.  In fact, I think that the author should have talked about it a lot more.  There are a lot of personal stories here, but not as many discussions of what the Bible says about heaven as there could have been given the Bible’s material.  Of course, how does one talk about heaven?  Does one want to talk about heaven now, or later on?  Are we talking about the millennium, that taste of heaven on earth, or only the new heavens and the new earth?  All of these are potentially subjects worth talking about, but the author chooses the task of seeking to convince people about the ethical demands it would require to reach the kingdom of heaven and the importance of our destiny and future home to the way we should live here on earth, and that is a sensible enough decision.

In terms of its contents, this book contains two prefaces, given that the book was reprinted and updated during the author’s life, as well as six chapters before a brief biography and a listing of the publisher’s other classics, all making up a bit more than 100 pages or so of material.  The six chapters, rather predictably, deal with heaven.  The author begins with the discussion of the hope of heaven (1) and then moves on to the inhabitants of heaven, not only resurrected human beings but also God and Jesus Christ and the angels (2).  After that the author talks about the happiness of heaven (3) and the certainty of heaven for those who have attained salvation (4).  Finally, the author looks at the riches of heaven (5) in stark contrast to the temporary and vulnerable riches of earth and the rewards of heaven that are lasting and permanent, again in contrast to the passing and temporary rewards that we have on earth (6).  Throughout the book are scattered various poems, some of them deeply beautiful, that other authors wrote about heaven that help the author make his point about the importance of thinking about heaven.

There are some definitely very interesting aspects regarding the author’s own thinking.  For one, the author focuses a great deal of attention on drunkenness as being a sin that will keep one from the Kingdom of heaven.  This is certainly true, but it is listed as part of a group of sins that will prevent someone from entering the kingdom of heaven, and the author does not focus on any of the other sins in those lists (which can be found, for example, in 1 Corinthians 6 and Romans 1), which would have made for a more balanced discussion.  Obviously, there was something particular about drinking that the author was seeking to combat, likely as part of the temperance movement of the late 19th century that would eventually lead to the passage of Prohibition.  It is a bit puzzling that the author chooses to focus so much on stories of dying children and his own and others’ opinions about heaven rather than what the Bible says about it, but the author seems to be trying to reach people in a place where they are aware of what is he is saying rather than engage in difficult biblical exegesis about aspects of the world to come that may not have even been well known to the author himself.

[1] See, for example:

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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