Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Tales of Heaven

Update 3/25/2015: After the story concerning Alex Malarkey broke with him confessing his trip to Heaven being false, Lifeway has wisely considered all books of that nature the purport a Heavenly visit and decided it best to pull them all.  This is such a good thing.  I am encouraged at these and other Biblical decisions that I am seeing within my denomination.  

I know this may stir the pot a bit and that certainly isn't my intention, but I do hope that it will urge Christians to simply think through this issue with a sober mind and with Bibles opened.  Yesterday as I walked around Target for a bit I strolled through the books department.  In the section that passes for "Christian" books in Target there were more books than I could count with tales of people who have gone to Heaven and come back.

Did these people really go to Heaven?  I lean towards no but not knowing them personally it makes it hard to fully say.  Further, I am not going impugn them all and say that their motive is book deals, speaking tours, and money making.  That definitely applies to some, but I do not believe all.  I suppose I could be wrong, but do not intend to judge motives, just teaching.

However, there are a few whose credibility has been shot to pieces.  In 2 Corinthians 12 the Apostle Paul recounts having been taken to Heaven and he says that what he saw was simply too great to even talk about.  Then he goes on to say basically that in his flesh he is tempted to boast of the revelation God has given him but to keep him from being conceited the Lord sent him a thorn in the flesh.

The oft quoted 2 Corinthians 12:9 comes in that the Lord has sent this thorn in the flesh to Paul solely for the purpose of keeping him humble (and one could argue to keep him quiet) about what the Lord has permitted him to see.

My question is this:  If the Lord saw fit to keep the Apostle Paul, who wrote the majority of the New Testament, silent about what awaits us in Heaven, why do we quickly believe any and everyone who publishes a book saying that they have been there?  Why do we easily give in to the desire to believe that we need more than Scripture alone to believe?  Why do we quickly believe them when not one of the so called accounts of trips to Heaven match one another in near any detail and some contain blatantly un-biblical statements? Not trying to anger anyone or get a debate started, but would love to hear from anyone who can (from Scripture in context) make a case for why these accounts are ok.

P.S - Comments based on feelings or opinions and not backed with Scripture will likely not be published as they are not helpful to the discussion.

P.P.S - Comments charging me with being narrow-minded will be seen as a compliment so thanks in advance! ((Matthew 7:13-14))