Heaven is for Real
What should we be thinking about the book "Heaven is for Real", the Sunday School materials based on the book, and now the movie? (And, are we ready for the soon to be released comic book? Just kidding!) I've talked with many believers who are enamored with the event, the little boy's experiences and what heaven is "really like." However, should we be focusing on a four-year-old's experiences - even a forty year old's, or for that matter Joseph Smith as a 17 year old - the Book of Mormon? Ouch! Think! There are too many similarities to ignore. Four year old boys are cute, but are they trustworthy witnesses to eternal and life-changing truths? And does the Bible encourage us to base our faith on the experiences of others or on the Word of God (Hebrews 12:1, "Faith is....the conviction of things NOT seen.")? Additionally, if we look at the heavenly vision experience of the Apostle Paul, a trusted writer of eternal truths, inspired Scripture, he was not permitted to relay his heavenly experience (2 Corinthians 12). As a pastor, charged with protecting the flock from bad teaching, I'm concerned with all the excitement surrounding this book, movie and Sunday School materials. Our faith must be rooted in God's sufficient (2 Timothy 3:16-17) and only trustworthy witness to His worth and Gospel - the Bible.
Paul calls us to be careful and not be thrown around by winds of doctrine (Ephesians 4:14-16). Nancy Guthrie, Tim Challies and John MacArthur's comments are well worthy your consideration. Please read and discern!
by Nancy Guthrie
"Have you read Heaven Is for Real?" I've been asked this question more times than I can count. So let me just tell you—no, I haven't. I was actually asked by the publisher to read the manuscript to offer an endorsement before the book came out, but I declined. And clearly the lack of an endorsement from me has not hindered sales.
HeavenisforrealtheaterposterI've been hoping that the hoopla surrounding this book and so many of the other "died and went to heaven and came back" books would end. And then I went to the theater over the holidays and saw previews for the upcoming movie based on Heaven Is for Real. So before you ask if I am going to see the movie, let me just tell you—no, I'm not.
Do These Books Encourage Genuine Faith?
People sometimes say these stories encouraged their faith or the faith of someone they know. But I think they actually diminish biblical faith by elevating claims of a supernatural experience over the substance of the Scriptures.
Read the rest of the article: We Don't Have to Read the Book or See the Movie to Know Heaven Is Real
by Tim Challies
Embarking on a short tour of the afterlife is all the rage, it seems. Don Piper got it started with 90 Minutes in Heaven, a really bad book that sold millions of copies. Then there was 23 Minutes in Hell, another bestseller and another awful book. And now hot on their heels comes Heaven Is For Real: A Little Boy’s Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back. It’s currently sitting atop the New York Times list of bestsellers and has over a half million copies in print. I wonder if I’m the only one who finds it a mite suspicious that now that these books are selling like proverbial hotcakes, more and more people find that God wants them to tell their stories of heaven and hell. Probably not.
Heaven Is For Real is written by pastor Todd Burpo and it tells the story of his son Colton who, at age 4, visited heaven. His visit came while he was on the operating table after suffering a burst appendix. He told his parents his story several months later and his parents then waited 6 or 7 years to record it in a book. That book has shot to the top of the charts, resulting in many of you sending me emails to ask, “Have you read it?” So I went ahead and read it. Because that’s the kind of guy I am.
You will probably not be surprised to learn that this is not a good book. What I want to do here is offer a very brief review and then I want to tell you why you can legitimately dismiss this book and all the others like it, because I think that’s where many of us feel the tension—what gives me the right to dismiss another person’s experience?
Read the rest of the article here: Heaven is for Real
by John MacArthur
A pastor’s book recounting his son’s visit to heaven rose to the top of the bestseller list and became a major motion picture. Christians were quick to spread the word, but could such visits be for real?
In recent years, Christian booksellers have inundated the evangelical world with testimonies from people who say they visited heaven in near-death experiences. Their stories are full of specific details about what heaven is like, who is there, and what is happening in the celestial realm. But when we compare their claims with Scripture, it becomes clear that they are merely figments of the human imagination, not true visions of heaven as it is described in God’s Word.
The best known of all these tales, Heaven Is for Real,1 is to be a major motion picture, released in April 2014. It is the story of Colton Burpo, whose parents believe he visited heaven when he was just four—during surgery after a burst appendix nearly took his life. Colton’s descriptions of heaven are full of fanciful features and peculiar details that bear all the earmarks of a child’s vivid imagination. There’s nothing transcendent or even particularly enlightening about Colton’s heaven. It is completely devoid of the breathtaking glory featured in every biblical description of the heavenly realm.
Stories like Colton’s are as dangerous as they are seductive. Readers not only get a twisted, unbiblical picture of heaven; they also imbibe a subjective, superstitious, shallow brand of spirituality. Studying mystical accounts of supposed journeys into the afterlife yields nothing but confusion, contradiction, false hope, bad doctrine, and a host of similar evils.
Read the rest of the article here: Are Visits to Heaven Real?