Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous
BSac 126:502 (Apr 69) p. 164
The Biblical Doctrine Of Heaven. By Wilbur M. Smith. Chicago: Moody Press, 1968. 317 pp. $4.95.
Judged by ordinary standards, this comprehensive treatment of the biblical doctrine of heaven may well be the outstanding classic on the subject in the twentieth century. Written in the inimitable style of Dr. Smith, thoroughly researched, with extensive bibliographical data, and comprehensive in its treatment of the biblical doctrine, this volume will be a mine of invaluable information both to the lay student of Scripture and the professional theologian. The reviewer knows of no comparable work in the twentieth century.
Taking into consideration the modern repudiations of the idea of heaven by liberals and its neglect even by evangelicals, Dr. Smith proceeds to examine methodically and thoroughly all aspects of the subject including special studies on the intermediate state and the rule of heaven in the apocalypse. Three important appendices are added on “Some Great Hymns about Heaven,” “The Sign of the Son of Man in Heaven,” and “The Powers of the Heavens Shall Be Shaken.” Typical of Dr. Smith, the volume is thoroughly indexed with probably the most complete bibliography to be found anywhere on the subject of heaven including interesting and informative annotations.
Evangelicals will find few places with which they can definitely disagree with Dr. Smith. He does approve, apparently with some reservation, H. B. Swete’s view of the intercessory work of Christ as being merely His presence in heaven (p. 101). Most evangelicals, while shrinking from picturing Christ as interceding “with strong crying and tears” before the throne, nevertheless, hold that there is some vocal communication, although the problem is basically inscrutable. Dr. Smith also refers to archangels (in the plural) whereas only the singular is used in the Bible; only Michael is so identified (p. 122). In his discussion of heaven, there is no reference to Satan and his accusing work as in Job 1:6–12; 2:1–7. The study of the intermediate body omits the important passage of Revelation 6:9–11, a proof text for the intermediate body. The study of rewards omits 1 Corinthians 3:11–15, also an important passage.
Taken as a whole, the work deserves the accolade “excellent” and fills a vacant place in current evangelical publications. Dr. Smith, personally, in this volume has confirmed his place as one of the outstanding writers and biblical scholars of the twentieth century. The publishers are to be commended for excellent format and for reasonab...
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