We have all heard that the book entitled The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven by Alex Malarkey and his father, Kevin Malarkey is false. Some major book stores have pulled it off their shelves. I hope many more will.
I am glad that is all happening – in many ways, this was bound to happen sooner or later. I applaud the author(s) for coming out in the open to tell us all that what the book says is not true. I pray that they also have come clean before God in repentance seeking His forgiveness. It’s a terrible thing to lie about anything – and it’s certainly a terrible thing to lie about heaven and mislead so many people. We all should learn from this especially if we are in any position to influence people on how to think about God and His truth.
Why are this sort of books so popular? Almost every book that has been written by a person who claims to have “visited” heaven becomes a “Best Seller” almost in an instant. Why? Why are people so gullible? I think there are two main reasons:
1. A Loss of Confidence in the Word – the Bible is so clear on what we should think about heaven. The Word of God gives us everything that we need for life and godliness. Everything that we need to know for our faith and practice has been given to us in the Bible. Why do people abandon the sure Word of God and did for themselves elsewhere, wells which hold no water?
2. A Lack of Knowledge of the Word – this is worse. It’s sad that many people who would not hesitate to call themselves Christians have very little to no knowledge of the Scriptures. Oh, yeah, they may know a verse here or there and be able to quote them to you (though often out of context). But their so called knowledge of the Word is false – and thus, they are easily swayed by every wind of doctrine.
I believe this is why the books on what others have called “heaven tourism” sell like hot cakes. But I must deal with one more question before I bring this to a close. Is it all bad that people seem to be obsessed with books on heaven? The answer is “No.” In fact, I will go so far as to say that it is a good thing. The fact that people seem to be so obsessed with heaven is an indicator that they are curious. They are interested. They want to know about heaven and, if truth be told, they want to go there. Or to put it negatively, they don’t want to go to hell. This is all good and there is nothing wrong with that. In fact, I think it’s simply a practical reflection of what the Bible says. God has put eternity in man’s heart (Ecclesiastes 3:11). God has made us for Himself and our hearts can find rest nowhere else but in Him (St. Augustine).
How Should We Respond to This?
Let first of all say how we shouldn’t respond. We shouldn’t write false books about heaven. We shouldn’t sell them. We shouldn’t read them or encourage others to read them.
So, What Should We Do?
We must get to know the Bible and help others to do the same. That will cure us all of this malady. Parents should be diligent to teach their children the truth about God – the truth about heaven and everything else – God’s truth. Husbands in particular, should strive to lead their wives and children by faithfully and consistently teaching them the deep of God as revealed in His Word. Individual Christians should take the responsibility to get to know the Word – digging a little deeper each time so that they may drink from the Fountain for their soul’s nourishment. Finally, pastors and Bible teachers should make sure that what they preach or teach agrees with the Word of God – and they should warn people to guard themselves against all the false teachings which are being spread so easily today through various media (books, blogs, videos, on-line sermons, etc).
“For with You is the fountain of life; in Your light do we see light” (Psalm 36:9).