First it was visits from a 900 foot Jesus. Then it was stories about angels. The past few years it’s been tales of going to Heaven.
Last year saw the book Heaven is for Real become a very popular movie grossing more than 100 million dollars. This book/movie deal came on the heels of another popular book, The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven.
Before the movie was released, I shared with my congregation a series of reasons from the Bible why these back-from-the-dead stories are not true. Now comes the public admission from one of the parents and her son that the story was fake … and that the fakery behind more Heaven stories may be forthcoming.
Beth Malarkey admits that the story told by her son Alex, and later turned into a best-selling book, was made up by her son seeking attention. The story was then used by unscrupulous people and “big ministries” to make money (here and here).
For three years, Alex had been attempting to retract the fake story, but no one would listen because there is too much money to be made. Now 16, Alex wrote on his own blog on January 15, 2015, “I did not die. I did not go to heaven. When I made the claims, I had never read the Bible. People have profited from lies, and continue to. They should read the Bible, which is enough. The Bible is the only source of truth.” (here and here).
Scams and farces perpetrated on biblically ignorant and gullible people abound. Many people don’t even care what the Bible says because their “feel good” experiences outweigh God’s Word. Christians must learn to scrutinize these extra-Biblical accounts and so-called prophecies by Scripture and get back to being the “People of the Book.”
Folks, Heaven is not for real because a little boy says he was there, a little girl paints pictures of her visits there * (here), or a preacher says he was there and saw unused body parts hanging in storehouses (page 38 here). Heaven is for real because God says it is … and His story is recorded in the pages of the Bible, the “more sure word of prophecy” than anybody’s experience.
We have also a more sure word of prophecy … the prophecy of Scripture … (2 Peter 1:19, 20).
* Is it that we are ignorant of what the Scripture says Jesus looks like (Revelation 1:12-17), that we don’t care what the Bible says, or that we know better than the Word of God?