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Heaven Is Not My Home Paperback – February 17, 2001
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About the Author
Paul Marshall is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute's Center for Religious Freedom, Washington, D.C. He is the award-winning author of more than twenty books and has spoken on religious freedom, international relations, and radical Islam before Congress and the U.S. State Department and in many other nations.
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Top Customer Reviews
Paul Marshall shows that living the Christian life is not about prayer, Bible studies, and church attendance, but about living the way God wants us to live as human beings in this world.
We were not made for another world, but for this world. We were not made for heaven, but for earth. We live as God wants us to live, not by waiting to die so we can go to heaven, but simply by living this life as fully as we possibly can.
Using very clear language, vivid description, and intriguing personal stories, this book drives home the point that Christians are called to be at home in God's world, and about the King's business, rather than always attempting to escape this world.
The impressive endorsements by notable figures such as evangelical theologian J.I. Packer ring true as one reads chapter after surprising and enjoyable chapter. This book will help the church discover a very old and orthodox truth: Christ frees us up to be fully human and radically engaged in realizing in the here and now his age-old purposes for his world. No, it will not all burn in the end as some milennium fear-mongers would have us believe. God has not fashioned the works of his hands to end in futility, but to be infused with meaning and purpose. Rather with Christ's return, our world--perfected with its redeemed and transformed people, animals, institutions, and ALL that God has made--will ineed blaze brilliantly with the glory of its Creator.
The view that many Christians have is that, after this life, our souls go to heaven and we walk streets of gold, wearing white robes and singing hymns for eternity. What Marshall does is show that our eternal destiny may in fact look a bit more like our current earthly existence than we realize.
Marshall correctly brings out the biblical teaching that the created order is basically good, and therefore it can be embraced. Sin is not the essence of the creation, sin is an imposter.
Because many Christians have wrongly interpreted Biblical passages on the world and worldliness we have adopted an attitude that sees this world as something evil at worst, or unnecessary at best. Either way, this world and this earth and this creation are to be avoided or endured until the time when we will be freed from all of it.
However, Marshall shows very well that sin is to be removed from the creation, the creation itself is not destined to perish. He demonstrates that this creation is destined for renewal, not eradication. Eternity will be spent in a new heavens and a new earth.
Such a view has implications for how we live now. Our work, our rest, our play, our culture, our politics, and all human activity has value. We are to embrace our earthly callings. He makes the comment that all honest work is pleasing to God. Paul tells us - wheter we eat or drink, do all to the glory of God.
All of life can be and should be done to the glory of God.
One weakness of the book is that he does go overboard on showing that this earth is our home. I once had a professor who said that when a ship is listing badly to the right, you don't jump up and down in the center to get it straightened out. You jump up and down on the left. I think this is what Marshall has done here - he has seen how the church has overdone it on the otherworldliness and is trying to get us back on course about our responsibilities in the here and now. As such, he doesn't deal adequately with the verses that speak of our identity as pilgrims, strangers, aliens, etc..
With this minor weakness I still have no problem giving the book 5 stars. It is a beneficial and necessary read for Christians.