Testing every spirit – Heaven is for Real


Proverbs 22:15

Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.

2 Corinthians 11:2-3

For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.

Colossians 2:18

Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind

1 Timothy 6:10

10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.


I read Heaven is for Real last year – a friend who is a mature Christian loaned it to me. Before and after reading it, other Christians praised it to me. Our church is thinking about showing the movie during a fellowship time, and last night it was shown on movie night to the residents of our apartment complex. The following analysis of Colton Burpo’s experiences may seem harsh, and much of what I have to say has been said already, but we obviously need to continue to warn people.  


Colton Burpo’s experiences can’t be confirmed by anyone, even his family. There is no way to know that what he said happened “for real,” happened anywhere except in his mind. But even if his experiences could be proved, there are problems with them. They shouldn’t be seen as heavenly, but as mystical, completely subjective, and dangerous.

You may know this. If so, keep praying for the church – it is being troubled from within. For residing right inside it, and living off the sheep, are teachers and so-called prophets who are false. None of this is new – Gnosticism, subjectivism, mysticism have been with the church since the time of the apostles. Colton’s experience is simply what deception can look like in our day – warm, fuzzy, and perilously inspiring.

Heaven exists.

Of course it exists and so does Hell. But do we need this book or movie to tell us that? Why should we trust people, who lie all the time, to tell us about Heaven, when God, Who cannot lie, has already told us about Heaven and its King, the Lord Jesus Christ? In other words, God’s Book is the only book we can trust,

The Bible.

The Lord never said, “Heaven is for real,” but He did say, “Take heed that no man deceive you.” (Matthew 24:3-5)


Problems with Colton’s reported experiences

Colton described what he saw and heard in Heaven, and yet the apostle Paul refrained from repeating the words he heard in Paradise because this was forbidden: 

2 Corinthians 12:1-5

It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord. I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven. And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter. Of such an one will I glory: yet of myself I will not glory, but in mine infirmities. For though I would desire to glory, I shall not be a fool; for I will say the truth: but now I forbear, lest any man should think of me above that which he seeth me to be, or that he heareth of me.

Colton said that he spoke with people in Heaven, that is, with people who were deceased at the time he spoke with them. Heaven is for Real states that he learned things from these encounters that he could not possibly have known. The problem is that the Bible forbids the practice of attempting to contact the dead. (This is a kind of witchcraft called necromancy Deuteronomy 18:10-12). Unknowingly, in ignorance, Colton did something that the Lord has forbidden. 

Colton’s “Jesus” must be “another jesus.”

He identified the “Jesus” he saw and spoke with as the “Jesus” in the painting “Prince Of Peace” by Akiane Kramarik, a seventeen-year-old visionary artist who has been promoted by Oprah Winfrey, and who declared on her website that, “Everything is One.”   

The “Jesus” described in the book Heaven Is For Real is nothing like the Glorified Son of God described by John in Revelation 1.

The promotion of Heaven is for Real flies in the face of Jesus’ testimony about such things – so what is the point of publishing it?

Luke 16:29-31

“Then he said, ‘I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father’s house, for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.’ Abraham said to him, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.’ And he said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ But he said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.’


Big business 

Publishing is an industry. Most publishers aren’t interested in truth, but in whatever version of ‘truth’ will make money. This is not only the way things are with most secular publishers but most “Christian” publishers. A reminder here: businesses cannot be “Christian”, only people can be Christian. The next time you see an ad for a blockbuster from a “Christian” publisher or filmmaker, pray that the Lord will open the eyes of His children to see


And Hollywood, who made a movie from the book, is also an industry, a huge money-maker that slanders Christians, hates God’s truth, uses His name in vain, promotes violence and every kind of sin, and makes people into idols only to destroy them.

So why read this book or watch this movie? That is, unless you plan to help someone see why it can’t be trusted. 

Colton and his family may be innocent of deliberate deception – I can’t say. But whether this deception is deliberate or unwitting, it is wrong. Also

there are probably people who are promoting

Heaven is for Real in order to

increase the confusion in the church

over what we should trust.

I believe that Heaven is for Real is meant to entice us into placing our trust within ourselves, that is, in our own subjective experiences and those of others. It is leading us away from simplicity of devotion to Christ and trust in His Word alone. There is a term for departure from the Lord and His Word,  




Hear the cash registers ring!

Every time a coin into them springs,

someone’s faith is damaged,

another soul is injured or killed!


For further study

To learn something about Pastor Todd Burpo, Colton’s father and the author of the book Heaven is for Real, visit Crosswords Wesleyan Church, and Heaven is for Real Ministries. This is only just, because this is from a perspective he would endorse.

Is “Heaven Is for Real” for Real?: An Exercise In Discernment by T. A. McMahon

Bible Believer’s Journal

Does Colton Burpo’s Book “Heaven Is For Real” Contradict The Bible? by William Shifflett