In light of a recent development where one young boy reveals that his experience in Heaven is not real, Colton Burpo, the subject of the book-turned-movie Heaven is for Real, is speaking out about the details of his own life. He wants us to know that his story is true, and that Jesus "really, really loves you."
Recently, Alex Malarkey, The Boy Who Went to Heaven, revealed that his story is not real and did not happen. At the time he made up the tale, he was only 6-years-old and had no personal knowledge of the Bible.
"When I made the claims that I did, I had never read the Bible. People have profited from lies, and continue to. They should read the Bible, which is enough. The Bible is the only source of truth."
After reading the Bible and understanding that what he did was wrong, Alex has taken on the daunting task of publicly declaring his mistake. He should be applauded for standing up and doing the right thing. Unfortunately, this has brought doubt to the entire genre of books and movies detailing stories of Heaven.
Backlash from the Malarkey incident is surely causing extreme pressure for Colton Burpo and his family, especially since the stories are so similarly titled. According to Christian Today, Colton has released a statement on his website. As it turns out, Heaven is for Real really is a true tale.
"Dear friends, I know there has been a lot of talk about the truth of other Heaven stories in the past few days. I just wanted to take a second and let everyone know that I stand by my story found in my book 'Heaven is for Real.'"
When he was 4-years-old, Burpo underwent emergency surgery to have his appendix removed. It was during this time the boy says he went to Heaven, met Jesus, and saw Mary and the angels. When he woke from the procedure, he was full of excitement and inspiration. Having experienced Heaven firsthand, he wants to share the love of Jesus with everyone.
"I still remember my experience in Heaven. I want to keep telling people about my experience because it has given hope to so many people. People have their doubts about my story. But the thing is, I wasn't coaxed into doing this. I wanted to tell people about my experience. In fact, I started sharing my story with my friends and people in our town way before there was a book called 'Heaven is for Real.'"
In an interview with the Christian Post, DeVon Franklin, producer of the movie version of Heaven is for Real, says the story is uplifting and inspiring.
"In Hollywood what 'Heaven Is for Real' showed is it really began to continue to legitimize that there's an audience out there that really wants more content that's uplifting, and I really think that 'Heaven Is for Real' has opened doors for other content to come to market. Not just in film, but in television."
Franklin is currently working on a movie entitled Miracles from Heaven, about a little girl with an incurable disease who visits Heaven and receives a miraculous healing from Jesus, after many top trained doctors could not heal her. Bishop T.D. Jakes and producer Joe Roth will also be working with Franklin. Watch for Miracles from Heaven sometime in 2016.
There is no real way to prove or debunk claims of near death experiences and visiting Heaven. As many Christians say, believing is seeing, not the other way around. What are your beliefs about Heaven is for Real and other movies of that genre?
[Image via Apple]