I don’t plan on going to the theater to see the movie “Heaven is For Real.” I did read the book, however, and will make just a few comments:
1. I am highly skeptical of the testimony of any small child. The pollyanaish view of children that has become common in recent decades (especially in Hollywood movies) is far from lining up with what God, through His Word, says about children. The Bible does not have much good to say about the trustworthiness of children. In fact, the Bible states on more than one occasion that children are more on the foolish side. Proverbs 22.15 says, “A youngster’s heart is filled with foolishness.” (NLT)
2. I was not convinced by Todd Burpo’s claims that Colton shared details that could only be explained by a trip to Heaven. Each time Mr. Burpo would say that there is no way Colton could have known something, I thought 0f a few ways that Colton could have indeed known about it without a trip to Glory.
3. Very few people in Scripture were afforded trips to Heaven. Those experiences, compared with this one, do are radically different than Colton Burpo’s experience. I’ll go with God’s Word rather than the word of a small child as communicated by his Dad.
4. I have a handful of books in my study which are about supposed trips to Heaven. The details of what Heaven is like by these various authors are different in ways that cannot be reconciled. In some cases, these details even contradict what the Bible has to say about Heaven. Again, I’ll go with God’s Word.
David Platt, in this brief video, makes some valuable points that one would do well to consider:
Hank Hannegraaff of the Christian Research Institute lists 10 reasons why the movie “Heaven is for Real” is a dangerous diversion.
Remember, dear Christian, that you don’t need someone to take a trip to Heaven to verify that what the Bible says is true. God’s Word is true. It’s more powerful, more reliable, and able to assure you to a far greater degree than anyone’s “experience.”
Finally, I urge you to consider this story from the Bible and think about how it relates to this discussion. Jesus tells the story of a rich man who is in Hell. Not wanting to his living brothers to suffer the same fate as he, the rich man begs Father Abraham to send the poor beggar Lazarus (who is in Heaven) back to earth to warn his brothers:
27 And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father’s house— 28 for I have five brothers—so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.’ 29 But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ 30 And he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ 31 He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.’”
Notice that Jesus teaches that if someone were to leave Heaven and come back to Earth to tell us about the afterlife, it would NOT have a greater effect than the Word of God.