Recently, someone let me borrow a book called 90 Minutes in Heaven by Don Piper. The premise of the book is that Don Piper, a Baptist minister, was in a horrendous car accident and was dead for 90 minutes. During that time, according to Piper, he was in heaven. He spoke of its beauty, of seeing relatives and loved ones, and how the place almost overwhelmed the senses.
What interested me was his chapter on heavenly music. Praise was everywhere, he said, filling his heart with the deepest of joy. But what really caught my attention was his remark on p. 35:
Many of the old hymns and choruses I had sung at various times in my life were part of the music — along with hundreds of songs I had never heard before. Hymns of praise, modern-sounding choruses, and ancient chants filled my ears and brought not only a deep peace but the greatest feeling of joy I’ve ever experienced.
As I stood before the gate, I didn’t think of it, but later realized that I didn’t hear such songs as “The Old Rugged Cross” or “The Nail-Scarred Hand.” None of the hymns that filled the air were about Jesus’ sacrifice or death. I heard no sad songs and instinctively knew that there were no sad songs in heaven. Why would there by? All were praises about Christ’s reign as King of Kings and our joyful worship for all he has done for us and how wonderful he is.
With all due respect to those of you who have read through this book and found it so joyous and hopeful, I found myself not wanting to read another word. Why? Well, if we need to see what heaven is like, the Bible is clearly sufficient for that, so we must look to see if Piper’s vision of heaven matches the Scriptures. And on at least two occasions it clearly does not. Rev. 5:9-10
And they sang a new song, saying,
“Worthy are you to take the scroll
and to open its seals,
for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God
from every tribe and language and people and nation,
 and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God,
and they shall reign on the earth.”
Let me ask you: do you believe those in heaven realize how they made it there? It is because of Jesus reconciling us as sinners to God who is holy through … what? The Cross! The elders and the whole company were singing about the cross even in heaven! Also in Revelation, the Spirit reveals a Marriage Supper of the Lamb. Why is Jesus called a Lamb? Because Lambs were sacrificed, but Jesus was the once and for all sacrifice and all who partake of this are recipients of Christ’s reconciling and atoning work on the cross!
Let us be very discerning about the things we read — even bestselling Christian books! My dad warned me, “Not everything that’s in print is worth reading.” I shall read through the rest of Piper’s book, I pray that the rest of it is more in tune with the biblical account and will reflect more of the Gospel.