Question: What About People Who Say They’ve Gone To Heaven?

Question:

What do you think of these books and accounts of people going to heaven or hell, then God tells them to come back tell everyone about it?


Answer:

I will tell you from study and research, that ALL the books of this type I’ve looked into end up having one or more of the following: metaphysical and occult ideas/imagery, extra-Biblical revelation and unScriptural (typically man-centered) descriptions, as well as Biblical error. Granted, you have to wade through all the sensational, Biblical sounding scenarios and descriptions, but they never stand up to Scriptural scrutiny.

Acts 17:11 …they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so. (NKJV)

Unfortunately, most of these books are accepted by Christians with little or no hesitation because of the same reason MOST error is accepted: PRAGMATISM. Pragmatism is the idea that something MUST be okay or Godly because 1) it gets good results, and adding an emotional component: 2) it feels right, 3) it helped me or 4) it didn’t seem to be against God.

Pragmatism (coupled with emotionalism and experientialism) has allowed the Church to embrace all manners of error ranging from humanistic theory, marketing techniques, seeker-friendly compromise, positive thinking, books like ‘The Shack’ and ‘The Secret’, the prosperity gospel and a seeking of sensational experience (just to name a few).

So Christians (and non-Christians) casually digest these types of books applying little or no discernment – books like Mary Baxter’s “A Divine Revelation of Heaven”, “90 Minutes in Heaven” by Don Piper or Todd Bentley’s absurd claims of being “beamed” to heaven and chit-chatting with Jesus (or pick any number of Word Faith big names who claim heavenly visits).

There is no way (nor is it our duty) to judge a person’s heart or sincerity, but we can make sensible evaluations about the source by observing their life, writing, teaching or public persona. Baxter is new ager, a fact made clear by her writings. Todd Bentley is a showboating, tale-bearing false prophet, an indisputable fact proven by his public activity. Don Piper however, by all accounts, seems to be someone who appears to truly love God.

Regardless, all these accounts have to be judged STRICTLY by Scripture, and they all fall short, some more than others. The bigger question is: does God want us NOW to know more about heaven than He chose to reveal in his inspired Word?

Acts 17:11 …they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so. (NKJV)

Think about it… the Apostle Paul went to heaven, and God told him “don’t talk about it”. The Apostle John saw many wondrous things in heaven that God told Him not to write down, leaving us only with the information we need to know about the final events of God’s plan for mankind (the book of Revelation). Are we then to believe that God came along and told Mary Baxter or Benny Hinn to reveal Heaven to us? As I often say to my kids, “I don’t think so, Scooter.”

God revealed what He wants us to know about heaven in the Bible. When a person “comes back” from heaven (or hell) with a story and description, they are in essence introducing NEW divine revelation, revelation that even Paul was not allowed to share. Mary Baxter makes no bones about the fact that Jesus TOLD HER to tell us what she saw. This is tantamount to divine revelation (exactly what she calls it), and SHOULD be every bit as authoritative and sacred as the Bible itself. Same source, same inspiration, same mission to write down God’s message.

Any time a human teaches something “new” or proclaims something that God did not choose to reveal in the Bible (as it pertains to the nature of God and His message to us as Christians), that person is claiming divine inspiration equal to Scripture. Anytime someone writes or tells a story that says “God said to me, to tell you…”, and it cannot be found in Scripture, they are making a statement of theology and by default, a claim of divine inspiration.

Therefore, assuming God would even give any “new” revelation today, they MUST be perfectly accurate and in line with what God has already given us in the Bible because God cannot contradict Himself. However, God is NOT giving new revelation today, but that is a lesson for another time, even though the emails rebuking me for saying that will come immediately.

For this reason alone, we should AUTOMATICALLY be skeptical (dismiss?) of anyone “visiting” heaven or hell, either in a vision or a “near death” experience. I would go so far as to say we should assume the accounts are a deception of some sort or a product of imagination, regardless of the sincerity of the person. We are ALL capable of succumbing to a deception or emotion, so sincerity is not a credible standard.

So far, EVERY extra-Biblical account of this nature, when evaluated carefully against Scripture, is found to be in error, and almost all have common elements of new age and demonic deception which of course makes perfect sense. If these “next life” or “heavenly” experiences are not from God, they are from someone or something other than God. Most likely, it is a common demonic deception or influence that is leading people from the pure Word of God into sensationalism and false teaching.

Acts 17:11 …they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so. (NKJV)

We should simply depend on God’s Word as our revelation, and not some “divine encounter” written by man, no matter how interesting or “heavenly” it may sound. My personal opinion is that we Christians are TOO distracted by this type of story or account. There is a SERIOUS and wide spread lack of discernment in the Christian body today. We have no obligation to read and accept any claim of divine experience or revelation knowledge. To the contrary, we have duty to be skeptical, alert and cautious about these things.

In fact, given the warnings of Scripture about the last days deception, we would do well to simply ignore all of it, and keep our nose buried in God’s Word.

Acts 17:11 …they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so. (NKJV)

To find out what the BIBLE says about heaven, check out my presentation.

PS: WHAT ARE YOUR QUESTIONS FOR ME? Ask here. To give a gift of support, click here.

Random Thoughts – May 26, 2010: Man Purses, Parental Excuses, Mamas & Obamas

Can’t Teach Your Kids What You Don’t Do Yourself

Parents are supposed to teach their kids not to make excuse right? Own up to your faults, failures and responsibility. Don’t make excuses! Right?

That’s a tough message to convince kids of when many (most?) PARENTS are the ones engaging in constant excuse-making about… their parenting.

The other day I witnessed a a little girl stomping and screaming and throwing a fit in public. Her mother sheepishly explained to those near her “she’s just not a morning person. She’s always like this.” Puh-leeze…

I’ll bet the little darling isn’t a “bedtime person” or a “take you to a restaurant person” or a “sit still in church person” either. This is not about the little girl, it’s about us PARENTS. It is an issue of parenting, that lost skill of raising obedient, respectful and self-controlled children.

I was delighted this weekend to see families like the Blocks, the Patterson’s and yes, the Riggs‘ who between them have about a hundred children… every one of them sat attentively and quietly through an almost 2 hour memorial service. Only the two babies had to be taken out as they grew restless. All the others, from teens to toddlers, were well behaved and disciplined.

Accident? No. You won’t find an excuse-making parent in the bunch. They believe in those old fashioned qualities of discipline, obedience, selfLESSness and even this shocking concept: the world doesn’t revolve around WHAT THE KIDS WANT every second of every day.

The whole point of parenting is to mature and discipline our kids away from childish impulsiveness, training them to control their emotions and their feelings.  That’s a hard sell when the parents themselves haven’t even learned the lesson.

Parents today are awash in psychobabble and sadly, intimidated by all the Godless “experts” out there who have cast aside Christian parenting concepts for humanistic and frankly WORTHLESS modern parenting tricks like the ever popular IGNORING your child while they throw a rip roaring, embarrassing and shameful fit because they want the red sucker not the green one (I know, I know…  “they just don’t feel well”).

Then there’s the “let’s video or make jokes about our little monster-in-training and turn it into a big laugh”. Or proclaim “they are just tired and need a nap”.  That might distract the parents embarrassment over their child’s inability to behave in public but it doesn’t fool other people, or the child.

Okay… that ought to be enough to get me a truckload of ugly email full of fun words like judgmental, intolerant, religious zealot and nazi parent.

Parents: don’t expect your kids to stop making excuses until you do. And don’t expect them to grow up respectful, obedient and disciplined adults if you don’t require that of them while they are still inmates in your house (did I just say “inmates”?).

Signs of the Times

Graffiti in bathrooms… am I the only person who gets tired of having to ignore a thousand variations of the f-word on bathroom walls as well as the numerous crude drawings of genitalia? Or worse, having to figure out whether to explain it to my kids (depending on their age), or hope I can distract them long enough to avoid any questions?

I know: age old problem, just live with it. I know. But it’s still frustrating and worse, a clear sign of the common moral temperature of our nation. It used to be just public restrooms in seedy gas stations. Now it’s every where. In fact, I often notice the great lengths businesses have to go to when building bathrooms trying to find materials that cannot be scratched, written on or painted… then cleaned off if they are.

Now it’s pretty much any bathroom anywhere in public. I’ve even seen it in CHURCH bathrooms, book stores, McDonalds, malls, restaurants… you can’t send your kids in anywhere without wondering if they are going to come out asking questions about various sex acts or creative uses of the “f-word”.

Christians get criticized for “sheltering” their kids but give me a break… bathrooms are pornographic; you can’t walk into a convenience store without seeing a magazine rack full of nekkid girl covers; you can’t drive down the road without billboards full of barely dressed women; you can’t go anywhere during the summer without a constant buffet of thong underwear and buttcracks on display. And now, even worse in my opinion, is this constant, habitual male habit of scratching, grabbing and rubbing their…. you know what I’m talking about it. It’s disgusting, crude and sadly becoming ridiculously common IN PUBLIC.  Not just “thugs” either… I’ve seen grown men, college kids, athletes, you name it. Doesn’t anyone have any sense of modesty any more?

We are a Corinthian (highly immoral) culture now and Christian parents just have to work that much harder to spiritually strengthen and train their kids to live their faith despite the rampant and increasingly normalized immorality.

Mama and Obama

One of my mama friends told me the other day that when her kids ask for money and they aren’t willing to work for it, she replies with:

“I’m your mama, not Obama”.

Classic. There’s enough truth in that simple phrase to write a book. Hey, maybe I will.

Another Sign of Time

While we are on cultural indicators, I just saw an ad for a music group called “God Smack” or “godsmack” or some such blasphemous, shameful thing. They have an album called “The Oracle” with a popular title song “Cry’in Like a B–ch”.

Is that really what we’ve come to in our country? Something that heathen doesn’t even get anyone’s attention? 50 years (maybe 25), that would have been boycotted or condemned by someone or some group with morals, values and principles.

Okay, One More

I generally disdain beer commercials (because they make all guys look like lustful idiots and women manipulative party animals) but I saw one I thought was both funny, culturally relevant and made good point (even that was not their intent). It went sort of like this:

A soft looking professional guy with a bag slung over his shoulder was holding a drink. A girl bartender said something like “hey, when you get ready for a man drink, put your purse down and I’ll pour you a beer.”

The guy says, “it’s a ‘carry all’ not a purse.”

“No” she replied with a condescending and “you’re pathetic” look… “it’s a purse.”

I think it says a lot when even the world is making jokes about how feminized and sissy men have become. Serious Christian men have long lamented the “soft-i-fying” of males today. It really says something when even the Godless culture is making jokes about it.

Of course, that same beer company would probably shrivel and pull the commercial if the “bi-tri-les-gay-hom-trans-let-me-live-whatever-immoral-lifestyle-I-want-fem-aclu” groups attacked them over the ad. Then again, those groups are too busy trying to legalize immorality and get tax payers to subsidize their politics. So the beer companies need not fear them.

PS: WHAT ARE YOUR QUESTIONS FOR ME? Ask here. To give a gift of support, click here.

Random Thoughts (May 21, 2010): Strawberries, Wieners and Dummies

The Statue of Kiderty

We are driving down the road on my birthday and Hannah says to the other kids, “let’s sing happy birthday to Dad!”. Everyone breaks out in song…

I keep looking in my mirror and I see Landis staring, frozen, mouth open as wide as he can, bug-eyed… not moving, not moving, still not moving. After the song is over I ask “Landis, what in world are you doing? How come you didn’t sing happy birthday?”

“Because I’m a statue Dad.”

Well aren’t I the dummy.

Speaking of Dummies

Hannah (our 11 yr old from Ethiopia) is still learning alot of American ways and seeing many things for the first time. She was helping me put together something and noticed little stickers with letters on them.

“Why are there letters on every part Dad?” she asked.

“They do that to help you put it together. That way even a dummy can do it,” I replied. Yep, you know what’s coming next don’t you? Completely innocently with not a hint of sarcasm, she responded sincerely:

“So that even you can do it?” I never bothered to tell her she just called me a dummy. Do you think she knew? Don’t answer that.

Roses Are Red

Hannah loves to make up “roses are red, violets are blue..” rhymes. So she and I are going back and forth one day while driving and all of sudden Landis (4 yrs old) chimes in “I’ve got one Dad…”

“Roses are red, the sky might fall but it can wait until I get home and tell Momma.” I couldn’t agree more. I have no idea how he came up with that but I couldn’t agree more.

Strawberries

The strawberries this time of year are wonderful. We are eating a bowl of them the other day and I was telling the kids how good they are for you, and all the vitamins they have. Landis set me straight:

“Dad, strawberries make your head light up and then you know when you need to go to the bathroom.”

So now I know the real value of strawberries.

She’s Growing Up

The kids and I were horse playing the other day. Hannah (11) was skillfully pestering me and as we tumbled around on the floor I just couldn’t pass up the exclusive Dad-ordained-opportunity to give her a little wedgie. I mean, there was little glimpse of undies showing above her pants, I couldn’t pass it up, could I? Could I?

So I give her a little tug but the gloating would be short lived as she stood up and informed me, “Dad, I’m on my p_____d!” (you can fill in the blanks if you are old enough to understand)

You know they are growing up when you get hit with that one. You REALLY know they are growing up when she spins around right before exiting the room and says with a smirk and a wink, “just kidding. Gotcha.”

Hot Dogs and the Birds & Bees

We were eating the All-American lunch of hot dogs and chips the other day. Abby informed Momma that she wanted a wiener with her hot dog lunch.

Landis, being the good brother he is, quickly reminded her earnestly, “girls don’t get wee-ners, they get ‘buh-jie-muhs'”.

What do you say to that? I mean, he’s right, isn’t he?


Hannah is such a joy. She is growing up FAST!


I love to see Abby and Landis play together.
They are truly best buddies and more like twins than
adopted orphans from different families.


Landis got blindsided with silly string and
didn’t quite know what to make of it (had never seen it before).
Kind of puzzling for SpideyLandis who had only
done pretend web-slinging up that point.


This is Abby right in the middle of a hard chemo week.
We grownups could sure learn some attitude lessons from her.

PS: WHAT ARE YOUR QUESTIONS FOR ME? Ask here. To give a gift of support, click here.

We’re Asking You

From Brent

We’ve stuck our neck out several times to ask help for others but this time, we are asking for our family. On the counsel and encouragement of those we trust and those who have privately given graciously to our family, we are just flat out asking if you will help us finish raising the money for Abby’s Wish (our next adoption).

Please don’t stop reading… here’s the scoop:

The Right Time

Abby is in the final months of her chemo, over two years of misery. All she’s talked about during this whole ordeal is adopting her a baby brother or sister. That’s where “Abby’s Wish” came from. We have raised about $10K of the $25-30K needed to bring a couple of orphans to their new home.

We have an adult child moving out this week and another one in a year or so. There will be plenty of room. We’re sacrificing too… garage sales, reducing our family budget, foregoing things we would normally like to do or have.

If we can finish the fundraising now, it will be 6-12 months before we would travel to get the kids. So now is the perfect time to do the final fundraising.

While we have begun our home study, we will not start the official adoption process until all the money is raised. If you start an adoption then bail out for ANY reason, those kids risk never being adopted.

Why the Fundraiser?

People honestly inquire “if you can’t afford the upfront costs, can you afford more children?” No, we don’t have an extra $30K sitting around for the upfront costs. That’s another level of income above us.

As for “affording” more kids, having a larger family is a totally separate part of the commitment. We live a frugal life. We have a 30 year old house in a small town that I’ve expanded with my own two hands and lots of sweat equity. We drive 10 year old cars. We live modestly. We don’t use credit cards, we have no debt other than our mortgage. We’ve purposely given up a lot of potential “lifestyle” because we want to invest our resources to adopt orphans. I work very hard, provide for my family and our commitment has always been:

If other people will invest with us in the upfront costs of adoption, we will invest in the long term costs, care and parenting. Both investments are equally important.

What Happens to the Donations

We have an adoption savings account. Every single penny goes directly towards the adoption expenses. Period. That’s all it will be used for. We are going to adopt a baby and if the opportunity is there, we will adopt a sibling or 2nd child at the same time. Why?

Simple economics. It only costs about $5K more to adopt two kids at once rather than starting over and having to raise another $25-30K in the future and… that’s what we all want. The kids love the thought.

Would You Help?

We would never directly or publicly ask for donations for selfish wants. We know it’s expensive to adopt internationally and some people object to the costs. They think we shouldn’t adopt “foreign” kids when there are domestic kids to adopt. To that we answer: God calls some to domestic adoption and fostering; He calls some to adopt from poor foreign countries. There are great challenges to BOTH, and you have to be committed either way. We minister to the orphans in poor third world countries. That is where God has led us. We have no other reason than that.

If you don’t agree with our reasons, support our objectives, or just don’t like that we’ve asked… then simply disagree and give us the benefit of the doubt that our motives are pure. We’ll get plenty of criticism for this post, but we accept that as part of our commitment to adoption.

Please consider helping us bring home a couple of orphans to a new life. We have a large audience that we give a lot of time and ministry too. We don’t ask this lightly or take you for granted. We are being as direct and honest as we know how. There is power in numbers and there is hardly an eternal reward more great than the “pure religion” of caring for orphans and widows (James 1:27).

If you will invest up front in the adoption costs, we’ll invest the long term care and expense of raising these children. Together, we all will reap the eternal blessings and reward.

That’s as honest and direct as we know how to be. Thanks for taking time to consider it.

PS: WHAT ARE YOUR QUESTIONS FOR ME? Ask here. To give a gift of support, click here.

We’re Asking You

From Brent

We’ve stuck our neck out several times to ask help for others but this time, we are asking for our family. On the counsel and encouragement of those we trust and those who have privately given graciously to our family, we are just flat out asking if you will help us finish raising the money for Abby’s Wish (our next adoption).

Please don’t stop reading… here’s the scoop:

The Right Time

Abby is in the final months of her chemo, over two years of misery. All she’s talked about during this whole ordeal is adopting her a baby brother or sister. That’s where “Abby’s Wish” came from. We have raised about $10K of the $25-30K needed to bring a couple of orphans to their new home.

We have an adult child moving out this week and another one in a year or so. There will be plenty of room. We’re sacrificing too… garage sales, reducing our family budget, foregoing things we would normally like to do or have.

If we can finish the fundraising now, it will be 6-12 months before we would travel to get the kids. So now is the perfect time to do the final fundraising.

While we have begun our home study, we will not start the official adoption process until all the money is raised. If you start an adoption then bail out for ANY reason, those kids risk never being adopted.

Why the Fundraiser?

People honestly inquire “if you can’t afford the upfront costs, can you afford more children?” No, we don’t have an extra $30K sitting around for the upfront costs. That’s another level of income above us.

As for “affording” more kids, having a larger family is a totally separate part of the commitment. We live a frugal life. We have a 30 year old house in a small town that I’ve expanded with my own two hands and lots of sweat equity. We drive 10 year old cars. We live modestly. We don’t use credit cards, we have no debt other than our mortgage. We’ve purposely given up a lot of potential “lifestyle” because we want to invest our resources to adopt orphans. I work very hard, provide for my family and our commitment has always been:

If other people will invest with us in the upfront costs of adoption, we will invest in the long term costs, care and parenting. Both investments are equally important.

What Happens to the Donations

We have an adoption savings account. Every single penny goes directly towards the adoption expenses. Period. That’s all it will be used for. We are going to adopt a baby and if the opportunity is there, we will adopt a sibling or 2nd child at the same time. Why?

Simple economics. It only costs about $5K more to adopt two kids at once rather than starting over and having to raise another $25-30K in the future and… that’s what we all want. The kids love the thought.

Would You Help?

We would never directly or publicly ask for donations for selfish wants. We know it’s expensive to adopt internationally and some people object to the costs. They think we shouldn’t adopt “foreign” kids when there are domestic kids to adopt. To that we answer: God calls some to domestic adoption and fostering; He calls some to adopt from poor foreign countries. There are great challenges to BOTH, and you have to be committed either way. We minister to the orphans in poor third world countries. That is where God has led us. We have no other reason than that.

If you don’t agree with our reasons, support our objectives, or just don’t like that we’ve asked… then simply disagree and give us the benefit of the doubt that our motives are pure. We’ll get plenty of criticism for this post, but we accept that as part of our commitment to adoption.

Please consider helping us bring home a couple of orphans to a new life. We have a large audience that we give a lot of time and ministry too. We don’t ask this lightly or take you for granted. We are being as direct and honest as we know how. There is power in numbers and there is hardly an eternal reward more great than the “pure religion” of caring for orphans and widows (James 1:27).

If you will invest up front in the adoption costs, we’ll invest the long term care and expense of raising these children. Together, we all will reap the eternal blessings and reward.

That’s as honest and direct as we know how to be. Thanks for taking time to consider it.

PS: WHAT ARE YOUR QUESTIONS FOR ME? Ask here. To give a gift of support, click here.