These days, we need a strong current of theological explication of Christian eschatology. Richard Middleton has stepped forward—and his book doesn't even mention zombies.
The movie Heaven Is for Real—based on the book by the same name—tells the story of minister Todd Burpo and his four-year-old son Colton. The main plot revolves around Colton’s near-death experience and his claims that while undergoing surgery he visited heaven and sat on Jesus’ lap. Burpo struggles to define what happened to Colton for himself as well as for the community of faith to which he ministers.
Since childhood, I've been uncomfortable with the idea that accepting Jesus is an automatic ticket to heaven—and with the reverse idea.
God's "consuming fire" is the fire of holy love. It doesn't await sinners in the future; it burns up sin itself.
I am confident that the new creation will include animals. I hope that it will include Merle, my deceased smooth-coat collie.
While Christian scholars have long questioned body-soul dualism, it remains common in church circles. This may finally be changing.
If you wrestle with this Matthean parable through the night, it'll leave you limping by morning. Martin Luther didn't like preaching on it, and worshipers in early October won't be in the mood for its judgment.
I came away from Heaven Is for Real thinking that either Colton Burpo was carried in an out-of-body experience to a biblical wax museum or he's been channeling images from his father's sermons back to his credulous parents.