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Thread: Todd Burpo's ‘Heaven Is for Real' A Skeptics Review

  1. #11
    Follower of Christ cmnahrwold's Avatar
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    Feb 2008

    Response from "Heaven is for Real Ministries"

    I wrote the Heaven is for Real Ministires about whether people have come to Christ because of reading this book. I certainly think that the Holy Spirit can use any means that He wants to quicken the heart of an unbeliever. Here is the letter:

    Mr. Nahrwold,
    Thank you for your encouraging e-mail to Heaven is For Real Ministries. We give God all the glory for all he has done in our lives and in this ministry. It's always great to hear from readers who have been blessed through the book. As Todd and Sonja often share, the response to this book has been so unexpected. But, it is clear God is using this story to touch people all over the world.

    You asked, "Do you know of anyone that has eventually come to Christ because they had first read your book about your son's awesome testimony?" Yes, we have received many testimonies from people through letters, email, Facebook and at events that share about the book’s influence in their personal decision to put their faith in Christ. It’s been incredibly humbling and awesome, all at the same time, to think that the story of our struggles and God’s faithfulness would have this impact.

    It is their prayer that this book will point people to Jesus and we pray that Colton’s testimony will help people find hope and peace. Todd puts it this way—“In John 16:33 Jesus taught his disciples, in this world you will have trouble, and to that we all say, ‘Amen,’ because this world has plenty of it. But may the hope of heaven and the peace that only Jesus can give, be poured into your lives. But praise God, heaven is real, and don’t ever lose sight of that!”

    Belinda Selfridge
    Correspondence Director

  2. #12
    Nice letter to be sure, but Real Ministries can't in truth say rather people are being saved, they can only report what people are saying. Many are they who think they are saved, but are not. The book promotes a "fire escape" version of the gospel. Burpo paints a flowery picture of heaven, therefore threshold seekers will indeed embrace the message as a Mormon or Muslim embraces the lavish promises of their paradise. A motivation prompted by self-preservation, which is not the saving gospel.

    Being a genuine Christian involves quite a bit more (or less) than the picture the book paints. While the book's content is marginally true by depiction of reward, salvation involves death. Dying to self, personal ambitions and the world. Self appealing ministries like Joel Osteen, John Hagee, Rick Warren... all under another gospel, equally report of thousands saved, but cannot understand why the converts are falling out the back as fast as they enter the front. Because those souls received another gospel, one that does not carry the promise that Christ spoke of, that not one given to me by the Father shall be lost. That promise is only good for those truly in the one Christ under the one Spirit in the power of the one gospel, e.g., come to the Savior and die so that you may live.

    In summation, a few might be genuinely saved "by any means" as Paul said. But I would not want to use a crooked tool or worldly method to promote pseudo-truths as the above mentioned popular leaders are doing. I would not want to use a rusty knife to surgically assist a wounded person. Nor would I offer a drink concoction laced with poisons to a sick person... but much of what we find today touted as "of God" is nothing less than this. My opinion, from a mature faith, and I believe I have God's Spirit.

  3. #13
    Member Watchman's Avatar
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    Jul 2007
    Dublin, Ireland
    Those that share their experiance's can be basically put in 3 catergories.

    1. They are telling the truth.
    2. They share unaware they are decieved.
    3. They are deceivers.

    The Scripture states that we are to:1Th 5:21 "prove all things; hold fast that which is good." Our faith should be in the power of God yet in the Scriptures we see an unbeliever called Simon who was called the Power of God.

    1Co 2:5 - "that your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God."

    Act 8:10 - "to whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, This man is that power of God which is called Great."

    All the way through the Bible a counterfeit is revealed.

    We are warned about the false apostle's (2Co 11:13), false brothers (Gal 2:4), false teachers (2Pe 2:1), false prophets (Mat 7:15 ), false Christ's (Mar 13:22), we also have the couterfeit doctrines of man (Mat 15:9), and the counterfeit doctrines of demons ( 1Ti 4:1 ).

    These counterfeits are prevalent in the Church today. God warns us through the Scriptures for our own safety. If we refuse to test all things then we open ourselves to being decieved. We must test not to worldly standard's but to the standards set out in the Scriptures. The modern Church has a long history of embracing anything claiming to be from or of God.

    How many times have we seen a ''POWERFUL'' ministry being exposed as fraudulent.
    Have we forgotten all the Christian books written about the Y2K, and that all their warnings of destruction that have come to nothing. Just because some one claims their Ministry is producing blessings and Salvations does not make it true.

    The past Church scandels have proved that lying and deceit ( The action or practice of deceiving someone by concealing or misrepresenting the truth. A dishonest act or statement ) are more common that we are willing to admit.

    If we want to be Christ-like then we must observe the command to test all things.

  4. #14
    Follower of Christ cmnahrwold's Avatar
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    Feb 2008
    Ok, I am confused by your comments. In our prior discussion about faith you imply that man does nothing at the time of our conversion, it all has to do with the Holy Spirit.

    Now in this current discussion you imply that the Gospel has to be presented in a certain format for our conversion to be a true conversion.

    So which is it?

    Is it not true that the Holy Spirit can transcend all personal preferences and denominational differences to open up the heart of the unbeliever?

    Thanks for the discussion.


  5. #15
    Chris, I don't think my rehashing what has been addressed repeatedly and in detail will have value, but I will try keep it simple (right) for lack of time.

    In the discussion on "faith" no where do I state that man does nothing at time of conversion. In multiple ways, I tried to impress what Scripture is abundantly clear on, that it is God who draws us to him through the seed of faith deposited in us, not our intellect. It is up to us to respond or reject that seed, our choice to come with a broken or resistant will. Intellect has little to do with salvation. A mentally disabled person, or a brilliant statesman can equally receive Christ regardless of intellect. A backwoods tribesman who can't do more than grunt can receive the gospel and be saved in the Spirit, as a large number of the South African Zulu tribe did during the 1900's revival spearheaded by John Graham Lake. Our intellect is no more important in salvation than our six senses can increase our faith. It is essentially as simple as that. Scripture is rife with the clarity of these statements.

    In regard to any book or method of teaching goes, it must align with the gospel of Christ or it is another gospel. It is never about format, it is wholly about genuine truth aligned with Christ's revealed Spirit and words. Scripture is adamant that there are as many false gospels are there are many anti-Christ spirits. The anti-Christ himself will seem abundantly moral, bringing different faiths together, and have the supernatural power to usher in world peace. Even deceiving most the church (elect) to follow him, as Scriptures surmises. That same power is working freely IN the church today, through deceiving spirits resident in men, as it did in the Jewish synagogue amidst the Pharisees and Sadducees. As it did in the Catholic church during the inquisition. As it has throughout all time in every soul and every type of sanctuary. Therefore, it should be no marvel to observe error at every turn in our epic of time, even amidst the most innocent of endeavors that "seem" moral and good, but actually are not of God.

    The champions of the scriptures: martyrs, apologists, and theologians such as Origen, Tertullian of Carthage and Clement, all strived again false teachings. Irenaeus's great work entitled "Against Heresies" specifically pointed out in detail every heresy and deviation of sound doctrine. When reading it, it describes much of what the modern church touts today as “acceptable” for having little or no spiritual discernment.

    I would not go as far as to say that the Burpo book is Godless, but it is pretentious in creating a flowery picture of heaven based on a highly aggrandized toddler's imagination, influenced by bedtime stories and his parents. Most of what the toddler expresses is fantasy, and at times completely unbiblical, but this is already detailed in my first review. Along with links to other leaders and pastors who see the same error that the vast number of gullible do not. If those without discernment wish to follow the wide path of anything and everything, that is not for me to judge. The Emergent Church (compromised, watered down gospel) is already full of these wandering souls.

    As Johanna urged me to say, I have been deceived in my distant past by false teachers, unto near perdition. Therefore I am highly sensitive to false gospels and seeds that lead away from truth. It only takes a seed to bring us to Christ, and only a seed of another spirit to lead us away, if Christ is not rooted in us.

    Yes, it is "true that the Holy Spirit can transcend all personal preferences and denominational differences to open up the heart of the unbeliever." What that has to do with the faith discussion or the book is not clear to me. The statement becomes another topic on its own. Thanks for the inquiry!

  6. #16
    David Platt shares the biblical truth about "Heaven Is For Real" and other story books of trips to heaven.

  7. #17
    Member Watchman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Dublin, Ireland
    Acts 20:30- Some of your own men will come forward and say things that distort the truth. They will do this to lure disciples into following them.

    Ephesians 4:14- Then we will no longer be little children, tossed and carried about by all kinds of teachings that change like the wind. We will no longer be influenced by people who use cunning and clever strategies to lead us astray.

    Colossians 2:4- And this I say, lest any man should deceive you with enticing words.

    1 Timothy 4:1- The Spirit says clearly that in later times some believers will desert the Christian faith. They will follow spirits that deceive, and they will believe the teachings of demons.

    1 John 4:1- Dear friends, don't believe all people who say that they have the Spirit. Instead, test them. See whether the spirit they have is from God, because there are many false prophets in the world.

    2 Timothy 4:4- They will reject the truth and chase after myths.

    2 Peter 1:16- For we did not follow cleverly devised stories when we told you about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in power, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.

    2 Corinthians 11:13- For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.

    2 John 1:7- For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist.

    Titus 1:7- Since an overseer manages God's household, he must be blameless--not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain. Rather, he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined. He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it. For there are many rebellious people, full of meaningless talk and deception, especially those of the circumcision group.

    2 Timothy 4:3- For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear.

    Matthew 24:11- "Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many.

    2 Peter 2:1- But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves.

    1 Thessalonians 5:20- do not despise prophetic utterances. But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good;

    Revelation 2:2- I know your deeds and your toil and perseverance, and that you cannot tolerate evil men, and you put to the test those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and you found them to be false;

    The Scriptures are very clear about deception in the Church both then and now. Therefore we must test all things to see if we are being led astray. Concerning deceivers the Scriptures use the words ''Many'' on several occasions. The warnings are written to protect us from the false one's and the false way. So we should pay particular attention to testing using the Scriptures as the eternal Guide. It is a sad reflection of the Church today that many embrace the words of a boy while ignoring the warnings from the Lord.
    Last edited by Watchman; 04-22-2014 at 09:16 PM.

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