I'm sure that everyone who reads this has heard about the book "Heaven is for Real" which was published just a couple of years ago. It records the story of Colton Burpo who claimed to have made a trip to heaven during a surgery for an appendectomy when he was 4 years old. During the months and years following he told many stories of things he said he had seen in heaven.
Well, now the book has been made into a movie that is currently showing at theaters all across North America. It is being hailed by many who claim to be evangelicals as a "must see" event. I have not seen the movie, nor have I read the book, but I am deeply troubled by all of the hoopla about this book.
First of all, I have read and seen enough about the book to know that much of what is recorded about heaven not only goes far beyond what the Bible tells us about heaven, but much of it is directly contrary to what the Bible says about what heaven is like. John MacArthur points out that this book, as do many others like it, focus mainly on trivial, fanciful accounts of angels and wings and such things, and say very little about the glory of God. The Biblical accounts of heaven, recorded by Isaiah, Ezekiel, and the Apostle John are focused almost entirely on the glory, majesty and worship of God, not things like sitting on Jesus knee, listening to angels singing.
Another troubling aspect about this whole concept is that in the Bible there is no record of anyone who died and came back to life ever telling what he had seen or experienced on the other side of death. In fact, the Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 12 records the fact of his own death or near-death experience, yet says he saw things which were not permitted to be told. Yet today we have an abundance of people wanting to tell their fanciful stories of their visit to heaven. And the sad thing is that Christians are accepting these stories as truth.
I strongly recommend a few blog posts from John MacArthur's website to get a more thorough treatment of this subject:
The Burpo-Malarkey Doctrine - October 18, 2012 - http://www.gty.org/Blog/B121018
Heaven Is Real; Hallucinations Are Not - April 28, 2014 - http://www.gty.org/Blog/B140428
Dead Men Tell No Tales - April 29, 2014 - http://www.gty.org/blog/B140429
Gordon Rowland has been a Missionary-Pastor with Village Missions of Canada for over 35 years. Gordon and his wife Val have lived and served in Clive since 2001. They have four children and nine wonderful grandchildren.