Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Heaven is for Real - My Book Review

I just looked at Amazon.com to read the reviews for the book, Heaven is for Real, by Todd Burpo with Lynn Vincent. It's the story of Colton Burpo and his trip to Heaven during an appendicitis surgery. Colton was 4 when this happened and he told his folks about it, a little at a time, over the next three years. Today, Colton is 12.

Reviewers can title their reviews on Amazon. Here are some of the titles:

Heaven is for real; this story isn't.
Wow...just wow.
Pathetic excuse of a NDE (near death experience) book
This stinks to high heaven
Solace and comfort for the irrational and simple minded
Loved it!

My neighbor Elli loaned me a copy of Heaven is for Real, telling me that she loved the book. I read it in a couple of days - it's an easy read. I finished it last night.

When I began this book, I was skeptical. Part of cynical me. But by the end, I was encouraged and felt my faith being built. In Heaven, according to Colton, no one is old and everyone has wings. Colton says the angels have swords to keep Satan out of Heaven and he met his sister, who died in a miscarriage. Colton's parents had never told him about the . Since Colton is age 4 to 6 as he reveals what he saw, the details are believable because he is a kid and his faith is childlike, something Jesus said was a requirement.

I liked this book very much and I recommend it to believers, especially if you've lost someone. What a comfort to be assured that your loved one will be there. And according to Colton, so will your pets. :0)

HOWEVER, the reality is that this is one child's experience. I believe God is big enough to make Heaven different for different folks. I believe in a God that can show heaven to Colton so that his story can encourage and comfort others. I also believe in a God that created the tsetse fly and Mount Everest, so He can make Heaven a unique experience for everyone. Those people who love to prove Colton's experience a sham, by saying we won't have wings according to the Bible, may be well meaning, but really? Is that a huge enough detail to proclaim that Colton and his parents are liars? Come on.

When I read The Shack, which unlike this is a work of fiction, I really enjoyed the creative description the author gave for the Trinity. I enjoyed it just as I enjoy many novels. But when I heard people becoming angry, saying  The Shack was not Biblical, I wanted to tell them to get a life. In the same vein, when a couple of folks talked about The Shack as if it were the road map to living for Jesus, I told them, hey, get a life, it's just a novel.

The same idea applies here. Heaven is for Real is a wonderful book and it personally encouraged me. But do I now see Heaven exactly like Colton Burpo?

No. Colton and I serve a God big enough for both of our views.


Jan Parrish said...

Robbie,what a great take on this!I agree. Lets not hung up on minor details.Is it really important if we have wings in heaven? :)

Robbie Iobst said...

Amen, Jan! Have you read this book? I highly recommend it - it will SO encourage you! :0)

Denise Miller Holmes said...

I think there are things about Heaven that all of us will experience, and then there are things that we will see from our unique perspective. The wings, for instance, is a symbol of freedom, and being in the "sky." What Colton saw could very well be a symbol for him of being in heaven. Heaven is very much a different place than here, after all. Sounds like a great book.

trishpickard said...

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 heaven.study@yahoo.com and I will email you a copy. Trish Pickard