Thursday, November 03, 2011

Heaven is for Real "Deluxe Edition" by Todd Burpo and Lynn Vincent

Before digging in to the meat and bones of this meal, I wanted to share the primary reason I chose to review Heaven is for Real. I wanted to review it to find evidence of correct or point out incorrect theology. My question was, "Does it align with what the Bible says?" This question is in the forefront of every review I post but moreso in this review - - simply because of it's forthright title.

I applauded and celebrated the fact that this book does in fact support the fact that Heaven is for Real. Hell is also for real, but that was not the clear message as presented.

The premise of the book was that a Pastor's son became quite ill and though his medical records did not show his breathing or heart stopped during surgery (or that he had temporarily even lost consciousness), this boy claimed to have gone to Heaven for just three minutes.

The story began with a background of the family and then a flashback to the time of the illness. I began taking notes starting on page 60. Chapter Twelve titled Eyewitness to Heaven opened with a statement by Colton (the son) in which while in Heaven Jesus "told" Colton he had to be good. Well now that statement as presented is not biblical (Romans 3:10&12 just two examples). I understand the boy may have been stating that "do gooding" a.k.a "behaving" from a child's perspective, but I feel doing so was dangerous to those who profess salvation by works alone - salvation on one's being good, which only leads to their demise. Because no one is good according to God. My Christian faith as outlined in God's rulebook the Bible tells me that Jesus Christ is what even allows God to see me as "precious!"

Also, the boy shared about seeing "markers" on Jesus' hands which his father assumed would be the wounds on the hands of Jesus. Historically, the location of the nails that went through Jesus' flesh may possibly have been through the wrist bones. Greek and Aramaic language refer differently to the anatomy in their native tongue. Bones of contention (pardon the pun). Some of the greater details of Jesus' 33 years on this earth are not as important to debate, as one day we will know the Truth about everything. At least those who realize heaven is for real and make the decision (Romans 10:9-11).

Colton's father (and also the narrator) stated something that caught my eye on page 84. I quote, "I learned that I didn't have to offer some kind of churchy, holy-sounding prayer in order to be heard in heaven. "You might as well tell God what you think," I said. "He already knows it anyway." This statement was about a turning point in this man's life. He had been a Christian since childhood at that point and a pastor for half his life when he came to the realization that God actually heard his prayer.

I appreciated his transparency, but couldn't help but wonder if this man had a true calling to be a pastor. Kindly I state that God does not call the equipped, but He equips the called. Another reminder that many can play "church" until God in His mercy gives us a Job experience to remind us that He is in control and is always listening to our prayers no matter how grandiose or simple (This book could have been given another title Being a Christian For Real, or Praying For Real - even Believing the Bible for Real).

Page 97 shed light on the author's flawed, inaccurate idea that the Bible remains relatively silent about babies going to Heaven. Not true. Be a Berean here and research, seek God, pray about it and read what His Word has to say about this sensitive topic. One day God may use you to comfort a mom or dad in their grief over losing a child. We give hope when we share the Truth of God's Word with others.

Several other theological red flags arose in Heaven is for Real: strange theology (page 133), (page 149) I quote,  "When you look at the book of Revelation and other biblical teachings about heaven, it's kind of fragmented", animals in heaven to include dogs, birds and lions and Colton supposedly seeing departed ones wearing wings (some small and some large).

Where in the Bible does it state that the ministering angels wore wings? And those who choose Christ, are higher than the angels Hebrews 1:1. Surprisingly, missing was Colton's description of people floating around on clouds doing nothing (which is by the way also not in the Bible).

Overall, I am blessed to have reviewed this New York Times bestseller courtesy of Thomas Nelson. I pray it gives hope to those seeking the salvation that only comes from our Lord Jesus Christ. Ultimately, the Bible is our source of all inspiration, hope and Truth. This book will no doubt sell millions of copies. However, the greatest book of all time, the Word of God - the Bible will  never be replaced as the real source on what is real - and what is not! Heaven is for real. Hell is for real too Read the book. The Book of Life.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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1 comment:

  1. I am not a very religious person and I found this book very interesting! This is a very touchy subject with a lot of people. But, I thought this book was very well written and I did not feel that the father was pushing his views are trying to preach about his faith. This book is told very matter-of-fact and almost as if the father had to be convinced, just as much as the reader - which I appreciated. I enjoyed reading this and at times was in tears!


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