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.
We are currently in John’s Gospel at Harvest Jacksonville on Sunday mornings. One of the difficult things to comprehend (nay, humanly impossible) is the reality that Jesus Christ, as presented in the Gospels, is 100% God and 100% man. Phil Ryken explains:
From A Tale of Two Sons by John Macarthur, page 78:
When we sin, we show disdain for God’s fatherly love as well as His holy authority. We spurn not merely His law, but also His very person. To sin is to deny God His place. It is an expression of hatred against God. It is tantamount to wishing He were dead. It is dishonoring to Him. And since all sin has at its heart this element of contempt for God, even the smallest sin has enough evil to unleash an eternity full of mischief, misfortune, and misery. The fact that the entire world of human evil all stemmed from Adam’s simple act of disobedience is vivid proof of that (Romans 5:12, 19; 1 Corinthians 15.21-22).”
In my message this morning, I spoke about how a lot of people just cannot embrace the idea that God would actually send people to Hell. This afternoon I came across these two quotes from Charles Spurgeon (via Phil Johnson):
Unrenewed persons find fault with God’s justice. Eternal punishment they cavil at; hell is such a bugbear to them, that, just as every culprit will, of course, find fault with the prison and the gallows, so they rail at the wrath to come, though that wrath is just as sure, notwithstanding all their objections to it.
But when the heart is really touched by divine grace, then it has no more to say for itself, but pleads guilty at the bar of God\’s great assize; and if the Judge should put on the black cap, and condemn it to be taken instantly to the place of execution, that soul could only say, \”Thou art righteous, O Lord, for I have sinned.\”
I despair of ever finding a word of comfort for any man or woman among you, if you have not been brought to feel that you deserve the wrath of God. Come with the ropes about your necks, ready for execution, and you will find a God ready to forgive.
. . . . .
Every sinner who has really come to Christ has been made to feel that however angry God may he with sin, He is not one whit too angry.
Until we know the power of divine grace, we read in the Bible concerning eternal punishment, and we think it is too heavy and too hard, and we are apt to kick against it, and find out some heretic or other who teaches us another doctrine; but when the soul is really quickened by divine grace, and made to feel the weight of sin, it thinks the bottomless pit none too deep, and the punishment of hell none too severe for sin such as it has committed.
This is not the emotion of a mind rendered morbid by sickness, but these are the genuine workings of God the Holy Ghost in the soul, bringing the man to stand guilty before the Lord, with his mouth closed, not able to say a word against the sentence of divine justice.