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Is Heaven Is for Real… Real?

Not according to the Bible, says Pastor David Platt.

by
Paula Bolyard

Bio

April 16, 2014 - 9:30 am

The much-anticipated movie ‘Heaven is for Real’ is set to open in movie theaters on Wednesday. The book tells the story of Colton Burpo, a little boy who claimed he visited heaven during a near-death experience.

“Heaven tourism” books have proliferated Christian best-seller lists in recent years, but are the accounts authentic, fictional, based on hallucinations, or something else? Moreover, do they comport with the Bible’s descriptions of heaven and the afterlife?

Pastor and author David Platt says no.

He describes ’Heaven is for Real’ as “A fanciful account of a four-year-old boy who talks about how he went to heaven and got a halo and wings, but he didn’t like them because they were too small. He claims that he sat on Jesus’ lap while angels sang to him,” Platt said. “He even met the Holy Spirit, whom he describes as ‘kind of blue.’

Platt said that “There is money to be made in peddling fiction about the afterlife as non-fiction in the Christian publishing world today” and “The whole premise behind every single one of these books is contrary to everything God’s word says about heaven,” including their “relentless self-focus.”

According to Platt, “Scripture definitely says that people do not go to heaven and come back. ‘Who has ascended to heaven and come down?’ (Proverbs 30:4). Answer: ‘No one has ascended into heaven except he who has descended from heaven — the Son of Man’” (John 3:13).

“Four biblical authors had visions about heaven and wrote about what they saw: Isaiah, Ezekiel, Paul and John,” Platt said. “All of them were prophetic visions, not near-death experiences. Not one person raised from dead in the Old Testament or the New Testament ever wrote down what he or she experienced in heaven, including Lazarus, who had a lot of time in a grave —  four days.”

But all of the biblical authors agree perfectly: “Their visions are all fixated on the glory of God which defines heaven and illuminates everything there. They are overwhelmed, chagrined, petrified, and put to silence by the sheer majesty of God’s holiness.” Platt said that notably missing from all the biblical accounts are “the frivolous features and juvenile attractions that seem to dominate every account of heaven currently on the bestseller list.”

He said we need to “minimize the thoughts of man and magnify, trust — let’s bank our lives and our understanding of the future on — the truth of God.” He said that rather than relying on traditions, we should depend on the word of God. “There’s too much at stake in our lives and others’ lives for that.”

In addition to writing for PJ Tatler and PJ Lifestyle, Paula also writes for Ohio Conservative Review, and RedState. She is co-author of a new Ebook called, Homeschooling: Fighting for My Children’s Future. She is a member of the Wayne County Executive Committee. Paula describes herself as a Christian first, conservative second, and Republican third.

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All Comments   (13)
All Comments   (13)
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So a man says a man walked on water and you believe it. A man says a man died and came back to life and you believe it. A man says a man fed thousands with 2 fish and 5 bread and you believe it. A man says a man built a boat and put two of every kind of animal on it and floated for 40 days and you believe it. A boy says he sat on Jesus' lap and you don't believe it. Uh huh. Got it.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
I would have one question for David Platt; whose ends does he serve by being self-righteous and putting down inspirational stories or accounts?

Before every Christian was reborn, there was a "hook" that got them there; hitting rock bottom, an event where they felt God touched their life, etc. Very few find God, Jesus, and redemption logically.

If a fence-sitting "Pre-Christian" reads Heaven Is For Real or the like and finds inspiration in it and it leads them to get off the fence and pick up their Bible, I would say that is serving God's purposes, and by belittling those accounts, David Pratt is NOT serving God's purposes.

Turning Christians against one another is Satan' second best trick, right after convincing the world he doesn't exist at all.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Whose ends are served by lies?

HINT: Not God's.


"My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge."


35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Platt said that “There is money to be made in peddling fiction about the afterlife as non-fiction in the Christian publishing world today” and “The whole premise behind every single one of these books is contrary to everything God’s word says about heaven,” including their “relentless self-focus.”"

Well said, Dr. Platt.

We can also point out that the whole "wings and haloes" schtick is pure fiction from the Dark Ages. There's not a shred of it in Scripture.

Frank Capra to the contrary, people do not become angels.

The success of such nonsense demonstrates that most who call themselves, "Christian" are Biblical illiterate.





35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
I don't put a lot of stock in these stories myself, but I believe according to the conventional understanding Lazarus could not have gone to Heaven until after the Crucifixion - so his lack of testimony isn't really a good supporting point.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
In my opinion the best supporting point is the glory of God. How people in the Bible act in the presence of God. It's nothing like TV god -- it's all about God's glory and majesty and power. Read, for example, Isaiah's prophetic vision of heaven:


"In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said:

“Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts;
the whole earth is full of his glory!”

"And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!”

"Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.” (Isaiah 6:1-7 ESV)
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
I agree completely.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Does the pastor have an explanation on what all these people with NDEs are experiencing? It's one thing to just say "it doesn't comport with the bible" OK fine, but that can't just shut the conversation down.

What does he say of the Burpo story? Does he believe the family is lying? I'd like to know more of how he explains this away.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
BZZZT. Logical error.

An alternative explanation is not required in order to point out the problems in a proposed explanation.

I don't have to know anything about Argument A in order to show that Argument B is false.

35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Good point.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Premier,

If you watch the video above Platt quotes John MacArthur who speculates that experiences like this could be things like false memories, hallucinations, or in the worst cases, deception. In some cases it could also be demonic influence.

Platt also has a longer message on the topic of heaven and hell (2 parts) if you're interested:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=378oA0QnWIU
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Thanks for the link.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
" in the worst cases, deception. "

Hmmm. Why does Betty Eadie immediately come to mind???

Actually, I suspect that the "deception" explanation is the simplest, and most often accurate, explanation.

The clichéd hokum is just too dripping thick in most of these stories.

35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
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