I have never seen Heaven. I can’t tell you from experience what it is like. The best I can do is tell you what limited information the Bible has. Well, limited in the details I mean. That is why I, like so many other people, are very intrigued by stories of people who have claimed to have been there and come back. Today, there are no lack of books being published by those who say they have seen heaven. I remember I Saw Heaven. It was published in the 90s I think. It was my first exposure to this genre. Recently, many similar books have made it big: Ninety-Minutes in Heaven, The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven, and Twenty-Three Minutes in Hell (this one about a guy who spent some time in hell, obviously). All of these have topped best-seller lists everywhere. Christians eat these up as it seems to confirm for them the reality of their faith. Not only this, but they hand them out to unbelieving friends hoping that it can be the “I told you so” proof of their faith.

The latest book to top the lists (indeed the New York Times best seller list) is called Heaven is for Real: A Little Boy’s Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back, by Todd Burpo. It was published in 2010 by Thomas Nelson. It is just over 150 pages. I read it this afternoon.

Summary

Colton Burpo, the three-year-old son of Todd (the author) and Sonja Burpo, spent time in heaven and came back to talk about it. Colton’s experience was not the traditional NDE (near death experience) since he never actually died. The first half of the book is the story of the events leading up to Colton’s visit to heaven. His dad, Todd, a Wesleyan minister, gives the nail biting story (especially for those of us who have young kids) of dealing with his son’s stomach ache that was misdiagnosed as the flu. After many days of pain, trips to the doctor’s office, and multiple hospitals, they finally find out that Colton has a ruptured appendix that has been poisoning his body for days. At the edge of death, the doctors rush him into surgery while the parents are on their knees before God.

Colton survived. The medical reports give no indication that his heart ever stopped. While it was a very close call, the surgery was a success.

Over the next months, even years, Colton began, to the surprise of the parents, to explain what happened to him while in surgery. The rest of the book is filled with account after account of Colton telling his bewildered parents about his time with Christ in heaven. Things that Colton should not have known and had never been taught came to the surface as this three-year-old boy processed his faith as confirmed through his time with God.

Main Events

Let me give you a quick low-down on the parts of the story about heaven that stood out to me most.

  • He sat in Jesus’ lap
  • He met his sister who died in his mother’s womb (whom his parents had never told him about)
  • He saw John the Baptist
  • There is a coming battle with Satan (he is a futurist!)
  • There are thousands of colors we have never seen
  • He met his great granddad (who told him things about his father that his father had never told him)
  • He saw Jesus’ “marks” on his hands and feet
  • All the people had wings of various sizes (including Colton) and flew around (except Jesus who moved up and down as if on an escalator)
  • Jesus had the most beautiful eyes, a beard, a white gown, a purple sash, and a crown
  • All the people had a light above their head (halo?)
  • Jesus sits on a throne at the right hand of God and Gabriel is on the left
  • He sat by God the Holy Spirit (who he could not describe) and explained to his dad that God is a Trinity
  • It never gets dark in heaven because God the Father and God the Son are the lights
  • There were all kinds of animals everywhere
  • Nobody is old in heaven and no one wears glasses
  • Jesus “shoots” power down from heaven to his father while he is preaching (like I hope he is doing for me while I am blogging!)
  • The gates to heaven were made of gold and pearls
  • He was actually only there for three minutes (timelessness in heaven?)

heaven-hitchcock

 A great book on the topic by Mark Hitchcock

Evaluation

I have often said that left unchecked, experience is the most powerful and compelling source for theology. You can argue with logic, facts, evidence, and the like, but it is almost impossible to argue against subjective experience. However, if our experience comes in direct contradiction with correctly interpreted Scripture, Scripture should always win. That is what we mean by sola Scriptura. The Scriptures are our final and only infallible source of authority. It is the “norm that norm which is not normed.” However, this does not discount experience. Neither does it say that God does not use experience to confirm his truth to his people. We need to tread very carefully with these types of things, opting neither for outright acceptance or complete dismissal.

The Father of Colton and Writer of the Book, Todd Burpo

This was not my experience nor the experience of my son. I am sure that if I had the experience myself or if it was my son’s, I would have a much harder time dismissing many of these things (which is not my purpose). However, one thing that stood out to me immediately was the composure of the boy’s father, Todd. As I said before, he is a Wesleyan minister. I was immediately impressed by his theological astute evaluation of many things. Not all, but many. For example, he struggled with the idea that his son said that this all happened in three minutes. He toys with the thought that heaven may be timeless, but he also seems to understand the implication of God alone existing in a timeless eternity.

As well, most of the events were well reflected upon and compared to the Scriptures. For example, as bizarre as it sounds to say that people’s heads shine (as in having a halo), he does reference many times where people “shine” with a heavenly glow in the Bible.

His more than expected critical evaluation and reflection on what his son described endeared me to the testimony of his son. I don’t know how to take much of what his son said about heaven, but I really appreciate that his father, many times, does not seem to know how to take it as well. That is a mark of authenticity.

Colton

I suppose that this is what intrigued me most about this book and the testimony. I have read other books where people claim to have seen heaven and their description is easily written off due to its reflection of common cultural folklore. However, his son was not even four-years-old.

Right now, my son Zach is about the same age as Colton was when these events took place. I cannot imagine him saying the things that Colton said, even after countless hours of trying to teach him about our faith. It is hard enough to get Zach to refrain from saying Chuck-e-Cheese, not God, made him! Those of you who have three-year-old children can relate, I am sure.

This seems to be the position of both the father and the mother. The question that comes up repeatedly is “How does he know this?” How did he know who John the Baptist was? How did he know about his sister who died? How could he talk about “Pop,” his great-granddad, and identify him in a photo? How did he know about the Trinity?

These are all questions that leave me scratching my head.

Jesus

I found it rather humorous and fascinating when the parents, upon discovery that Colton saw Jesus, were obsessed (my word, not theirs) with finding out what Jesus looked like. For years they pointed to modern pictures of Jesus saying, “How about this one?” only to be shot down by Colton’s critique. After a couple of years, they came across a young girl named Akiane who also claimed to have a vision of Christ and heaven. She was an artist and painted a picture of Jesus. Upon showing this to Colton, he said, “That is it! That is Jesus.” So, this is what Jesus really looks like according to Colton and Akiane Kramarik:

What do you think?

The Events

Putting my theological cap on for a moment, let me say a few words.

While there is nothing that is described by Colton that is impossible or that outright contradicts Scripture, there are many things that don’t square with what I suppose to be true about heaven.

First, we must distinguish between the “intermediate state of existence” and the New Earth (both of which we often call “heaven”). The intermediate state of existence is the place people go between death and the resurrection. Christians go to a place called “Paradise”(Luke23:43). It is not entirely improper to call it “heaven”; we don’t want to confuse this place with the New Earth that will be our eternal abode and only appears after judgment. There is not much that the Bible tells us about the intermediate state. We know that we will be with Christ (2 Cor. 5:6; Luke 23:43) and it will be better than being on earth (2 Cor. 5:8). The New Earth does not appear until Revelation 20:1-3. The intermediate state is where Colton would have gone, not the New Earth. However, like with so many of these “I saw heaven” experiences, people describe what seems to be the New Earth which, for lack of a better way to put it, has not been built yet. The streets of gold, gates made out of pearls, and the like, which Colton describes, are attributes, literal or not, of a place that is not yet in existence.

As well, the description of people with wings is very odd. While I am not denying that people could have wings in the intermediate state, this is no where hinted at in Scripture. This, along with people not looking old, while not necessarily problematic, does raise some theological eyebrows. After all, were not Samuel, Elijah and Moses all recognizable (1 Sam. 28:15; Matt. 17:1-9). Did not the witch of Endor recognize Samuel? And upon being asked what he looked like, didn’t she say, “An old man wearing a robe is coming up” (1 Sam. 28:14, emphasis mine).

There were just many things like this that fit better with common folk theology than with biblical testimony. But who am I to say that some folk theology could not be true?

Are They Lying?

This question always has to be asked, doesn’t it? After all, these types of things can get a person rich really quick. I don’t think that either the father or the son is lying. This does not mean that what is being said accurately reflects what we can expect the intermediate state to be like, nor does it dismiss all alternative explanations. It just means that I believe there is no compelling reason for me to say that this story is a fabrication.

Near-Death-Experiences and the Christian Faith

You must understand, there are tens of thousands of “I saw heaven” claims out there. The most famous of which is Emanuel Swedenborg’s (1688-1772), father of the cult Swedenborgianism or The New Church. He claimed to have been given permission to freely visit heaven and hell for 28 years. His testimony is filled with unorthodox beliefs, not the least of which was a denial of the Trinity.

Today, studies of near-death experiences are on the rise and becoming more accepted. The International Association of Near-Death Studies (IANDS) has gathered over 900 accounts with 280 of these just coming last year! These are very nice when they parallel with what you already believe. The problem is that these experiences are not only being testified to by Christians, but Muslims, atheists, Hindus, and those of every faith. Each account has its own unique testimony that fits well within their religious idealism. Muslim’s see virgins. Mormon are comforted by Joseph Smith. Catholics are aided by Mary. Even atheists are found being drawn by a bright light down a long tunnel.

I don’t dismiss these types of things outright. I think they are fascinating. But neither do I hold on to them too tightly. Though I will continue to read about and reflect on people’s “I saw heaven” testimonies, I will never hang my hat on them. Neither should you.

In the book, it is told that a baby sitter heard Colton’s testimony. She was a Christian who was wavering in her faith, riddled with doubt. As the story goes, her faith was confirmed by Colton’s experience. This is the type of stuff that scares me. When our faith is built on this type of tabloid theology, true or not, we can expect to have a tabloid faith. We do not need stories about people who have come back from the great beyond to confirm our faith and we certainly don’t need these as the foundation of our faith. So, from an apologetics standpoint (defending the faith), please don’t hand this type of book out to your unbelieving friends.

Conclusion

Heaven is for Real is a very well written page turner. I look to the Burpo family and sigh in relief that Colton was delivered from death. As a father of four, that testimony itself was encouraging and worth the price of the book. I would also like to thank Todd for being open and honest about his battle with God in the emergency room. That is as real as it gets.

I recommend this book for its ability to cause you to think, wonder, and process. While I don’t think it has much, if any, apologetic value, the truth is that we do believe in an afterlife. Perhaps Colton did catch a glimpse of heaven just as Paul did.

2 Cor. 12:2-5
I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows. 3 And I know that this man was caught up into paradise—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows— 4 and he heard things that cannot be told, which man may not utter. 5 On behalf of this man I will boast, but on my own behalf I will not boast, except of my weaknesses.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

C Michael Patton
C Michael Patton

C. Michael Patton is the primary contributor to the Parchment and Pen/Credo House Blog. He has been in ministry for nearly twenty years as a pastor, author, speaker, and blogger. Th.M. Dallas Theological Seminary (2001), president of Credo House Ministries and Credo Courses, author of Now that I'm a Christian (Crossway, 2014) Increase My Faith (Credo House, 2011), and The Theology Program (Reclaiming the Mind Ministries, 2001-2006), host of Theology Unplugged, and primary blogger here at Parchment and Pen. But, most importantly, husband to a beautiful wife and father to four awesome children. Michael is available for speaking engagements. He can be contacted at [email protected]

    141 replies to "Book Review: Heaven is for Real"

    • […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Michael Patton, Michael Patton. Michael Patton said: My review of "Heaven if for Real": http://bit.ly/fkV86n […]

    • Craig Bennett

      Whether it was a real heavenly journey or a vision; I feel its purpose was to both encourage the boy and his family.

      I have had a vision where God called me to climb into his lap and I poured my heart out to him…it seemed to take hours; but in reality was only a few seconds….but the joy of knowing Gods love was real.

      On another occasion I had a vision of a sword; with the words “Take it; for it is the sword of the spirit and will empower you…” I felt a deep sense of revulsion and cried out to Jesus and the sword turned to a snake and slithered away…

      This raises the question as to what do we do with experiences like this… we can’t ignore them for we don’t battle against flesh and blood…

    • […] See the Book Review here: Book Review: Heaven is for Real | Parchment and Pen […]

    • george57

      we can’t ignore them ,yes we should, i believe getting truth out of the bible is very hard work with lots of views in what the verses really mean, and taking that we are all in a battle till we die, so moving away from the written word and give any ground to outside stories is giving in to good or bad experiences of people, do we really need tales to confirm that heaven is there, or does it just show up weak faith,the other problem is it takes some top mega-church leader to state he believes it, and the people follow like lost sheep, k, copland , b, hind +in many statements ,,god told me [this,and that] jesus is turning up for tonight show, yes and the people still come to listen, to them, money, power, fame, lets leave out the stories, and just stick to the bible , may god bless you all.

    • TDC

      I’ve actually heard NDE’s used as an argument against Christianity. On the podcast “Skeptico” (whose host regularly defends NDE’s as real) the host interviews Gary Habermas. While they agree on the reality and evidential weight of NDE’s, the guy really tries to push pluralism onto Habermas, constantly saying “look at the data! the data!!!” I’m pretty sure he is referring to all those experiences/NDE’s that seem to include other religions.

      It was kind of an annoying interview, because the host seems to want to hear himself talk more than the people he is interviewing. You don’t get the best overview of Gary’s thoughts on the matter.

      In any case, interesting post. I have no idea what happened, or how to explain it.

    • Carrie Hunter

      Is that Kenny Loggins?

    • cherylu

      I tend to be very skeptical of this type of account myself. I think that is partly because I have learned first hand in the last years that “spiritual” experiences can be very deceiving. The second reason being the fact that people of all religions seem to experience NDE’s and, as Michael said, they usually conform to their already formed theological views.

      I used to be one that tended to put a lot of stock in this kind of story. However, my veiws on the subject have changed a lot in the last years.

    • Danny Zacharias

      Very interesting. One point to counter your thoughts on age— there is an age (usually in the 30s) at which you essentially look like you will look for the rest of your life. You’ll just get grayer and wrinklier. The idea that everyone is young made perfect sense

    • Teluog

      I dunno…..it’s really hard for to believe that this isn’t just another hallucination not unlike NDEs. The boy was in surgery? He must have been drugged up well enough, and saying that there are thousands of colours sounds a lot like your typical halluciation, even if he saw and learned about things that he was never taught.

      Still possible though.

    • Melani Boek

      Michael,

      Putting together some theological details often overlooked…

      Where is God now, with Jesus Christ seated at His right hand? The Bible tells us, “From the place of his HABITATION he looks upon all the inhabitants of the earth.” (Ps. 33:14). “For the Lord hath chosen ZION; he hath desired it for his HABITATION. This is my rest for ever: here will I dwell; for I have desired it.” (Ps. 33:14). God has an eternal dwelling place! Now consider, after this heaven and earth pass away, then a HOLY CITY, new Jerusalem comes down out of heaven from God (Rev. 21:2). The city is humongous, 1500miles width, length, and height! (Rev. 1:16). No man could design, engineer, or fabricate such a city, let alone power it safely to come down to the new earth! BTW it has streets of gold and gates of pearls. Did you ever stop to wonder what city Abraham was looking for over 4000 years ago, when he “looked for A CITY WITH FOUNDATIONS, whose architect and builder is God” (Heb. 11:10)? What city do you know that has foundations that God built? We get a fabulous description of the foundation stones of the HOLY CITY in Rev. 21:19-20. “Great is the Lord…in THE CITY OF OUR GOD, in THE MOUNTAIN of His holiness… is MOUNT ZION…THE CITY OF THE GREAT KIING”! (Ps. 48:1-2). I suspect this is God’s eternal habitation that He brings down to the new earth. There is incredible detail about this place in the Bible! And although the new earth may not have been created yet, I think this city has been in existence for a long time. And it is large enough to hold a lot of people!

    • Melani Boek

      Where is God now, with Jesus Christ seated at His right hand? The Bible tells us, “From the place of his HABITATION he looks upon all the inhabitants of the earth.” (Ps. 33:14). “For the Lord hath chosen ZION; he hath desired it for his HABITATION. This is my rest for ever: here will I dwell; for I have desired it.” (Ps. 33:14). God has an eternal dwelling place! Now consider, after this heaven and earth pass away, then a HOLY CITY, new Jerusalem comes down out of heaven from God (Rev. 21:2). The city is humongous, 1500miles width, length, and height! (Rev. 1:16). No man could design, engineer, or fabricate such a city, let alone power it safely to come down to the new earth! BTW it has streets of gold and gates of pearls. Did you ever stop to wonder what city Abraham was looking for over 4000 years ago, when he “looked for A CITY WITH FOUNDATIONS, whose architect and builder is God” (Heb. 11:10)? What city do you know that has foundations that God built? We get a fabulous description of the foundation stones of the HOLY CITY in Rev. 21:19-20. “Great is the Lord…in THE CITY OF OUR GOD, in THE MOUNTAIN of His holiness… is MOUNT ZION…THE CITY OF THE GREAT KIING”! (Ps. 48:1-2). I suspect this is God’s eternal habitation that He brings down to the new earth. There is incredible detail about this place in the Bible! And although the new earth may not have been created yet, I think this city has been in existence for a long time. And it is large enough to hold a lot of people!

    • Melani Boek

      We get a fabulous description of the foundation stones of the HOLY CITY in Rev. 21:19-20. “Great is the Lord…in THE CITY OF OUR GOD, in THE MOUNTAIN of His holiness… is MOUNT ZION…THE CITY OF THE GREAT KIING”! (Ps. 48:1-2). I suspect this is God’s eternal habitation that He brings down to the new earth. There is incredible detail about this place in the Bible! And although the new earth may not have been created yet, I think this city has been in existence for a long time. And it is large enough to hold a lot of people!

    • Truth Unites... and Divides

      Has there ever been a NDE where a non-Christian describes a hellish environment?

    • Nancy

      Interesting article. My 14yr. old son is interested in hell, Satan and the like, so I have been taking him on a tour through the Bible on the concepts of demons and hell. I mentioned Chris’ interest in hell to one of his youth leaders recently. She said, “Oh, he has to read 20 Minutes in Hell!”

      *sigh*

      I said, “I prefer he gain his information from the Word before he explores subjective experiences and testimony.”

    • EricW

      Recently, many similar books have made it big: …The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven….

      CMP: I’d like you to interact with that book. IIRC, that’s the one where the kid describes Satan as some dorky cartoon-like ugly character.

    • lynn

      People see what they want to see and hear what they want to hear.

      Your review says that the father is a preacher and that these details about the the visit came out over the course of years and months.

      Children are enormous sponges. If this child has been in church his whole life, heard his father preach, heard him have conversations in his home with family members or congregation members, heard radio and tv sermons playing in the background…then this child’s imagination has already been primed with “biblical” imagery and concepts, even if he doesn’t really understand it.

      The fact that these stories came out over a period of months and years would lead me to believe that the child has been unknowingly coached. Imagine how excited the credible adults are as he talks.

      3 and 4 year old children have active fantasy lives and they incorporate fantasy and reality indiscriminately. This is also the developmental age that most children begin to have active dreams and…

    • lynn

      (continued)
      Sorry for the comment break.

      That is an age in which children begin to have active dreams and nightmares.

      Adults clamoring around a child, giving him/her special attention, and being very excited about what that child has to say gives the child a positive reward. In this kind of situation a child can be encouraged to embellish, or give the adults in his life what he thinks they want. That is why when children are questioned about abuse, or asked to give witness testimony they have to be handled very cautiously and carefully.

      I would question how many anecdotes that the boy shared didn’t make it into the book. How many times did he say something that didn’t make sense, yet the adults just brushed it aside? How much was picked and chosen and how much was left in the fog of memory?

    • Bill Trip

      Kenny Loggins is Jesus?

    • […] Michael Patton at Parchment and Pen reviews Todd Burpo’s telling of his son’s vision of heaven, called Heaven is For Real: A Little Boy’s Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back.  Patton mentions other books from this genre from the past two decades like I Saw Heaven by Lawrence E. Tooley, Ninety-Minutes in Heaven by Don Piper and Cecil Murray, The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven by Kevin Malarkey, and Twenty-Three Minutes in Hell by Bill Wiese. […]

    • jim

      Upon showing my wife this story she, as I suspected, says it could be true. God works things in people’s lives for various reasons unknown to us.

      Being very skeptical myself, as with alot of the charismatic gifts, I tend to think that because the vision comes out over a period of time that perhaps it was human produced rather than God produced. I have had many dreams/nightmares that felt so real but I don’t feel they are messages from God. We have the message he intended for us in his LIVING word. I tend to agree with you Michael, possible but I really can’t get there. One reader had commented that the environment was primed for information to be passed unintentionally or unknowingly.

      My wife will probably buy the book now that I have made her aware of it(LOL) Hey , she even brought home the shack and I did manage to get through it…..maybe history will repeat itself. I agree with lynn , people hear and see what they want, heck, I do!!!

    • jim

      Bill #18:

      Just did a quick internet search!!! Kenny Loggins is not JESUS!! Get over it!!! (LOL)

    • ScottL

      I love how God works amongst little children, all to the shock of our neat theological packages.

      CMP, I think to imply we cannot see the newly created heavens and earth in a NDE or vision, but rather only the intermediate state, might be a little tight there. John got some glimpses. I suppose others have and will as well.

    • jim

      Scott:

      I love how God works through our lives through his leading, not subjective interpertation of random dreams produced by human minds. Again brother Scott, I understand your position just realize some of us don’t agree, to the shock of your charismatic experiences.

      In christ I stand

    • cherylu

      ScottL,

      I am really wondering how you can seemingly be so certain that what this little boy experienced is really from God?

      As Michael mentioned above, NDE’s are experienced by people of every religion and those of no religion at all. And they usually seem to fit very nicely into that person’s preconceived idea of reality, whatever it is. Are all of them right? Did God give them all this experience? Is the Muslim man that does not believe Jesus is God or that He is the only way to God and has an NDE and sees virgins, seeing a true glimpse of eternity and what awaits him there?

      By nature, some of these experiences have to be discounted by a Christian as coming from another source then God, wouldn’t that be right? So how can you say for sure that this little boys experience was from God just because he came from a Christian family?

      It just doesn’t follow in my mind at all.

    • Teluog

      Another to consider is how this boy was able to be in heaven, a holy place where God Himself dwells, unless the boy was totally cleansed of all sin and depravity. When Isaiah stood in heaven in his vision (ch. 6) he was terrified at the site of complete holiness being a sinner himself (in spite of the fact that he was probably one of the most righteous people in the world in his time).

      I guess this might depend on one’s view of infant baptism too

    • jim

      cherylu:
      I completely agree! When experience trumphs everything I don’t know where you go from there.
      I can’t get to that position for as Teluog points out there are just so many issues that do not seem to be in line with most bibical accounts we find in God’s word. I guess my question is does this really help with the witness we are commanded to give or does it do the reverse and tune alot of people out. By the #’s sold there certainly is interest in this type of book.

    • cherylu

      On a side note here, I find it very interesting that the “man” that was caught up into the third heaven in 2 Corinthians in the verses Michael quoted above said that he heard things which men can not speak about.

      In contrast to that, folks that have NDE’s now days seem to be able to speak of them freely and in fact often turn their experiences into books. (A bit of profit maybe?) How do we account for that rather large difference in things I wonder?

    • cherylu

      Sorry folks if I sounded a bit cynical in my last comment with my “profit” remark. I wanted to edit that out but my editing time was gone before I decided to do it.

      That may indeed be the case at times, but I don’t think it fair at all to assume that it always is.

    • Brian Roden

      As for people not being old, I offer a dream I had not long after my grandfather died in 1999. In the dream, I was sitting on a curb, or a bench on the sidewalk. A man walked up to me and asked how I was doing. I realized it was my grandfather, as he looked in older black and white photos I had seen from when my mom was in high school, with his back straight, in the prime of life (he died at 90 of a brain tumor).

      My take on it was that our resurrection bodies on the new earth will be like when we were at our prime in our natural bodies.

    • John From Down Under

      Firstly I am hugely impressed that CMP could read a 150 page book in one afternoon! Secondly, as a Pentecostal refugee I am immune to such stories, though this one is not completely ‘out there’.

      I think we are being too demanding for the accurate description of what the mind of a 3 year old can process and describe. We have major inaccuracies in Bible translations despite the painstaking effort of skilled scholars. How precise do we expect a 3 year old to be?

      There is an undeniable revelatory element about the boy’s family in the testimony, so the anesthetic couldn’t have done that, it was either God or the Devil (process of elimination).

      Finally, having your faith strengthened by someone’s testimony is not ‘scary’ so long as that does not become the prime source of truth validation. God clearly uses testimonies to draw people (John 4:39 and Mark 5:19). A testimony can serve as a pointing arrow if nothing else.

    • alaskazimm

      # There are thousands of colors we have never seen

      Any husband who has taken his wife shopping knows this to be true.

    • Renju Philip

      Paul went to third heaven but he didn’t explained anything as quoted in the article

      I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows. 3 And I know that this man was caught up into paradise—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows— 4 and he heard things that cannot be told, which man may not utter.

      So what does it teaches us?

    • jim

      John From Down Under

      Completely agree that having our faith reinforced or strengthened is important as long as it conforms with the written word. I guess I would offer a third alternative to it was either God or the Devil that of influence from human involvement. Really I can’t justify saying the revelatory element being from Satan, it could be from God, but I just don’t know how you distinguish one dream from another as in Brian’s comments above.

      Are you actually down under? My driveway is down under about 3 feet of snow.(LOL)

    • John From Down Under

      Yeah Jim I am actually southern hemisphere ‘down under’ where it’s stinking hot and humid at the moment.

      One of my colleagues went to a tarot card reader not long ago and was blown away by how much she told her about her past. I’m not an expert on those things but I wouldn’t find it hard to be convinced that spirit beings from the ‘other side’ know something about my past since they don’t live in the same space/time continuum as me, though I wouldn’t build a doctrine on it. A couple of hints from scripture make it easier to believe (2 Cor 11:14 and 1 Sam 28:7-19)

      Though I have some question marks of my own, I am not inclined to write off this boy’s testimony altogether. My point is that if some of his details don’t square with scripture it’s possible that it is because we are reading what a 3 year old witnessed and tried to explain. The ability of such a young mind to process detail is very limited.

    • jim

      JFDU:
      Would love to trade spots with you for a few weeks

      Yes the witch of endor has always been an interestiing read. Can they occupy a christian in such a way as to bring information to one, I’m just not sure.

      Thanks JOhn, I always enjoy your comments

      God Bless

    • […] Michael Patton has a MUST READ book review, which has sparked a few discussions with my friends and family: Heaven is For Real; A Little Boy’s Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back, by Todd Burpo.   […]

    • […] one very rich quick in the world of Christendom.  Both I and Matt think this is not the case, but this is a good review of the book if you are interested. from → Jesus Christ ← Sexual Abuse: There […]

    • Levi

      I had seen and spoke with Jesus when I was just about 4 years old, the event is burned in my memory. I was very taken in by this story however, the boy said the man in the portiat that a young girl had painted was the Jesus he saw. I think he had seen that it was the work of a young girl and thats why he had said that was the correct image of Jesus. I saw a different image, Jesus had long kinky hair, jet black, dark eyes, bearded, really dark olive skin, and had little holes in his forehead. His robe was lit as though there was a light in it, there was a very lite lime green light around him that lit up the walls and area around him. I did not go any where with him, I was just sitting up in my bed. This is where I have a problem with this story…

    • Teluog

      Levi, write a book maybe? While the market is still hot for these types of books?

    • L.Hemp

      I have been reading Don Piper’s book, 90 Minutes in Heaven and I have been asked what I think about such books. John MacArthur, in his excellent book, The Glory of Heaven, responds to this question with the following:

      “I’ve read many accounts of people’s near-death experiences and visions of heaven. What is most remarkable to me in virtually all of them—even the ones that supposedly reflect a “Christian” perspective—is that they are not the least bit like the descriptions of heavenly visions in Scripture.
      Such a vision of “heaven” plainly has nothing to do with the heaven spoken of in Scripture. In fact, the modern visionaries make a stark contrast to people in Scripture who were given glimpses of heavenly glory. The apostle Paul, for example, relates his account only reluctantly, fourteen years after the fact, framing it as a third-person narrative:
      I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell:…

    • L.Hemp

      Clearly, because Scripture is the Word of God, we must reject every anecdotal account that contradicts what Scripture teaches. Ultimately, we are forced to conclude that the Bible is our only reliable source of information about heaven. There’s no point in probing and dissecting people’s near-death experiences, as if they would give us some important truth about the afterlife that we are lacking from Scripture. What Scripture teaches us about heaven, angels, and the afterlife is sufficient and accurate. God has already given us all we need to know to equip us fully for every good work (2 Tim. 3:17). There’s nothing an eyewitness testimony could reliably add.

    • erin hoe

      I love this book it helps me understand what is going on up there in Heaven. I know God loves me and all, but we all sometimes get curious on what Heaven looks like or will I go to Heaven. We all have to be humble as a child, so the best way to believe someone is through a child and maybe through our own. This book had a real impact to my life because as soon as i got done with reading the book it made e think about God more and pray to Him some more and even care about Him even more than I use to. I hope you all have read the book because it is the best book I have ever read!!!
      If I were to give this book a rating it would be 100% done and complete. adviously this is the best book anyone is going to read. THANK YOU GOD FOR EVERYTHING YOU HAVE DONE FOR ME AND EVERYONE ELSE IN THE WORLD!!!!!!
      everyone I am really taking this very seriously!! ;P
      ( ) ( )
      =(O_o)=
      c(“) (“)

    • sharon

      in ref to #25-How’d the little boy get into heaven where God himself dwells…cleansed of all sin and depravity? he was 3.
      In ref to # 30- CMP could have been a speed reader or else.Comment seems irrelevant to issue.
      In ref to #42-Even if “planned”; anything seen, read,dreamed, etc.that brought this woman closer to God would be in favor in God’s eyes.

    • sharon

      I do not know what “your comment is awaiting moderation” means

    • Linda

      I am a member of a Swedenborgian Church. While not “mainstream” it is not a cult. It is a Christian denomination based on the Bible as revealed to Emanuel Swedenborg. Famous Swedenborgians are Helen Keller, Johnny Appleseed, & Robert Frost.

      Emanuel Swedenborg lived from 1688-1772. Here’s a little bit about him… He was raised in a religious family. His father was a bishop. Swedenborg devoted decades of his life to the study of astronomy, physics, philosophy, & mineralogy. He was an inventor & even proposed early versions of a flying machine & a submarine. He did extensive research in anatomy & physiology.

      While he had been a religious man all his life, when he was fifty-five, he experienced a spiritual revelation. The Lord appeared to him letting him know that He would reveal the spiritual meaning of the Bible & He would guide Swedenborg as to what was to be written. Swedenborg meticulously wrote 35 volumes of theology.

      Please Google his name for more…

    • Joan

      I read the book yesterday. I loved it, I believed it, iand I could identify with it, because I live in Nebraska and I know all the places mentioned.

      The picture of Jesus by Akiane Kramarik was just icing on the cake.

    • lois

      my grandson died in a car accident on mothers day of 2005. i know that there is heaven but being of the jewish faith we believe that jesus was just a man. now this 4 year old little boy and his father are telling me that i cannot go to heaven because of my beliefs. that is b s the little boy is telling me i will never ever see my grandson again. also b s i know all about heaven from the amazing signs my family gets from my amazing grandson. i cannot believe anyone can be so narrow minded. god loves everyone. does not matter what religion you are.

    • MaryKay Gilbert

      I skimmed thru the book and don’t see how or why a 4-yr old would make all that stuff up…and it is all scriptural, except maybe the wings…Also, we can’t say The new heaven doesn’t exist yet, because with God there is no time…we are bound by time now, but He isn’t. He sees all from the beginning to the end as if it’s now, I believe. I did wonder, tho, when I watched the news video clip why the boy wasn’t more excited. It almost seemed as tho he was trying to remember memorized lines…wouldn’t you be happy and excited to tell others what you’d seen? Someone else’s comment said that and made me think…I also am wary of visions. I know God uses them but so does the enemy. If the vision isn’t consistent with God’s Word, it should not be counted on…Rev. 22:18-19. He is coming soon! Let’s keep fighting the good fight, running the Race and never, never give up our faith! Come Lord Jesus.

    • lois

      i guess that noone quite understands what i am trying to say. i believe god loves everyone not just christains. i am a good person and i know that i will go to heaven even though i only believe that jesus was just a great human being. if i didn’t believe in heaven then this whole world does not make any since to me. i know that i will see all my love ones again. my grandson was so much a part of my life and he is waiting for me. this little 4 year old says only christains that believe in jesus are going to heaven
      totally wrong. lots of money being made on a book that is B. S. my daughter is writing a book all about the amazing signs that we get from my grandson and we would not get such amazing signs if there was no heaven so yes we do believe. and going on all these talk shows to promote this book is not right.

    • cherylu

      Lois,

      I think I understand what you are trying to say. But I do want you to understand that those of us that believe that the Bible is truly God’s word to us don’t believe that any of us will get to heaven because we are good people. No one is good enough to get to heaven on their own. That is why we need the forgivenss and new life that we receive through Jesus.

    • amanda

      “Jesus answered, “I am the way, the truth and the life. NO ONE comes to the Father EXCEPT THROUGH ME.” John 14:6

    • lois

      CHERYLA

      FIRST OF ALL, THE BIBLE WAS WRITTEN BY MAN. I REALLY BELIEVE THAT GOOD PEOPLE GET TO GO TO HEAVEN. I KNOW THAT MY GRANDSON IS THERE. MY FRIEND ASKED HER PRIEST ABOUT THE BOOK AND HIS ANSWER WAS THAT EVERYONE HAS DIFFERENT FAITHS AND WE ARE ALL GODS CHILDREN BUT THE BOOK HEAVENS FOR REAL SAYS THAT ONLY THOSE WHO BELIEVE IN JESUS WILL BE WELCOME IN HEAVEN. THAT JUST DOESN’T MAKE ANY SINCE TO ME. ALL I KNOW IS THAT I BELIEVE IN GOD AND HEAVEN AND YES I WILL SEE MY 17 YEARS OLD BEAUTIFUL GRANDSON THERE. THAT MAKES SINCE TO ME. MY FAMILY HAS A SUPPORT GROUP THAT WE GO TO AND THAT IS EXACTLY HOW ALL OF THEM FEEL BUT THANKS FOR SHARING YOUR FEELING WITH ME.

    • Ron

      MaryKay,

      and it is all scriptural

      No.

      This reinforces the unbiblical notion that our hope as Christians is “going to heaven” when we die. The apostolic message is that our hope, our only hope, is the resurrection–a superficial reading of the Lazarus parable notwithstanding.

    • lois

      JUST A QUICK COMMENT “WHERE DO ALL THE JEWS GO” LIKE NOWHERE, I THINK NOT. THAT’S WHAT MAKES ME SO MAD. SO THINK ABOUT THAT.

    • cherylu

      Hi again Lois,

      No one can convince you that what any of us are saying is true. And if you are right, you have nothing to lose. But if we are right, you personally have a lot to lose.

      Please don’t just toss it all aside.

    • lois

      CHERYLA

      I THINK THE SAME THING THAT YOU ARE SAYING APPLIES TO EVERYONE. DON’T YOU THINK IF MAYBE YOU ARE WRONG YOU ALSO HAVE A LOT TO LOSE. EVERYONE HAS THEIR OWN BELIEFS BUT I REALLY KNOW THAT GOD LOVES ALL OF HIS CHILDREN. HOW CAN ANYONE SAY THAT IS NOT TRUE. ALL THE SIGNS THAT WE GET ARE FROM MY GRANDSON IN HEAVEN. AND THEY ARE SOOOOO REAL. SO WHAT YOU ARE SAYING I AM NOT GETTING SIGNS FROM HEAVEN. THEN WHERE DO THEY COME FROM???

    • cherylu

      Lois,

      I am not hear to argue with you, just to state my belief and concern.

      PS Why do you keep writing in all caps?

    • lois

      SORRY MISPELLED GRANDSON AND HIS NAME IS BOBBY

    • cherylu

      Lois,

      I do want to tell you I am sorry about the death of your Bobby. I can’t imagine how hard that would be. I have four grand kids that I love dearly.

    • lois

      WHY DOES IT MATTER IF I USE CAPS OR not just trying to get my point across.

      • Glen S

        When writing an entire post in all caps, one is shouting at the audience. It is rude and unbecoming. A single word in all caps serves as an emphasis when italics is not available.

    • lois

      cheryla

      thank you about being sorry about bobby. we just believe in different things. maybe we will meet in heaven and have a good laugh. ok?

    • Hotly Spiced

      I believe the story completely. We should never be so sure of ourselves as to dismiss or try to explain away events that could only be described as supernatural occurances or miracles.

      • Glen S

        HS: It is not a matter of being sure of one’s self. It is a matter of being sure of the scripture. In order for a revelation to be accurately accounted as God given, it must agree completely with God’s revealed Word to us. None on these NDE writings can do this. Not only do they not agree with the Word of God, they don’t even agree with each other.

    • Melissa

      I read the book as inspirational as it was, I’m a little skeptical. I believe in our holy spirit, God and Jesus but I also know about having a near death experience at the age of 9. I was the first child to ever survive a rear fusobacterial infection that invaded my blood stream, causing septic shock and multi-organ failure. My parent’s were told to prepare for the worse, it was fatal but by the grace of god I’m living proof of a miracle. The doctors were baffled by my recovery. Anyways, I had so many people looking toward me for spiritual answers. I was so young and eager to please, I would tell people what I thought they wanted to hear. So another words, innocence isn’t always truthful. I’m 28 yrs old today and blessed with the holy spirit.. I have vivid dreams about our judgement day and heaven. I just pray people believe because it’s very much real.

    • Alan Weck

      If you believe this strory, I have a bridge for sale.

    • lois

      way to go alan

    • TEXIZZ

      I plan to read the book with an open mind. I will return to comment in the future.

    • […] three hours at age three. These are the major points of Colton’s story about heaven (quoted in a review by C Michael Patton of Heaven is for Real: A Little Boy’s Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven […]

    • cherylu

      I just read an interesting review of this book found here: http://www.thebereancall.org/node/9165

      What really struck me in this review is the statement made by the girl that pained the portrait of Jesus as she claims to have seen Him in heaven. The same portrait that Colton said looks like Jesus as he saw Him in heaven.

      Here is her quote from the linked article: “Jesus shared with us: ‘I am the way, the truth and the light. No one comes to my Father, but through me.’ I feel that he invited us to participate in the divinity. Each of us is one of kind [sic] original path to the way of truth and light, and without our individual love and effort we cannot understand and reach God”

      If this quote is correct and she is indeed interpreting what “Jesus” told her correctly, this is certainly not the Jesus of the Bible that she saw. Which tends to suggest to me that it probably wasn’t really Jesus that Colton saw either.

    • C Michael Patton

      Cheryl. What part do u have a prob with? Peter does say that we participate in the divine nature. She sounds Eastern. Is she?

    • cherylu

      Michael,

      Maybe I took what she said wrong. Here is a web page of hers where this quote came from:

      http://akiane.com/blog/?p=87

      These are other statements from that same blog entry:

      “I have read and studied Bible as well as different ancient writings. However, I discovered that I needed to develop my own understanding about the truths…”

      “I do not wish to join or form any organized religious or philosophical institutions. I choose to be free, and only when I’m free can I enjoy my life’s spiritual journey…”

      “All of us in our family have different interpretations of spirituality pursuing our own path to truth and that keeps us closer together and teaches us to be more accepting of other cultures and beliefs.”

      From this blog of hers it is obvious that she believes in reincarnation: http://akiane.com/blog/?p=39

      In this blog: http://akiane.com/blog/?p=93 she speaks of Hindu enlightenment in a positive way.

      Her “Jesus” doesn’t sound like the true one…

    • Patrick

      Maybe the real question is “what is Heaven”? I view, from my relationship with Christ, that Heaven is being with God. And Hell is being “not in the presence of God”.
      Yes they will be physical places but the real prize is being with Him.

      I truly believe “in” God and especially believe God. He states the path is narrow…meaning there is only one way to a eternal relationship with Him. That is to believe he Sent Jesus as the ultimate sacrifice for our wrong doings….As God cannot be in the presence of sin, a sacrifice was needed.

      Cheryl, I can completely appreciate your point of view. I am not all knowing but I can tell you this: God is real. The Bible is the inspired word of God…written by God…and he uses man for many things. Case in Point: maybe he is using your grandson to communicate with you. I believe that is completely plausible. Throughought the Bible, God uses many people to do great things.

    • Patrick

      and by great I mean, Moses inspired the Egyptians to free the slaves, Noah built an arc and saved all the animals and yet it had never rained prior, Joseph saw visions of a famine and saved a nation….and your grandson could be reaching out to you because God and your grandson love you that much…enough to constantly call on you to believe in God and Jesus.

      Cheryl, I love and care about your soul so much, I would really challenge you to do what I did. It takes work. The best way to affirm something you believe in, is to challenge it..suspend judgement for a while. Research your view and the opposing view, be objective and develop obajectives for both sides. Lay them side by side and determine which is more plausible. Only two things will come: either you will re-affirm your belief and never waiver again from it…or you will change your belief and never waiver from it. It is a great exercise.

    • cherylu

      Patrick,

      Cheryl here. Are you maybe referring to someone else in your last two comments?

    • Patrick

      Apologize Cheryl, I was referring my comments to Lois…and you threads with Lois.

    • cherylu

      Thanks Patrick. I thought that must be the case. If you were talking to me, you had totally lost me!

    • lois

      again, i believe that everyone has a right to their opinion but again i will say that we are all gods children. one of my best friends told her priest about the book and my plight about going to heaven. he said for her to tell her friend, (meaning me) yes i will absolutely go to heaven even thought i do not believe that jesus was the son of god. and yes i know there is a god the priest said that all of his fellow priests and bishops feel the same way. from what i gather all of the people that post don’t see the other side.

      • Glen S

        If this conversation did indeed take place, none of it is Biblical. Jesus stated authoritatively, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.” John 14:6-7

        So if the priest told you what you indicated, he does not abide in the Truth or the Truth in him. For Jesus also says, “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” (Jesus is speaking of himself here.) Matthew 7:13-14

    • Patrick

      Lois. Thanks for sharing. I see what you refer to as “the other side”. Why is it when Christian’s state an opinion we are considered closed minded…cannot see the other side??? Could we not say the same about your opinions? (rhetorical) Not trying to be confrontational. As I see it, we both have different views, thus we can agree to disagree 🙂 That is what makes mankind great…we have choice and can agree to disagree. I hope we can agree on this: just because your view doesn’t align with mine and vice versa, does not mean I am closed minded any more than you are closed minded…we just differ on our view of a specific subject:) Christians may have strong convictions about their view…but thats okay isn’t it? I mean it is nice to know people in this world can still be convicted by something….Personally, there are a lot of people in this world I am glad had strong convictions ….Lincoln, MLK, FDR, Amelia Earhart..to name a few

    • Patrick

      Lois, People become strong in their convictions when they forge them in the fire (test them). If you see my prior post (the one I meant to write to you but hit Cheryl) I believe it would be great for yout to test your theory. It will either re-affirm your belief or change it. That is why many Christians appear so convicted…they tested their faith about Jesus and it made it strong. I say this because I truly care about what you are saying. I would like to ask you this: Are you “betting” your entire existence after death on a “feeling you have about God’s children” and what a Priest said to your friend? I would hope as important of a decision as this, you would do your due diligence beyond those reference points above….just saying, it seems like an important enough topic to research some more….I have. And I can say from my extensive research, there is more evidence in the World that Jesus existed, miracle worker and all, then there is about “we all go no matter what”

    • Matthew Wiley

      I haven’t read this book yet. :/ One of my closest friends, Jeff, an elder at my church, recommended it. But I’m not sure about it yet… maybe I’ll check it out.
      What I do know is that I’ve had my own experiences, not near-death experiences, but miracles in my life, that I can’t explain away rationally or logically, but only supernaturally. Not dreams or visions necessarily (well, some dreams that really spoke to me, but then those are only dreams), but concrete experiences, that happen in my life and not just in my head…
      Those experiences tell me basically that God is real, and that He’s revealed Himself through Jesus Christ, and that He loves me and understands me and I can trust Him and He won’t give up on me, even though I’m a broken, messed-up, imperfect human being.
      Reading the Bible, I find it says the same things, and parallels with those experiences…

    • Matthew Wiley

      But then again, the Bible says other things too.
      Sometimes I feel frightened and confused by what I read, jut as I’m encouraged and comforted sometimes.
      Sometimes I admit that God seems like a Dr Jekyll/Mr Hyde kind of figure, as I read. I’ve wrestled immensely with questions, with doubts, about God and everything, with trust issues, throughout the last few years, and also with my sins and my failures, questioning whether God could really love me or I could really love Him… so I pray, and pray, and keep going, thanking Him for the good things, asking for His help…
      There are so many different perspectives and things that people say about the Bible, ways of interpreting the less than clear parts, that it gets overwhelming sometimes.
      Everyone has an opinion, including me.
      But then I want the truth, many of us really do. But then, at the same time, we want to believe that the truth is something good, rather than bad. That the gospel, or the good news, really is good…

    • Matthew Wiley

      I struggle with other things too. Obsessive compulsive tendencies, a mental/physical ‘unevenness’, where I feel ‘unsymmetrical’ that I can’t explain easily, among other things… and it gets overwhelming sometimes.
      And of course, my relationships with others…
      Life can be overwhelming sometimes, for all of us.
      Just rambling, sorry :p
      What I’m trying to say is that when it comes down to it, faith is a matter of the heart as well as the head.
      Stories like these, experiences, speak to us of something… hope, I guess you could say. People need hope.
      And I’m sure the Devil knows that, and plays off of it. So some of these stories we hear about, and experiences that we hear about, are not from God, I’m sure, including some of our own, even some of mine.
      But then again, if someone’s story or experience, or our own, clearly matches with what we read in the Bible, then I think we should give it a chance, the benefit of the doubt, that maybe, just maybe, it really is from God.

    • Matthew Wiley

      Also, when it comes down to it, we ultimately believe or don’t believe in Jesus not because of what we read in the Bible, though that’s certainly a part of it, but because we believe that He has personally reached out to us, and then we respond, in whatever way He enables us to. This can come through reading the Bible, or hearing a sermon, or through the love of another person, or having something amazing happen to us. Think of Abraham, called the father of the faith. He followed God because God personally reached out to him and got his attention. There was no Bible then, but he still responded.
      Does that mean we don’t need the Bible, because Abraham didn’t? No way, we do need it, because that’s what God has given to us today as a spiritual framework to lead us and guide in our relationship with Him.
      But still, the Bible itself is not God. He speaks through it, in a unique way. Everything in the Bible is trustworthy, if I’m believing correctly, even if it isn’t always…

    • Matthew Wiley

      …understandable. This would make it unlike anything else in the whole world, because everything else needs to be taken with a grain of salt, including Heaven Is For Real.
      But still, the Bible is not God Himself. So knowing the text of the Bible inside and out is not the key to existence.
      But getting to know the Person the Bible is talking about is.
      I think that’s part of all of this. People want to make sense of things, want to see things more clearly, want to understand things better. I know I do.
      Theologians try to figure it all out, scholars have all kinds of theories, people write millions of books that say millions of different things, some of them very encouraging, some very discouraging, some have a mixture of both, and everyone has their opinion…
      But really, how much do we really understand? How much can we really see?
      Like the apostle Paul said, we see through a glass darkly…
      ‘Faith is the substance of things hope for, the conviction of things not seen.’

    • Matthew Wiley

      Ah, all of my late night rambling. :p
      To wrap this up, something I read recently (speaking of books) really spoke to me.
      Something about how faith is, really when it comes down to it, a commitment of the will. That you don’t give up.
      God wants us to wrestle with Him, I think, like Jacob did.
      He wants us to keep moving forward, like Jesus kept moving forward when He carried the cross.
      He wants us to trust even when don’t understand, that there is a Home we can come to, and it’s Him.
      If this book, Heaven Is For Real, helps someone in that, then it’s worthwhile, if it doesn’t… then let’s keep going anyway, and not give up. 🙂
      I think that’s it. It’s getting late. Thanks for listening, whoever is listening. Grace and peace to you. 🙂 – Matt

    • Alanna Trinidad

      I just read “Heaven is for Real”. I really empathised with Todd- my car was stolen in Feb, my boyfriend was robbed at gunpoint and his car was stolen in March and my mother passed away in April. I had that moment Todd had in the the Emergency Room. I was so mad at God. This book really touched me and strengthened my faith.

      It also comforts me to know that my mother will be waiting in Heaven.

    • Julie

      The author has some information wrong. Christians no longer go to Paradise. Jesus ascended, making a way to heaven for all believers who die, so since Jesus rose, we all go to heaven. Paradise was only for those Christians who died before Jesus arose.
      I believe this book. I’m mostly touched by a true view of how Jesus looks in man form! Amazing. Non believers need to stop trying to explain faith away & just accept that some people have it & it’s real. If you don’t believe in gravity & jump off a bridge, you’re still affected by that law & you fall. If you don’t believe in Jesus as Lord and you die, you will still be affected by His laws & you will fall short. If non believers are right, at least we Christians will have lived good lives. BUT, if we’re right, you will go to hell. Err on the side of TRUTH!

    • Tina

      i just want to say to lois, Jesus was not just a good man. He was either crazy, a liar & blasphemer, or Christ the savior. He claimed to be God’s son, our savior. So either you believe that or He’s a liar/lunatic. And to everyone else, I believe in Romans it warns believers not to judge who goes to heaven or not, he speaks of a sort of second chance for the Jews because they were his children first and we wouldn’t know Him if it wasn’t for them. So, just keep your judgments to yourselves.

      • Glen S

        Tina,
        The second chance for God’s Chosen People comes after the Rapture of the Church. During the Church Age, anyone who dies without Jesus, will spend eternity outside the presence of God.

    • lois

      this is for tina
      i really don’t understand what you are telling me. could you clearify it.
      thanks
      lois

    • Tara Quiocho

      I read this book about a month ago and it was a very good book! I honestly loved it! It gave me a different perspective about heaven and the Lord! Like, I always knew that Jesus and heaven was real, but never thought about it like this book made me think about. Colby is a very special kid to expierience what he did. I would love to expierience that! 🙂 I used to always be afraid to die, and now I just really cant wait!

    • Tina

      Lois, u said u believe Jesus was a great man. U can’t believe that, he told us he’s the son of God, our savior. So either he was telling the truth or he was lying or crazy. If u believe he was lying, how can he have been a good man? If he wasn’t the Lord, he misled thousands of people, and caused them to worship him. If he isn’t the Lord, he would’ve been an idol or an antichrist.

    • Debra

      I am a nurse. While in nursing school, I had to take child psychology. One of our projects was to interview a child between the ages of 3-5 years old. The purpose of the assignment was to show how children of that age are schizophrenic in thought. Indeed my interview with the child revealed schizophrenic thought patterns. One example, I asked the child where their dreams occurred, and the child told me under the bed and in her closet. I think a combination of the thought patterns, the medications, the anesthesia, the absorption of all this child has heard throughout his life may have played some role…just saying. I believe that maybe we all have our own personal heavens.

    • Cindy

      Lois,

      I think you want to know more about what Tina said about the second chance for Jews that Apostle Paul talked about in Romans in NT in the Bible. Check out David Pawson, a great British pastor and Bible teacher in his 80s now. He talked about the second chance for the Jews very clearly in his teachings about the book of Romans in his book, “Unlocking the Bible”, as well as some of his sermons. You can go to the following website, http://christfaithmedia.co.uk/Pawson/index.html to listen to free streaming of this great teaching by him on the Bible, especially the book of Romans. You can also go to the website that Anchor Recordings made particularly for David Pawson. There are some free downloads there but most of the materials (books, DVDs, tapes, etc.) requires payment.

      http://www.davidpawson.com/anchor/anchor.nsf/(WebItemsForSearching-davidpawson)?SearchView&Query=Israel&Start=1&Count=20&SearchMax=250&SearchWV=FALS

      Seek, and you will find…

      Blessings,

      Cindy

    • thisguy

      This is interesting. I’ve heard of this book, skimmed through it. No one has had a NDE like this one, they’ve all varied, but no one actually met Jesus, it’s usually an angel or a dead family member, or they are outside their body just looking around. Jesus is proclaimed white with green eyes, which we all know he was dark skinned, but maybe he took a form more pleasing to the boy, who knows.

      A kid wouldn’t make this up, but it’s possible he had a near death experience and saw “heaven” but the parents put words into his mouth to make him believe he saw something he didn’t, like his dead sister, etc. There is no way this kid was dead for 3 minutes and all this stuff happened. Even God with all his power couldn’t do this, he can’t break the laws of physics which he set in place, which is obviously a dead give away that most of this is made up.

    • Jonathan

      I apologize for not having time to read all the comments, and I’m sorry if I make an observation that has already been made here. My biggest hang up is when Paul says that the things he heard things that cannot be told or uttered. If Paul wasn’t allowed to saw what he heard, why would a 4 year old have divine permission to tell others what he experienced? It doesn’t seem likely that God would deny the manifestations of revelations he made known to Paul while giving modern man the go ahead to tell others what heaven is like.

    • Colin

      Good review. I’m considering buying this book, and I appreciate your well thought out analysis.

      One note though, in the comments about Samuel and the witch of Endor. Personally, I don’t believe that was really Samuel who the witch summoned, but rather a demon spirit impersonating him. And as for Moses and Elijah at the transfiguration, they were recognizable, but I’m not certain they were described in terms of being aged or not, but somehow the Apostles knew who they were. I’m not sure though, as I said, so thank you for the reference, I will have a new thing to consider as I study that passage next time.
      Blessings!

    • Gary McCall

      I think it is interesting that the picture of what Jesus looked like for both of these children is nearly identical to that of Bruce Marcino’s portrayal of Jesus which has been seen on every television set in America: http://www.pastornet.net.au/goodviews/

    • Chris de Vidal

      Re: New Earth, streets of gold, pearly gates, etc. If it were possible for John to see these things, couldn’t it also be possible for Colton to see them?

      Note: I haven’t read the book, nor do I know the family. Just trying to be realistic.

    • Conchita

      This book is well written! I do recommend it for a light and easy read. I do NOT recommend it to increase, enhance, or affirm your faith. This “true story” is CLEARLY embellished in many ways. It seems the author(s) are defensive all the way through – such as there is NO WAY that a four-year old boy could have known that his parents were praying in rooms when their son was on the operating table, or that his mom was talking on her cell phone. Also – as the 4-year old son of a pastor, the book goes above and beyond to depict an ignorant child who would not know what the red “blood-like” marks on Jesus’ hands and feet are – yet would know with out a doubt the real value of three-minutes time? My son is six and he still thinks a one-hour car ride is four hours, or 20 minutes, or whatever. I just don’t buy it, Todd Burpo. On a positive note, the Burpos seem like a nice family, and maybe even believe their own story (though it’s clearly written from a story-teller’s point…

    • carol drake

      In all my 67 years I have nevr been moved when looking upon a picture of Jesus as when I first did so of Akiane’s painting. It was as though His eyes were looking into my very soul & brought me to tears, I have gone to the sight several times & am still moved every time even when I think upon His picture. There was always something missing in all other paintings.

    • […] I’m not gonna tell you what it’s about in any hint of detail because I want you to look it up for yourself =). I will give you the link so you can find it more quickly, though: http://www.reclaimingthemind.org/blog/2011/02/book-review-heaven-is-for-real/ […]

    • EnnisP

      I appreciate you not smearing the Burpo’s or denying Colton’s experience outright but I think you could have been a little more generous. You readily admit that this type of thing can’t be absolutely denied theologically so why not embrace it?

      And “tabloid?” That is a strong word to use on someone’s testimony. Testimonies are what makes Christianity personal and individual and many people have come to Christ, not because of a well shaped theological statement, but because they heard the testimony of a relative, a friend or even a friend of a friend. That makes it real not cheap.

      From experience I have learned that not everyone will receive the book the same. I have encouraged several people to read it and have gotten very different responses. Not negative just different. Exactly what you would expect from giving a testimony.

      But, even though I thought you were a bit tight fisted with your approval, I do appreciate the thorough write up.

    • Ann

      Lois,
      I wish it were that easy to just speak into existence what you want to happen with your life and just because you believe it, you can count on it happening. Just because we want and believe something will transpire with our lives…..doesn’t mean that it will happen. We are not infinite or divine; we are finite.
      God, the awesome creator of all things, had a purpose in creating the world and man. And, because He the creator set the world in existence, He also has given us clear instructions in the Bible, our Life Manual to guide us. He is the one who sets the rules and the eternal game plan, not us.
      Why don’t you pick up a Bible and begin reading with an open mind and heart and learn about God’s great love and plan for your life both now and for eternity.

    • Alex

      that cant be what jesus looked like. he would have had longer hair, and he wouldnt have looked so… anglo saxon. he came from an area where there are now muslims. we dont think of middle eastern muslims as looking like western europeans. jesus was very close to africa, and the arabian peninsula. there is also speculation that he had black african blood in his veins. i find this perfectly agreeable. he would have looked more like a pretty, long haired, bearded, dark hippie than grizzly adams.

    • Alex

      oh, sorry. one more thing. i go to an art school. i am an artist. and, trust me when i say this. little girls dont paint like that. not even with lots and lots of training. it takes alot of patience, motor skills, and an advanced understanding and an abstract concept of how light plays with subtle and organic bumps and ridges to paint a face so large and accurately. especially if you werent looking at a model.

    • Debbie

      This is to Lois.

      First of all I want to say how truly sorry I am for the loss of your grandson, Bobby. No parent or grandparent should ever have to experience the loss of a child. This is a quote that I found in my Bible and refer back to it frequently. “God allows pain that we might learn to trust His faithfulness, sufficiency and tender love for us.” I’m not sure what it is that is making you so angry about all of these comments. The only ones you seem to enjoy are the ones that agree totally with you. And it does matter that you use caps. You sound very defensive when you do that. Yes your beliefs are different and we have no right to judge you because of that, but at the same time you have absolutely no right to judge us for our beliefs. If you don’t want to read the book, or if you don’t believe it, that’s ok. Don’t read the book! Keep it to yourself! Nasty comments are unnecessary. As Christians we are expected to witness to you. It’s very much a part of our lives. And I’m…

    • Debbie

      that each person’s individual testimony will confirm that.

      Your ranting is so scattered that I’m just going to put these versus out there for you to see. Each one applies to something you’ve commented about.

      John 14:6 (again because I’ve seen it quoted on here once) – Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

      James 3:14 – What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him?

      James 3:18 – But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.

      James 3:20 – But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?

      John 1:12–13 – But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

      (to be…

    • Debbie

      John 3:3 – Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

      Romans 10:9-13 – that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

      And here are responses to some of the absurd things you’ve ranted about:

      Yes, the Bible was written by a man, but it was a man who was instructed by God. HIS WORDS – NOT TRANSLATED BY MAN. There are way too many translations in existence that interpret the Bible the way they feel it should be interpreted, not necessarily the way it was…

    • Debbie

      You can always construe words to mean what you want them to mean. A lot of these translations are very loose and they lose their true meaning.

      And how do you know those signs aren’t coming from Jesus Himself? How do you know that He isn’t trying to draw you to Him? That’s how it happens you know. Our flesh doesn’t allow us to seek God on our own. He draws us to Him. I think you need to consider the signs you see a little more carefully, maybe with an open mind and an open heart. I can feel your pain when you talk about your grandson. I lost my son …. And yes, I will hold him again when I get to Heaven. I know his little body is healed. What I don’t know is if he will still be an infant or if he has grown. I’ll know the answer to this eventually.

      And again, I’m going to say that not everyone is born a child of God. You become a child of God when you accept Him into your heart and confess that He is your Lord and Savior!

      (continued)

    • Debbie

      I hope that you will open your heart, mind and ears and listen for Jesus to call you …. Because it’s probably Him that’s causing so much anger and confusion on your part .. He wants you to notice Him.

    • lois

      to all
      first of all i am not making any nasty comments. i totally respect all of you and your beliefs. my faith is very different from yours. the only thing that upsets me is that this 4 years old little boy (or his father) says that because of my beliefs that i will not go to heaven. i know that i will. even my friends priest told me that i will and he was not just trying to passify my. so we all have different beliefs and should respect all of them. sorry if i don’t thhink the way you do but thats what make all of us unique. right. i know when my time is up i will for sure see my beautiful grandson bobby.

    • lois

      this is for debbie

      debbie i am not angry or confused. i am just sad and that is very normal. my heart is very open and and that is why i get all these amazing signs from bobby. and whoever wrote about me using caps. it was just what my computer was on caps when i wrote. it meant nothing to me. someone just took it the wrong way. i don’t think that way.

    • Martha

      I enjoyed this book!! I once had a dream that a cousin who had died called me and I asked her where she was, she told me that she was in heaven. I aked her if she had seen our relatives and she said that she had seen my mom. She did say that my mom looked very young in age and that she was very happy. Again, this was just a dream, but it made me happy!

    • […] click here to tweet this post […]

    • Amanda

      While we all would like to believe that experiences like Colton’s are real, I would strongly caution anyone and everyone to not get too swept up in experiences. Even though Colton was only three (and, therefore, we are more likely to believe that it was true rather an imagination), the fact remains that some of the things he saw are NOT supported in SCRIPTURE.

    • Peg

      I would like to know what the family is doing with their profits from the book, and other items? Does anyone know?

    • Automobile

      There are those on on this site, that look at everything with an overly-critical eye. I believe often, even though they say it is to be theologically accurate, it is because at their core their “only-Scripture” belief is rooted in not having the joy of the Lord in their life, and revolt to all Christian life experiences. There are others, who will go to the Scripture, because they were encouraged by someone’s personal experience. Keep in mind, everyone needs a different trigger to point them to the right direction.

      Now having said that, I also believe in testing the spirits, looking at the motive of the writer, and comparing what is said to Scripture. One needs to keep in mind, a minute is as a thousand years to the Lord, so what can happen on earth in 3 seconds, could reveal a lot of time in heaven. It is a different portal so to speak, with elements that cannot be compared on earth. Jesus knew the mind of this little boy, and knew possibly for him to know where he was, he needed to see wings on people. It may have been done for his own personal experience, but perhaps for someone else, they many not see wings. I don’t wrestle with that. We have an omniscient God, Who knows each of us individually. I don’t think this is a distorted or far-fetched story at all…and there is nothing especially that would place someone on a different road or cult road to contradict Scripture as a result of believing the story.

    • Cynthia Geller

      I have recently read the book,Heaven is for real. My opinion of the book is that it was well written, the story line followed the timing as Colton was able to share his visions and the way it laid out the ages that he revealed the visions were well put together. I liked the book and believe that there is something greater then us in this world. I believe that god does speak to us in different ways and coming through children doen’t surprise me. I am amazed at the way the parents were so honest. The dad being a pastor was so humble in his knowledge, and the mother who is a teacher, seemed to be very unshaken by his revelations. To me the book is very enlightening. The holy spirit is alive and around us today, we just have to pay close attention to detail. I loved the book and it is my prayer that others find it delightful as well.

    • […] Heaven is for real book review by C Michael Patton.  You can see his full review and comments by clicking on the link:  reclaimingthemind.org. […]

    • Amanda

      This book made my life so much better i had a blast reading it i cried in the middle because my grandpa passed away 2 years ago i was so sad when i heard the news, earlier that night he told me a secret, and he said i am going to heaven is 9 hours and 23 minutes….i was so shocked when i heard that news about him:( he was the greatest person in my life EVER:( I<3 U and i think of younevery time i am aone, or by my self…..you made my life!!
      Love you and i miss you so much:(

    • Peter

      Jonathan #45 Im not so sure that Paul was “not allowed” to speak about the things of heaven, rather that he saw and heard things that are inexplicable. Try explaing colour to a blind person for instance. Besides that, the book of Revelation was written (and probably a a later date). So there is no biblical reason to believe that Colty’s story is fictional.

    • Chelsea

      I agree with everyone who has made comments about using the Bible as the foundation of knowledge of God, Christ, the Holy Spirit, the trinity, heaven, hell, demons, angels, etc. However, even when God and other supernatural beings are described in the Bible, similes and metaphors are used because no words seem to do justice to that person’s spiritual and/or supernatural experience. I just came home from church, and from a great sermon about our love for God and our relationship with the Holy Spirit. When we’re taught to love others, and about the way God loves us, we’re taught about agape love, the type of love we choose to show, and strive to show unconditionally. However, when we read in the Bible in Corinthians 16:22 about what our love is like for God (and what life is like without it!) that version of love translates to phileo love – the love that makes agape love enjoyable. It’s brotherly love, a love that is full of experiences with God, and a range of emotions toward God. So, to rely on our own spiritual and supernatural experiences is very important to grow in our relationship with God. Since we are all brothers and sisters, I believe we should also take others’ spiritual and supernatural experiences into account (with discretion, of course – there is always room for deceit) to help us grow in our walk with God. We hold other’s testimony of experience with God in worldly situations in high regard, why not their otherwordly experiences?

    • CLS

      The little boy, bless his precious heart, say that Jesus’ hair is brown – Revelation 1 says it is white. He also says Jesus was wearing a purple “sash” – Revelation 1 says it is golden…

    • Peter

      Yeah but when Jesus was on earth Didn’t have shining white hair, nor was he obviously shining all over with any sash when he appeared on the road to Emmaus. During Pentecost He had to show Thomas his hands and side, hardly seems like he was shiny and wearing a sash then. In other words his appearance and garments change depending on the location. It is entirely plausible that young Burpo did see what he says he has seen, and it is not contradictory to scripture, just diffErent.

    • Judy

      I had a ruptured appendix and none of this happened to me, except the survival part 🙂

    • Jason

      Well we’re glad you survived Judy.

    • Sashaa

      I believe that we make our heaven and we make our hell . I believe there are different religions based on different people’s beliefs. In the Old Testament it states that God made different languages based on different people . Is it unfair to say that he may have done the same with religion? That all of these religions, all of these Gods, are different versions of the same God?
      And while, like stated above, in the bible it says that Isaiah was terrified when he entered this “heaven” because he himself was a sinner, Colton is just a four-year-old boy . He is of the most innocent of human beings. It makes sense that he was able to see these people in heaven because he does not yet know what it is to sin.
      We are being too demanding of a three year old boy. I know people who’ve had Near Death Experiences amd every single one has told of the same pearly white gates that are mentioned in this novel.
      Im not saying that this is necessarily true because, honestly, i just dont know. Because I haven’t ever experienced heaven and neither have most if you.

    • Peter

      Yes it is unfair to say he made different religions. If this were true then he would have to be schizophrenic, or unable to reveal himself clearly to mankind, or dishonest. Most world religions have opposing views, or views that are incompatible with one another. They can’t all be true at the same time.

    • […] Thanks to C. Michael Patton for writing a thoughtful, careful and gentle review of the “Heaven is For Real”. […]

    • Travis

      One of the best books I have ever read!!!

    • Trish

      The book HEAVEN IS FOR REAL was a fascinating read for me.  For many it has given them hope for eternal life.  To me, this is a far too important a subject to put my hope in a little boy’s experience.  I wanted to see what God had to say so I went to the Bible.  I have written a Bible study about heaven.  I would be delighted to send you a free copy.  Email me at [email protected] and I will email you a copy.  If you have only seen the movie, I would suggest you read the book.  The movie changed somethings, add things that did not happen and left out some great material.

      • Phillip

        After watching the movie and reading many, many comments about Colton’s experience and others. There are many who say these stories don’t coincide with the bible. The bible has been interpreted differently by different people and rewritten by many over a period of 2,000 years. How many deeply religious people today would open their door if a man knocked on their door who looked like and told you he was Jesus, he wanted to speak with you to open your eyes and mind to the wonders of heaven? Would you answer with I don’t open my home to strangers without a appointment, or think this person wants to rob me or do harm to me or my family or maybe looking for a hand out? Then again he might be there to give you a hand up during a bad time in your life to help you get through it! I’m still confused due to all the different points of view. Unusual and strange things happened to me to bring me to this point in time.

        I left my office one afternoon about 1 pm, the doors to the elevator opened up, I stepped in and the door closed. I was instantly transported into the past, I was a house servant to people I never saw, only heard their voice as they called my name asking for fruit. I walked by a window with a platter of food, looked out the window to see people walking around talking in a language I understood then, but can’t remember the language! In another instant I was transported to another place in the same time era. I was walking up a hillside, I looked down and saw rocks, scrub brush and on my feet were sandals, I looked around and there dozens upon dozens of people were walking and rushing up the hill, men, women with children. Everyone was excited as they were saying Jesus was at the top giving away food to everyone! I looked up and saw a man in white handing out food! The elevator door opened after coming down from the third floor to the first floor which may have taken 15 to 20 seconds. I was stunned as I was back in this time stepping out into the light. I was shaken as to what had just happened to me between the doors closing and opening. It was all so real I could smell bread baking, hear people talking, then walking up a hill to receive food from the man I heard others call Jesus. I wasn’t drinking, of sound mind, taking care of business. This happened in the spring of 1986, today it is December 13, 2014. That memory is still with me today and all the details. Still can’t explain what happened, I have only told that to three or four people, they either said, I was hallucinating or dismissed it a daydream of 15 to 20 seconds.

        I lost a son who was 1 year and 2 days old in 1968 and stayed angry at myself for a long time because he was laughing and we were playing when I handed him over to the doctor. In what seemed like an eternity I walked to the waiting room door and saw the doctor walking toward me and I felt sick as I could see the look on his face! My life changed forever, I lost my son, within a year I was divorced, lost my job, no car, gave everything to my wife walked out with my clothes in a large box. Called a friend, he and his wife allowed me to stay with them and keep their little girl, got me low paying job, when I came home from work I relieved their babysitter, as they worked the night shift at the hospital. One night I was so depressed with this time in life I wanted to die! Buddy and Sandy would be home soon as it was about midnight, I took my friends shotgun, loaded it and walked out back of the house, asking God why did you take my son, lost my wife and destroyed my life, I couldn’t take the pain anymore!!! I stuck the barrel in my mouth and tried to reach the trigger, at that moment I ask myself would my son be proud of me? No, was the answer I heard as I was trying to reach the trigger! I stopped, went back into the house put the gun away and never mentioned it to my friends. Maybe two or three nights later I had to dress Stephanie to go get my friends from work. Just as I got her dressed she coughed, then stopped breathing! I screamed God don’t do this to me I can lose this child! I wasn’t able to drive and try to revive her at the same time. She was turning blue nothing was working, I grabbed her ankles turned her upside down and shook her up and down, she started crying and I was so relieved and held her close as I drove to get her parents at the hospital. Her mother was a heart surgeon assistant and her father was a Inhalation therapist.

        She changed my life, everything I have done since then was to do good things for others. I have been taken advantage of lost a lot of money to people who I thought were friends. I went on to invent products to make peoples lives easier, products to save lives and special products for law enforcement to get bad people off the street.

        God got my attention as I had partied hard, drank illegally as I was underage, got into fights, did not attend church or read the bible before I got married or after. After getting Stephanie to breathe, I knew I had a purpose now! I attend church during holidays, I have played Santa Claus putting toys under trees while the parents let the kids see me doing it. The look of awe and love in those children’s faces was a true joy for me. I’m a spiritual person, I can’t adjust to any religion as to do that I would have to study all of them and then only choose one which I think suits me. Doesn’t make it the right one, which is why I’m spiritual. I believe in God and believe we currently live in a heaven or hell of our choosing on earth. Heaven is a parallel universe that and God has allowed through a few chosen people, maybe just to remind us, “There is a Heaven!”

        Are they all telling a truth or is it a figment of their imagination? God only knows! I know when I lost my son and wife with no money or job, no future I could see. I found the strength inside me to give life one more try. God gave me a purpose and it changed my life and so many others who will never know that I have contributed to their life in a small way around the world.

        Sorry if I bored you with this very short time in my life. I felt compelled to say something that may change someone else’s life. I love being positive, motivate others and understand life is a bed of roses, unfortunately there are the thorns too! So life has its ups and downs. Stay positive and pay it forward or the bad things people do will make their life a Hell on earth. That is my belief!

    • Angel

      I need some advice should I read the book first or watch the movie first.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.