|HEAVEN IS FOR REAL: Book Review||
HEAVEN IS REAL
Analysis of the book written by Todd Burpo about the story of his son, Colton’s visit to heaven and subsequent visions.
by Ron Wallace, June 2013
Initially, one would like to find something factual, lovely and wonderful about this story. But the nature and some content of this boy’s knowledge subtly contradicts clear Biblical truth and fails completely to draw any attention to the saving work of Christ and salvation through faith alone in Christ alone. If this boy was truly given truth from and about God, it is in fact, the evangelistic truth and mandate of faith in Christ that is required for salvation, that would be proclaimed and emphasized. But instead of that we are given religious cliché clothed in a child’s innocence and vulnerability. He is given knowledge and visions that resemble just enough of the Bible so as to put at ease religious conscience and suppositions. But at no time is there any spiritual substance about how to enter into relationship with God. The boy talks about having “Jesus in your heart,” and having to “know Jesus.” But this is religious cliché and does not focus on the REAL issue in salvation, which is personal TRUST in the person and work of Christ. In addition, the father and mother make no mention of faith in Christ. Instead, the stated impact of this boy’s experience is (1) coming to believe in the existence of God; (2) going to heaven after death; and (3) being comforted about loved ones and babies who have died. None of those ideas are PURE Christian in focus, but rather, are religiously neutral, and would cause no offense to “religious” people in general.
I suppose that the foremost objection to my evaluation is the fact that the boy has knowledge of things that could not have been made known to him apart from some supernatural means. And should not that validate the visions as real? That is indeed a valid concern and logically establishes it as the primary issue.
The primary issue, then, is whether this boy really had a supernatural CONTACT with God, Jesus, angels, and dead relatives, or whether his knowledge came from what he had heard in stories and conversations. However, as related in the book, the nature and content of the knowledge and visions is compelling enough to confirm it as coming from a supernatural source. Accordingly, the issue is what the nature of that supernatural source is. So then, given that (1) the knowledge and visions come from a supernatural source, and (2) the content of the knowledge and visions is on one hand filled with religious cliché, and on another, actually contains some things that are not Biblically correct, the supernatural source must be and in fact is, demonic.
This does not mean that demon possession is involved, but rather it involves the impartation of words and ideas from a demon or demons. The deception then is a subtle giving of just the right “religious” language that would not frighten or challenge the parents to suspect that it was not from God. Instead, it all lines up perfectly with the activity of Satan and demons as those who disguise themselves as angels of light (2 Cor. 11:14-15). And as such it encourages a continuation in NEUTRAL, ineffective religious systems that distract from the angelic conflict and the only way to be “on God’s side,” which is personal and total trust in Christ alone. Terms such as “having Jesus in the heart” and even “knowing Jesus,” do not focus on the real issue of total faith.
In other words, one can easily ASK Jesus to come into the heart (whether genuinely or just mechanically) and it not reflect the mental expression of TRUSTING in the person and work of Christ alone through faith alone. What we find therefore is another example of satanic deception using what the Bible calls a “knowledge” demon (yiddoniy).
See Studies on demons
To demonstrate the content of this boy’s knowledge as (1) simply religious cliché or (2) actually biblically WRONG, I will cite below the majority of the book’s quotes of what the boy said.
I provide below the bulk of Colton’s comments so the nature and content can be seen for what it is. These are words that echo religious tradition and cliché, but there is no direct reference to the true gospel message of believing/trusting in Christ alone for salvation.
I add comments where appropriate to show the errors of some of the statements.
Mom: Do you remember the hospital, Colton?
C: Yes, mommy, I remember. That’s where the angels sang to me.
Dad: What did they sing to you?
C: Well, they sang Jesus Loves Me and Joshua fought the battle of Jericho.
I asked them to sing We will, we will rock you, but they wouldn’t sing that.
Dad: What did the angels look like?
C: Well, one of them looked like Grandpa Dennis, but it wasn’t him, ‘cause
Grandpa Dennis has glasses.
Dad, Jesus had the angels sing to me because I was so scared. They made me feel better.
Dad: You mean Jesus was there?
C: Yeah, Jesus was there.
Dad: Well, where was Jesus?
C: I was sitting in Jesus’ lap.
Dad: Where were you when you talked to Jesus?
C: At the hospital. You know, when Dr. O’Holleran was working on me.
C: Yeah, at the hospital. When I was with Jesus, you were praying, and Mommy was talking on the phone.
‘Cause I could see you. I went up out of my body and I was looking down and could see the doctor working on my body. And I saw you and Mommy. You were in a little room by yourself, praying, and Mommy was in a different room, and she was praying and talking on the phone.
C: Daddy, what’s a funeral?
Dad: A funeral happens when someone dies. A man here in town died, and his family is coming to church to say good-bye to him.
C: Did the man have Jesus in his heart?
He has to have Jesus in his heart! He had to know Jesus or he can’t get to heaven!
Dad: I talked to some of the family members, and they told me he did.
LATER, looking at the casket.
C: Daddy, what is that?
Dad: That’s the casket. The man who died is inside it.
Colton slammed his fists on his thighs, then pointed one finger at the casket
and said in a near shout, “Did that man have Jesus?”
“He had to! He had to! He can’t get into heaven if he didn’t have Jesus in his heart.”
Now nearly in tears, Colton twisted in (mom’s) arms and yelled at me,
“He had to know Jesus, Dad.”
(Colton’s words echo religious cliché without focusing on the real issue of FAITH in Christ.
“Having Jesus in the heart” and “knowing Jesus” do not indicate that a person has expressed faith alone in Christ alone – a total TRUST in Him and His work.)
EYEWITNESS TO HEAVEN
Dad: Did anything else happen?
C: Did you know that Jesus has a cousin? Jesus told me his cousin baptized him.
I don’t remember his name, but he was really nice.
Hey Dad, did you know Jesus has a horse?
Yeah, a rainbow horse. I got to pet him. There’s lots of colors.
In heaven, Dad. That’s where all the rainbow colors are.
Dad: You were in heaven?
C: Well, yeah, Dad.
Dad: What did Jesus look like?
C: Jesus has markers.
Markers, Daddy . . . Jesus has markers. And he has brown hair and he has hair on his face.
And his eyes . . . oh Dad, his eyes are so pretty.
Dad: what about his clothes?
C: He had purple on. His clothes were whit, but it was purple from here to here.
(Making the motion of a sash from the left shoulder down to the right hip.)
Jesus was the only one in heaven who had purple on, Dad. Did you know that?
And he had this gold thing on his head.
Dad: like a crown.
C: Yeah, a crown. And it had this . . . this diamond thing in the middle of it and it was kind of pink. And he has markers, Dad.
Dad: You mean like markers that you color with?
C: Yeah, like colors. He had colors on him.
Dad: Well, what color are Jesus’ markers?
C: Red, Daddy. Jesus has red markers on him.
Dad: Colton, where are Jesus’ markers?
Colton stood up and pointed to the center of his right palm and then the center of his left palm.
C: That’s where Jesus’ markers are, Daddy.
LIGHTS AND WINGS
Dad: What did you do in heaven?
Jesus was my teacher. Jesus gave me work to do, and that was my favorite part of heaven.
There were lots of kids, Dad.
Dad: So what did the kids look like?
C: Everybody’s got wings.
Dad: Did you have wings?
C: Yeah, but mine weren’t very big.
(Pure religious tradition that people get wings in heaven. It has no biblical support.)
Dad: Okay . . . did you walk places or did you fly?
C: We flew. Well, all except for Jesus. He was the only one in heaven who didn’t have wings. Jesus just went up and down like and elevator.
Everyone kind of looks like angels in heaven, Dad.
Dad: What do you mean?
C: All the people have a light above their head.
Yeah, and they have yellow from here to here. (making the motion of a sash)
And white from here to here. (motioning from his shoulders to the top of his feet)
Dad: How long were you gone?
C: Three minutes.
ON HEAVEN TIME
Dad: You said you went to heaven. People have to die to go to heaven.
C: Well, okay then, I died. But just for a little bit.
Daddy, remember when I yelled for you in the hospital when I waked up?
Well, the reason I was yelling was that Jesus came to get me.
He said I had to go back because he was answering your prayer.
That’s how come I was yelling for you.
C: Dad, you had a grandpa named Pop, didn’t you?
He’s really nice.
Yeah, I got to stay with him in heaven. You were really close to him, huh, Dad?
Dad: Colton, what did Pop look like?
C: Oh, Dad, Pop has really big wings!
My wings were really little, but Pop’s were big!
He had white on, but blue here. (making the sash motion)
Colton’s grandmother: Did Jesus say anything about your dad becoming a pastor?
C: Oh, yes! Jesus said he went to Daddy and told him he wanted Daddy to be a pastor and Daddy said yes, and Jesus was really happy.
(Colton’s dad confirms, “I felt a pressure in my heart, almost a whisper: that’s you, Todd, That’s what I want you to do.”)
C: Mommy, I have two sisters. (repeats)
Mom: No, you have your sister, Cassie, and . . . do you mean your cousin, Traci?
C: No. I have two sisters. You had a baby die in you tummy, didn’t you?
Mom: Who told you I had a baby die in my tummy?
C: She did, Mommy. She said she died in your tummy.
C: It’s okay, Mommy. She’s okay. God adopted her.
Mom: Don’t you mean Jesus adopted her?
C: No, Mommy. His Dad did.
Mom: So what did she look like?
C: She looked a lot like Cassie. She is just a little bit smaller, and she has dark hair.
In heaven, this little girl ran up to me, and she wouldn’t stop hugging me.
C: She doesn’t have a name. You guys didn’t name her.
Yeah, she said she just can’t wait for you and Daddy to get to heaven.
THE THRONE ROOM OF GOD
Dad: When you were in heaven, did you ever see God’s throne?
C: What’s a throne, Daddy?
Dad: (pointing to a picture) A throne is like a king’s chair . . .
C: Oh yeah, I saw that a bunch of times.
It was big, Dad . . . really, really big, because God is the biggest one there is.
And he really, really loves us, Dad. You can’t belieeeeve how much he loves us.
C: And do you know that Jesus sits right next to God?
Jesus' chair is right next to his, Dad.
Dad: What side of God’s throne was Jesus sitting on?
C: Well, pretend like you’re in God’s throne. Jesus sat right there.
(pointing to the right side).
Dad: Well, who sits on the other side of God’s throne?
C: Oh, that’s easy, Dad. That’s where the angel Gabriel is. He’s really nice.
Dad: Where did you sit, Colton?
C: They brought in a little chair for me.
I sat by God the Holy Spirit. Did you know that God is three persons, Dad?
I was sitting by God the Holy Spirit because I was praying for you.
You needed the Holy Spirit so I prayed for you.
Dad: What does God the Holy spirit look like?
C: Hmm, that’s kind of a hard one . . . he’s kind of blue.
You know, that’s where I met Pop.
Yep, Pop came up to me and said, ‘is Todd your dad?’ And I said yes.
And Pop said, ‘He’s my grandson.’
Dad: (Trying to trip him up) I remember you saying that you stayed with Pop. So when it gets dark and you went home with Pop, what did you two do?
C: It doesn’t get dark in heaven, Dad. Who told you that?
God and Jesus light up heaven. It never gets dark. It’s always bright.
DYING AND LIVING
Dad: Colton, do you know why Jesus died on the cross?
C: Well, Jesus told me he died on the cross so we could go see his Dad.
C: Dad, nobody’s old in heaven. And nobody wears glasses.
Todd, got a picture of his grandfather (Pop) as he appeared when he was much younger.
Upon showing it to Colton without any preparation, Colton commented.
C: Hey, how did you get a picture of Pop?
POWER FROM ABOVE
C: I’ve seen power shot down to Daddy.
Jesus shoots down power for Daddy when he’s talking.
Yeah, at church. When he’s telling Bible stories to the people.
Dad: What’s the power like?
C: It’s the Holy Spirit. I watched him. He showed me.
Dad: The Holy Spirit?
C: Yeah, he shoots down power for you when you’re talking in church.
(Of course, such a reality as this would indicate that absolute truth would be taught by this man. It would validate every word he utters and his entire doctrinal views. It would likewise invalidate EVERY single minister and ministry that differs from him.)
Ali was babysitting Colton and heard him crying.
Ali: What’s wrong Colton?
C: I miss my sister.
Ali: Do you want me to go downstairs and get her for you?
C: No. I miss my other sister.
Ali: Your other sister?
C: I have another sister. I saw her. In heaven. I miss her so much.
When I was little, I had surgery and I went up to heaven and saw my sister.
I don’t understand why my sister is dead.
I don’t know why she’s in heaven and not here.
(The result of this exchange is NOT any mention of personal trust in Jesus nor any life-changing experience. Instead, she applies it to “whenever I have doubts” such as “How did we know any one religion is different from any other?”
So Ali says, “Now, whenever I am having doubts, I picture Colton’s face, tears running down his cheeks, as he told me how much he missed his sister.”)
SWORDS OF THE ANGELS
After watching THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE.
Colton really enjoyed the swordplay.
Mom: Well, I guess that’s one thing you didn’t like about heaven-no swords up there.
C: There are too swords in heaven.
Mom: Why do they need swords in heaven?
C: Mom, Satan’s not in hell yet. The angels carry swords so they can keep Satan out of heaven.
Dad: I bet you asked if you could have a sword, didn’t you?
C: Yeah, I did. But Jesus wouldn’t let me have one. He said I’d be too dangerous.
Dad: Did you see Satan/
C: Yeah, I did.
Dad: What did he look like?
(But Colton never gave an answer and was always totally silent and fearful every time the question was asked on several other occasions.
This hints at the traditional, religious view that Satan is some kind of “ugly” and monstrous looking. However, he was created quite beautiful in his physical appearance, and there is no indication that his fall changed that appearance.
Furthermore, Satan is NOT excluded from heaven, but according to Revelation 12:7-10, he has constant access to heaven [until the midpoint of the 70th week] and continually [“day and night”] accuses Christians before God.)
THE COMING WAR
Concerning where Pop was buried.
Dad: but you know that’s not where Pop is.
C: I know. He’s in heaven. He’s got a new body. Jesus told me if you don’t go to heaven,
you don’t get a new body.
C: Dad, did you know there’s going to be a war?
There’s going to be a war and it’s going to destroy this world.
Jesus and the angels and the good people are going to fight against Satan and the monsters and the bad
people. I saw it.
Dad: How did you see it?
C: In heaven, the women and the children got to stand back and watch. So I stood back and watched. But the men, they had to fight. And Dad, I watched you. You have to fight too.
Dad: You said we’re fighting monsters?
C: Yeah, like dragons and stuff.
You either get a sword or a bow and arrow, but I don’t remember which.
Yeah, Dad, but it’s okay. Jesus wins. He throws Satan into hell. I saw it.
( There is no biblical evidence that Christians will fight against Satan, etc.
Furthermore, IF, the Christians were going to fight along side Jesus and the angels, there is no basis for distinguishing between the men, women and children. There are no gender ROLE distinctions in heaven.)
SOMEDAY WE’LL SEE
Concerning Akianne Kramarik: From Wikipedia.
“Akiane Kramarik was born July 9, 1994, in Mount Morris, IL. She is primarily a self-taught painter. She states that God spoke to her when she was three years old, encouraging her to paint and draw her visions. Her parents were atheists at the time (they later converted to Christianity on account of Kramarik's paintings and visions). According to Kramarik, her art is inspired by her visions of heaven and her personal connection with God.”
Todd showed Colton a picture of Jesus painted by Akianne.
Dad: Take a look at this one. What’s wrong with this one?
Colton just stared in silence.
And after much prompting and urging, Colton finally answered.
C: Dad, that one’s right.
(Incidentally, upon examination of Miss Kramarik’s website, I find no mention of the need to express personal trust and faith in the person and work of Jesus for salvation.
There are a lot of references to “God,” but like with Colton’s experiences, the REAL issue of God’s revelation to man remains unmentioned. From her poems and website AND from the book about Colton’s experience, there is no way that anyone could find the right information in order to become a genuine Christian through faith alone in Christ alone.)
©Ron Wallace, http://www.biblefragrances.com.
Anyone is free to reproduce this material and distribute it,