Why ‘Heaven is For Real’ scares me
    April 22 2014 by Nate Akin, Guest Column

    The movie based on the best-selling “Evangelical Christian” book of the last decade, Heaven is For Real, debuted recently.
     
    Some of the truths in the sentence I just wrote frighten me and cause me to wonder if we have a biblically discerning, “Berean” culture in today’s Evangelical Church (cf. Acts 17:11).
     
    If you have not read the book, the basic premise of this supposedly true story is that a little boy is pronounced dead during an emergency surgery, goes to heaven, is revived and recounts what heaven looks like in the ensuing months.
     
    There are all kinds of verses that come to mind that raise concern for our discernment about this story.
    David Platt highlights two of them while quoting John McArthur from last year’s Secret Church simulcast.
    However, my biggest concern is the number of Christians who say this book bolsters their faith.
     
    These responses concern me greatly because they betray our lack of confidence in the sufficiency of the scriptures.
     
    Why do we look to a story about a boy’s “experience” with more excitement and awe than we do the Word of the Living God?
     
    But this type of demand for additional assurance rather than biblical truthfulness is nothing new.
    We have seen this before – in fact, about 2,000 years before.
     
    Jesus tells us a story about such a man in Luke 16:19-31 in the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus.
    The parable is about the rich man dying and going to Hell while Lazarus dies and goes to Abraham’s side. The climax of the story records the rich man’s plea to Abraham to send Lazarus back from the dead.
    Here is what is recorded for us in verses 28-31:
     
    “And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father’s house – for I have five brothers – so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.’ But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’
     
    “And he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent. 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.’”
     
    Christian, you do not need a dream of a five-year-old boy or someone spending 90 Minutes in Heaven to prove to you that Heaven is for real or to bolster your faith.
     
    You have the prophets and apostles.
     
    For 2,000 years they have been shouting to us through the Word that One came back from the dead and offers us both a resurrection like His and eternal life.
     
    Yes, Heaven is for real, and it’s a certainty for the believer.
     
    We shouldn’t garner our hope in the testimony of a five-year-old boy, but in the power of our Lord and Christ who vacated a tomb in the Middle East and is right now at the right hand of the Father in Heaven.
     
    After all, we know Heaven is for real because in Christ we have already been raised from the dead and are right now seated in the heavenly places (Ephesians 2:6). All this we know because the Bible told us so.
     
    (EDITOR’S NOTE – Nathan Akin is one of the planting pastors of Imago Dei Church in Raleigh and serves there as the pastor for disciple-making. In addition, he serves at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in establishing church partnerships with the seminary. This column was first released online at baptisttwentyone.com.)
     
    4/22/2014 12:52:53 PM by Nate Akin, Guest Column | with 2 comments
    Filed under: Christian media, movie review




Comments
Brittany Lang
You're wrong about a lot of things. He was actually 4 when it happened and he was never pronounced dead. He was alive the whole surgery.
4/22/2014 10:45:18 PM

ross norris
Amen to the scriptures as the final authority for my faith. Now we need a movie that says hell is for real.
4/22/2014 9:11:37 PM