That said, Heaven, How I Got Here is a fresh approach to what actually happened mixed with what might have happened at the cross of Calvary. It is written in the genre of theological fiction, giving the story from a first person perspective of the thief on the cross that was told by Christ, “Today you will be with Me in Paradise.” Each chapter gives one of the events of the crucifixion, particularly a saying of Christ, narrated by the thief.
Some might take issue with the “liberty” Smith takes in giving the perspective of the thief. True, there is much that is not found explicitly in the gospel accounts, and some would argue that some is not even inferred – and I would agree. However, I would also say that while liberty is taken, it is not out of the realm of possibility that much of Smith’s “retelling” actually happened fairly closely to his account. For instance, one might disagree with how the thief’s mother is cast as a legalistic parent, but she certainly might have been.
Regardless, all of this serves Smith’s purpose for the book, which is to demonstrate that salvation is by God’s grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. Every facet of a salvific diamond is demonstrated according to the Scriptures, and the narrative serves as a backdrop to bring the reader into the moment of the crucifixion – the pain and the joy, the suffering and the deliverance. No man can be saved by his own works no matter how “good” (legalistic mother), nor is any man’s work to”evil” to keep him from salvation (the thief). And if a man comes to Christ by faith, he finds full satisfaction for forgiveness of sins in Christ and can experience true joy. This is the teaching of Scripture, and for that Heaven, How I Got Here is to be commended – and recommended.
I received a copy of this book free of charge from the publisher for the purpose of an honest review.