744 of 766 people found the following review helpful
on January 20, 2006
I never buy these kinds of books. I have always viewed them as a type of preying on believers or , at best, a sleazy attempt to cash in on faith. This book was different. I read the title and synopsis and passed over it many times but something kept drawing me back to this book. I didn't know why at the time, but I had to buy this book.
I loved it from the very first page. It has a ring of truth. Most of the book is about what happened to Mr. Piper after his experience in heaven and during his long, painful recovery. I bought many copies and gave them to family and friends, urging them to read it as I believe it has the power to transform lives.
About a month after I 1st read this book my son was killed in Iraq. I now know that God was preparing me for what was to come and not be afraid but be joyful that my son is with Him in an indescribly beautiful place, in His presence. I have a peace of mind I NEVER would have known if I had not read this book. I will be forever grateful for this.
694 of 747 people found the following review helpful
on October 10, 2004
Written in straight-forward, simple style without a lot of "religionese," Don Piper has told the story of his devastating accident, his brief time in heaven and his return to a life full of pain and questions. I read it cover-to-cover in two hours and then loaned out my copy. I would recommend this book to just about anybody -- to those with questions about faith, questions about prayer, questions about life and death and pain which we all face to some extent.
His descriptions of heaven are human ones -- simple, not overly poetic or grandiose, just those of someone who experienced the indescribable and then tried to describe it. I loved the descriptions of the incredible heavenly music and I get the feeling that vast choirs and heightened senses await us there. And despite the incredible experience, Piper found it too personal, too private, and too intimate to share with anyone for over a year after his accident. I'm so glad he found the courage to do so.
I also love the honesty with which he describes his pain and depression and the inevitable questions that we must face when we have close encounters with the Almighty. The God we meet is often not the one we expected, and while we can't understand why God does what he does, we can no longer deny this God we don't understand. And while we hold these two things together, our lives are changed and grace is showered down amid the ruins of what we thought was important to us.
A simply-told story of the greatest mystery of all -- you HAVE to read this book!!
75 of 79 people found the following review helpful
on March 19, 2007
I don't know what to say, other than - this story has the ring of authenticity. I haven't checked out his facts - and frankly, I picked up his book with a good bit of healthy skepticism. So many people have attempted to make a quick buck off of the spiritual gullibility of others. But based on my understanding of Scripture and my own internal "truth meter," I walked away from this book thinking to myself, "This man may have actually been given a glimpse of heaven." I can see this book providing genuine comfort to those who have lost Christian loved ones...and unspeakable encouragment to those who are themselves facing death.
65 of 70 people found the following review helpful
on August 19, 2006
As I glanced through other reviews of this book, I noticed many of the negative reviews voiced the same issue -- "there wasn't enough about his experience in Heaven". But that's what confirmed its authenticity to me along with his self-admitted inability to describe it. I'm confident Reverand Piper conveyed exactly what he experienced and that it wasn't embellished or enhanced merely to satisfy our earthly desires for more information. A lesser author would have done so to sell more books! His experience in Heaven was the most intriguing part of the book, but of greater value was what he did with that experience as well as the mental and physical challenges following his accident. In summary, it's a confirmation of God's promises to us regarding Heaven, a reminder that we all serve a purpose for Him while on earth, and a prompting regarding our responsibility to ensure others are saved.
289 of 339 people found the following review helpful
Don Piper died on January 18, 1989 while on his way home from a church conference. Although he does go in depth into his visit "home" to Heaven, his book really concentrates on his life after the accident. After experiencing a joyous reunion with deceased relatives he was wisked away to earth with no explanation. Don is a devout Christian and suffers greatly from his banishment in heaven and with the physical pain and recovery from his automobile accident. This is really a story of survival against all odds and it is extremely motivating. When we hear of such advertisity striking others we often wonder how they find the grit to survive and even thrive. By reading Don's story we find that survival is based on a mixture of hope, faith and sheer determination. Read this book, you won't be disappointed.
211 of 250 people found the following review helpful
on May 23, 2007
I was so excited to listen to this book! To hear what it's like in Heaven - wow! But Mr. Piper talks of his moments in Heaven for just minutes on the first disk, then the other 4 1/2 disks (rest of the book) is all about his injuries in the accident and how he recovered. I was very disappointed. I expected more on Heaven, not so many details on his health condition each day. So if you want a story about a man that beat death with many prayers, this is it. But if you wanted a story, like me, that tells you every detail of Heaven and how wonderful it is, skip it. Sorry.
144 of 171 people found the following review helpful
on September 14, 2006
I gotta tell you, I dont read books very much..I'm not a big reader but the title of this book caught me. I wanted to read about heaven...I am a Christian and this book really caught my eye.
The book is about 100+ pages long and his discussion about heaven is only the first 15 pages. The rest of the story is about his recovery and the trials he went through thereafter...its not a book which discusses throughout his "90 minutes in heaven." I think this book would be inspirational to individuals who have gone through similar circumstances but to those of us who wanted to see a "glimpse of heaven", there wasnt much meat there..
61 of 71 people found the following review helpful
This is a moving story about a pastor who dies instantly in a car crash and goes to heaven. He is greeted by a welcoming committee of friends and loved ones who have already passed on into glory. The sights he sees, the things he hears, and the whole experience of being in heaven is more wonderful than anything he has ever experienced.
Just as he is about to pass through the pearly gates and walk onto a street of gold, a guy on earth is praying by his broken body, and at that moment, Don Piper is brought back to earth. For months, as he lies in a hospital bed wracked with pain, he wonders why God has not allowed him to stay in heaven, and why he must go through the agony of 105 days in the hospital and (eventually) a total of 34 surgeries.
But he eventually returns to be with his family, and God uses him to bless others with his story.
Some Bible scholars have suggested that the vision of the heavenly New Jerusalem in Revelation is figurative and that the pearly gates and the streets of gold and the enormous dimensions of the city are not to be taken literally, and therefore, Don's experience is discounted.
My response is that if the writer of Revelation is describing what he saw and heard, then it makes sense that Don's description would be similar. At any rate, it must have been an incredible comfort to know that life after death is going to be such a tremendous (and permanent) experience for the believer in Christ who passes on.
Some have been disappointed that the book focuses more on Don's recovery than it does about his experiences in heaven. But Don tells a tight story, and keeps the narrative of his life moving well. He doesn't stay in chronological order once he gets out of the hospital, but you still get the idea that he returned to his ministry and that he served at several different churches through the years.
This is a great book to give to people who want to know more about life after death or life after a near death.
348 of 424 people found the following review helpful
on December 21, 2007
There is no small amount of interest in what happens when we die. There are countless books, articles, shows, and discussions centered on this subject. Too often such discussions end with, "We'll find out one day." Well, Don Piper is here to stop such speculation and provide a first hand account of one who has actually been to heaven and returned.
Piper is a Baptist pastor who was in a tragic accident in 1989. He states that he died that day, went to heaven, spent 90 minutes there, saw some friends and relatives and then returned. He wrote a book about it and many people are reading it, over 2 million people actually. Upon a recent visit to Borders I could not resist the urge to pick up the book and begin reading myself.
The title 90 Minutes in Heaven led me to believe that the book would be an extensive description of Piper's time in heaven. I was disappointed to find that less than 10% of the total pages in this book actually dealt with his alleged time in heaven. The majority of the book dealt with Piper's recovery in the hospital, his transition back to `normal' life, and the subsequent speaking ministry that he has enjoyed. Regrettably there was more detail given to his description of an enema than his time in heaven. I do not say this to be crass but to express personal disappointment with the promotion of the book as an expose on heaven and instead I got unmentionable details concerning such things as this. Seriously, it was gross.
So here is the story in a nutshell, Piper is coming home from a conference, his car collides with a tractor trailer, and he is quickly pronounced dead on the scene. Shortly thereafter another Baptist pastor shows up (it is Texas after all) and begins praying for the recently deceased Piper. It is important to note that the pastor indicates that God told him to pray for Don Piper. Now as Protestants we typically do not pray for dead people, we leave that to Catholics, because it is not in the Bible; however, according to this pastor God is giving new revelation that contradicts the Bible. After a time of praying the pastor indicates that Piper began singing with him.
It was during this time that Piper states that he went to heaven. His description of heaven was nothing that you haven't heard before. There was a gate, gold, music, singing, and of course all of his relatives and friends were there. In fact there was, according to Piper, a reception committee awaiting him. There was no God sighting or a view of the throne or King Jesus. To be fair, Piper asserts that he didn't get all the way in past the gate.
So Piper comes back to life and is in the hospital. It should be noted that no one knew that Piper had died at this point, including his wife. "No one knew that I had died hours earlier....Eva (his wife) found out I had died from Dick Onerecker (the pastor who was praying) almost two weeks after the accident on one of Dick's visits to see me in the hospital." (p. 48) I find this strange that this alleged miracle of resurrection would not be on everyone's lips in and around the hospital. After all, how many people have come back from the dead?
Furthermore, it wasn't until nearly 2 years later that Piper told anyone about his experience in heaven. "Until then I had never talked to anyone about my heavenly experience. In a general sense, I had talked to Eva (his wife), but I always closed off the conversation before she asked questions. She tacitly understood that part of my experience was off-limits." (p. 123)
I will be honest with you, I do not believe the story. I do think that Piper really believes it, I do not think he is parading around the country with selfish motives. However, I have nothing in Scripture to convince me that his experience is genuine and the details he gives me leave me with more questions than answers.
From a Christian perspective this is a troubling book. There are a number of concerns that I have with it and they serve as a list of reasons why you should save your 13 frog-skins.
/1/ The Elevation of Experience as Authority: This book pivots on the authority of the personal experience. However we interpret our various circumstances becomes God communicating to us. Suddenly heaven is all about seeing grandpa, our neighbors, and hearing a hymn or two.
/2/ The Demotion of Scripture from Authority: Aside from the verse at the beginning of each chapter this book is devoid of the Bible. In fact, I would argue that this book is what you would write if you did not have the Bible. Piper's view of heaven is more akin to what you would see on Oprah rather than what you would read in Revelation. The Bible portrays heaven as being the glorious stage of Christ, he is what makes heaven heavenly (Rev. 5.11-14). Except for an occasional name drop this book is devoid of Jesus. Say what you want, but to elevate personal experience to the chief authority here is to demote the Bible.
This is troubling.
Piper says it best, "I have changed the way I do funerals. Now I can speak authoritatively about heaven from firsthand knowledge." (p. 129). This is a terrible statement. He writes as one who does not have a Bible. There is no difference in what Don Piper is doing and what the cult leaders have done in elevating their own revelation to a peer or superior status with the Bible (cf. Mormons, Jehovah's Witness, Christian Scientists, etc..). He should not get a free pass because he is a member of the Southern Baptist Convention.
/3/ An Improper view of Trials: This is a text book on how not to deal with trials. Instead of embracing a trial as the providential means by which God means to sanctify his children and make them more like Jesus (James 1.3-5) Piper resists the trial at every turn.
/4/ A lack of theological precision: Piper is just plain theologically sloppy. You may think I am being mean here, but remember he is a pastor, he has been to seminary, he is supposed to be able to handle the Word like someone who is going to give an account (Jam. 3.1ff, 2 Tim. 3 & 4). Piper attributes the following items to be miracles: wearing a seat belt, the accident occurring on a bridge, not having a head injury, the identity of the surgeon, people praying for him. These may be items of providence but they are not things which theologians would typically call miracles. A miracle is typically referred to as a less common outworking of God's sovereign control or providence over creation. Wearing a seat belt is not a miracle. A pastor should know better than this.
/5/ An Inadequate View of Heaven: I alluded to this above. It is a big problem when you miss the whole point of heaven. Heaven is not about seeing grandpa or your old baseball coach it is about worshiping Jesus. To rip off the heaven of heaven and package it as some subjective family reunion at club med with nice background music is reproachable. And to furthermore affix some "God-told-me" talk to it to bolster its authority is also troubling.
There is enough heavenly beauty, glory, and treasure in the Bible. Read it and you will long for the heaven of the Bible where Jesus is central.
Save your money, this book is not worth it.
59 of 69 people found the following review helpful
on December 21, 2008
Don Piper has been an ordained minister since 1985. In 1989 he was involved in a car accident, where he was clinically dead for 90 minutes. In this NYT bestseller, he attempts to convey his glimpse of heaven but it falls flat. In the acknowlegements, Piper admits that "he has seldom satisfied anyone with quick answers or brief encounters retelling his experience" and "generally left more unanswered questions than satisfactory responses". Anyone expecting more from this book will be wholly disappointed.
Piper describes the accident from his perspective and from what he learned afterward. He talks a lot about his physical, emotional and spiritual recovery from his debilitating injuries. However, the reader is most interested in the 90 minutes he claims to have been in heaven. Disappointingly, Piper constantly falls back on the failure of earthly adjectives to adequately convey anything of what he saw or felt during that period. Tiringly so. After awhile, the reader will realize that he could have described the 90 minutes in about 5 minutes.
If you're interested in an inspirational story of overcoming tremendous physical difficulty and maintaining a healthy perspective about life following tragedy, then this book will not disappoint. If you're interested in a description of heaven brought back by someone who has been there and returned to tell the story, you will be disappointed and unsatisfied as Piper forewarns in the acknowledgement section.