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Author tries to point readers toward heaven

Richard Aherns displays a copy of his new book, printed by Tate Publishing.

A local author wants to save people from spending eternity in Hell.

That's why the longtime house fellowship pastor and church elder has written "10 Things Your Pastor Should Tell You but Probably Never Has."

Richard Aherns of New Richmond, with the help of his daughter Kelly, decided to write the short paperback book after attending several area churches.

"I felt the church is failing in a lot of areas," he said. "Pastors are not preaching what the Bible says about many things. They've been taught to avoid a lot of issues that need to be explained to people."

Among the important topics are salvation, the Holy Spirit and the return of Jesus Christ.

Aherns claims the Bible is the inspired word of God and that people need to understand what it says to live a life pleasing to their creator.

More important, he said, the Bible says that unless people come to know Jesus Christ as their savior, they will not end up in heaven.

"I don't want to make people believe what I believe, but come to know the Lord I know," he said. "I want people to think about where they are going to spend eternity."

As a Christian, Aherns said it's his duty to humanity to point people in the right direction, even if people get upset with the message he brings.

"A lot of people think they are Christians," he said. "But if they really look more deeply into the scriptures, are they a Christian? That's the question I'd like people to ask themselves when they read the book."

Of the 10 subjects Aherns outlines in his book, four topics are principles that are "open for discussion" among Christians, he said. The remaining six are commandments that are required of every Christian, he claims.

"I find very few pastors who will agree with all 10," Aherns said.

Aherns said he's already received some negative feedback from his new book, but that's all right.

"It comes with the territory," he said. "I'm no a theologian. This is a fresh look at the Bible from someone who hasn't been trained at a seminary."

Aherns said feedback from critics and fans are a good thing, as he continues to strive for a better understanding of his faith.

"That's good because you'll search a little deeper and make sure you're doing things correctly," he said.

Ahern's book is available online through such Web sites as Barnes & Noble, Northwestern Book Stores, Amazon and Target. The book is also available in an audio version.

Aherns is a widower, having lost his wife in 2001. He has six children, all of whom live in the region.

Aherns has worked for Rock Tenn, a recycling business in St. Paul, for 42 years.

For 20 years, he helped lead a home fellowship of five or six families in Centuria.

"I seem to have a gift for teaching," he said.

More recently, Aherns said he has taken a break from the home church movement and attended various congregations in the region for worship services.