Biblical Reasons Why We Should
And Practical Suggestions on How We Can
Create Heaven on Earth
This book describes and challenges a remarkable phenomenon: The people who are longing to go to heaven (where they will stand face-to-face with their Creator and Law-Giver) are least likely to live in this life as though they wanted God's will to be done "on earth as it is in heaven" (Matthew 6:10).
It is said of these people, "you're so heavenly-minded you're of no earthly good." And it is said truly.
This book is designed to cure the "you're so heavenly-minded you're of no earthly good" syndrome.
And it's no easy cure.
That's because the "heavenly-minded" syndrome is probably this planet's most devastating disease.
Free from the disease, Christians have abolished slavery, protected the value of human life, brought literacy and the Word of God to millions, overthrown totalitarianism, and established charities to protect the most vulnerable. Science, Capitalism and the Work Ethic, Art, Music, Literature, and Political Liberties have all accelerated under Christian influence.
But when the disease spreads, Christians retreat, and even as they allow the Bible to be banned and hundreds of millions of people to suffer or be murdered by totalitarian governments, they believe they are holy and spiritual for doing so. Then they deliberately spread the disease to others, discouraging people from bettering the human condition or "bringing in the Kingdom" on the grounds that doing so will delay the Rapture or the Second Coming of Christ, which can only come, they say, after everything gets worse and worse in "the last days."
Their view of heaven is almost mythological. A life of ease, boppin' around on clouds, playing a harp, hangin' out with friends.
Their entrance into heaven is not related in any way to their efforts to see that God's will is done on earth as it is in heaven, they believe they are entitled to enter heaven based entirely on the fact that they believe they are going to heaven. Not surprisingly, their view of God's Creation and their life in His Creation is short-sighted, self-centered, and devoid of gratitude and appreciation.
"This life sucks," they say, "and I can't wait till we get raptured into heaven."
Carriers of this disease have been saying that Christ is going to return "at any moment." They've been saying "any moment" now for decades. There is good reason to believe that these carriers are about to become extinct. We need millions of Christians in vigorous spiritual health to replace them.
There may be as many as 100 million Americans who call themselves followers of Christ who
Members of the 100 Million Club believe that all efforts to improve the human condition and bring about the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies concerning a coming "Golden Age" are sinful. They believe things are supposed to get worse and worse until Jesus comes again, and trying to build the Kingdom of God in our lifetime would only delay His Second Coming.
This is more than a self-fulfilling prophecy. It's a prescription for disaster. And the patient is desperate for a new Physician.
Many others who call themselves Christians don't think quite so passionately about "the Rapture" and "Biblical prophecy," but they do think about heaven. That's where they're going to go when they die, they believe, and they don't worry about injustice, violation of human rights, pain and suffering on this earth because it will all be gone in heaven. They're just standing by. Waiting.
But it seems that the more passionately a person waits for heaven, the more dogmatically they insist that efforts to "create heaven on earth" are misguided, even sinful.
I used to be a Bible-believing Christian who believed I was going to go to heaven immediately upon death. I still consider myself a Bible-believing Christian, and I'll be willing to put myself to your test in a moment. But the more I read the Bible -- including all the dusty parts about kings and prophets, and including the things Jesus said -- the less dogmatic I am about what exactly happens to me when I die, and all the details about the next life. I've heard sermons that describe heaven down to the size of the gold cobblestones on the streets of gold, and the daily agenda of heavenly inhabitants. I think these sermons go way beyond the words of God in the Bible or what God intends to teach us.
One thing I've become more dogmatic about, however, is what Jesus wants us to be doing here on earth, right now. I would like to provide you with Biblical reasons for trying to create "heaven on earth," and Biblical reasons why we can succeed in doing so.
This book prescribes a series of spiritual exercises to stretch the mind and bring spiritual strength and endurance. These are tough exercises. "No pain, no gain." The lives and spiritual well-being of hundreds of millions of people depends on Christians working out.
Let's get started with the first exercise. (Why waste any more time?)
The first exercise consists of following the Apostle Paul, who said,
Paul would have surrendered his right to heaven if his fellow Israelites -- those who executed Christ -- could repent and be saved.
Would you give up your right to heaven if a billion people could hear the Gospel and the murder of several hundred million people could be prevented?
During the 20th century, anti-Christian governments "legally" murdered an average of 10,000 people per day. (To put that in perspective, last year in America a slightly larger number of thousands were illegally murdered -- during the entire year.) Hundreds of millions of people have been "legally" murdered in concentration camps, in fire-bombings, in government-orchestrated famines, in "pogroms" and "purges," and of course, in America, 4,000 babies are legally murdered every day. In the "former" Soviet Union the number may be as high as 8 or 9 times as great, and Communist China has a compulsory abortion program. In all of these countries, government-run schools make it illegal or unconstitutional for children to hear the gospel or learn the Ten Commandments. This explains in part why so many murders can take place: the "salt of the earth" and the "light of the world" had been exterminated, and a secular culture of lawlessness had arisen. Most murders require at least three participants: the murderer, the murdered, and the silent bystander. Only in a secular society where the Gospel and Biblical Law are systematically suppressed can so many murders go unchecked.
Jesus commissioned His Church to make disciples of these nations, but His Church now rejoices in their apostasy, believing that the rise of anti-Christian nations and the threat of "nuclear armageddon" is a fulfillment of "Biblical prophecy" and hastens the Second Coming.
Would you give up your right to heaven if a billion people could hear the Gospel and the lives of several hundred million people could be spared?
If not, and you think, "No, my purpose in life is just to die and go to heaven, and I don't really care what happens to a billion people," do you wish you could develop the sense of Christian self-sacrifice that Paul had, and be rid of self-centered thinking?
Then this book is for you.
|Table of Contents||