Friday, October 19, 2012

Is Heaven for real?

It has taken me months to write this review of HEAVEN IS FOR REAL by Todd Burpo.  As a Pastor, I am supposed to love a book like this, because it seems to affirm everything that the institutional church has taught for centuries.

HEAVEN IS FOR REAL is the perceived true story of the four-year old son of a small town Nebraska pastor who during emergency surgery slips from consciousness and enters into what he understands as heaven. He lives and the book is all about his sharing the story of being able to look down and see the doctor operating and his dad praying in the waiting room.

Colton said he met his miscarried sister whom no one had told him about, and his great grandfather who died 30 years before he was born, then shared impossible-to-know details about each. He describes the horse that only Jesus could ride, about how "reaaally big" God and his chair are, and how the Holy Spirit "shoots down power" from heaven to help us.

It is a great story --- unfortunately, it is not biblical.  We want to believe that a story like this is biblical because it "proves" the notion that if we are good Christians, then we will be protected from harm by a loving God.  But that is not what God promised.  God promised to be with us in the valley.

Many of my members read this story and loved it because of its immature understanding of God.  I find it sad that we continue to produce literature like this that is self serving and fails to capture the real message of Jesus.  By the way, I have no doubt that many reading this will be greatly offended by my opinion. 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the 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.”