Heaven is For Real – This Story is Not

Heaven is for Real

Heaven is for Real – This Story is Definitely Not

Today I will give a review of “Heaven is for Real – A little boys astounding story of his trip to heaven and back”.  I went to a local Christian book store called CUM Books stores here in South Africa to find hundreds of copies of this book stacked under the ‘Best Selling’ section.  I picked one up and thought to myself, “Satan’s smart, he is now using little kids to sell his story.”

To give a brief summary of the story, little Colton aged 4, complains of stomach pains and runs a high fever.  His parents, Todd and Sonja Burpo take him to a hospital where the doctor fails to diagnose the problem. The little boy is now deteriorating to such an extent that they remove him out of the hospital and take him to another one where he is diagnosed for a burst appendix.  Rushed into surgery, little Colton while on the surgery table experiences something many people never do.  He apparently goes to Heaven and meets Jesus.  After he is home he starts to recount his story to his parents, as best as a 4 year old can, of his trip to Heaven and back.

There have been many books written by many people on their supposed trips of Heaven where they meet a ‘Jesus’ type person. One being Choo Thomas’ “Heaven is so Real” and then Don Piper’s “90 Minutes in Heaven”, who just happens to endorse Heaven is For Real.  In the front of the book on the ‘Praise for Heaven is For Real’ pages, there are praises from 12 different people telling you why you should by this book, all reasoning as to why Colton’s story is just as good as that of the bible, and why you should “allow a little child to lead you.— Don Piper, Speaker and Author, 90 Minutes in Heaven

Todd Burpo is a pastor at a Wesleyan church.  This helps to cement the trap.  First we the reader would surmise that a 4 year old child would never lie like (Alex Malarkey “The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven”), and to top things off the father of the child is a pastor – Satan would never go after a 4 year old child of a pastor, would he? Especially if the pastor is biblical sound in his doctrine, or is he?  Throughout the book Heaven is for Real Todd Burpo points to scripture to try and back up his sons ‘visions’ but with terrible inaccuracy.  For anyone not knowing scripture, they would agree with Todd, being non the wiser.  After all he is a pastor, he should not be telling untruths to his church, let alone the whole world.

Heaven is for Real and it’s problematic areas:

I am now going to take you through the book Heaven is for Real, looking at all the problematic areas.  We are going to deal with this book biblically which includes being logical.  God gave us a brain to use – let’s use it.

False visions from Colton:

1)  On page xix of Heaven is for Real,when Colton first tells his parents about his trip to Heaven he states that the angels sang to him. He says, “Dad, Jesus had the angels sing to me because I was so scared.  They made me feel better” ..at the time… “I was sitting on Jesus lap”.  Now Colton was scared because he was having surgery.  Immediately we have a problem with this statement.  If you are sitting on Jesus Christ’s lap, surely you will not be scared? But yet Colton is scared and this Jesus figure has to get the angels to sing to him in order to make him feel better.   The bible tells us:

John 14:27  “27 Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

Philippians 4:7  “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

2)  Colton tells his father about Jesus’ horse, he says; “Hey dad, did you know Jesus has a horse?”….”Yeah a rainbow horse, I got to pet him.  There’s lots of colors”.  pg. 63

In Heaven is for Real, Jesus has a horse that resembles that of a My Little Pony? And we as Christians are supposed to believe this? Rainbows are also very significant in New Age teaching.–(This we will discuss in more detail later).  Todd tries to justify his son’s vision by telling us about scripture of “the rainbow colours described in the book of Revelationpg. 66

3) Colton also tells his father that this Jesus figure had a crown; “Yeah a crown, and it had this… this diamond thing in the middle of it and it was kind of pink…” pg.66

In Heaven is for Real, it would appear that the Jesus of Colton’s vision not only has a My Litte Pony but appears ‘plastic’ as well.  A pink like stone in his crown? Who are we kidding here! The Jesus that appeared to Colton certainly does not look anything Jesus Christ the Son of God as spoken about in the book of Revelation – visions given to John.  Now this vision we can believe because it’s in the bible:

Revelation 1:12-16  “I turned to see whose voice it was that was speaking to me and when I had turned I saw seven golden lamp stands, and among these lampstands I saw someone ‘like a Son of Man’. He was dressed in a long robe with a golden girdle around his breast; his head and his hair were white as snow-white wool, his eyes blazed like fire, and his feet shone as the finest bronze glows in the furnace. His voice had the sound of a great waterfall, and I saw that in his right hand he held seven stars. A sharp two-edged sword came out of his mouth, and his face was ablaze like the sun at its height.

The Purple Sash

4) Colton also says his Jesus wore white with a purple sash in his book Heaven is for Real he says, “Jesus was the only one in heaven who had purple on, Dad Did you know that? pg 65

Todd then tries to confuse the reader of Heaven is for Real by saying the following,  “In scripture, purple is the color of kings. A verse from the gospel of Mark flashed through my mind:  “His clothes became dassling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them” pg 65.

If we look at this scripture what Todd is referring too, it says nothing of purple.  This is when Jesus was transfigured (Mark 9:3).  The only time Jesus had purple on was just before he was going to be crucified.  Note, he was being clothed as a human King – Jesus Christ is now King of all Kings.  He is not Colton’s description of a Jesus figure, which is more like a fairy-tale Jesus.

Mark 15:17  “And they clothed him with purple, and platted a crown of thorns, and put it about his head”

Mark 15:20  “And when they had mocked him, they took off the purple from him, and put his own clothes on him, and led him out to crucify him.”

Later on in the article we will have a look at what Colton’s Jesus actually looks like – yes we have a picture.

5) Something that stuns Colton’s father into submission is the fact that Colton’s Jesus showed him his hands and feet and Colton says, “Jesus has markers” pg 65

Todd does not understand that this Jesus in Heaven is for Real is not the real Jesus Christ of the Bible;  a vision and the reality of Jesus Christ really returning to earth are completely two different things.  Yes when Jesus Christ returns we will see the marks of where he was nailed to the cross, but this vision of Colton’s is a vision and another Jesus.  Satan can mimic anything he wants too.

6) Todd asks Colton what everyone looks like in heaven and Colton replies, “Everybody’s got wings.” pg 72 informing his father that everyone sort of looks like angels.

This is absolutely incorrect. We know from scripture that we will most probably look the same as we did on earth, but we will be perfect in every sense of the word. We also know from scripture that the resurrection of believers’ physical bodies has yet to take place, anyone who dies and is destined for Heaven, their form now in Heaven must lack physical attributes.   Just to note:  Some people were raised from the dead and transformed at the time of Jesus Christ’s resurrection.  Matthew 27:52 says that their “bodies…were raised.”  But do they have wings? No they do not.  Philippians 3:21 says that Jesus “will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body.”  Does Jesus have wings? No he does not.  We are made in the image of God according to Genesis 1:27, does God have wings? No He does not.  Is Colton’s Jesus pulling this child’s leg and everyone else who believes him?  Yes he is.

7) Another strange addition to our bodies in Heaven is for Real is that in heaven is a halo.  Colton tells his father that, “All people have a light above their head”.  pg 73 To try and persuade the reader that dear little Colton is telling the truth Todd goes on to tell us about angels in the bible and “when angels show up, they’re sometimes dazzlingly bright, blinding almost”. pg 73  He also tells us about Stephen who’s “face became as bright as an angel’s” pg 73  not long after he was stoned to death.

Hmm, and what has that got to do with people in heaven having “lights about their heads?” Nothing.  Again Todd’s examples from scripture to try prove his point are ridiculous to say the least. Interestingly enough Todd does say that he actually can’t “…remember angels having lights over their heads specifically-or halos, as some would call them.” pg 74  But never the less chooses to believe his sons story as being true and goes on to tell the rest of the world a lie.

8) In Heaven is for Real, Colton meets his grandfather and his little sister in heaven.  It would appear that everyone goes to Heaven because his little sister tells Colton that she can’t wait to meet her parents (Todd and Sonja) one day in heaven.  What would happen if either Todd or Sonja were to reject the Gospel? Would the little sister’s hope be crushed?

Colton’s little long lost sister tells him that God (who is called Jesus’ dad) – adopts all babies that have died. Now this story of God adopting children will pull at the heartstrings of a billion mothers who have lost children through miscarriage and other tragedies.  The pain of losing a child is unlike anything a parent should face. But now we have the story Heaven is for Real by the Burpo’s, tapping into the heartache of millions of women (like it did with Sonja Burpo) and blinding them into believing that the vision Colton experienced was true; that he was indeed in Heaven and that the Jesus he met was indeed the true Biblical Jesus, when we know, based on all the evidence that Colton’s experience was demonic.

Who’s on the left side?

9) Colton explains to his father that Jesus sits on the right hand side of his ‘dad’.  Todd then asks who sits on the left side and Colton replies, “Oh, that’s easy, Dad, That’s where the angel Gabriel is, He is really nice”. pg 101  This is another lie. No where in the bible does it tell us who sits on the left side of God because there is no left side, only a right side.

“In (Ephesians 1:19-21) here we see God exalting Jesus above all others by seating Him at the right hand of the Father.”

“The term “God’s right hand” in prophecy also refers to the Messiah to whom is given the power and authority to subdue His enemies (Psalm 110:1; Psalm 118:16)”

The fact that Jesus Christ is at the “right hand of God” was a sign to the disciples that Jesus had indeed gone to heaven. In John 16:7-15, Jesus told the disciples that He had to go away and He would send the Holy Spirit. So the coming of the Holy Spirit in the upper room on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-13) was positive proof that Jesus was indeed in heaven seated at the right hand of God. This is confirmed in Romans 8:34 where the Apostle Paul writes that Christ is sitting at God’s right hand making intercession for us.

Therefore, what we can say that “God’s right hand” refers to the Messiah, the LORD Jesus Christ and He is of equal position, honor, power and authority with God (John 1:1-5). The fact that Christ is “sitting” refers to the fact that His work of redemption is done and when the fullness of the gentiles is brought in (Romans 11:25), Christ’s enemies will be made His footstool as the end of the age comes, all prophecy is completed, and time is no more.”  –http://www.gotquestions.org/right-hand-God.html

The Holy Spirit

10) But it get’s worse, Colton tells his father that he sat with the Holy Spirit and it was kinda hard to describe him, other than “he’s kinda blue”.  Colton was sitting by the Holy Spirit (in Heaven) praying for his father because as Colton said to his dad, “You needed the Holy Spirit, so I prayed for you”.  pg 102 This is a very telling statement.  The bible tells us that when you become a Christian the Holy Spirit comes to abide in you.

John 14:16-18  16 “And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever,  17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.  18 I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you”

Romans 8:9-11 “9 But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. 10 And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.

1 Corinthians 3:16-17  16 Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? 17 If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.

1 Corinthians 6:1919 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?”

Todd is supposed to be a Pastor, and Todd is a professing Christian yet according to Colton’s Jesus, he does not have the Holy Spirit in him. This means that the following verses and many more applies to Todd Burpo:

Matthew 7:21-23  “21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied [preached] in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!

11) To make matters even worse Colton says that the Holy Spirit shoots down power to his dad when he is preaching in church, “It’s the Holy Spirit, “I watched him, He showed me”… ” He shoots down power for you when you are talking in church.pg 126  This is totally unscriptural.  Because we have proved above that the Holy Spirit abides in born again believers here on earth.  The Holy Spirit does not give you power either.  This Holy Spirit that Colton speaks of is false, along with it’s Jesus.

John 16:7-15  “7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. 8 And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9 of sin, because they do not believe in Me; 10 of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; 11 of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged. 12 “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. 14 He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. 15 All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you.

Rainbows in Heaven is for Real

12) Colton becomes obsessed with rainbows.  Even to the point that he prays for a rainbow and one supposedly appears in the sky the following day. Todd Burbo uses the one and only scripture of Revelation 4:3 to try and backup his sons visions. “And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald.”

Because we know from everything else that we have read that there is something seriously demonic regarding Colton’s visions, therefore it’s only obvious to look at New Age teaching regarding Rainbows to see what they have to say.  I did an article here on the 7 Colours of the Rainbow and the 7 Chakras, please read.

This is what New Ager’s have to say about the Rainbow:

“The experience of seeing the colours of the rainbow, when the sun is shining and it has been raining, is one we all can share. The experience often has a magical quality to it as though it is stirring some deep inner response. Such is the wonder of the light that forms the colours of the rainbow.The heavenly principle is to GIVE AS WE RECEIVE. We are not intended to absorb the light of the rainbow, enlightenment, joy and happiness, rather we are intended to transmit it; and in doing so to unfold its meaning for others, and for ourselves too.”     http://www.spiritualwisdom.org.uk/colours-of-the-rainbow.htm

“The rainbow represents the regenerate spiritual person – one who has lived out the path of enlightenment, whose potential has opened out like the lotus flower of the east, each stage represented by a new colour developing out of the one before.

The main seven colours symbolise wholeness or holiness. There are a variety of rainbows sometimes seen around those in the spiritual realms – the rainbow of the ‘aura’, as it is sometimes called, picturing the spiritual state of the person.

Yoga teaches that there are seven centers or chakras in the human body. These are spiritual centers – you will not find them described in a materialistic medical book.”    http://www.spiritualwisdom.org.uk/colours-of-the-rainbow2.htm

Akiane and Colton Burpo’s Christ

13) In the book, Heaven is for Real, The Burpo’s were themselves totally obsessed with finding out what Colton’s Jesus looked like “…as pastor, I wound up spending a lot of time at hospitals, in Christian bookstores, and at other churches–all places where there are lots of drawings and paintings of Christ….When we came across a picture of Jesus we’d ask Colton, “What about this one? Is that what Jesus looks like?’ pg 93.  Finally Todd came across information of a girl by the the name of Akiane Kramarik who too had began having visions at the age of four.   And as it turns out her descriptions of Heaven appear to be the same as Colton’s – so they say.  Akiane is a Prodigy and paints the most beautiful paintings, “she states that God has given her the visions and abilities to create her artwork” – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Akiane_Kramarik.  One of her paintings is that of the Christ of her visions, she calls him her ‘Prince of Peace’.  Colton, turned to his dad when he saw Akiane’s Jesus and said, “Dad, that one’s right.” pg 145.


What does the bible tell us:

Exodus 20:4-5  4You shall not make for yourself a carved image-any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; 5 you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me,

That applies to images of Jesus too, be it statues, or any other religious paintings, even the movies. It leads to idolatry, breeds superstition and leads to occultism.  If Jesus wanted us to know what he looked like there would be a full description of Him in the bible, but He has not because we are to believe by FAITH.

Corinthians 5:7  “7 For we walk by faith, not by sight.”

1 Peter 1:8 “8 whom having not seenyou love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory”

John 20:29  “29 Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

Therefore all and I mean all representations of Jesus are false and have no backing by scripture.

Akiane is now 16 years old, this is what she has to say about Jesus,

“Jesus shared with us: ‘I am the way, the truth and the light. No one comes to my Father, but through me.’ I feel that he invited us to participate in the divinity. Each of us is one of kind [ sic ] original path to the way of truth and light, and without our individual love and effort we cannot understand and reach God”  [Emphasis added]  http://akiane.com/blog/?tag=akiane.

She rejects Jesus as being the only way for mankind to be reconciled to God. She opposes what Jesus Christ taught in favor of Satan’s promise of divinity to Eve in Genesis:3:5. Akiane has clearly met another Jesus and if Colton’s Jesus looks the same as Akiane’s then we can be certain that Colton’s Jesus is anti-Christ too.

14) Besides all the other unbiblical nonsense that Colton saw in his ‘trip to Heaven’ that was penned down in his book Heaven is for Real, the one that will bring fear into people the most is the one where he speaks of the coming war. “There’s going to be a war, and it’s going to destroy this world.  Jesus and the angels and the good people are going to fight against Satan and the monsters and the bad people. I saw it”.  pg 136  Colton tells his father that he saw his father fighting in the war too, fighting for Jesus who wins the war in the end.  The problem with this eschatological view (the study of the end times) is that it’s wrong.  The Body of Christ (Church) are ‘raptured’ to Heaven before the Tribulation starts. The ‘church’ that remains is but the false church of the antiChrist – the Roman Catholic church who have it as their mission to take over Jerusalem for themselves.  The time of the 7 year tribulation is for Israel – and everything will happen in Israel.  God turns back to Israel as he seals 144,000 Jewish witness to do the preaching instead of gentiles along with the 2 witnesses mentioned in the Book of Revelation.  Anyone who professes Jesus Christ as their saviour will be beheaded. The time of the Tribulation is for God’s Wrath upon the earth. God deals with mankind and the anti-Christ very severely – but will mankind repent? No.  If Todd Burpo is still going to be on earth during the Tribulation according to Colton’s vision he has then missed the ‘Blessed Hope’. (Titus 2:13)

See all these articles on the rapture here:  Rapture, Caught Up, The First Resurrection

Colton is the new Jesus. 

15) Colton’s babysitter, Ali, one night hears Colton’s story regarding his sister in heaven and that he missed her terribly. Ali, shocked at his story ends up crying her heart out.  She is deeply touched. Ali had grown up in a Christian home but had entertained doubts regarding her faith, for e.g., not knowing if all religions lead to the same God or not. “But Colton’s story about his sister strengthened her Christian faith” pg 130

So Colton’s story is more impressive than anything the Bible could offer.  Even though the Bible is TRUE and Colton’s story is not. Satan loves to use emotions to tug at the heartstrings of unsuspecting victims. And he is bargaining on you not going to the Bible to check to see if what he is telling you is true or not.  And the longer you refrain from testing these evil spirits, the deeper and deeper you are pulled into deception through more false teaching, until you are completely swallowed up with no where to go.

Paul’s Rapture, John’s Prophecies and Lazarus and the Rich Man:

16) On page 80 of Heaven is for Real, Todd tells us about the Apostle Paul’s letter to the church at Corinth in 2 Corinthians 12 about a man he knew personally (obviously, Paul himself) who was caught up to Heaven. And Todd also tells us about the Apostle John who had an angel appear to him and he penned a number of prophecies and described Heaven in great detail.  Todd then quotes scripture from the Book of Revelation

Revelation 4:1-3  “1 After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven. And the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet speaking with me, saying, “Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this.” 2 Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne set in heaven, and One sat on the throne. 3 And He who sat there was  like a jasper and a sardius stone in appearance; and there was a rainbow around the throne, in appearance like an emerald.”

Basically Todd is trying to convince the reader that Colton’s vision is equal to that of Paul and John, but if Todd was a genuine Christian Pastor he would know the following:

“If I told you that I had recently visited there and only communicated what I knew was recorded in the Bible about it, you couldn’t object to what I said on the basis of my being biblically inaccurate. Accuracy, however, is not the only criterion for biblical discernment. There are many other instructions and examples that we must take into consideration. For example, the Apostle Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 12 of a “man in Christ” (no doubt Paul himself) who was caught up to Heaven. He didn’t know at the time whether it was an experience in which his spirit had left his body, or a vision while his spirit remained in his body. Nevertheless, he states that what he saw and heard in paradise was not lawful for a man to utter. Paul’s experience was followed by a humbling infirmity, which he states that God allowed him to suffer lest any man should think of me above that which he seeth me to be, or that he heareth of me. And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations… (2 Corinthians:12:6-7)

That isn’t always the case in Scripture. The Apostle John obviously was given permission to declare what he witnessed in Heaven in the Book of Revelation. This would seemingly apply as well to the writer of the Book of Job.

But can we be sure that the visions and personal experiences of these writers are true? Absolutely–because their words are found in the Scriptures . Of the Word of God, the psalmist writes, “Thy word is true from the beginning…,” and Jesus said, “Thy word is truth” (Psalm:119:160; John:17:17).  That is the ultimate verification that the experiences of those men of God indeed took place as they described. Furthermore, since the canon of Scripture was closed in the first century A.D., no one since that time can have his vision of-or his alleged visit to–Heaven  validated in the same way.

Jesus gave us another insight to help our discernment when He told of Lazarus and the rich man. The rich man, who had died, was in a place where he was tormented and suffering remorse. Yet he begged Abraham to send someone to warn his brothers so that they would not end up with him in “this place of torment.” Abraham’s response was: “They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.” And again, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead (Luke:16:19-31)  [Emphasis added] —  http://www.oneplace.com/ministries/search-the-scriptures-daily/read/articles/is-heaven-is-for-real-for-real-an-exercise-in-discernment-13365.html

Todd Burpo’s deceptive faith:

17) On page 62, Todd Burpo was still trying to come to terms with Colton’s story, he said, “If Colton really had a supernatural encounter, I certainly didn’t want to ask him leading questions. We had taught Colton about our faith all his life. But if he really had seen Jesus and the angels, I wanted to become the student, not the teacher!”

Todd himself would appear to be duped and does not approve in proper biblical testing as per 1 John 4:1-6.  He instead says that we must “be willing to accept reality and to call things what they are even when it is hard”. pg 75  So even though Colton’s story might be a bit hard to swallow, just believe it with childlike faith.

Todd also wanted to become a student of a 4 year old child instead of taking instruction from Jesus Christ (The Word of God).  Is a 4 year old child now more truthful than the Word of God?  The Bible  says:

2 Timothy 3:15-17  “17 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work”

Mark 13:31 “31 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

Proverbs 30:5 (Amp)  “5Every word of God is tried and purified; He is a shield to those who trust and take refuge in Him.”

18) On page 82 of Heaven is for Real, we are told that “Roman Catholics practice confession as a sacrament, sharing their sins and shortcomings with a priest.  Protestants practice confession too, though a little less formally, often confiding in God without an intermediary.”  When I started reading this book I kept my eyes peeled for the Roman Catholic connection and was not really surprised when it showed up.

1) Catholics practice confession, genuine Christians do no not practice confession.  Christians ask Jesus Christ for forgiveness of their sin. 2) Confession and asking for forgiveness (repenting) is two different things.  3) The statement by Todd that he confides to “God without an intermediary” is very concerning for the bible says,

1 Tim 2:5 “5 For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus

Todd prays to the Holy Spirit.

19) He says, “I breathed a ‘prayer of thanks’ to the Holy Spirit, who had clearly “shot down power,” giving me an answer for this grieving woman…” pg 146  Well we know that Todd lacks Jesus Christ as an intermediary, so he needs a new substitute; the holy spirit (lower case because it’s a false spirit)

No where in the bible are we told to pray to the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will always point you to Jesus Christ the Son of God.

John 14:26 “26But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.”

John 16:14  “14 Jesus speaking of the Holy Spirit said, “He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you

The bible does tell us the following about the Holy Spirit regarding prayer:

Romans 8:26  “26 Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.”

Jude 1:20 “…build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit.”

Scripture suggests that we pray “in the Holy Spirit”, which means we permit the Holy Spirit to guide our prayers and give us the right words to say, and during times when we don’t know what to say, the Holy Spirit automatically prays on our behalf with words that cannot be uttered, because He knows exactly what we need.  This new idea that we pray to the Holy Spirit is a New Age concept – The false New Age holy spirit represents the 6th Chakra or the Third Eye.

When we pray, we can pray to God our Heavenly Father – Psalm 5:2 “Listen to my cry for help, my King and my God, for to you I pray”.   To the Lord Jesus Christ, we pray as to the Father because they are equal.  Or you can pray to our Heavenly Father and the Lord Jesus Christ – it does not matter, what ever makes you happy. Prayer to one member of the Trinity is prayer to all, because all three are One.  Stephen, when he was being martyred, prayed –  Acts 7:59 “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit” .  We are also to pray in the name of Jesus Christ. Paul said, that we are always give –  Ephesians 5:20 “thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” .  There is no fixed rule, to add a rule on how to address God is wrong.

Jesus Christ’s crucifixion

20) On page 149 in Heaven is for Real, Todd makes the most unbelievable statement regarding Jesus Christ’s crucifixion, he says, “The scripture says that as Jesus gave up his spirit, as he sagged there, lifeless on that Roman cross, God the Father turn his back. I am convinced that he did that because if he had kept on watching, he couldn’t have gone through with it”   This kind of thinking is very similar to a man by the name of John Dominic Crossan’s (Jesus Seminar), who has had a great influence the Emergent church:

“If we are to believe that God deliberately sent his only son into the world to be brutally tortured and crucified, then I take that to be transcendental child abuse, and I will not have it.”  — John Dominic Crossan, Speech at Duke University Conference on “Jesus in Context: Who Was He?”, February 19-21, 1998

For the undiscerning reader reading this book and does not understand the crucifixion, let me please explain so that you may know the truth and nothing but the truth, because you are not going to get it from Todd Burpo.

Isaiah 53:10  “10 Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him;
He has put Him to grief.
When You make His soul an offering for sin,
He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days,
And the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in His hand. “

“And about the ninth hour Jesus “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” Matthew 27:46. This cry is a fulfillment of Psalm 22:1.

Isaiah 53:4-5 tells us that  Jesus “bore our griefs and carried our sorrows; that he was wounded for our transgressions, and bruised for our iniquities; that the chastisement of our peace was laid upon him; that by his stripes we are healed” and Galatians 3:13 tells us “He redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us”.

In those awful moments on the cross, Jesus was expressing His feelings of abandonment as God placed the sins of the world on Him.   2 Corinthians 5:21For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” and  1 John 2:2 “2 He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.” – and because of that God had to “turn away” from Jesus.   As Jesus was feeling that weight of sin, He was experiencing separation from God for the only time in all of eternity.  Jesus became sin for us, so He felt the loneliness and abandonment that sin always produces, except that in His case, it was not His sin – it was ours.

But then Jesus cried out from the cross,  when Jesus uttered those words, John 19:30 “It is Finished”  He was declaring the debt by mankind (the debt of sin) owed to His Father was wiped away completely and forever.

The Catholic connection.

21)  One of the biggest warning signs today for a genuine Christian is to note any Roman Catholic connection.  Todd says on page 152 in Heaven is for Real, “A lot of our Catholic friends have asked whether Colton saw Mary, the mother of Jesus.  The answer to that is also yes. He saw Mary kneeling before the throne of God and at times, standing besides Jesus. “She still loves him like a mom”.    The Roman Catholic Church is spoken off in the book of Revelation as:

Revelation 17:4-6  “4 The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the filthiness of her fornication. 5 And on her forehead a name was written:   MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.   6 I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. And when I saw her, I marveled with great amazement.”

The Catholic Mary (Queen of Heaven) is non other than a demonic goddess posing as Jesus’ mother.  “The Queen of Heaven in the bible is a Babylonian goddess whom people worshiped.  She has been incarnated to Roman Catholicism under the name ‘Mary’, Mary-Queen of Heaven.  Many Catholics would deny that Mary worship is part of Catholicism but unfortunately this is not true as she holds a special place in the hearts of many.” — Please read more on Mary Queen of Heaven – Whore of Babylon

Jeremiah 7:18 (Amp)   “18 The children gather wood, the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead the dough, to make cakes for the queen of heaven; and they pour out drink offerings to other gods, that they may provoke Me to anger!


As you can see from the heaps of evidence above that was taken directly from Heaven is for Real that the ‘altered states of consciousness’ that Colton experienced was not genuine.  Why? Is is due to his fathers sin of following after false doctrines. Have the Burpo’s delved into things, i.e, contemplative spirituality, that they should have not been delving into.  Is this story even a lie?  What ever it is, one thing is very clear, the story is not true, and if you choose to follow after this false Jesus with a pink stone in his crown and a pink pony, you will be following after a New Age Jesus.  The bible says:

2 Timothy 4:1-5  “1 I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: 2 Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; 4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. 5 But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.”

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Deborah (Discerning the World)

Deborah Ellish is the author of the above article. Discerning the World is an internet Christian Ministry based in Johannesburg South Africa. Tom Lessing and Deborah Ellish both own Discerning the World. For more information see the About this Website page below the comments section.

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Thanks Deborah. I have read the same account on The Berean call. Thanks for reminding us to use our brains/common sense. People are mostly told to disengage their brains when it comes to the Supernatural – not true. The Word tells us we have sound minds and we must reason together. It astounds me to read and hear how many people are having these experiences lately and it is accepted as truth in our churches today. It was unheard of when we grew up – in fact it was rejected, now it is common and very common among the Americans. They seem to have overly active imaginations on just about everything. They are NOT authorities on anything, least on Theology, so don’t be fooled. Everything about them is exaggerated and hyped. We watch them on TBN, Daystar, GOD TV, u name it, shocking most of the times to hear what is being preached as truth. There are a FEW exceptions though, only but a FEW. This also links to the “little gods” doctrine – humanising Jesus and deifying man.


U’r so right Deborah. If one knows the Word then one can easily test Todd’s and Colton’s accounts against the WoG. I saw this interview on the 700Club and the first thing that bothered me was the fact that this child was scared. How can small children be afraid in the sweet presence of JC? In the Bible the children loved being around Jesus. I can go on and on….


On another subject: It is sad to see the amount of non-biblical and in fact non-Christian books to be found in shops like Cum-books and other Christian book stores. Also when you go for instance to the Christian religion section at CNA or Exclusive books, it is no wonder that people are easily being mislead. Where the ReAL thing is difficult to find, while books like The Secret are strewn inbetween!


Lizelle, it is astonishing to see this world- wide deception the Bible speaks of in these last days. What saddens me more is to see and speak to many believers who are under the sway of the wicked one as if they’ve already been given over to a spirit of delusion. I realised that many of them might NOT have grown up with sound Biblical teachings; they got saved in their 20’s under a charismatic type gospel (or even Calvinistic soteriology) and are so led away from sound Biblical truth – they have lots of zeal though. We have some friends who have exposed themselves to this other gospel that they can’t even properly interpret simple scriptures. As for CUM Books, yeah right, I do NOT frequent this bookshop because they are pleasing the world, offering so many varied interpretations of the Gospel. One must really know what you’re looking for in this bookshop. Even their DVDs are questionable and these “faith based” or “parables” movies are also screened on CTV (TBN), God TV and Daystar, most of them [not all] have nothing to do with the salvation Gospel of JC. Teaching good morals cannot be seperated from the One who introduced the morals – He is our authority – In the beginning was The WORD!



Someone who will be great for this job (of reviewing the afrikaans book) is Callie Joubert and Philip du Toit from this website – truthexposed.co.za

If I see the book, I will attempt a review.

I am very anxious looking through all the books and get really angry when I see all the disception! that is why I only buy books on recommendation of someone that I trust to know the difference between truth and deception. I have bought books by Berit Kjos online. Go to this website there are really interesting books, but just not always available in South Africa! http://www.crossroad.to/

They also have really good book reviews to check out!

Good luck and keep up the good work!


>>>I want to review Elsa Meyers new book “Nuutgemaak” but my Afrikaans is really not that good,<<<

Patience Aunt Debs, chance is it will be translated in your tongue soon. (bet you it will be called something like "overhauled"

I just read the review. Chapter on visions, dreams and revelations sounds intriguing??



By David Cloud – October 25, 2011 (first published August 18, 2011) http://www.wayoflife.org

Heaven Is For Real, a book about a four-year-old boy’s supposed visit to heaven, has sold over 1.5 million copies and is currently the # 6 best seller on Amazon. It has broken Thomas Nelson’s sales records and is popular with Independent Baptists. One pastor told me that it is “circulating around many of our IBaptist camps; many are recommending it.” The book is the true story of Colton Burpo, a Methodist pastor’s son who allegedly visits heaven during emergency surgery. There he meets a dead sister and great grandfather, sees Jesus and God the Father and the Holy Spirit and Satan, and learns things not revealed in Scripture. We don’t doubt that the little boy is convinced that he visited heaven, but we don’t believe for a minute that it actually happened.

First, the book is contrary to the testimony of Scripture that the apostles were the last to see the resurrected Christ. This was one of the evidences of apostleship (Acts 1:22; 1 Corinthians 9:1; 15:7). Paul said that he was the last of the apostles to see Christ, meaning that he saw Christ some time after the other apostles had seen him (1 Cor. 15:8). This occurred on more than one occasion in his life as described in the book of Acts. Paul gave this testimony in the context of giving the eyewitness evidence for Christ’s resurrection. We also know that the apostle John saw Christ on the island of Patmos as described in Revelation 1. All of the evidence we need for our faith is found in the testimony of Scripture and in these particular eyewitnesses.

Second, the book is contrary to Paul’s statement that when he had visited heaven he heard things that he was not allowed to repeat (2 Cor. 12:4). Obviously, then, a person cannot visit heaven and describe whatever he sees and hears there.

Third, the book Heaven Is for Real is contrary God’s emphasis on the priority and sufficiency of faith and Scripture. The book contains testimonies of how people have believed in God and heaven because of Colton’s alleged visitation, but the Bible says that without faith it is impossible to please God (Heb. 11:6), and faith comes by hearing God’s Word, not by signs and wonders (Romans 10:17). In his account of the rich man and Lazarus, Jesus taught that if someone does not hear the Scriptures, he will not “be persuaded, though one rose from the dead” (Luke 16:31). All of the signs and revelation we need are found in the completed canon of Scripture (John 20:30-31). The Bible is able to make the man of God “perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works “(2 Timothy 3:16-17). God has told us everything He wants us to know about heaven at this time.

Fourth, the book Heaven Is for Real is contrary to the Bible’s plain teachings. For example, Colton says Jesus’ horse is rainbow-colored (p. 63), whereas the Bible says it is white (Rev. 19:11). Colton says the Holy Spirit shoots down power from heaven (p. 125), whereas the Bible says the Holy Spirit came from heaven at Pentecost and He is the power (Acts 1:8). Colton says everyone has wings in heaven except Jesus (p. 72), that the angel Gabriel sits on the left hand of God’s throne (p. 101), that the Holy Spirit is blue and sits in a chair near the throne of God (p. 102), and “for our Catholic friends” the book is happy to report that Mary stands in heaven beside Jesus (p. 152). Some might ask, how Colton could learn secrets about his dead sister who died in the womb and facts about his great grandfather that he had not been told. The answer is demons. Paul warned that Satan transforms himself into an angel of light and his ministers as ministers of righteousness (2 Cor. 11:14-15). The book Heaven Is for Real also promotes the visions of child progeny Akiane Kramarik, who began “seeing heaven” at age four (pp. 141-144). Colton claims that the “Jesus” that he saw in heaven is the same “Jesus” that Akiane drew from her visions at age nine. But Akiane’s religious faith is a New Age type faith in a vaguely defined “God.” It is religious mysticism rather than faith in an infallible Revelation from God and the blood atonement of Christ. Even if we knew what Jesus looked like, we are forbidden by God’s law to make His likeness (Exodus 20:4).



JANUARY 18, 2012

By David Cloud, http://www.wayoflife.org

Never have Christian books been so readily available to the average Christian and never has the spiritual danger associated with such books been so great. Sadly, the average member of a Bible-believing church does not know how to protect himself and his family from these dangers.

The following three crucial Bible truths can protect the child of God in these end times:

FIRST, THE LAST DAYS ARE CHARACTERIZED BY APOSTASY, NOT REVIVAL. Thus it is not surprising that we are confronted today with a vast amount of heresy and spiritual compromise. If ever there were a time when God’s people need to be knowledgeable and cautious it is today. “But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. … For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” (2 Tim. 3:13; 4:3-4).

SECOND, GOD WARNS HIS PEOPLE TO TEST EVERYTHING BY THE SCRIPTURES. “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good” (1 Thess. 5:21). “These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so” (Acts 17:11). “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1).

THIRD, SPIRITUAL ERROR IS CLOTHED IN THE APPEARANCE OF TRUTH AND RIGHTEOUSNESS. It is subtle and can deceive us if we are not well educated biblically and exceedingly careful. “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves” (Matt. 7:15). “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” (2 Cor. 11:2). “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works” (2 Cor. 11:13-15).

One of the greatest dangers in Christian bookstores is not dealt with in this book, since we have already dealt with them in other books. This is the Contemporary Christian Music that is promoted by the vast majority of bookstores today. (See the video series Music for Good or Evil and the new free eBook The Directory of Contemporary Worship Musicians, which are available from Way of Life Literature — http://www.wayoflife.org.)

Here we are going to deal with 14 other dangers in Christian bookstores.


The place we will begin our investigation into heresies and high places in the Southern Baptist Convention is the Bible section of any LifeWay bookstore.

There is a complete capitulation to the heresy of modern textual criticism and its Alexandrian Greek text and a capitulation to the idea that a multiplicity of versions is a blessing.

The smorgasbord principle in Bible versions is a very slippery slope. When the modern version path is first entered from a conservative KJV stance, it is typical for the individual to stay with the more conservative, literal modern translations. But these are very treacherous waters, and they frequently lead to the capitulation of all sense of spiritual discernment and to the acceptance of the strangest, most radical “versions” such as The New Living Bible and The Message. We will give many examples of this.

Before we go farther, though, we want to say that when we warn against the modern versions and promote the King James Bible, we are not fighting for some Ruckmanite principle such as that the King James was given by inspiration or that the King James is advanced revelation over the Greek and Hebrew or that to modernize or change the spelling of a word in the King James is to corrupt God’s Word. We are not saying that it is unimportant to learn the biblical languages or that we should throw away all of the lexicons. Some King James defenders do take such a stand, but that is not our position, and we are convinced that Peter Ruckman and Gail Riplinger and their followers have done nearly as much damage to the cause of the King James Bible as the modern versions have done.

The first great error of the modern versions is that they are based on a Greek text that was created in the 19th century through the humanistic “science” of modern textual criticism. This “science” treated the Bible as just another book and denied the divine inspiration of Scripture and God’s promise to preserve the Scripture. A large percentage of the principle names in the field of modern textual criticism are Christ-denying Unitarians and theological Modernists. (e.g., Simon, Bengel, Wettstein, Griesbach, Lachmann, Westcott, Hort, Schaff, Thayer, Briggs, Driver, Brown, Nestle, Liddle, Scott, von Soden, Kittel, Conybeare, Kenyon, Burkitt, Robinson, Lake, Souter, Clark, Moffatt, Goodspeed, Dodd, Bratcher, Colwell, Kilpatrick, Nida, Ehrman, Childs, Aland, Martini, Metzger, and Karavidopoulos).

We have documented this extensively in our book The Modern Bible Version Hall of Shame.

The modern Greek text removes or questions dozens of entire verses: Matthew 17:21; 18:11; 23:14; Mark 7:16; 9:44, 46; 11:26; 15:28; 16:9-20; Luke 17:36; 23:17; John 5:4; 7:53 – 8:11; Acts 8:37; 15:34; 24:7; 28:29; Romans 16:24; 1 John 5:7.

The word difference between the Received Greek New Testament underlying the KJV and that underlying the modern versions is very large. More than 2,800 words are removed in the modern Greek text. That is the equivalent of the entire epistles of 1 and 2 Peter. (This exposes the myth that only 1/2 page of text is in question.)

Textual criticism creates a Greek text that weakens many doctrines, such as the doctrine of Christ’s deity. Consider, for example, 1 Timothy 3:16, where the word “God” is removed in all of the modern versions. We give many other examples of this in the book Why We Hold to the King James Bible.

John Burgon and many other Bible-believing scholars exposed modern textual criticism at its inception and warned that the textual critics were preferring Bible manuscripts that can be traced to Egypt at a time when heretics were tampering with the Scriptures and introducing heresies.

We have documented this in For Love of the Bible: The History of the Defense of the King James Bible and Its Received Greek Text.

Another great error associated with the modern versions is the principle of dynamic equivalency which has given translators great and frightful liberty in changing God’s words.

At this point, the waters get even more treacherous.

Consider The Message, which is extremely popular throughout evangelicalism and beyond. The following examples are typical:

Matthew 5:3

KJV – “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

THE MESSAGE – “You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.”

Matthew 5:8

KJV – “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.”

THE MESSAGE – “You’re blessed when you get your inside world, your mind and heart, put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.”

Matthew 5:14

KJV – “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.”

THE MESSAGE – “Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world.”

You might say, “Who in the world would use and recommend such a corruption?”

The answer is a Who’s Who list of evangelicals and Southern Baptists. The Message has been recommended by Billy Graham, Warren Wiersbe, Jack Hayford, J.I. Packer, Michael Card, Leighton Ford, Bill Hybels, Lamar Cooper of Criswell College, Paul House of Southern Baptist Seminary, Bill and Gloria Gaither, Chuck Swindoll, Gary Smalley, Gordon Fee, Gordon MacDonald, Jerry Jenkins, John Maxwell, Joyce Meyer, Max Lucado, Michael W. Smith, the Newsboys, Phil Driscoll, Rebecca St. James, Stuart and Jill Briscoe, Tony Campolo, and Vernon Grounds, to name a few. Rick Warren quotes it frequently, five times in the first chapter of The Purpose-Driven Life. Joni Earckson Tada says, “WOW! What a treasure The Message is.” (This information was gathered from the NAVPress web site.).

A major problem with the modern version movement is a very practical one: it has weakened the authority of God’s Word through the smorgasbord principle. This has happened through an ever-expanding, almost bewildering, multiplicity of versions, and the people are encouraged simply to pick their favorites with no solid standard of biblical authority as an anchor. Consider the following testimony by a former Southern Baptist pastor:

“The problem with the SBC is that they have no absolute biblical authority. Although, while I was still SBC, we claimed to have settled the matter of the inerrancy of Scripture in 1986, we did not settle what Scripture is. The plethora of translations has continued unabated in the two decades since they ‘settled the matter of inerrancy.’ The abundance of translations provoked me to study the translation issue. I spent two years studying the issue, in an effort to disprove the idea that the King James was any better than the rest. Of course, when I approached the issue with an open mind and heart, the Holy Spirit taught me the truth. That was the ‘straw that broke the camel’s back’ for me. I left the convention in October 1996. With each translation saying something different, the casualty has been biblical discernment. The typical SBC church has no less than four different translations in any given service. So, it is impossible for the people to hear ‘Thus saith the Lord.’ EVERY ISSUE BECOMES DEBATABLE. EVERY CONVICTION BECOMES QUESTIONABLE. Then, spiritual discernment becomes typical of the time of the Judges (i.e., every man doing that which is right in his own eyes). Therefore, it makes sense that they are so willing and ready to accept the abominable heresies of The Shack.” (Marty Wynn, Lighthouse Baptist Church, Columbus, Georgia, e-mail to D. Cloud, May 21, 2011).

Consider Rick Warren, the most prominent and influential Southern Baptist today. He uses a multiplicity of versions in every sermon and in every book he writes. On a visit to Saddleback Church in 2003 I was interested to see that most people weren’t carrying Bibles. The reason became obvious when the sermon was preached. Six or seven versions were quoted, most of them loose paraphrases or dynamic equivalencies such as the Living Bible, the New Living Translation, The Message, the Today’s English Version, and the Contemporary English Version. It would be impossible to follow along in one’s Bible. The result is that many of the people do not bring Bibles and even those who do, have no way to test the preaching, because any biblical passage they would attempt to examine has dozens of variations.

This is a recipe for spiritual deception and an ideal environment for the promotion of heresy.


One of the greatest dangers facing fundamentalist Christians today is the New Evangelical philosophy that has pervaded evangelicalism over the past 50 years. It is particularly dangerous because it appears at first glance to be biblically sound. The heart of New Evangelicalism is not the error that it preaches but the truth that it neglects. It focuses on the positive, largely avoids theological controversy and unpopular subjects (i.e., ecclesiastical separation, a fiery hell, separation from the world).

The New Evangelical narrows down his message, focusing only on a portion of the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27). This means that much that the New Evangelical preaches and writes is scriptural and spiritually beneficial. The New Evangelical might say many good things about salvation, Christian living, love for the Lord, marriage, child training, sanctification, the deity of Christ, even the infallibility of Scripture.

When faced with a requirement of coming out plainly against error and naming the names of popular Christian leaders, though, he will refuse to take a stand and will, more likely, attack the one who is trying to force his hand or will lash out against “extreme fundamentalism” or “second degree separation” or some such thing.

Billy Graham is the king of positivism and non-judgmentalism. Graham’s books are on the shelves of the vast majority of Christian bookstores today. He is extremely influential, and his message has been described as “hard at the center but soft at the edges.” He says his job is merely to preach the gospel, that he is not called to get involved in doctrinal controversies.

In 1966 the United Church Observer, the official paper of the ultra liberal United Church of Canada (in 1997 Moderator Bill Phipps said Jesus Christ is not God), asked Graham a series of questions. His answers demonstrate the New Evangelical positive-only, non-judgmental style:

Q. In your book you speak of ‘false prophets’. You say it is the ‘full-time effort of many intellectuals to circumvent God’s plan’ and you make a quotation from Paul Tillich. Do you consider Paul Tillich a false prophet?


Q. Do you think that churches such as The United Church of Canada and the great liberal churches of the United States that are active in the ecumenical movement and whose ministers study and respect the work of Paul Tillich and other great modern teachers are ‘apostate’?

A. I COULD NOT POSSIBLY PASS THIS TYPE OF JUDGMENT ON INDIVIDUAL CHURCHES AND CLERGYMEN WITHIN THE UNITED CHURCH OF CANADA — my knowledge of The United Church of Canada is too inadequate, and my ability to make such discernment is too limited. My books and writings are public knowledge but I love fellowship and work with many Christians who don’t agree with me theologically in everything. As to my calling everyone ‘apostate’ who reads and gets help from Tillich — this is preposterous. There are too many shades of theological opinion in a large denomination to lump them all off as liberal, neo-orthodox, conservative, fundamentalist, or what have you!

Q. Does your organization stand with us for a modern, enlightened, scholarly attempt to explain to our people what ‘The Bible says’? Or does it stand with those who describe us as ‘an apostate church spreading our unbelief’?

A. OUR EVANGELISTIC ASSOCIATION IS NOT CONCERNED TO PASS JUDGMENT — FAVORABLE OR ADVERSE — ON ANY PARTICULAR DENOMINATION. WE DO NOT INTEND TO GET INVOLVED IN THE VARIOUS DIVISIONS WITHIN THE CHURCH. We are simple Gospel preachers, not scholarly theologians — though several of our team members have their earned doctorates. We feel that our calling is that of specialists — winning people to a personal commitment to Jesus Christ! We do not intend to allow ourselves to become bogged down in the many religious crosscurrents (“Billy Graham Answers 26 Provocative Questions,” United Church Observer, July 1, 1966).

This is pure New Evangelicalism. The New Evangelical will preach against error in general terms but rarely will he do it plainly and specifically.

Graham’s refusal to preach anything beyond the most basic aspects of the gospel (and even that much is questionable) is why he is acceptable both to Roman Catholics and theological Modernists. Charles Dullea, Superior of the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome, said: “Because he is preaching basic Christianity, he does not enter into matters which today divide Christians. He does not touch on Sacraments or Church in any detail. … The Catholic will hear no slighting of his Church’s teaching authority, nor of Papal or Episcopal Prerogatives, no word against the mass or sacraments or Catholic practices. GRAHAM HAS NO TIME FOR THAT; he is preaching only Christ and a personal commitment to Him. The Catholic, in my opinion will hear little, if anything, he cannot agree with” (Dullea, “A Catholic Looks at Billy Graham,” Homiletic & Pastoral Review, January 1972).

Graham is only one example of the multiplicity of New Evangelical authors who fill the shelves of the average Christian bookstore today. David Jeremiah, Charles Stanley, and Max Lucado are prime examples. What they say is often scriptural; the error and danger lies in what they refuse to say. They refuse to deal with the whole counsel of God. They neglect the “hard things” like biblical separation but these are the very things that need to be preached in this day and time.

The emphasis of the books available in these bookstores is not on solid Bible preaching and teaching and plain exposure of those errors that are corrupting God’s people and work today. Rather, the emphasis is on “a positive proclamation of the truth” and feel-good shallow pabulum. It’s feel-good psychobabble fluff with a thin veneer of “Bible” falsely so-called (often some loose paraphrase such as The Message).

As J.I. Packer says about Richard Foster and the Renovare books, they are “mild on sin but firm on grace” (back cover to Foster’s book Life with God). Packer meant this to be a compliment, but it is actually an indictment, because the Bible is firm on sin as well as firm on grace. You can’t have a proper perspective of grace without a proper emphasis on sin, because it is the awfulness of sin and the greatness of God’s holiness and terrible justice that allows us to see grace in its proper perspective. Otherwise, it is “cheap grace,” and cheap grace is what lines the shelves of the average Christian bookstore.

You have, for example, Robert Schuller’s “Turning Hurts into Halos” and Kay Arthur’s “Lord, Heal My Hurts” and Charles Stanley’s “The Source of My Strength (Healing Your Wounded Heart),” David Jeremiah’s “A Bend in the Road (Experiencing God When Your World Caves In), and “Disappointment with God” and “What’s So Amazing about Grace” by Philip Yancey.


Christian bookstores today are filled with volumes promoting the ecumenical philosophy, which says that unity and fellowship are more important than doctrine and zeal for the truth and exposure of error. Consider some examples.

In his popular autobiography, Just As I Am, Billy Graham praises the pope and tells of how he turned his converts over to Roman Catholic churches. He also describes his close association with theological modernists for the sake of “evangelism.”

Chuck Colson’s popular book The Body claims that Protestant and Catholic doctrine is converging and says that they are part of the same “body.”

John Maxwell’s book Failing Forward promotes Catholic missions as a genuine form of Christianity.

Philip Yancey’s Where Is God When It Hurts claims that Roman Catholic missions are part of the “body of Christ.”

Jim Cymbala, in his book Fresh Power, says that Jesus prayed for all his people to become one, whether they are Evangelical, Charismatic, Baptist, or Lutheran.

Max Lucado, in his book In the Grip of Grace, praises God for the Church of Christ (who teach the heresy of baptismal regeneration), Pentecostals, Anglicans, Southern Baptists, Presbyterians, and Roman Catholics.

The popular author Richard Foster is a radical ecumenist whose vision is described like this: “I see a Catholic monk from the hills of Kentucky standing alongside a Baptist evangelist from the streets of Los Angeles and together offering up a sacrifice of praise. I see a people” (Streams of Living Water, 1998, p. 274).

Popular author Elisabeth Elliot, who is an Episcopalian and ecumenical in philosophy, spoke at the Roman Catholic Franciscan University in 1989 and at Notre Dame in 1998. She had nothing negative to say when her brother Thomas Howard joined the Roman Catholic Church.

Consider Robert Webber. He said: “A goal for evangelicals in the postmodern world is to accept diversity as a historical reality, but to seek unity in the midst of it. This perspective will allow us to see Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant churches as various forms of the one true church…” (Ancient-Future Faith, p. 85).

Consider John Michael Talbot. A priest encouraged him to be a bridge-builder between Protestantism and Catholicism (Troubadour for the Lord, p. 90). His winsome personality, ecumenical ventures, and soft rock, hymn-like music has created this bridge. His albums were the first by a Catholic artist to be accepted by both Protestant and Catholic listeners. In 1996 Talbot produced an ecumenical album (Brother to Brother) jointly with fellow CCM performer Michael Card, an evangelical. Of this venture, Card testified: “Doing this project has enabled us to become real friends. And along the way, the denominational lines have become really meaningless to me, and to John, too” (CCM Magazine, July 1996).

Consider Tony Campolo. You can find him practically anywhere–preaching the same ecumenically-popular message: He spoke at the National Council of Churches’ “A Gathering of Christians,” May 1988. He was on the editorial board for the production of the film Mother Teresa, which exalted the Roman Catholic nun and contained no warning about her false gospel. Campolo often uses Mother Teresa as an example of biblical Christianity, though she preached a false gospel, believed that all men are children of God, worshiped the wafer of the mass, and prayed to Mary. Campolo has spoken at self-esteem guru Robert Schuller’s Institute for Church Growth. He referred positively to Seventh-day Adventism in his book 20 Hot Potatoes Christians Are Afraid to Touch (chapter 3). Any lip service Campolo gives to the importance of doctrinal correctness is negated by his constant fellowship with heretics.


Another popular philosophy you will find in the average Christian bookstore today is the spirit of anti-fundamentalism. The popular authors rarely denounce the Roman Catholic Church or theological modernism, but they are very bold to denounce biblical fundamentalism.

Jerry Bridges, for example, in his misnamed book Transforming Grace, says that “legalism” is expecting faithful church attendance, worrying about the length of a man’s hair, preaching against worldliness, and setting up fences. He says that “legalists: “have cast iron opinions” and see things as black and white, as if this were a terrible thing!

Chuck Swindoll, in his popular book The Grace Awakening, claims that “grace” includes an absence of “Bible bashing and dogmatism” and warns about strict fundamentalist ministries.

The average Christian bookstore is no friend of fundamentalist congregations.


The average Christian bookstore today is filled with books by Pentecostals and Charismatics who promote their unscriptural doctrines.

Jack Hayford, for example, is a very popular author in evangelical circles, even though he teaches that one must begin to speak in “baby tongues” before you can speak in mature tongues, and he says that God spoke to him and told him not to judge the Roman Catholic Church. (See our article “Beware of Jack Hayford” at the Way of Life web site.)

We have dealt extensively with the great danger of the Charismatic movement in The Pentecostal-Charismatic Movements: The History and the Error, which is available in print and eBook editions, as well as in a video series.


The average Christian bookstore also features books by the popular church growth gurus such as Rick Warren of Saddleback Church and Bill Hybels of Willow Creek Community Church.

There is a soft message, downplaying the “non-essentials” for the sake of attracting a crowd.

Rick Warren says, “I’m not going to get into a debate over the non-essentials. Why be divisive?”

Willowcreek Community Church says, “There is no hell-fire and brimstone here, no Bible-thumping, just positive witty messages.”

Church growth gurus promote the music is neutral philosophy in order to draw crowds through popular musical styles.

In his book The Purpose Driven Church, Rick Warren says: “We need to admit that no particular style of music is ‘sacred.’” Saddleback Church has nine “worship venues,” including country line-dancing and island hula.

The church growth gurus promote the “non-judgmentalism” doctrine.

In The Purpose Driven Life, Warren says: “God warns us over and over not to criticize, compare, or judge each other. … Whenever I judge another believer, four things instantly happen: I lose fellowship with God, I expose my own pride, I set myself to be judged by God, and I harm the fellowship of the church” (p. 164).

In this heretical statement Warren makes no distinction between judging hypocritically (which is forbidden in Matthew 7) or judging on the basis of personal preference in matters not taught in Scripture (which is forbidden in Romans 14) and judging on the basis of the Bible (which is required by God).


Many of the books lining the shelves of the average Christian bookstore promote the error of “Christian psychology.”

A prominent heresy in this field is the pursuit of self-esteem, which was borrowed from humanistic God haters like Abraham Maslow and Carl Rogers.

James Dobson has been at the forefront of promoting psychology heresies. He claims that “lack of self-esteem produces more symptoms of psychiatric disorders than any other factor yet identified” (Dr. Dobson Answers Your Questions about Confident Healthy Families, 1987, pp. 73-74). His 1974 book Hide and Seek was designed “to formulate a well-defined philosophy–and approach to child rearing — that will contribute to self-esteem from infancy onwards.” He says, “… lack of self-esteem is a threat to the entire human family, affecting children, adolescents, the elderly, all socioeconomic levels of society, and each race and ethic culture” (What Wives Wish Their Husbands Knew, p. 24). Dobson believes that lack of self-esteem is the cause of every social ill.

“Thus, whenever the keys to self-esteem are seemingly out of reach for a large percentage of the people, as in twentieth-century America, then widespread mental illness, neuroticism, hatred, alcoholism, drug abuse, violence, and social disorder will certainly occur. Personal worth is not something humans are free to take or leave. We must have it, and when it is unattainable, everybody suffers” (Dr. Dobson Answers Your Questions about Confident, Healthy Families, p. 67).

Because his teaching focuses on psychology rather than God’s Word, Dobson’s writings are popular across all denominational lines. Dobson has a large Roman Catholic audience and refuses to warn about Rome’s heresies. Mother Teresa was praised in his Clubhouse magazine. He accepted an honorary degree from the Roman Catholic Franciscan University. And he has been featured on the cover of the Roman Catholic New Covenant magazine, which teaches that we should pray to Mary.

David Seamands is another pioneer of the self-esteem movement. His hugely popular books Healing for Damaged Emotions and Healing of Memories seek to heal the believer of “Satan’s most powerful psychological weapon” which is “low self-esteem.” He aims to take the client back into the past to recover and heal memories of events that injured one’s self-esteem. Seamands’ mystical path toward self-esteem is “healing of memories” through psychological counseling and New Age techniques. He promotes things as positive visualization, guided imagery, dream analysis, and venting of emotions. Through visualization, the individual is taught to imagine painful past events in perfect detail and to imagine Jesus entering the scenes to bring healing. This is not only vain fantasy; it is occultic and it is a recipe for communing with deceiving spirits masquerading as angels of light.

Larry Crabb is another promoter of humanistic psychology under the guise of Christian counseling. He teaches psychological heresies such as self-esteem, Freud’s unconscious mind mind, unconditional love, and unconditional forgiveness. He claims that salvation and sanctification through God’s Word are not sufficient. Believers also need psychological counseling. He writes that the “the Word–understood, proclaimed, and obeyed–is itself sufficient to change lives” is wishful thinking because “it leaves large and significant areas of human experience untouched–and therefore unchanged” (Understanding People, p. 10).

Other authors who have brought the errors of humanistic psychology into Christian homes and churches are Clyde Narramore, Selwyn Hughes, Frank Minirth, Paul Meier, and Gary Collins.

In The Dark Side of Christian Counselling and Christ or Thereapy? E.S. Williams has exposed the great spiritual danger of Christian psychology. Williams is a medical doctor and a member of the Metropolitan Tabernacle in London, England.


The contemplative movement has spread within evangelicalism like wildfire over the past decade. It has its own evangelical gurus, such as Richard Foster, but its methods and principles come from Roman Catholic monasticism.

Some of the popular Catholic mystics you will find in many evangelical bookstores are Julian of Norwich, Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross, Francis of Assisi, Ignatius of Loyola (founder of the Jesuits who were at the forefront of the violent papal counter-reformation), Thomas Aquinas, Bernard of Clairvaux, Madame Guyon, Henri Nouwen, Brother Lawrence, Thomas Ryan, Henri Nouwen, John Main, Peter Kreeft, John Michael Talbot, Basil Pennington, Thomas Keating, and Thomas Merton.

Some of the popular contemplative writers are as follows:

RICHARD FOSTER claims that through thought-less meditation one can “center” deep within oneself and “actually encounter the living Christ” and “be addressed by his voice” (Celebration of Discipline, p. 26). He even says that the meditation practitioner can enter “into a deep inner communion with the Father where you look at Him and He looks at you” (p. 27). Foster promotes a visualization practice where the individual leaves his body and goes “deep into outer space” into the very “presence of the eternal Creator” and there listens carefully and gets instruction directly from God (Celebration of Discipline, 1978 edition, pp. 27-28).

KEN BLANCHARD encourages borrowing from pagan religions. He says, “Our folks get to hear words of wisdom from great prophets and spiritual leaders like Buddha, Mohammed … Yogananda and the Dalai Lama” (foreword to What Would Buddha Do at Work? 2001). Blanchard has strong ties with the New Age and recommends many New Age books. For example, he wrote the foreword to the 2007 edition of Jim Ballard’s book Little Wave and Old Swell, which is inspired by Hindu guru Paramahansa Yogananda. This book is designed to teach children that God is all and man is one with God. In the foreword Blanchard makes the amazing statement: “Yogananda loved Jesus, and Jesus would have loved Yogananda.” I was a disciple of Yogananda before I was saved, and there is no doubt that he did NOT love the Jesus of the Bible! I renounced Yogananda and his false christ after I was born again.

THOMAS MERTON was a Catholic Trappist monk who intertwined pagan yogic practices with the contemplative practices of the Catholic “saints.” Merton not only studied Buddhism and Sufism (mystical Islam), he said, “I’m deeply impregnated with Sufism” (Rob Baker, Merton and Sufism, p. 109), and, “I see no contradiction between Buddhism and Christianity. … I intend to become as good a Buddhist as I can” (David Steindl-Rast, “Recollection of Thomas Merton’s Last Days in the West,” Monastic Studies, 7:10, 1969). Merton also said: “Asia, Zen, Islam, etc., all these things come together in my life. It would be madness for me to attempt to create a monastic life for myself by excluding all these” (Baker, Merton and Sufism, p. 41).

BASIL PENNINGTON taught that man shares God’s divine nature. “We are united with everybody else in our human nature and in OUR SHARING OF A DIVINE NATURE, so we are never really alone, we have all this union and communion” (interview with Mary NurrieStearns, “Transforming Suffering,” 1991, Personal Transformation website, . Pennington also said, “… the soul of the human family is the Holy Spirit” (Centered Living, p. 104).

THOMAS KEATING says” “Contemplative prayer is the opening of mind and heart, our whole being, to God, the Ultimate Mystery, BEYOND THOUGHTS, WORDS, AND EMOTIONS. It is a process of interior purification THAT LEADS, IF WE CONSENT, TO DIVINE UNION” (Keating interview with Kate Olson, “Centering Prayer as Divine Therapy,” Trinity News, Trinity Church in the City, New York City, volume 42, issue 4, 1995). Keating even recommends occultic Kundalini yoga.

JOHN MICHAEL TALBOT, who is very influential in the contemplative prayer movement, says that Mary “intercedes to God on my behalf” and testifies that he has felt “the presence of Mary becoming important in my life” (Contemporary Christian Music Magazine, November 1984, p. 47). In his book Simplicity, he says: “I have found praying the Rosary to be one of the most powerful tools I possess in obtaining simple, childlike meditation on the life of Jesus Christ.”

PHILIP YANCEY promotes the contemplative movement in his book Prayer: Does It Make Any Difference? He quotes the Buddhist-Catholic monk Thomas Merton, goddess worshiper Sue Monk Kidd, pantheist Meister Eckhart, David Steindl-Rast (who denies the substitutionary atonement of Christ), Richard Rohr (who worships as New Age “cosmic” Christ). Yancy also quotes Catholic “saint” Teresa of Avila and the heretical Catholic contemplative text The Cloud of Unknowing, which promotes a mindless communion with “God” by means of a “mantra.”

TONY CAMPOLO promotes the contemplative movement in his book The God of Intimacy and Action. He praises Catholic saints such as Francis of Assisi, Ignatius of Loyola, Teresa of Avila, and Catherine of Siena. He seems contemplative mysticism as the path to interfaith unity. Campolo describes his own practice: “I get up in the morning a half hour before I have to and spend time in absolute stillness. I don’t ask God for anything. I just simply surrender to His presence and yield to the Spirit flowing into my life. … An interviewer once asked Mother Teresa, ‘When you pray, what do you say to God?’ She said, ‘I don’t say anything. I just listen.’ So the interviewer asked, ‘What does God say to you?’ She replied, ‘God doesn’t say anything. He listens.’ That’s the kind of prayer I do in the morning” (Outreach Magazine, July/ August 2004, pp. 88, 89).

BRENNAN MANNING promotes the contemplative movement. In The Signature of Jesus Manning promotes the dangerous practice of centering prayer, which involves chanting “a sacred word” to empty the mind and allegedly enter into silent experiential communion with God within: “[T]HE FIRST STEP IN FAITH IS TO STOP THINKING ABOUT GOD AT THE TIME OF PRAYER. … enter into the great silence of God. Alone in that silence, the noise within will subside and the Voice of Love will be heard. … Choose a single, sacred word … repeat the sacred word inwardly, slowly, and often” (pp. 212, 215, 218). Manning calls centering prayer a “GREAT DARKNESS” (The Signature of Jesus, p. 145) and an entire chapter of his book is devoted to “Celebrate the Darkness.” Manning recommends repeating an eight-word mantra (“The Lord is my Shepherd, I lack nothing”) for 10 minutes. “The first step toward rejuvenation begins with accepting where you are and exposing your poverty, frailty, and emptiness to the love that is everything. DON’T TRY TO feel anything, THINK ANYTHING, or do anything … Don’t force prayer. Simply relax in the presence of the God you half believe in and ask for a touch of folly” (The Ragamuffin Gospel, p. 196). Manning recommends spending three days in silence without reading the Bible.


We could give many examples of how that the heretical idol of inclusivism is present in the Southern Baptist Convention. Here I am referring to the doctrine that men can be saved apart from faith in Christ.

Billy Graham has blazed the trail in this. In an interview with McCall’s magazine, January 1978, entitled “I Can’t Play God Any More,” Graham said: “I used to believe that pagans in far-off countries were lost—were going to hell—if they did not have the Gospel of Jesus Christ preached to them. I no longer believe that. … I believe that there are other ways of recognizing the existence of God—through nature, for instance—and plenty of other opportunities, therefore, of saying ‘yes’ to God.” In 1985, Graham affirmed his belief that those outside of Christ might be saved. Los Angeles reporter David Colker asked Graham: “What about people of other faiths who live good lives but don’t profess a belief in Christ?” Graham replied, “I’m going to leave that to the Lord. He’ll decide that” (Los Angeles Herald Examiner, July 22, 1985). In 1993, Graham repeated this doctrine in an interview with David Frost. “And I think there is that hunger for God and people are living as best they know how according to the light that they have. Well, I think they’re in a separate category than people like Hitler and people who have just defied God, and shaken their fists at God. … I would say that God, being a God of mercy, we have to rest it right there, and say that God is a God of mercy and love, and how it happens, we don’t know” (The Charlotte Observer, Feb. 16, 1993). In an interview with Robert Schuller in May 1997, Graham again said that he believes people in other religions can be saved without consciously believing in Jesus Christ. “[God’s] calling people out of the world for His name, whether WHETHER THEY COME FROM THE MUSLIM WORLD, OR THE BUDDHIST WORLD, OR THE CHRISTIAN WORLD OR THE NON-BELIEVING WORLD, THEY ARE MEMBERS OF THE BODY OF CHRIST BECAUSE THEY’VE BEEN CALLED BY GOD. THEY MAY NOT EVEN KNOW THE NAME OF JESUS but they know in their hearts that they need something that they don’t have, and they turn to the only light that they have, and I think that they are saved, and that they’re going to be with us in heaven” (television interview of Billy Graham by Robert Schuller, broadcast in southern California, Saturday, May 31, 1997).

Some conservative SBC leaders like Al Mohler have reproved Rob Bell and his book Love Wins, but what is Rob Bell saying today that Billy Graham hasn’t been saying for more than 30 years?

Speaking of Rob Bell, his universalistic book Love Wins (“even the most ‘depraved sinners’ will eventually give up their resistance and turn to God”) isn’t sold in LifeWay bookstores, but an earlier book, Velvet Elvis, has been sold since it was first published in 2005. Here Bell claims that Jesus is already with people even in their false religions, thus “the issue isn’t so much taking Jesus to people who don’t have him, but going to a place and pointing out to the people there the creative, life-giving God who is already present in their midst” (Velvet Elvis, p. 88).

C.S. Lewis, whose writings are fervently loved among Southern Baptists and are sold in LifeWay bookstores, claimed that followers of pagan religions can be saved without faith in Jesus Christ: “There are people in other religions who are being led by God’s secret influence … Many of the good Pagans long before Christ’s birth may have been in this position” (C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, HarperSanFrancisco edition, 2001, pp. 64, 208, 209). Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnias intertwines a few vague biblical themes with pagan mythology: nymphs, fauns (part man and part goat), dwarfs, centaurs (part man and part horse), Dryads (tree-women), and Naiads (well-women). All of these creatures are depicted as serving Aslan, the alleged Christ figure. Lewis presents the deeply heretical idea of good magic. He calls Aslan’s power “Deep Magic” and Aslan’s father’s power as “Emperor’s Magic.” He introduces the pagan god Bacchus and his orgies as a desirable thing. He presents the myth of “Father Christmas.” He teaches that Adam’s first wife was not Eve but rather a woman named Lilith and that she was a witch.

Henri Nouwen wrote: “Today I personally believe that while Jesus came to open the door to God’s house, all human beings can walk through that door, whether they know about Jesus or not. Today I see it as my call to help every person claim his or her own way to God” (Sabbatical Journey, 1998, p. 51).

Max Lucado, whose books are sold in LifeWay bookstores and whose writings are hugely popular among Southern Baptists, preaches the same heresy. In the book Max on Life the following question is asked: “What about the people who have never heard of God? Will God punish them?” Lucado replies: “No, He will not. Heaven’s population includes throngs of people who learned the name of their Savior when they awoke in their eternal home” (p. 222).

Richard Mouw, president of Fuller Theological Seminary and author of Uncommon Decency, says that after a rabbi friend of his died, he “held out the hope that when he saw Jesus he would acknowledge that it was Him all along, and that Jesus would welcome him into the heavenly realm” (Christian Post, March 20, 2011).

Popular author Josh McDowell says that he does not know whether “those who have never heard about Jesus will be automatically damned” (5 Minutes with Josh, April 1985). He believes that the Scriptures imply that “someone who has never heard of Jesus can be saved.” He says, “We do believe that every person will have an opportunity to repent and that God will not exclude anyone because he happened to be born ‘at the

wrong place and time.’”

Clark Pinnock, author of Salvation in a Pluralistic World, writes: “Faith in Jesus as the Savior of the world leaves room for us to be open and generous to other religious traditions. … I welcome the Saiva Siddhanta literature of Hinduism … Japanese Shin-Shu Amida … Buddha as a righteous man … Mohammed as a prophet…”

Dallas Willard says, “It is possible for someone who does not know Jesus to be saved” (Cutting Edge magazine, Winter 2000).

Tony Campolo said: “I am not convinced that Jesus only lives in Christians” (The Charlie Rose Show, cited from Calvary Contender, October 1, 1999). When asked by Bill Moyers on MSNBC in 1996 whether evangelicals should try to convert Jews he replied: “I am not about to make judgments about my Jewish brothers and my Muslim brothers and sisters.”

Popular author Brennan Manning, in his books The Signature of Jesus and Gentle Revolutionaries, describes a dream he has had about judgment day. He sees Adolf Hitler and Hugh Hefner (founder of Playboy magazine) and himself and others going before God to be judged, but God just takes them by the hand and walks them home. The implication is that everyone is accepted by God through grace, regardless of whether they repent and believe the gospel and have a born again experience.


Emerging Church is the name for a new approach to missions and church life among some “evangelicals” for these present times. Since society is changing, the church must change. It is the latest heresy within the broad tent of evangelicalism. Fifty years ago they rejected “separatism” for a more “positive” Christianity. The breaking down of the walls of separation between sound churches and unsound, truth and heresy, has results in the wholesale corruption and compromise of “evangelicalism,” including the largest evangelical denomination, the Southern Baptist Convention.

Consider BRIAN MCLAREN. His book A New Kind of Christian won a Christianity Today Award of Merit, but it is filled with heresy. It is about an evangelical pastor who has a crisis of faith and submits himself to the guidance of a liberal Episcopalian who leads him into “Postmodern Christianity.” The book teaches that the Bible is not the infallible Word of God and that all doctrines and theologies are non-absolute, that we need to approach the Bible “on less defined terms” (p. 56). It teaches that the Bible alone should not be the authority, but that the Bible should only be one of the authorities, that others include tradition, reason, exemplary people and institutions one has come to trust, and spiritual experience (pp. 54, 55). It teaches that it is wrong and Pharisaical to look upon the Bible as “God’s encyclopedia, God’s rule book, God’s answer book” (p. 52).

Consider ROB BELL, author of Velvet Elvis. He claims that Jesus is already with people even in their false religions, thus “the issue isn’t so much taking Jesus to people who don’t have him, but going to a place and pointing out to the people there the creative, life-giving God who is already present in their midst” (Velvet Elvis, p. 88). Bell says that Christ has given believers the authority to come up with new interpretations of the Bible (Velvet Elvis, p. 50). He says the New Testament epistles “aren’t first and foremost timeless truths” (p. 62) and claims that the apostles didn’t “claim to have the absolute word from God” (p. 57). In his 2011 book Love Wins, Bell teaches that most people will eventually be reconciled to God and that there is opportunity for salvation for those who do not name the name of Christ. “The love of God will melt every hard heart, and even the most ‘depraved sinners’ will eventually give up their resistance and turn to God.” He says the statements in Bible about hell being a place of fire and torment are mere poetry.

Consider DONALD MILLER, author of Blue Like Jazz. His popular book is a harsh rant against traditional evangelical Christianity and he frequently takes shots at doctrinal dogmatism. In discussing his involvement in church in his youth he writes, “I wished I could have subscribed to aspects of Christianity but not the whole thing” (p. 30). He says, “In order to believe Christianity, you either had to reduce enormous theological absurdities [i.e., Garden of Eden, universal flood] into children’s stories or ignore them” (p. 31). He wanted to believe the gospel “free from the clasp of fairy tale” (p. 35). He says it is wrong to have “rules and laws and principles to judge each other against” (p. 215).

Consider ERWIN MCMANUS, author of The Barbarian Way. Erwin McManus calls upon Christians to live “the barbarian way” in contrast to the traditional Bible path, which he describes as “civilized.” He says those on the barbarian way “have little patience for institutions” and do not focus on “requirements” (p. 6). He says faith should not be restrained and domesticated (p. 10). Those who follow the barbarian way “are not required or expected to keep in step” and “there is no forced conformity” (p. 71). He says that those who are on the barbarian way follow Christ’s voice but this voice is not necessarily found in the Bible (p. 84).

Consider DAVID FOSTER, author of A Renegade’s Guide to God. Foster says, “We won’t be ‘told’ what to do or ‘commanded’ how to behave.”

Consider DONALD MCCULLOUGH, author of If Grace Is So Amazing Why Don’t We Live Like It? He says that he doesn’t like the type of preaching that says “… don’t do that, curb you appetites, reign in desire, discipline and sacrifice yourself.”

Consider MARK DRISCOLL, senior pastor of Mars Hills Church in Seattle. He describes himself as “theologically conservative and culturally liberal.” His church hosts champagne dance parties and beer brewing lessons; the men watch and discuss R-rated movies. The church operates a theater called Paradox that hosts secular rock concerts.


Consider Dallas Willard. He writes, “Why is it that we look upon salvation as a moment that began our religious life instead of the daily life we receive from God?” (The Spirit of the Disciplines). He rejects the gospel of Christ’s blood atonement (The Divine Conspiracy, pp. 44, 49).

Consider the very popular author Elisabeth Elliot. In the book Taking Flight she writes: “Those who receive Christ are given not an ‘instant’ kingdom’ but the ‘right to become children of God.’ … It does not say God makes them instant children of God. It says He gives them the right to become” (page 12).

Consider popular writer Tony Campolo. In Letters to a Young Evangelical he writes: “When I was a boy growing up in a lower-middle-class neighborhood in West Philadelphia, my mother, a convert to Evangelical Christianity from a Catholic Italian immigrant family, hoped I would have one of those dramatic ‘born-again’ experiences. … BUT IT NEVER WORKED FOR ME. … It took me quite some time to realize that entering into a personal relationship with Christ DOES NOT ALWAYS HAPPEN THAT WAY. … In my case INTIMACY WITH CHRIST WAS DEVELOPED GRADUALLY OVER THE YEARS, primarily through what Catholic mystics call ‘centering prayer.’ … I learned about this way of having a born-again experience from reading the Catholic mystics, especially The Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius of Loyola” (pp. 25, 26, 30, 31).

There is no process salvation found in the New Testament. That is Catholicism. That is sacramentalism, but it is not New Testament salvation. Jesus described salvation as a “birth” and a “conversion” (John 3:3; Matthew 18:3). The salvations that are described for us in the book of Acts were all of the born again/conversion type. We consider the 3,000 on the Day of Pentecost, the Apostle Paul, the Ethiopian eunuch, Lydia, the Philippian jailer, among others. Paul described salvation as a dramatic spiritual event with a clear before and after (Ephesians 2:1-2).


There is a rapidly growing tendency among popular Christian writers to accept unrepentant homosexuals as genuine Christians and to refuse to “judge” them.

Chris Seay, author of Faith of My Fathers, says churches are not “called to be moral police” and that we should “approach homosexuals without condemnation” (“Shayne Wheeler and Chris Seay on Homosexuals and the Church,” ChurchRelevance.com, June 19, 2007).

Donald McCullough says that “condemning homosexuality feels natural because about 95 percent of us could never imagine engaging in such a practice” but “in a world turned upside down by grace, we must distrust whatever feels natural” (If Grace Is So Amazing, Why Don’t We Like It, pp. 201, 202).

Dan Kimball says: “Because this is such a huge issue in our culture, and because all of the tension and discussion on this issue is over what the Bible says about it, we can no longer just regurgitate what we have been taught about homosexuality. … Homosexual attraction is not something people simply choose to have, as is quite often erroneously taught from many pulpits” (They Like Jesus but Not the Church, pp. 137, 138).

Philip Yancey was scheduled to be the keynote speaker at the Gay Christian Network’s annual Mountain Top Experience in January 2011. The other main speaker was “Rev.” Ann Phillips who “has been married for four years to her soulmate, Heather Wayne.” Obviously he will not be condemning their unrepentant sin. In a 2004 interview with Candace Chellew-Hodge for Whosoever, a homosexual publication, Yancy said, “When it gets to particular matters of policy, like ordaining gay and lesbian ministers, I’m confused, like a lot of people (“Amazed by Grace,” Whosoever online magazine).

Tony Campolo believes that homosexuals are usually born that way, that it is not a “volitional” issue, and they should be allowed to join churches and be ordained without renouncing homosexuality as such as long as they remain “celibate.” Campolo’s wife, Peggy, “argues that the church’s traditional teaching on homosexuality is mistaken–just as the church’s traditional teaching on the role of women, slavery, and divorce is also mistaken” (Wikipedia, source: “Straight But Not Narrow,” keynote address, Evangelicals Concerned, Western Region 1994, audio cassette). Peggy Campolo is a national leader of the Association of Welcoming and Affirming Baptists, which urges Baptist congregations to be supportive of homosexuals.

Brennan Manning identifies “homophobia” as “among the most serious and vexing moral issues of this generation” (Abba’s Child).

Brian McLaren says: “Frankly, many of us don’t know what we should think about homosexuality. … We aren’t sure if or where lines are to be drawn, nor do we know how to enforce with fairness whatever lines are drawn. … Perhaps we need a five-year moratorium on making pronouncements” (“Brian McLaren on the Homosexual Question,” Jan. 23, 2006, .


Christian bookstores feature many writers that hate the doctrine of an imminent Rapture of the saints.

Tony Campolo hates dispensationalism and rejects the doctrine of Christ’s imminent return. He calls it “a weird little form of fundamentalism.” Speaking at the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship’s annual meeting in June 2003, Campolo said: “That whole sense of the rapture, which may occur at any moment, is used as a device to oppose engagement with the principalities, the powers, the political and economic structures of our age” (“Opposition to women preachers evidence of demonic influence,” Baptist Press, June 27, 2003).

Brian McLaren mocks the “fundamentalist expectations” of a literal second coming of Christ with its attendant judgments on the world and assumes that the world will go on like it is for hundreds of thousands of years (A Generous Orthodoxy, p. 305). He calls the literal, imminent return of Christ “pop-Evangelical eschatology” (Generous Orthodoxy, p. 267) and the “eschatology of abandonment” (interview with Planet Preterist, Jan. 30, 2005, . McLaren says that the book of Revelation is not a “book about the distant future” but is “a way of talking about the challenges of the immediate present” (The Secret Message of Jesus, 2007, p. 176).

Mark Driscoll mocks the idea of a rapture for believers and a one-world government with an Anti-christ who makes people wear a mark to buy, sell or trade (Confessions of a Reformissional, pp. 49-50). He added that this kind of end-time ‘mission’ was not a message from Jesus but rather one ‘concocted from a cunning Serpent’” (“Mark Driscoll Rejects McLaren but Embraces Contemplative,” Jan. 11, 2008, . Driscoll also mocks the imminent Rapture doctrine. He claims that the Rapture doctrine is evidence of the sickness of American Christians and mocks those who have the goal of leaving “this trailer park of a planet before God’s tornado touches down on all the sinners” (The Radical Reformission, p. 78). He calls dispensationalists “nutty, Christian, end-times-prophecy Kaczynskis” (p. 165). [Ted Kaczynski was the “Unabomber” terrorist who murdered three people and maimed 23 others in his 18-year-long campaign against modern technology.]

Dan Kimball describes how that he rejected dispensational theology and the doctrine of an imminent Rapture to his current position, that “the kingdom of God is here, now” (Listening to the Beliefs of Emerging Churches, pp. 87-90, 102).

Ed Stetzer says it is wrong to worry about whether the Rapture is coming. “When the disciples had an inordinate interest in the end times, much like we do today in North America among evangelicals, Jesus said, ‘Do not get focused on that’” (Breaking the Missional Code, p. 40). He is referring to Acts 1:6-8, but Jesus was not talking there about the timing of the Rapture but about the coming of the kingdom of God. The disciples were expecting the kingdom to be set up immediately, but Jesus told them to focus rather on preaching the gospel and leave the timing of the kingdom to Him. This passage corrects the emerging church doctrine that we are building the kingdom of God in the world today, but it does not support the idea that we shouldn’t be concerned about the imminent return of Christ.


Consider the popular author C.S. LEWIS. He (1) Promoted ecumenism. (In the book Mere Christianity he said that Christianity is a large house with many different acceptable rooms, such as Catholicism, Protestantism, etc.) (2) He denied the substitutionary atonement of Christ. (3) He believed in theistic evolution. (5) He rejected the Bible as the infallible Word of God. (5) He denied the doctrine of an eternal fiery hell. (5) He believed in prayers for dead and confessed his sins to a priest. (6) He claimed that followers of pagan religions can be saved without faith in Jesus Christ: “There are people in other religions who are being led by God’s secret influence … Many of the good Pagans long before Christ’s birth may have been in this position” (C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, HarperSanFrancisco edition, 2001, pp. 64, 208, 209).

Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnias intertwines a few vague biblical themes with pagan mythology: nymphs, fauns (part man and part goat), dwarfs, centaurs (part man and part horse), Dryads (tree-women), and Naiads (well-women). All of these creatures are depicted as serving Aslan, the alleged Christ figure. Lewis presents the deeply heretical idea of good magic. He calls Aslan’s power “Deep Magic” and Aslan’s father’s power as “Emperor’s Magic.” He introduces the pagan god Bacchus and his orgies as a desirable thing. He presents the myth of “Father Christmas.” He teaches that Adam’s first wife was not Eve but rather a woman named Lilith and that she was a witch.

Consider NORMAN VINCENT PEALE. He died in 1994 but his books are still popular. In an interview with Phil Donahue in 1984, Peale said: “It’s not necessary to be born again. You have your way to God; I have mine” (Hugh Pyle, Sword of the Lord, Dec. 14, 1984). In an interview with Modern Maturity magazine, December-January 1975-76, Peale was asked if people are inherently good or bad. He replied: “They are inherently good–the bad reactions aren’t basic. Every human being is a child of God and has more good in him than evil–but circumstances and associates can step up the bad and reduce the good. I’ve got great faith in the essential fairness and decency–you may say goodness–of the human being.”

Consider ROBERT SCHULLER. In his book Self Esteem New Reformation Schuller says, “It is shallow and insulting to define sin as rebellion against God,” and, “Positive Christianity does not hold to human depravity, but to human inability,” and, “Hell is the loss of pride that follows separation from God,” and “Jesus never called a person a sinner.” (See the article “Evangelicals and Heretic Robert Schuller” at the Way of Life web site for documentation.)

Consider BRUCE WILKINSON. His A Prayer of Jabez has been turned into a marketing bonanza. There is a Prayer of Jabez for women and one for the overweight. There are Prayer of Jabez teddy bears, book markers, bracelets, Bible covers, posters, coins, and shawls. In this book Wilkinson said: “I want to teach you how to pray a daring prayer that God ALWAYS answers. It is brief–only one sentence with four parts–and tucked away in the Bible, but I believe it contains they key to a life of extraordinary favor with God. Thousands of believers who are applying its truths are seeing MIRACLES happen on a regular basis” (Preface).

Consider G.K. CHESTERTON (1874-1936). This Roman Catholic writer continues to have a large influence. Not only did he promote Rome’s ancient sacramental heresies, he accepted theistic evolution (Orthodoxy, p. 30). A 2001 edition of Orthodoxy has an introduction by Philip Yancy that explains Chesterton’s attraction for this generation. Yancy says, “Chesterton seemed to sense instinctively that a stern prophet will rarely break through to a society full of religion’s ‘cultured despisers’; he preferred the role of jester. … In a time when culture and faith have drifted even further apart, we could use his brilliance, his entertaining style, and above all his generous and joyful spirit. When society becomes polarized, as ours has, it is as if the two sides stand across a great divide and shout at each other. Chesterton had another approach: He walked to the center of a swinging bridge, roared a challenge to any single combat warrior, and then made both sides laugh aloud” (Orthodoxy, Image Books, 2001, p. xix). The fact that this is not the type of “prophet” or the type of defense of the faith that we see in Scripture doesn’t bother the emerging church one iota.

Consider LESSLIE NEWBIGIN (1909-1998). He was a bishop in the very liberal Church of South India and was Associate General Secretary in the radically heretical World Council of Churches. In The Gospel in a Pluralist Society Newbigin denied that the Bible is the verbally-plenarily inspired Word of God and said the 18th century defenders of the faith were in error when they taught that the Bible is a set of timeless truths. Newbigin falsely claimed that Jesus did not leave behind “a book, nor a creed, nor a system of thought, nor a rule of life” (p. 20). Newbigin wrote, “All so-called facts are interpreted facts. . . What we see as facts depends on the theory we bring to the observation” (The Gospel in a Pluralist Society, p. 21). Newbigin called the split between liberals and fundamentalists “tragic” (p. 24). He taught that there is the possibility of salvation apart from faith in Christ.

Consider PAUL WILLIAM YOUNG, author of The Shack, which is about redefining God. It is about a man who becomes bitter at God after his daughter is murdered and has a life-changing experience in the very shack where the murder occurred; but the God he encounters is most definitely not the God of the Bible. Young’s depicts God the Father as a black woman who loves rock & roll. Young’s god is the god of the emerging church. He is cool, loves rock & roll, is non-judgmental, does not exercise wrath toward sin, does not send unbelievers to an eternal fiery hell, does not require repentance and the new birth, and puts no obligations on people. (See “The Shack’s Cool God” at the Way of Life web site, http://www.wayoflife.org.)


We could give many more examples of dangers in Christian bookstores, but this should be sufficient for the wise. We must remember that the last days are c

Kate Akele

Hey, Debs!
I apologise for not being online. Just a quick tip. The Berean Call has an excellent article on this particular book. Tack it to this one (haven’t read this one yet though) and I pray there’ll be more open ears and eyes. Unfortunately, this saying from Nigeria will encapsulate those lapping up THIS book- ‘ A lost dog never hears its owner’s whistle’. I pray it won’t be so for those who’ll read your article!

Kate Akele

Am glad this is extra stuff. As we say here in Naija, a lost dog won’t hear its Owner’s whistle. Some will hear and pay no attention to it, some will be to far away to hear it, some will ignore the whistle.
Debs, keep on truckin’!


What is funny for me is that all these so-called heaven trips are almost all near-death experiences. If you’re almost going to die you get to go to this “heaven experience”. I don’t think Paul or John was on their death bed when they saw heaven, neither having anything like a near death experience? Paul also did not go around wanting to tell the world about heaven.

I found this verse a while ago when I heard about the Retha Mcpherson story. I also found this piece of an article, here is the link to the full article. http://www.gotquestions.org/John-3-13.html
I agree that only Jesus has the true authority of speaking of things in heaven.

John 3:13 “And no one has ascended up to Heaven except He who came down from Heaven, the Son of Man who is in Heaven.”

No man, therefore, can speak of heavenly things as authoritatively as Jesus. To speak of those things requires intimate acquaintance with them and demands that they have been seen and experienced as only Jesus has. As no one has ascended into heaven and returned, so no one is qualified to speak of these things but He who came down from heaven. Jesus was saying that He alone was the one who had seen the Father, and He alone was qualified to declare God and make Him known (John 1:18).

No one had ascended and “returned,” in such a way as to be qualified to speak of the things there. “Ascending” carries the idea of going some place with authority. Jesus is the only one who has ever ascended to heaven with authority, since He is God’s only Son.


I was wondering, would we have been able to know all these things without the internet? You can not trust the Church or “Christian” bookstores to give the truth. The only way is to start really reading the Bible from start to finish and not let traditions or other people’s opinions influence you.


Estelle, haven’t you heard Jesse Duplantis’ account of his trip to heaven? Quite detailed. And quite authentic I’m sure. Right. Authentic lies of demonic spirits in Jesse’s head.

This little boy is headed for a lifetime of trouble and this is a real tragedy.


I agree with both Lizelle and Debs, the internet is powerful but must be used with great discernment. Just like the book review of “Heaven is for real”, if one does not know the Bible (and I mean simple foundational truths), then one can easily believe these stories/fables. Got mail from CUM and these books “90 minutes in heaven” + HIFR are on SALE!!! Will be passing on some of the reviews on these 2 books to family and friends who might be buying into this decpetion. Ai toggie


I’m not that in to books or tv :), so haven’t even heard this Jesse guy preach.
I read one of his articles a while back, saying something that Jesus wanted a “new” donkey to sit and ride on, in so justifying that he can get a car that no one else has sit on (a very very expensive one) :).
I wouldn’t believe a word he says…

Burning Lamp

Estelle, Polly was being sarcastic about ole’ Cajun Jesse who has a TV program on the “christian” TV. He, like his colleagues are deluded and deceived.

darrell creswell

Thanks for the insightful view..Saves me a read…Blessings Darrell


[deleted – No I have not been in heaven so I can’t answer your silly silly question]


I was wondering what bible you suggest reading. I see that you and others were saying that the King James version is the one that you read, but I feel like I would have a hard time understanding what it is truly saying and I really want to learn the TRUTH as much as I can. I have been a christian all my life in the protestant faith, but have fallen away from it for many years and I am trying to get back to my faith. Its hard now a days to know who to believe, if you can trust the churches, books, bibles. Its all very scary to me and I just want the truth. Can you please help me in any way? I would really appreciate it. Thanks

[EDITED by DTW: Please read here: http://www.discerningtheworld.com/2010/08/13/what-is-kjv-only/%5D




You people don’t seem to have much knowledge in the prophetic and what it’s like to receive visions which are personal and symbolic in nature from the Lord to the vessel HE chooses. Stop being so legalistic and stop putting God in your man-made box. God can do anything HE wants and speak anyway HE wants to ANYBODY! You are being judgmental instead of knowledgeable and prideful instead of humble. It is YOU who are under the lies of the devil and your lack of knowledge and petty words will bring a church down. STOP IT! For the one who wrote this useless article, How can you compare a vision today with what Paul had? Are you so ignorant? Why don’t you throw your cars in the dump because they are not in the bible either? Do you get it yet? If not you should really ask the Lord to reveal the prophetic to you you rather than trashing people on the internet. Shame on you all for dividing the church and slandering God’s chosen. The Lord isn’t sleeping and will not be mocked!

Martin Horan

The exposes above are excellent. They are logical and–above all–totally biblical. You are doing the Church a great service by these exposes. It is so encouraging to read them in this apostate age. You can search for a decent church to find most of them full of believers steeped in all this non-biblical (and even anti-biblical) bunkum. I have met church members who have been appalled at the challenging of this nonsense. Some have even been angry at my daring to as much as question such “godly leaders” such as Jessie DuPlantis, Copeland, Hinn and the like.
I know people who actually believe they are biblically sound though they fall for this stuff! One lady I know who is a delightful believer made it plain to me that she didn’t even want to hear anything I had to say about Billy Graham. (Please check out Cathy Burn’s book “Billy Graham and His Friends” [I have reviewed it on Amazon] if you want to know Graham’s associations and present day beliefs.) This dear lady’s mind was already made up. It reminded me of the attitudes of many of the friends we made when my wife and I were members of the Armstong Cult. It was tantamout to blasphemy for many of them if you criticized Armstrong in any way. It was as if you’d spoken against the Lord Himself.
The real problem we have to deal with is the esteem in which these apostates and deceivers are held by their followers. They are unwitting placing mere humans above God. Whatever we put above God becomes our god. So such deceived people are actually idolaters.
You are doing an great work to help them. I just hope many such folk find this site and truly heed it. God bless.

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