Thursday, December 31, 2009

book review: When Heaven Comes Down by Ché Ahn

I rate this book * * * * *

Title: When Heaven Comes Down
Author: Ché Ahn
Publisher: Chosen, November 2009, paperback, 191 pages
ISBN-10: 0800794796
ISBN-13: 978-0800794798

Using easy-to-understand language Ché Anh unpacks one of the most mysterious and hard-to-comprehend qualities of God – His glory. But not only does he help us get a head comprehension of God’s glory; in When Heaven Comes Down he also guides us into how we can experience more of that glory in our lives.

In the first chapter of fourteen, Anh arrives at a working definition of God’s glory. He explains that though God is eternally glorious, i.e. glory makes up His very essence, what we experience is His manifest glory. Using the sun as an illustration, he explains it thus:

“…The eternal glory of God is like the sun itself, far too fiery and brilliant for us to encounter directly or even to look at. But the sun’s light manifests itself to us in a variety of ways. It illuminates darkness, revealing the objects around us. It gives us spectacular light displays in beautiful sunrises and brilliant sunsets. It warms us and even tans our skin. Everywhere the sun goes, the sun’s light goes. But the sun’s light is not the sun itself. Rather, the light we experience from the sun is a manifestation of the sun.

“This distinction is helpful in understanding God’s glory. His eternal glory is like the sun: it is His very essence, beyond our comprehension or ability to encounter. Yet His manifest glory is like the sun’s light: a reflection of Him we can encounter in ways we are able to perceive, whether through physical healing, a peaceful presence in our spirit or an angelic visitation.” p. 26

The chapters that follow are a delving into God’s manifest glory as we experience it in His presence, His nature and character, and His power. The book also has chapters that talk about what people need to do to stay and increase in the flow of God’s glory. It concludes with a section on the purpose of God’s glory, i.e. the transformation of us and our society to ultimately bring about the answer to Jesus’ prayer, “Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Matthew 6:10

Anh’s writing style is warm, encouraging and understandable. His teaching is peppered with scripture, stories from history, and illustrations from his own life. He uses lists and subheadings to break up the text and make it easy to read.

Ché Anh is a well-known minister in Charismatic circles. (His endorsers include Jack W. Hayford, C. Peter Wagner, and Bill Johnson. He is closely associated with Lou Engle and is the pastor of Harvest Rock Church in Pasadena, California.) Though he describes what some might think of as unusual and dramatic evidences of God’s glory (angel sightings, miraculous healing, the mysterious appearances of gold or gems in connection with the ministry of some of his colleagues), he doesn’t dwell on these or make them out to be signs that someone has arrived spiritually. Instead he stresses the need for discipline, personal holiness and a commitment to God that lasts for a lifetime.

I appreciate the way he stays away from negativity. In the book he talks about unity among Christians as one of the evidences of God’s glory. Nowhere does he sully that ideal by dwelling on controversy or criticizing other Christians of any stripe.

When Heaven Comes Down is a book that will not only help you understand God better, but motivate you to seek Him more. It would be a worthwhile addition to the library of any twenty-first century disciple.


More goodies:

Read an excerpt (pdf file)
Table of Contents (pdf file)

(I received this book as a gift from the publisher for the purpose of writing a review.)


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