The Big “What’s Next”

“I’ve been studying religion for years, and I’m still not confident I know what happens after we die.” This rueful admission comes from Dr. Henry McCord, the husband of Téa Leoni’s eponymous character on her recently concluded TV series Madam Secretary.

That show has been the only one in my experience to feature a professor of Christianity in a major role. Over its half-dozen seasons, it often had Henry draw from his studies in religion to offer wisdom on the crisis de jour facing his wife and the Dalton presidential administration (a blessed escape from the current political scene down there). But this admission of his, late in the series, was disappointing.

Henry McCord, Ph.D., for all his learning and practice of Christianity, doesn’t know for sure whether there’s a heaven and a hell awaiting us all?

Biblical scholar, bestselling author, and professional ex-evangelical Bart Ehrman continues his scholarly stroll through the doctrinal syllabus as he presents a new book on heaven and hell. Whatever one makes of his conclusions—and I suggest readers will find more help in Richard Middleton’s A New Heaven and a New Earth—we can affirm his choice of subject matter. Deciding what the Bible says, and what one believes, about life after death constantly crops up as crucial to the way we live life before death.

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