By Wes Mason
“So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” ~ Romans 10:17 (NKJV)
In 2010 the book, The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven was published. It was the supposed story of a boy, Alex Malarkey, almost killed in an auto accident who lay in a coma for two months, during that time he died and visited heaven. The book was written by his Dad, partly based on what Alex had told him. It sold over 1,000,000 copies. Sadly it was all a lie. The book made a lot of money for the people involved in the publication. Here is what Alex published on the web recently:
An Open Letter to Lifeway and Other Sellers, Buyers, and Marketers of Heaven Tourism, by the Boy Who Did Not Come Back From Heaven.
Please forgive the brevity, but because of my limitations I have to keep this short.
I did not die. I did not go to Heaven.
I said I went to heaven because I thought it would get me attention. When I made the claims that I did, I had never read the Bible.
People have profited from lies, and continue to. They should read the Bible, which is enough. The Bible is the only source of truth. Anything written by man cannot be infallible.
It is only through repentance of your sins and a belief in Jesus as the Son of God, who died for your sins (even though he committed none of his own) so that you can be forgiven may you learn of Heaven outside of what is written in the Bible…not by reading a work of man.
I want the whole world to know that the Bible is sufficient. Those who market these materials must be called to repent and hold the Bible as enough.
I admire this young man’s courage to come out and tell the truth about his lies and this book. I also deeply appreciate his stance that the bible is all-sufficient. We need not to add anything else to it and never take anything from it.
I have read many such books in my 35 plus years of walking with Christ. Two of the most recent are 90 Minutes in Heaven and Heaven Is For Real. When we are young in the faith, we believe almost anything we are told, as we trust the source to be a reputable authority figure, in the church. We need to grow out that that stage as quickly as possible. Peter warned the early church that there would be people who wanted to merchandise God’s people and make money off of our trust and faith.
“But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber.” 2 Peter 2:1-3 (NKJV)
In the book of Acts we have a great example of how to deal with anything we are told about Christ, God, heaven ect.
“Then the brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea. When they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so. Therefore many of them believed, and also not a few of the Greeks, prominent women as well as men.” ~ Acts 17:10-12 (NKJV)
The KJV describes the saints at Berea who searched the scriptures daily to see if what the great Apostle Paul taught was true, as honorable. I love that description.
I will most likely read the next sensational Christian publication that comes out. Not to gain any new insight or revelation about the Lord, but to see what is appealing to the folks that are intrigued by the book. It is not my job to tell you to stay away from such books. It is may calling to say to you… examine anything you read or hear through the lens of God’s word (including this message). Compare it to the Bible. If there are things in there that line up, great, if not, then reject them. DO NOT rest a scintilla of your faith in any book published by man. Rest your faith in the word of God, the person and perfect work of Jesus Christ, God the father and the power and presence of the Holy Spirit in your lives.
Test all things; hold fast what is good.” ~ 1 Thess 5:21 NKJV
The word test here can mean to prove or to test with the expectation of approving. The gold standard by which we approve all things is God’s word. If a claim or story does not match up to the revealed word of God, we need to reject it. It will only lead us astray. May the Lord find us honorable as we read, study and apply his word to all we do in our daily lives.
HOW FIRM A FOUNDATION
How firm a foundation, ye Saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith in his excellent word!
What more can he say than to you he hath said,
Who unto the Savior, who unto the Savior,
Who unto the Savior for refuge have fled?
Wes Mason is a native of Richmond VA. He served in the USAF after graduating in 1974 and lived in NM, TX, MA and the UK. While in TX, he recognized God’s calling on his life and was ordained in a small Pentecostal Church in 1984. He moved to Boston to finish college, and while there, was involved in campus ministries as a student leader and a prison ministry volunteer. After college Wes moved back to Richmond in 87, very quickly was asked to be part of the Good news Jail and Prison Ministry at Henrico County Jail west. Currently Wes provides pulpit supply for 11 local Baptist churches. He’s married to my wife Cindy, a school teacher since 88, and has 2 great sons. Wes is a member of Hunton Baptist Church in Glen Allen, Va. Wes plays the 5 string banjo and guitar for a hobby. You can connect with Wes via email: firstname.lastname@example.org