This evening my girls and I saw “Heaven Is For Real.” We have the book and book and both my daughter and I have read it so I was initially excited to know it was being made into a movie. It has been a while since I read the book, so I forget where it stand in this area, but I have to say though the movie is great if you want a tear-jerker of a “feel-good” movie, you’ll be pleased with that much.
But if, like my family and I, you want something that shoots straight with a solid, life-changing Gospel message with lots of scripture behind it, like us, you’ll be disappointed. Though much of what is shared by Colton to his family through his experiences in Heaven during emergency surgery are certainly scriptural in nature and I believe in the journey he took, the only time scripture was shared was the Lord’s Prayer a couple of times.
Missing were passages like John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (NKJV) or Matthew 3:3 “Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” or the message of Romans 3:23 and 6:23 that remind us that since the Garden Of Eden, we are all sinners in need of a Savior and that the free gift of God is that Savior-Jesus Christ, but we must repent in the process of being born again. Or even John 14:2 where Jesus shares that in His Father’s house are many mansions. That He went to prepare them for us, and will return for us one day. The list goes on….
When Colton’s father, Pastor Todd Burpo is shown preaching, or even sharing things with the church board that at one point is considering replacing him in the midst of the hype that Colton’s experiences are causing, or with a grieving member of that board later, his words are good, they are true, but there is no scripture shared to back it up. You never hear “Jesus said…….” Even the final time he is shown preaching to a packed house, that would have been the perfect setting for the gospel to be shared, and an alter call shown being responded to, instead has him laying his very brief notes on an open Bible, but no gospel being shared and only a big, warm-fuzzy “group hug” session taking place at the end of his message.
I won’t say that the movie in no way conveys hope-because it does. But the fact is, that we are not here just to say that there really is a beautiful place called Heaven, but to convey that there is a way to obtain it-acceptance of Jesus Christ as your personal Lord & Savior, repentance of and asking forgiveness of sin and your life beginning to reflect that new birth…..and there is a way not to obtain it. That Hell too, is a very real place that only a personal relationship with Jesus Christ by faith alone, in grace alone, in Him alone-can save you from. Ephesians 2:8 says “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.” Ephesians 1:7,8 says “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence.”
Ephesians 1:19, 20 say “And what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places.” (NKV)
Revelation 3:20 says “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.”
Heaven Is For Real………..have you, or will you open the door to Christ and join those of us who know Christ and those who knew Him here and have gone before us there?