The Robert L. Wise File:
Reviewed by John Perrodin
Crossing the Threshold of Eternity
Robert L. Wise
"...a pastor's eye view of the phenomenon [of near-death experiences] and provides practical ideas for ministering to the dying."
What does death feel like? Some say you have the sense of floating, of being drawn toward a comforting light. Books like the best-seller 90 Minutes in Heaven by Don Piper and Cecil Murphey have increased interest in near-death experiences. Crossing the Threshold of Eternity offers a pastor’s eye view of the phenomenon and provides practical ideas for ministering to the dying.
When a person comes close to death, he or she often is greeted by a being from the past. Someone else who has died. In one case, a woman spoke to an uncle she’d never known about. She survived open-heart surgery and challenged her family. Shocked, they admitted the truth. Such otherworldly knowledge is common for those who step back from the threshold. Don Piper met with both his grandfather and a high school friend. He also met his Native American grandmother whose crooked back was now straight, her wrinkles gone.
Author Robert L. Wise says it’s rare to be able to give a good physical description of the deceased. Though our essence – the core of who we are – remains the same, outward appearance alters with age and illness. “The dying appear to encounter this unchanging reality when they meet others during their afterlife journey. When they return and describe what they’ve seen, if often sounds more like a dream.”
Another aspect of the near-death experience is that doubting disappears. Famed actress Elizabeth Taylor wanted to stay on the other side. But something told her that she had a task yet to complete. She’s been raising funds to fight AIDS ever since. Not only has the fear of death left her, she has a renewed purpose in life.
Not every near-death encounter is sweetness and light. Imagine being pulled down into a spinning black vortex only to be greeted by a grinning skull. Those who’ve experienced such hellish frights – and return – do so with the desire to make the most of their second chance.
Wise urges readers of Crossing the Threshold of Eternity to reach out to the dying by honestly answering tough questions and gently sharing the Good News as openings arise. Listening is key. Often visitors act as though the dying person isn’t in the room, ignoring comments and taking a cold, hands-off approach. Far better to treat such individuals with respect. This and the power of prayer can make the final moments both peace- and hope-filled.
John Perrodin is the Senior Editor for the Christian Writers Guild. He co-authored the Renegade Spirit Trilogy with Jerry B. Jenkins. The latest release in that series is Seclusion Point (Thomas Nelson). His book, Simple Little Words: What You Say Can Change a Life, written with Michelle Cox, releases in April 2008 from David C. Cook. Please visit www.simplelittlewords.com to find out more about the book, and visit John's website www.johnperrodin.com to find out more about his writing.