Letter from the Editor

Eric Landry
Tuesday, August 30th 2016
Sep/Oct 2016

One of my favorite preachers once illustrated our misunderstanding of heaven by comparing how we usually think of heaven (something akin to a Philadelphia Cream Cheese commercial) to how the Bible talks about heaven (something more like the exuberant joy of a Jewish wedding). I’ve always appreciated that illustration, and it helps make sense of recent polls reporting that a solid majority of Americans believe they will go to heaven when they die—even significant percentages of atheists and agnostics! Heaven, for many of us, is thought of as a blissful state of nonexistence rather than the colorful, material, and sensory reality that the Bible presents.

Just as Dante’s Inferno has shaped the popular imagination of hell, apart from the limited information available to us in the Bible about eternal suffering, so also popular culture has helped shape our conceptions of heaven. Movies, television shows, and especially books that purport to reveal details from the other side have created a kind of fascination for information about heaven that the Bible doesn’t give us.

In this issue of Modern Reformation, we’ve asked some old and new friends to show us from the witness of Scripture what heaven will be like and how we will participate in that new creation reality. We begin with Scot McKnight who redirects our eyes away from the seductive extrabiblical testimony about the afterlife back to the Old and New Testaments from which he makes a case for the reality of heaven that does not depend on the marketing prowess of book publishers. Alistair McGrath returns to our pages in an interview about the hope for heaven: Why is heaven such a consistent theme of Christian worship and piety; what role does heaven play in our pilgrimage? It has become increasingly fashionable among reformational Christians to speak of great continuity between this world and the next, leading some to wonder if we even need heaven. Our editor-in-chief, Michael Horton, tackles that question with Michael Wittmer and Scott Swain. Our friend Brian Thomas concludes by drawing our attention to the difficult wait we must endure for heaven and the new creation.

Heaven is too important a subject to leave to the imaginations of children who are manipulated by their families or religious communities into writing best-sellers about its existence. Heaven is too important a subject to the faith and pilgrimage of Christians to leave to the popular imagination. Our hope with this issue is that you will be encouraged by what Scripture says about heaven, about your participation already in some of the heavenly realities, and by the grace given to you to persevere in the hope of heaven.

If you have been encouraged by this year of Modern Reformation, begin planning now to give a gift subscription to a friend, colleague, or mentor. Our 2017 issues are already under way! In the meantime, let us know how we can serve you better at editor@modernreformation.org.

Eric Landry executive editor

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Eric Landry
Eric Landry is the chief content officer of Sola Media and former executive editor of Modern Reformation. He also serves as the senior pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Austin, Texas.
Tuesday, August 30th 2016

“Modern Reformation has championed confessional Reformation theology in an anti-confessional and anti-theological age.”

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