Malarkey Says Malarkey

In recent years, books related to peoples’ alleged trips to heaven have caused quite a stir in the evangelical community. The books certainly sell and make the publishers money, but what doctrinal value are they providing to the church of Jesus Christ? Are we supposed to take the claims of these people and paste them to the back of our Bible and consider them the latest addition to Holy Writ?

The critics of this genre of Christian literature, known as “heavenly tourism”, have pointed out that in Scripture not even the apostle Paul was willing to describe his trip to heaven. He was uncertain as to how he came to see what he saw.

I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven – whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows. And I know that this man was caught up into paradise – whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows – and he heard things that cannot be told, which man may not utter…So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. (2 Corinthians 12: 2 – 4, 7)

In light of these words from Paul, and the shadow of doubt they cast on all claims of heavenly visitations (which are replete with detailed descriptions), it is not surprising to hear that Alex Malarkey, of the book The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven, published by Tyndale House, has publicly recanted his story. It will be interesting to see how this plays out and whether others will come out and recant, and whether the church’s fascination with this genre will finally wane and provide the publishers with no more profit. To learn more about this breaking story:

  1. Read Alex Malarkey’s published statement
  2. Read Phil Johnson’s (John MacArthur’s right hand man) commentary on the heavenly tourism genre.
  3. Read Phil Johnson’s personal correspondence with Tyndale House regarding Alex Malarkey.

Sadly, all signs point to Christian publishers and bookstores having no concern about making money off of false doctrine. We should not be surprised by this, however, for that very same Paul who gave us no detail about heaven gave us great detail regarding these latter days on earth:

But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money…(2 Timothy 3: 1 – 2)
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