Wednesday, April 23, 2014

“Heaven is for Real” - the Movie

Not having read the book, “Heaven is for Real,” I was quite curious to see the movie; I had lots of questions, wondering why it was generating so much interest. Author, and father of Colton, Todd Burpo said he is very satisfied that the movie portrays his book accurately and honestly. In fact, Todd claims that God is telling the story. Why, I wondered? Is the Bible incomplete? Or will Colton's story turn non-believers into believers? And then I remembered the story of Dives who, from his place in Hades, asked Abraham to send someone to warn His brothers: “If someone is sent to them from the dead, then they will repent of their sins and turn to God.” To which Abraham replied, “They won’t listen even if someone rises from the dead” (Luke 16:30-31).

While the Bible gives few details of Heaven as a ‘place,’ it gives us a few amazing sights of the king of Heaven. Isaiah says, “I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple” (Is. 6:1). Ezekiel saw Jesus: “high above on a throne was a figure like that of a man, glowing, as if full of fire, and brilliant light surrounded him.” (Ezekiel 1:26-27). The Apostle John saw “someone like a son of man, his eyes were like blazing fire, and his face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance, and the throne He sat on was as brilliant as gemstones—like jasper and carnelian.” (Rev. 1:13-17; 4:3). Upon seeing Jesus in His glory, John and Ezekiel fell down like dead men. Isaiah felt his sinfulness: “I am a man of unclean lips” (6:5).

In contrast, the 4-year old Colton’s view of Jesus is that of a white man with blue-green eyes, curly brown hair (John tells us Jesus' hair was white, like wool), dressed in a plain white robe. And that's a problem: Colton's “Heaven” is too earthy. And believers in his heavenly visit are more taken up with natural details and knowing which of their relatives he saw in Heaven than they are about the enthroned Jesus.

One reviewer said, “'Heaven Is for Real' gently shares biblical truths in an accessible and non-preachy way—offering hope, encouragement and a strengthening of faith for both Christians and non-believers alike.” Non-preachy or otherwise, it is doubtful there is enough truth in the movie to bring a non-believer to Christ or, for that matter, to lift a believer higher because of its underlying message of "universalism." In answering who can go to Heaven, the film ends with a cross-less, Christ-less message of universal love.


  1. We Christians need to be careful what we endorse and get excited about. Just like when Noah came out. It is astounding how many people I heard say the classic "God is moving in Hollywood" or "People are going to get saved!" And we all know how gross a representation of truth it was.

    Now a little kid testifies to his experience. Right or wrong, truth or fiction, I cannot justify or deny his experience. BUT, we absolutely need to be careful creating doctrines (foundational truths) based on people's experiences.

  2. it is the dilemma of extra-biblical experiences and revelations. we must grow in discernment. we must really know the Bible. we must be Christ-centered and cross-centered.