Book Review -- By: John C. Beck, Jr.

Journal: Chafer Theological Seminary Journal
Volume: CTSJ 03:1 (Summer 1997)
Article: Book Review
Author: John C. Beck, Jr.


Book Review

John C. Beck, Jr.*

[*Editor's note: Dr. Beck earned his B.A. at the University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA), Th.M. at Dallas Theological Seminary,. and his D.Min. at Western Seminary. John is the Director of Discovery Ministries, which offers seminars that help to equip churches to “do the work of evangelism.” His office number is 310–829-4355; his Email address is interim John has been an intenm pastor, frequently does pulpit supply, and teaches theology and apologetics at Chafer Theological Seminary.]

Journey Into The Light: Exploring Near-Death Experiences, by Richard Abanes; foreword by Norman L. Geisler (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1996); 288 pages.

Richard Abanes is a cult researcher who has been quoted in the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Christianity Today and the Christian Research Journal. Abanes’ book is a survey of modern man’s recent excursion into the phenomenon of the near-death experience (NDE). In this book Abanes answers questions concerning: the reality of the NDE; their reliability as sources of information about what awaits us after death; the kind of religions/spiritual beliefs, if any, that are coming from NDEs; and the identity of “the light,” NDEers regularly encounter.

To answer these questions Abanes divides his book into four parts. First, he describes near-death experiences both present and historical. Second, he renews alternative natural explanations of the NDE with emphasis on the physiology of the brain. Third, he discusses the problems commonly glossed over in the consideration of 1VDES. And fourth, Abanes gives a Christian explanation for the NDE.

PART 1
Near-Death Studies 101
(A history of current research on NDE)

Only twenty years ago Raymond A. Moody coined the phrase “near-death experience” (NDE) in his 1975 book, Life After Life. Twelve million copies explain why America is so farmfiar with this subject, but NDEs are recorded throughout history. One of the earliest is mentioned in Plato s The Republic. A soldier, who is killed in battle comes back to life on the funeral pyre, and tells about his visit to the next world. NDEs were so plentiful in the Middle Ages that Pope Gregory the Great of the sixth century compiled a collection of them in Dialogues. NDE researchers agree that modern experiences mirror closely those of the past.

Researchers study what they call the autoscopic NDE, where the experiencer allegedly becomes separated from his body and is able to view nearby objects and events from outside of his body. The ability to describe with accuracy events and objects while unconscious or clinically dead some consider irrefutable proof that NDEs are ...

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