Heaven is for Real: A Review

Heaven is for Real is proclaimed to be a true story about a little boy named Colton Burpo who went to heaven and came back to share his story.  It is told by Colton’s father Todd Burpo who is a pastor of a Wesleyan church in Imperial, Nebraska.  A paragraph from the back of the book sums it up nicely:

When Colton Burpo made it through an emergency appendectomy, his family was overjoyed at his miraculous survival.  What they weren’t expecting, though, was the story that emerged in the months that followed – a story as beautiful as it was extraordinary, detailing their little boy’s trip to heaven and back.

This book has become very popular, so my review may not be very popular; nevertheless, I will be honest in my opinion of the book.  The style of writing was descent but certainly nothing to rave about.  The story was interesting but the writer never really pulled me in.   I never had a problem putting the book down (which is why it took so long to read).

Furthermore, I have a very hard time believing the “facts” of the story because I don’t believe they are Biblical.  There are several issues that I have with the story but let me deal specifically with one.  Colton tells his parents that he sees God the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit while he is in heaven.  This is directly opposed to what John sees in his vision of the city in Revelation 4

Revelation 4:1-2 After this I looked, and, behold, a door [was] opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard [was] as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.  And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and [one] sat on the throne.

John saw ONE throne and ONE sitting on the throne, and His name is Jesus.  Therefore, I do not believe the story of Colton Burpo.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze.com <http://BookSneeze.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
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4 thoughts on “Heaven is for Real: A Review”

  1. How can you even begin to critique someone’s writing, much less their credibility, when, quite obviously, you are an expert on neither? Ephesians and Hebrews both contain passages of Jesus being seated at the right hand of God. Have you missed this in all of your Biblical learning? I’m not trying to be ugly, but your review of the book is biased due to your apparent lack of knowledge of the subject. Also, you should finish reading the rest of the passage you quoted. I believe you’ll find more than one throne.

    1. You are right, I am not an expert in either of these matters and I have made no such claim. I am simply stating my personal opinion as a reader of the book. Regarding the writing and the story itself, it simply didn’t grab me as it has many others. The book has done quite well, even spending some time at the top of the New York Times bestseller list (Congratulations Thomas Nelson Publishers!). I understand that I am in the minority here; it’s just my opinion.

      Regarding the Biblical accuracy, I don’t agree with the Theology of the book. While I may be in the minority on this issue as well, I am certainly not alone. Even the president of Thomas Nelson Publishers, Michael Hyatt expressed some hessitation in publishing the book because he wasn’t sure if he agreed with its theology.

      When I read the book prior to publication, I was, frankly, skeptical. I didn’t know how the book would fit with my theology. I also didn’t have much confidence in the recollection of a four-year old little boy. -Michael Hyatt

      If you would like to know why I don’t agree with the Theology, this article sums it up pretty well: http://studiesinscripture.com/one-throne-in-heaven/

      I respectfully ask that we don’t use the comments section for this post to debate this subject. If you have any further questions and are willing to discuss them in godly love and respect for one another, I would be glad to answer them via email. You may find my email address on my website, http://www.the1stfollower.com.

      Thanks for your input, Tomme. I wish you all the best!

  2. Tomme You are so right. In the book Heaven is for real they give you alot of scripture since he is a pastor. I believe this story is true no doubt about it. I am doing it on a school midterm speech and I definitely looked at you review and you should read the rest of the book.

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