US Bestseller: Heaven Exists, War against Satan will “Destroy this World”

As is being widely reported, one of the USA’s top-selling titles at the moment a book called Heaven is for Real, which purports to describe how a 4-year-old boy named Colton Burpo had a near-death experience in hospital in 2003, thus proving Christianity:

While in heaven Colton says he saw many things and met many people including pop, his great grandfather who died 30 years before Colton was born. But Colton says he didn’t look like the photo in his house. A picture sent months later by his grandma was more like the man he met, a young man without glasses. And perhaps the most shocking part of Colton’s story. “He came to his mom and said mom I have 2 sisters,” said [has father] Todd Burpo.

But he only has one sister. “You had a baby die in your tummy didn’t you?” said Todd Burpo.

His parents never told him about the miscarriage.

Over time this young man’s visions became more real. From his description of Jesus to his talks with God, even a description of Armageddon.

“Over time” may be the operative phrase here: Colton’s father is a pastor, and the details of his son’s vision emerged through their conversations. The tale has now been further packaged by Sarah Palin’s ghostwriter. A December 2010 piece in the Imperial Republican, the Coltons’ local newspaper, has some background (link added):

In an interview this week, Todd Burpo said he has no doubt his son made the heavenly visit.

While Todd, pastor of Imperial’s Crossroads Wesleyan Church, says he and wife Sonja originally weren’t sure about it, he is now.

“I am 100% convinced he was in heaven,” he said.

…He believes God had a part in the encouragement they had from a pastor friend to write the book. That friend, Phil McCallum, made some introductions and introduced them to the right people, Todd said.

It eventually led to the book deal with Thomas Nelson of Nashville, a 200-year-old company that publishes a lot of Christian books.

He worked with author Lynn Vincent, who most recently collaborated with Sarah Palin on her book, “Going Rogue: An American Life.”

Various sites have discussed the book’s content; one Reformed pastor, while not dismissing the entire book, writes that:

In Burpo’s book, I’m especially skeptical as I read the chapter on “The Throne Room of God.” Jesus’ Dad sits in a big chair, with Jesus on his right and the angel Gabriel on his left.  The Holy Spirit is a blue light in the throne room, and they brought in a little chair for Colton to sit in.  I’m kind of wondering where were the other millions of believers in heaven besides Colton, Pop, and his unborn sister.

However, it’s the apocalyptic message which particularly interests me. In a chapter called “The Coming War”, Todd tells us that he’s “not one of those pastors who camps out on end-times prophecy”, but according to his son:

“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.”

…”in heaven, the women and the children got to stand back and watch… But the men, they had to fight. And Dad. I watched you. You have to fight too.

Todd will apparently fight with “a sword or a bow and arrow”. Pondering the Book of Revelation, Todd opines that “maybe we sophisticated grown-ups have tried to make things more complicated than they are” in looking for a symbolic interpretation. Clunkily literalistic readings of the text are in fashion right now: recently there was speculation that the book’s “pale rider” had been caught on camera in Egypt.

This isn’t the first popular book to claim that special revelations given to children offer evidence for Christianity: in the 1920s a Pentecostal missionary working in China named HA Baker claimed that children in a orphanage in Yunnan had experienced a series of visions following an “outpouring of the Holy Spirit”.

15 Responses

  1. The interviews with this kid were just sad. You could see the coaching and scripted lines being delivered.

  2. At least if the fundi Christians are reading this, they’ll be keep their copies of Left Behind on the bookshelf. That’s something to be grateful for, surely.

  3. Two yrs ago I went to my sisters church and listen to a (payed) guest they had. He was a ‘Biblical archaeologist’ and he found Noah’s Ark!! By the end of the first of a 3 hour lecture, I was sensing he was trying to say ‘something’ without really coming out and saying it!!! I wrote on a piece of paper “He’s a fake! He’s subliminally selling us that going to War with Iran is a MUST” and handed it to my sister! During the break my ‘very religious’ sister and her husband laughed at me, called my conspiracy th. and said “He has never even mention Iran!!”…..At the very beginning of the third hour he said “Iran is Jesus’ biggest enemy! And for his ‘return’ we must first deal with Jesus’ enemies, and going to War with Iran is a MUST”……my sister and husband turned and looked at me like I foreseen the future!!!……..THIS KIDS story sounds that way to me!!! Last part was a World War!!! ….sell the Masses through ‘propaganda’, fear,subliminally……….!

  4. Check out the story of Marjoe, another four year old touched by the holy spirit.

  5. I think that Armageddon can wait. Predict at least once every year. A bit boring now. So far, no thought to the end of the world, but the more you speak the less.

  6. It has always been true that people write books that fantasize for the purpose profit. As a Christian, it is difficult to criticize with absolute fairness. Suffice it to say that Profit Motive is the driving force behind various Bible versions. However, the only correct motivating force should be the accurate conveyance of God’s communication or message to us by the Holy Spirit. That is how it was given to the authors.
    2. HATH IN THESE LAST DAYS SPOKEN UNTO US BY HIS SON, WHOM HE HATH APPOINTED HEIR OF ALL THINGS—BY WHOM ALSO, HE MADE THE WORLDS. I doubt anyone can say that the 1611 King James Version was written for the purpose of profit. Nor was it tainted with the desire to meet the liberal bias of the translators. Therefore it has stood the test of time (400 years). It may be scorned because of its use of Elizabethan English with its thees and thous, saiths and doeths. Also, fault is found in a limited number of expressions which have become archaic. In attempting to justify new improved versions for better understanding of the Word of God, we have diminished implanting that Word in our hearts. Memorization demanded accuracy in the jots and tittles of Scripture. With the profuse number of versions spread throughout the average church congregation, confusion reigns when an attempt is made to read the Bible out loud in unison–or just to follow along. Accuracy is down-played as a result, and soon, belief in the Bible is gradually destroyed. No-one will believe this is
    happening in the course of the last 100 years. Some churches still cling to the 1611 KJV and it is thoroughly enjoyed because they read the Bible enough to know what the meaning is of those archaic words–they love the thees and thous and they have hundreds of verses that are familiar and precious to their hearts. Gradually, the Word of God is being weeded out of the Christian life from the Public School system and the Sunday School curriculum as well. The Truth of God;s Word suffers as a result. Thus, we have the ho hum attitude of the average man on the street—and regretfully, many of the Christians, likewise.

    We have people who are lazy in their study of the Word of God; who love to criticize without having the faintest idea of what the Bible really says, despite all these helpful versions which should make all Bible literate. They are indoctrinated with belief in the seven dispensations of the Scofield Bible not knowing why they should or shouldn’t believe in it. They are gullible in their blind following of leaders who portray the various PRETrib, MIDTrib, POST-Trib, POST-Millenial, A-Millenial doctrinal teachings without studying the Bible to see which are wrong, or they don’t care. It does make a difference if you are firm enough in your Christian belief that you may have your head cut off by the dictates of Muslim theology. It is high time to wake up and know whether Christianity is going to survive or the Muslim. They seem to be more fervent in their detemination to destroy Jews and Christians than we are in winning them to the love of Christ. They use force. We are to use love. I close with a few verses from the book of Jude:
    21: Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.
    22: And of some, have compassion,, making a difference.
    23: and others, save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.
    24: Now–unto Him that is able to keep you from falling—and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy!
    25: To the ONLY WISE GOD, our Saviour–be Glory, and majesty, dominion, and power, both NOW and ever!! Amen

    The evil one’s way of showing the way to Heaven is by blowing up the enemies with car bombs, etc.
    The Christian way is the opposite–by winning them over with love. The Spirit of God (not Allah) is the way of love. Pray that they may one day see that to be true. God welcomes all sinners to come unto Him.

  7. […] US Bestseller: Heaven Exists, War against Satan will “Destroy this World” ( […]

  8. […] Incidentally, Boykin and Palin share the same ghost-writer, Lynne Vincent. Vincent has come to wider notice recently due to the success of Heaven is for Real, a book I discussed here. […]

  9. […] blogged on the book here. “Revealed to his family” is not quite accurate: in fact, the details of Colton’s […]

  10. What a sad jaded world we live in. So many people tearing apart this story because they think THEY know the truth. How do YOU know? or is it that humanity is so content to believe nothing or is the truth that so many people KNOW they are generally not good to others and simply fear the belief of judgement for their lives? Whether or not the book is 100 percent true or not is unimportant to me it was uplifting and gives me hope and that is far better than the black cloud of the hopeless news stories that is the “real and now” we live in people should focus the rage and disbelief towards the everyday murder and hate we see everyday. If you are a religious person, Christian or not quit the squabbling and do SOMETHING to make the world better or else you are adding to the problem.

    • “The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one.”

      -George Bernard Shaw

    • For intelligent human beings, we fail to understand that the Power that created us (God)–that He has just a wee bit more “savvy” than those who put themselves on an equality with God. “They KNOW IT ALL” Scripture gives credence to happenings far beyond our current understanding. For instance, Christ needed to go to heaven to receive a “glorified body” which differed from the one which was crucified. However, in His particular case, the wounds from crucifixion remained. Jesus was aware that Thomas had expressed doubt about His resurrection and He presented the proof Thomas needed in order to believe by presenting the nail print wounds in His hands.

      Since His resurrection, He had gone to His Father (in heaven?) to receive a glorified body. Mary was told not to touch Him since He had not yet received it.. He must have had a unique way of travelling (not horse and buggy!) while going to heaven. While His body was in the tomb, He had gone in the Spirit and preached to the unbelievers of Noah’s day, who had died in the flood in which Noah and his family were the only ones saved. (See 1Peter17-22) (Why was this necessary?) In His new body, He ate fish with Peter. He entered the room where His disciples were gathered without coming through the door. He left earth, rising slowly–visibly–with the disciples watching Him go. (Acts 1:9-11) He disappeared into a cloud (angels?) and two angels stated that He is coming again (in the same way as they saw Him go) to receive all who had faith in Him as the redeemer of our souls. Unbelievably, we are made righteous before a HOLY God–by HIS sacrifice if we are humble enough to believe it! All scoffers are lost–not because of their sins–but because they are too stubborn to believe what a loving God has provided, and are unwilling to believe that God loves them enough to send His Son to redeem them from hell. Praise God–some WILL believe and escape the torture in Hell. They will even hate God for so dealing with those who are unthankful..

  11. I too am having doubts about this child’s trip to heaven. If I’m not mistaken the account of the last war is incorrect. I could find nowhere in the bible saying that the saved humans left on earth will take part in the great battle between Satan and Christ. Jesus returns with His multitude of angels. He will slay with the words of His mouth, and His angels will also take part. Any account that does not follow scripture should be discounted in it’s entirety.

  12. In reading and thinking of this again. What if the vision of his father fighting was not while his dad was still here on earth but after he has already left it once before?

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