Thursday, November 17, 2011

Heaven Is for Real DVD Conversation Guide

The Heaven Is for Real DVD Conversation Guide is based on the book, Heaven is for Real -A Little Boy's Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back, By Todd Burpo.  This kit basically completes and explains the ideas introduced by the book.  This kit is more like an after the fact, defense of the book and of Colton's experiences. It is an apologetic styled work written in defense of book and of Colton's experience- perhaps written in answer to the vocal skeptics.   I was suprised that this conversation guide book gives a clear message of the gospel, true to the message of the bible.  Theologically, this book explained salvation and heaven in simple, easy to understand and relevant terms.  The errorof relativison and the ideas of nirvana were exposed and explained in light of the true message of the gospel.

Obviously, since this kit is based on the book, many references are made to Colton's specific visions of heaven, which may or may not be biblically accurate.  For those who are skeptical of near death experiences and private visions, in general,such refernces to Colton's own portrayal should be taken with a grain of salt. Even Christians who believe strongly in the bible should be cautious about accepting the validity of a private vision.  Whereas the original book was pretty simple and left a lot of the biblically based explanatory information out- this DVD and guide fills the gaps of information.  Personally, I believe the text of the conversation guide should have been integrated into the original book- perhaps in the back as a study guide suppliment. 

For those who never read the book on which this kit is based, Heaven is for Real -A Little Boy's Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back, By Todd Burpo with Lynn Vincent, claims to be an account of a true story. A pastor, writes the account of his son's trip to heaven, that happened during the emergency surgery of his 4 year old son near death experience. While alleged near death experiences are somewhat common, based on the media attention in documentaries, articles and even books, what makes this story unique is the fact that it comes from a 4 year old boy, who upon his return to his parents, reveals information that he could possibly not have known everywhere else.
Even though this story is easy to read and easy to follow, it raises spiritually complex issues such as the issue of the legitimacy of private visions apart from revealed scripture. While it is true that some NDE can be ruled out as the side effects of a dying or injured brain, not all can be scientifically ruled out. Some perhaps might be supernatural in nature. Nevertheless that does not mean they should automatically be accepted as biblical in nature or truth. I must admit I am skeptical when it comes to believing modern day visions and NDE. For example, there are so many alleged apparitions of Mary in the Catholic church, that I believe most to be hoaxes, and in other cases, demonic in nature.

Convieniently, this entire miraculous story occured to a pastor's son. The reader places his faith by accepting the word of the pastor- the author of this book- that his 4 year old son did in fact go to heaven and that it is a true account and not fabricated or embellished. While the pastor does not admit to adding to his son's depictions of heaven, he interprets them in light of scripture. In of itslef there is nothing wrong with doing that. Once the reader decides to accept the author's word that this story is legit, it is up to the reader to discern the source or supernatural power behind the NDE. This is where most readers will most likely accept with blind faith that this is a true account and that it is based on biblical truth. This is because most people want to believe this heartwarming and comforting message is true.
Any responsible reader familiar with the bible will be aware that he or she is faced with the task of determining if the experience of Colton is spiritually based on truth, or if it perhaps is an indirect attempt of Satan to mislead believers into accepting false information. Paul warned in the letters of the new testement, especially in the book of Galations, that even Satan, and evil spirits can appear as angels of light, deceiving many. So, if this is true, then is it possible that a Pastor might be decieved and misinterpret his son's experience as being from God when it possibly isn't? That possibility must be acknowledged by anyone who reads this book. While Paul acknowledged the possibility of personal visions in the ancient church, he himself did not place on any believer the burden of accepting any other private vision other than the message containe din the gospel. When Colton urgently claimed that all must know Jesus to enter Heaven, that is accurate- and perhaps the most significant piece of information that could possibly validate the experience as being in line with scripture. As far as the other details- knowledge of his grandfather and unborn sister- that information could be obtained from evil sources for the purpose of adding "authenticity" and misleading believers into believeing the other aspects of the visions Colton shared. The evil spirits are known for mixing truth with falsehood. We are in a spiritual battle, and nothing is off limits as far as the evil spirits of this world are concerned. they will try all sorts oftricky and decieving deceptions. They will try any underhanded tactic even going so far as using an innocent boy and his Pastor Dad, as tools to mislead others. It isn't always obvious to everyone to sort truth from untruth unless they are firmly grounded in the Holy Spirit. Even those involved in the occult such as palm readers and fortune tellers, can sometimes fortell the future or the past with amazing accuracy with supernatural information supplied by the evil spirit realm. The details of the throne of God, the angels and other aspects are questionable, as to their spiritual authenticity.

As a blogger for booksneeze I received this book & DVD kit from Thomas Nelson publishers for the purpose of writing this review. It is with caution I would suggest this book to anyone to read- unless of course that reader is willing to take the time to discern, in light of scripture, the validity of the message presented by this little boy's experience and his dad who authored the book. I do believe however, the kit is a neccessary part of this book- and without some explanatory material, many readers will be left with an incomplete picture.

1 comment:

  1. Heaven is For Real, is the (supposed) account of Colton Burpo - son of Todd Burpo, a pastor in Imperial Nebraska. When I use the word "supposed" in parentheses above, I do not wish to imply that there is any kind of fraud being perpetrated in this story. I use it only because a lot of what is reported in the book (beyond the verifiable historical facts), is all dependent upon what may or may not be the genuine experience, or dreams, or hallucinations or combinations of these - of 4 year old Colton Burpo. I do not use it either to impugn the sincerity of the Burpo family in any way. I use it because "experiences" are tricky things. And how we interpret our experiences may or may not be accurate. And herein rests a key problem with this little -quick reading and fun book.