Heaven, So Near – So Far was inspired by the story of Judas Iscariot, found throughout each of the four Gospels. In writing the book, Pastor Colin tried to imagine Judas looking back on his life on earth from the perspective of his new life in hell.
The story weaves together what we know from the Bible about the events of those days and views them through the eyes of Jesus’ betrayer as he would have experienced them at the time, and as he can understand them now. The story is a compelling invitation to the reader to not give up on Jesus Christ, as Judas did.
“My favorite part of knowing Pastor Colin is how blessed I’ve been through his teaching! From the beauty of the Thief on the Cross to the ultimate betrayal, Pastor Colin stays true to the scriptures as he takes us on a journey, using his authentic and often poetic gift of storytelling to once again provide us with a unique and powerful perspective on the life of Judas.”
—Stephen Baldwin, Actor
“Colin Smith’s earthy and compelling story of Jesus through the eyes of Judas will encourage you to never give up on the faith. And if you have ‘turned back and abandoned the faith I once professed,’ the words of Judas may be painfully familiar. But it is not too late to turn back. Smith gives hope for recovery of the things that really matter in life and relationships. And he answers the deep questions about identity, friendship, being famous, and having things our own way. All in the mouth of Judas, the one who eternally regretted giving up Jesus.”
—Ed Stetzer, Billy Graham Distinguished Chair, Wheaton College, Illinois
“Of all human beings, none passed so close to the gates of heaven on his way to hell than Judas Iscariot. His story, expertly told here by Colin Smith, is an urgent cautionary tale for each one of us.”
—Tim Challies, Founding blogger of Challies.com, Pastor at Grace Fellowship Church in Toronto, and author of several books
“Written with pastoral warmth, a biblically-shaped imagination, and a solemn awareness of the eternal torment of hell, this retelling of the tragic story of Judas Iscariot calls all professing disciples not to give up on the Lord Jesus, as Judas did.”
—Jonathan Prime, Director of Pastoral Ministries and Director of the Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches
“‘Prone to wander,’ as an old hymn expresses it, is a recurring problem in the life of faith. Here’s a superb antidote, expressed through the tongue of an unexpected source, Judas Iscariot. Creative, insightful and deeply, deeply challenging, Heaven: So Near, So Far is a page-turning must-read. Highly recommended.”
—Steve Brady, Principal of Moorlands College, Christchurch, Dorset
Colin S. Smith (Author) is Senior Pastor of The Orchard Evangelical Free Church and teacher of the daily radio program, Unlocking the Bible. Born in Edinburgh, Scotland, Colin was raised in a Christian family and felt the call of God to pastoral ministry from an early age. He trained at London School of Theology where he received a B.A. in Theology and later a Master of Philosophy. Colin was Pastor of the Enfield Evangelical Free Church in North London for sixteen years, transitioning to serve at The Orchard in 1996. Colin met his wife Karen while studying at London Bible College. The Smiths now live in the Chicago area and have two grown children and four granddaughters.
Tyler Lansing Weaks (Actor) portrays the voice of Judas in the audiobook release of Heaven, So Near – So Far. Tyler is a professional stage and film actor who received a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree from Brown University in 2012. He has since gone on to perform on Broadway, across the country, and in television and film. He is the son of Unlocking the Bible’s administrative assistant, Deb Weaks.