Disclaimer: I received this book free through Book Sneeze http://www.booksneeze.com/
I always give an honest review all books. I lean towards being extra critical of books because there are so many out there and I understand you and I have limited time and resources. If I am going to recommend a book, I want it to be one that you will put on your bookshelf and keep. I want it to be the kind of book you will come back to and will also recommend to others.
READ IT OR SKIP IT? SKIP IT
WHO MIGHT LIKE THIS BOOK? Christians who want to feel good about life and their own religion. Christians who want hope. Believers in Weslyan theology. Catholics. Artists. Christians who don't highly value biblical accuracy.
WHO MIGHT HATE THIS BOOK? Non-Christians. Spiritual people. Bible is 100% infallible believers. Calvinists. Strong believing protestants. Impatient readers who want the facts and not a lot of fluff.
AUTHOR: Sarah Palin's ghost writer Lynn Vincent (not written by the father Todd Burpo or son). Book is written from the father's persepctive and with his direction.
SUMMARY: 3 year old boy (despite all the claims in the media that he was 4) is said to have gone to heaven during surgery for a burst appendix. About 20 weeks after the surgery, the father learns the boy had met his grandpa in heaven while undergoing surgery. So the pastor/minister dad asks the boy questions. 7 years (YES, SEVEN YEARS) later, a book is written by Sarah Palin's ghost sensationalist author Lynn Vincent and instantly becomes a best seller. Now it's all over TV.
QUICK BOOK REVIEW: 80% boring fluff about family life, bills and the father. Nothing new taught here. Every idea about heaven in this book is already popular and widely known in today's Christian culture. From Jesus' eyes being blue to halos, humans and angels with wings, white robes and animals in heaven. The book's description of heaven seems fake because no new concepts are introduced and no details are given. How come heaven is EXACTLY like modern society portrays it with not one new detail?
- Book reaffirms many common knowledge beliefs about heaven
- Book paints an appealing picture of heaven that can agree with the majority of wanna-feel-good Christians desires about heaven
- 80% of book is about the family, the father's dealing with his son's medical issues, and the father paying bills
- Book is 154 pages and the first mention of the heaven experience is on page 61
- Book never does explain the boy's entire experience of heaven - only a small snippet here and there
- Boy's father directs the entire book, providing scriptural proof to support everything the boy tells him about
- Boy says: God has the "biggest chair of all" in heaven and that Jesus has a chair on the right side (the correct side per scripture) and angel Gabriel has a chair on the left side - pg 101.
- Humans have halos
- Humans and Angels have wings and they fly around (This is not in the bible, but certainly popular in Christian artwork)
- Everybody in heaven has wings, except Jesus. The boy's grandpa has "huge wings". (This is not in the bible, but in Christian artwork)
- 1 minute in earth time is 30 minutes in heaven
- Animals are in heaven (This is not in the bible, but a nice idea/hope)
- Jesus wears a purple sash (because he is a king) (This is not in the bible, but in Christian artwork)
- All adults are age 25 in heaven (This is not in the bible)
- All fetus are now age 7 in heaven (This is not in the bible)
- All children are the same age as when they die (This is not in the bible)
- The dads will take swords and fight with Jesus and the angels against Satan and his dragons and monsters (This is not in the bible)
- there's going to be a "war" and that "women and children stand back and watch" while "good men, Jesus, and angels" battle satan and Jesus wins - pg 136 (This is not in the bible's portrayal of the "End Times" "Judgment" or "Armaggedon")
- Soon there will be a big war between "bad people", demons and monsters against believers, God and Jesus. Jesus wins and throws Satan into hell. "I saw it dad" (This is not in the bible)
- Satan will be thrown into hell (Am I wrong or does the Bible in Revelation say that Satan will be cast into "the lake of fire" ALONG WITH HELL but not into hell)
- one "has to have Jesus in his heart and has to know Jesus or he can't get into heaven" - pg 57
- little boy saw satan and he says the angels use "swords" to keep satan out of heaven (How does a sword keep a spirit being out of heaven? Does Satan have a physical body that can be pierced?)
- If you don't have Jesus in your heart, you'll go to hell.
- Jesus had his angels sing to the child about the walls of Jericho falling
- God zaps pastors with power when they preach
- we enter heaven through wide golden pearly gates
- everyone wears White robe, bare feet and a sash
- lots of colors and rainbows in heaven
- If you pray hard enough, he will "shoot power" down from heaven to help you. Kind of like a bolt of lightning except you don't feel anything.
- boy said Jesus had "markers" on his hands and feet
- the boy saw his parents from heaven
- met his grandpa who he never met, talked with John the Baptist, and met his baby sister who died by miscarriage (but she has no name in heaven)
- boy saw Jesus' horse, lots of other children and animals and even the Virgin Mary
- Jesus has blue eyes (I thought he was like other Jewish mean and had brown eyes?)
- The Holy Spirit is in heaven (I thought he was with us on earth?)
QUOTES FROM OTHERS:
- Despite what you might have heard in the media, the boy doesn't die. His heart doesn't stop, his brain didn't flat-line... there's no actual 'near death' nor actual-death involved.
- 'Heaven is for Real' is a pro-Christian, anti-abortion publication, written by a Christian pastor, and ghost-written by Lynn Vincent who acted as ghost-writer for Sarah Palin's book 'Going Rogue'. Need I say more? If the kid met God when he was 4 (and remember, meeting God is a pretty big deal, right?), why has it taken his parents 7 years to tell anybody?
- Believer's do not get wings in heaven (sorry grandpa). Angels are created beings, we do not turn into them. God the Father is never described as a giant of a man. Halos are never mentioned in the Bible in connection with people, angels or God. The Bible refers to Satan being in heaven at times, swords are hardly what angels would use against each other if they even fought! They can't die! If we are told we can't use weapons like that against evil why would angels? Heaven must be a confusing place if miscarriages resulted in nameless people in heaven: there would be a lot of "Hey you in the white robe, no, not you, you.) Since we will be perfected in heaven, your grandpa will not have to ask if your his grandkid (while your unborn sister knows). This story like many others like it, do not stand up to a biblical evaluation.
- But the deal breaker for me in this piece of fiction is that it is far too full of biblical references the dad makes to try and convince us that his kid has been to heaven. These references fit with 'his' interpretation of life after death, based on his specific religious beliefs/theology (Wesleyan (as opposed to Calvinist)), which are very concrete. Too concrete. I don't know about you but I don't want wings when I get to heaven. Why, as a human being, would I suddenly sprout wings, and why would I be running around in a robe from biblical times?
- First, I am a believer. So, I am not in the least put off by a young boy's "experience" with Heaven. What I regret is that this experience was obviously the cumulative effect of Sunday School teachings, parental conversations, and a child's observations over time.
- His father is a minister or pastor, and his mom is a youth-minister too, so he's heard and been exposed to this stuff around the clock
- I am a Christian (Lutheran), married to a pastor so I am coming to this opinion as a believer. This book is not for me. It is written in very simplistic language, and simply misses the mark. The child may or may not have been to heaven, but frankly, the parents almost badger him for information whenever he mentions something about his trip to heaven. And he gets a lot of attention when he tells them what they want to hear--of course he is going to continue to have revelations.
- One example of my (the reviewer's) disappointment was the child's meeting with his paternal grandfather in heaven. There was nothing of substance in the exchange quoted between the two. There was no warmth or intimacy to their dialogue as there would be when a grandparent speaks to a young grandson.
-There is way too much about Todd and his trials and tribulations, and not enough about Colton's actually experience. In fact, the experiences are inserted almost as afterthoughts by Todd who really wants the reader to know how hard he works and how challenging his life has been.
- One aspect of the account that renders it unbelievable is the following conversation between Colton and Todd (p.72)
"Everybody's got wings," Colton said.
"Did you have wings?" I asked.
"Yeah, but mine weren't very big." He looked a little glum when he said this.
"Okay...did you walk placed or did you fly?"
- Book gives the impression the boy was coached by the pastor father OR the father may have embellished the story
- I believe in God, I believe in Heaven, I just don't believe this book.
- To me it sounds like the father made the whole thing up and told his son what to say. In their mind they probably think that doing this will bring people closer to God and money in their bank account. I also seen their interview on Fox news and the boy looked force fed.
- I find it really hard to believe that this book is not a scam, intended to milk an audience
- how do I know this father pastor guy isn't embellishing? The kid was four yet He remembers all this stuff from a few months ago
- I find it a little hard to believe that this little boy was not either coached with his bible story books and strong influences from the family beliefs. Or, whether the parents only took note of what the boy said about heaven that fitted in with or supported their belief system.
- I don't know. I always pictured Jesus as an old Jewish guy. But no, he has blue eyes. Who knew?
- how could it be conceivably possible that Colton Burpo's revelation of the true nature of God and Heaven happened to conform exactly to his father's views on them?
- the boy declares that only people in heaven are people who espouse his religious faith is reason enough to declare this book a fraud
- 87% through the book. At this point, the parents asked the boy if he got to play with swords in heaven. "No" was the answer because: "There is going to be a war and the angels and good people are going to fight against Satan and the monsters and the bad people. I saw it." Then the author goes into the Book of Revelation where the women and children stand back and watch. But the men had to fight. And so it goes: fundamentalist preaching and pure fiction. I believe this book to be pure fiction.
I'm creating this blog to provide an intelligent Calvinist Christian persepctive (not churchy) on books. I will rate all books 1-5 stars with 5 being the highest. This way, you can choose if the book is worth reading or not.