In case Christian art wasn’t enough of a joke, Alex Malarkey, the Boy Who Came Back From Heaven, recently recanted his story, saying that he made it up. (source) Side note, that is the most ironic last name right now. Anyway, the publisher has apparently pulled the book because of this. Alex encourages people to read the Bible instead.
Now, we can be mad at the boy for lying, we can be mad at the publishers who printed it, we can be mad at those who apparently knew it was a lie, but didn’t do anything about it (source 2). Personally, while I’m saddened to hear the news, I’m also more perplexed.
I mean…why was this book such a hit in the first place?
I haven’t head the book, but apparently it’s in the same vein as Heaven is For Real, which I have also not read. Why haven’t I read either one? Because I didn’t see either of those books having any relevance. I mean I’m a Christian, but I can’t help but ask…
Who are those books even for? Christians? Christians already know Heaven is real…right? Jesus talks about it pretty well in the Gospels and Revelation depicts the New Heaven and New Earth where all sadness evaporates forever (Rev 22). So shouldn’t we already grasp that heaven is real? Then why did those books sell so darn well among Christians?
Maybe Christians thought they could give them to their friends as proof that Heaven is real. Which is painfully naive. Non-Christians aren’t going to be swayed by a child’s testimony. I know the Bible talks about the faith of a child and such things, but that just proves my point: Jesus thinks that way, not the world.
Actually, Jesus talked about that in Luke 16:19-27. A rich man died and went to Hell and begged Father Abraham to send a beggar named Lazarus, who had gone to Heaven, back to Earth to testify to the rich man’s brothers so that they could avoid eternal suffering. Abraham replied, “‘If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.'” You know, Jesus also rose from the dead, and if the world doesn’t believe that, why would they believe a child?
So again I ask: if Christians already know Heaven is real and non-Christians wouldn’t believe it, then why was it published? And how did it sell so well?
I just don’t see much point in books on Heaven. I even tried reading Randy Alcorn’s Heaven, which is a thick study on what Heaven will be like from reading Scripture. Once more, I couldn’t finish it. It was far too much assumption and speculation to be treated as fact.
Here’s the bottom line: Heaven is unending joy. Isn’t that all that matters?
Trying to figure out the particulars of Heaven is pointless in my eyes. Will our pets be there? Will we have wings? Will it look like Earth? Who cares? Those answers don’t change a darn thing. Whatever Heaven is like, it’ll be friggin’ awesome!
I’m far more concerned with life on Earth. First of all, it’s the only thing that I can actually influence. But more importantly, that’s where the most immediate work is. Many people aren’t going to Heaven. Many people don’t know Jesus. God has called us to reach out to those people and invite them into that eternal joy and out of the clutches of Hell. I’ll find out what Heaven is like later. Right now, I’m trusting that it’s awesome sauce and focusing my energies on what I must do before it’s too late.
Getting to Heaven is far more important than Heaven itself. Finding Jesus is far more important than where he takes you. Why? Because when you boil it down, Heaven is simply a never-ending day with Jesus. It only matters because He matters.
One thought on “The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven, Lies, and Christian Publishing Oddities”
Well said. I haven’t spent a lot of time thinking about the books on heaven because they just didn’t seem like something I should read. But I think you really nailed it.