How Should Christians Respond to Heaven Is For Real?

{By Taylor Turner}

So I finally sat down and read “Heaven is for Real.” Admittedly, I was skeptical from the get-go due to some voids in the books message when it comes to the gospel and issues of mere Christianity.

The Burpo’s story climaxing with Colton’s surgery and trip to heaven is well written and definitely an emotional-thriller – I cried a couple times. From struggling through a child’s near-death illness to personal health issues, the Burpos definitely journeyed the road less traveled. And for a middle class family in Nebraska to be hit with the health bills that come with doctors and hospital visits is incomprehensible.


The tidal wave of response to the book has died down only to resurface with the news of the “Heaven is for Real” movie release.

As I have been thinking through a response to this book, I was struck by the fact that we can like or dislike things for different reasons. We think categorically. I dislike one aspect of something while another person may love another totally unrelated aspect of the same thing. All categories are not created equal, but this has helped me think through a balanced response to the book.

After watching a quick sermon clip of a pastor I highly respect, I was postured to disregard the book entirely.

Slowly, however, due to the increasing attention it was provided by the Christian community, I realized disregard it was not an option. My main concern with this books popularity is the subtle lack of the gospel message. Yes, they talk about Jesus. And yes, they talk about haven. But is this the gospel with no mention of the fall of humanity, Christ’s death in our place for our sin, His resurrection, and His work in the world to redeem a people to Himself? Without mentioning any of that, we are left with no hope. We should be wary of “Christian” books and movies that proclaim to be about Christ but do not actually proclaim the good news of Jesus.

Heaven is for real and is truly a wonderful place that we can delve into through the living, inerrant, and authoritative Word of God. I would like to leave you with this thought about eternity from John Piper:

“The critical question for our generation—and for every generation—
is this: If you could have heaven, with no sickness, and with all the
friends you ever had on earth, and all the food you ever liked, and
all the leisure activities you ever enjoyed, and all the natural beauties
you ever saw, all the physical pleasures you ever tasted, and no
human conflict or any natural disasters, could you be satisfied with
heaven, if Christ were not there? ”[1]

It’s all about Jesus!

What did you think of Heaven Is For Real? Comment below, we love hearing from you! 



[1] Piper, John. “God Is the Gospel: Meditations on God’s Love as the Gift of Himself.” Crossway Books, 2011.