Friday, November 19, 2010

Counterfeit "heaven" stories deceive even Christians

They believe they really went to heaven, you believe they really went to heaven, but have you made any effort to compare what they said with scripture or are you uncritically trusting in your own emotional reaction?

Out-of-body experiences and experiences of "heaven" are fairly common these days -- seems we hear of one every few years at least. Now there's the story of Colton, a boy who had such an experience during a life-or-death surgery at the age of four, met family members he'd never known, including a sister his mother had miscarried although he'd known nothing about that, and saw "God" and "Jesus." He's now seven and talking about it to the press.

The most distressing thing about these reports, it seems to me, is that sometimes Christians believe them. There are usually plenty of signs that the experiences are bogus but what happens is that people become dazzled by the mere idea of being out-of-body or transported to another dimension.

Part of the experience may be the kind of out-of-body experience in which the person, lying unconscious on an operating table, finds himself above the scene looking down on it, can see himself unconscious, can see other people in the area and hear what they are saying. Afterward those other people report that the unconscious person's observations were correct, and what happens then is that others believe the story and think such details make the whole thing valid.

So then if during that same episode there is also an experience of going to "heaven," that is also believed. In this boy's case there are the apparently validating elements of his having talked to someone who claimed to be his sister that his mother had miscarried, and a great grandfather he had never met. Afterward his parents confirmed both stories. It turned out that the boy recognized a picture of the great grandfather when he was young though not when he was old, the idea being that "in heaven" everyone is young, and in the case of the sister his mother's miscarriage was confirmed by his parents.

I have the bad habit of spending time studying something, such as this phenomenon of visits to "heaven," only to leave it behind for something else so that when it reappears it catches me off guard and I'm surprised that anyone still takes it seriously. Years ago I was a member of a charismatic "parachurch" organization and heard the "testimony" of other members which usually include supernatural elements and in one case involved an experience of "heaven." I accepted these stories, including the one of heaven, but found over time that I had an increasing unease about much of what was being said, which finally came to such a pitch that I prayed for clarity and was then able to see the errors in them.
1 John 4:1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.

Clues to deception come to light when you pray
The credulity with which these stories are so easily accepted does have the effect of suppressing criticism, in spite of the fact that scripture counsels us to "test the spirits" and not be gullible. I was finally led to pray over my doubts and began to recognize deceptions that convinced me finally to leave the organization -- and the charismatic movement in general. The questions I was having were all about the supernatural experiences, including the experience of "heaven."

It had occurred as so many of them do, when she was very sick. She was taken out of her body and supposedly shown the throne room of heaven. She gave teachings to the group based on her experience, and the main tip-off to its counterfeit nature was her teaching on the "steps to the throne of grace." I hadn't questioned it when I heard it but when I prayed about it I saw that it contradicts the call in scripture to "come boldly to the throne of grace," instead of having to laboriously meet the requirements of a series of "steps" to get there.
Heb 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
Then other elements of the story also showed themselves to be counterfeit, although unfortunately I don't have any notes handy to remind me of them so I can't be very specific about them. As I recall, however, the Holy Spirit in this person's vision was reduced to an empty image rather than a Person, in the form of a corner of a great train that was part of the garment of God that "filled the throne room" -- a piece would break off and fall in the shape of a dove down to earth. I think imagery may be an important deceptive element in these experiences as it can mislead people into accepting a falsification of major doctrine, in this case the Trinity, by charming them with fascinating irrelevancies. That is, the common idea that "seeing is believing" is a perfect set-up for deception. There was also a part of this person's vision that involved pigs, which I think ought also to have been a tip-off but unfortunately that part is less clear in my memory than the reduction of the Holy Spirit to a piece of cloth.

These things are most likely demonic
Since everyone in the group accepted this story without criticism, including me until I prayed about it, I appreciate how easily even Christians are deceived by such demonic shenanigans. And that is without doubt what they are. I don't doubt that people have such experiences, and that they are REAL experiences, experiences of another dimension of spiritual reality, not hallucinations and not inventions of the human psyche, but I have learned to expect that they will turn out to be the work of demons.

In some cases there may be fraud involved, but there is no need to assume this as so many unbelievers do. For instance, Fox News has been ridiculed for accepting Colton's story so uncritically, and rightly so but for the wrong reasons. They are sure it must be fraud. Well, it COULD be, but there is no reason to assume that it is. On the surface it sounds more like other experiences along the same lines that have the marks of demonic manipulation. And there are the usual "test" elements, his meeting people he knew nothing about otherwise.

There is nothing beyond the powers of demons to convey such knowledge to a little boy, and nothing beyond their motives to deceive either. They can easily impersonate people. That's how the spirits of "dead people" appear in "haunted houses." They are demonic impersonations of the people who once lived there (people who were most likely actually possessed by the demons who now impersonate them). In Colton's case they also included in their deception false images of "God" -- visualized as so "big" he can hold the Earth in his hands, and of "Jesus" "whose smile lights up the heavens" and has "sea blue" eyes. What disgusting poppycock, but CHRISTIANS believe this pap? Colton himself doesn't even seem to believe it as he just rattles off the empty phrases by rote. Perhaps he actually experienced them and is simply tired of repeating it -- or maybe as some suggest it's a sign that it was made up and imposed on him. I don't know. His father is supposedly a pastor. A deceived pastor obviously. But whatever the source, the images of God and Jesus are ridiculously phony.

It's similar to what psychics practice
This is typical of the work of psychics too. Again, much of that may also be fraudulent but to the extent that there is reality to some of it the source of that reality is demonic activity. That is, psychics really can have knowledge of things that their clients know nothing about, OR can know things that ONLY the client knows, because demons convey the knowledge to them. I've wondered if sometimes there may also be a merely human psychic power that for some reason is developed in certain individuals and not others, but I think the most common cause is demonic intervention. This seems to have been the case with the "witch of Endor" who had a familiar spirit (a demon) who supplied the knowledge or perhaps even faked the appearance of a dead person to deceive her clients, just as all mediums have, but in the case of King Saul was pre-empted by the appearance of the REAL prophet Samuel, to her amazement and fear.

Some think a child is too innocent to be deceived by demons but this is a big mistake. Children are members of the fallen human race, after all, and may also inherit a special vulnerability to demonic activity through their fallen ancestors as well. They are in fact the perfect set-up for demonic deception because people do sentimentalize them as innocent. Satan and his demons have no scruples. They are out to deceive and kill and they have no tender feelings for humanity. There are many stories out there of people who had frightening experiences as children, of demonic beings that would visit them at night, shake their beds and do other frightening things. Demons do not leave children alone.

Sometimes special talents are imparted, even to children
There is another story about a four-year-old's visit to heaven, the story of Akiane Kramarik now a teenager, whose unusual talents as a painter and a poet she ascribes to that visit. Her experience and amazing talents convinced her own atheistic family of the reality of "God" and she has dedicated herself to bringing her message of "God" to the world.

Can demons impart such talents? Well, Akiane says she sometimes simply receives her poetry fully written as it were. This is the same way the channelers of the religious doctrines, A Course in Miracles, the Seth Books, Urantia, and the teachings of Rael, also received their messages. As for the painting, I once talked to a woman deeply involved in Hindu / New Age practices who was also an artist and created similarly impressive realistic images, in her case sculptures, a talent she also attributed to "God."

But the main problem with Akiane's art is that her message is New Age although people mistake it for Christian because it includes images of "Jesus." This is a romanticized "Jesus," just as Colton's "Jesus" is, a Jesus without the cross, a Jesus who didn't die for sin but just mushily "loves" everyone. She even believes and promotes the New Age lie about Jesus' supposed "lost years" in which they claim he went to India and was taught Hinduism. The truth is that Jesus grew up as a Jew, studying Torah in the Temple, learning carpentry from His earthly adoptive father Joseph. It is ridiculous to put Him in India instead, but that's what the demons who inspire New Age phony religion have done. ANYTHING TO DECEIVE, even deceive the very elect who aren't paying attention or who aren't well taught by their pastors.

Take it to the Bible with prayer
A place to start to recognize such deception may be the few Biblical reports of experiences of heaven and supernatural realities. Start with Paul's experience of visiting the "third heaven." He said it was unlawful to describe it -- there is a reverence for holy things in that attitude we simply do not find in any of the recent claims to have seen heaven. Then there is John who was taken up to the throne room of God, as he reports in Revelation chapter 4. He also saw the Lord Jesus in chapter 1, who gave him the messages to the seven churches before he was called up to heaven. Even encounters with true angels of God inspire awe and the impulse to worship from mere mortals because of their dazzling beauty and power, as both John and the prophets of the Old Testament attest. Encounters with the true God inspire even deeper awe, and a profound sense of personal sin and fear of judgment. Take a look at Isaiah, Daniel, Ezekiel and more. There is NOTHING of this sort of feeling in the recent spate of out-of-body experiences. Instead we get the most casual of descriptions and a sort of breathless excitement over their mere supernatural unusualness. Or we get the nonsense of Shirley MacLaine who was taught through her encounters with otherworldly beings that SHE is "god." Oh brother. NonChristians who reject the Bible may fall for this demonic deception, but Christians should not. And yet some do.

"Christian" sources are guilty of promoting these lies
Here's an article on the popularity of books on these things which indicates how far Christians may be deceived by them and not warned by people who should warn them:


Interest continues to grow in afterlife books Written by Eric Tiansay
Tuesday, 19 October 2010 10:02 AM EDT

New offerings on heaven and hell titles target people 'fascinated' with eternal subjects


Publishers continue to release and market titles on the afterlife as interest on the topic show no signs of dying.
Sounds like they are willing to feed this continuing "interest" just because there is a market for it, quite apart from whether the books have any real value in a Christian life. Of course they must have rationalized the topic as having such value, although it's a pretty thin rationalization when examined in the light of scripture.

This month, Thomas Nelson releases Heaven is for Real: A Little Boy's Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back by Nebraska pastor Todd Burpo with Lynn Vincent. In the book, Burpo recounts the near-death experience of his 4-year-old son, Colton, who began surprising his parents with detailed accounts of Jesus, places described in the Scriptures and departed relatives, including meeting his sister in heaven—a girl lost in a miscarriage before he was born.
Got to comment here that Christians are called to faith in what scripture teaches us, and that includes knowing that Heaven is "for real" without having to have it experienced by anyone. Scripture gives us the story of Thomas who refused to believe what he was told by those who had seen the risen Christ and would only believe when he himself actually saw Him. Jesus graciously granted him that experience but when He did He also admonished him that it was more blessed to have believed the reports. That is an admonishment to all of us, to believe the testimony of God's word, including that story. Jesus also told a story about a rich man who died and went to Hell and begged to be allowed to come back long enough to warn his family of its reality, but Jesus answers him that if they hadn't believed Moses neither would they believe even someone who came back from the dead. Faith means having ears to hear, not seeing. And a pastor, Colton's father, ought himself to have recognized that immediately. Was he carried away by its being his own son who had the experience?

The book follows the July release by Tyndale House Publishers of The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven—co-authored by Kevin Malarkey.
What a GREAT name for the author of such a story! The story is very sad, however, and it's doubly sad that the malarkey in it is being exploited.

The book details the story of Malarkey's 6-year-old son, Alex, whose skull was detached from his spinal column in a car accident. While comatose, the boy says that he experienced God's voice, otherworldly music and heaven's gates.

The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven reached the New York Times Hardcover Nonfiction best-seller list, with more than 97,000 copies in print after three printings already, Tyndale officials said.

Meanwhile, Bethany House Publishers/Baker Publishing Group released in May Ken Gire's Flight to Heaven, an account of Capt. Dale Black's near-death experience in a plane crash at age 19. Bethany House then followed that with the August release of Encountering Heaven and the Afterlife by James Garlow and Keith Wall—a collection of stories of the afterlife inspired by the pair's 2009 Bethany House release, Heaven and the Afterlife.

Elsewhere, Strang Book Group's Charisma House 2006 title, 23 Minutes in Hell by Bill Wiese, recently passed the 1 million mark in sales.
I have to admit that I'm more likely to believe an experience of Hell than of Heaven, just because it seems less likely to gloss over the danger faced by those who are not saved by Christ, but since I don't know what the book says I can't be sure its impact is what I imagine it to be, and the same rule applies anyway -- we are to believe God's word and not believe anyone's experience over that.

Matt Baugher, vice president and publisher of nonfiction for Thomas Nelson, told Christian Retailing that there are "surface similarities" between the two new books about two boys experiencing heaven, but they are "actually quite different."

"The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven is more about a traumatic experience in the life of a family and trauma, which continues to this day because of Alex's ongoing physical struggles," Baugher said. "It's also more a book written for people who are already committed Christians. Heaven is for Real was written for a wide audience, and for those who are curious and yet unsure."
Are these really Christians who are saying such things? How can they be so gullible? Whatever happened to the authority of scripture and the admonition to walk by faith and not by sight?

He declined to say the number of the first printing for the book, but "it is significant." "We expect strong sales, and the buzz is already developing," Baugher said. "We expect the pass-along rate on this title to be very high."

Heaven is for Real features a tie-in with Her Life, Her Art, Her Poetry—a 2006 Nelson book by Akiane Kramarik, a child prodigy who at age 8 had painted a picture of Christ. In Heaven is For Real, Burpo's son, Colton, detailed accounts of Jesus matches the portrait of Christ painted by Akiane.
Sigh. You don't think demons get together and compare notes? If they don't, at least they take orders from up the chain, and their superiors are going to concoct such similarities to deceive the gullible.

"To have another child who had actually been to heaven verify the accuracy of the portrait was astounding," Baugher said. "This connection sealed the deal for us as a company. Since we had published (Akiane's) book, we not only knew the family, but were partners in sharing their story. Akiane is now 16, and (along) with her parents, Mark and Foreli, (want) to help us with the continuing conversation about Christ."
OK, now I'm suspecting this isn't really even a Christian publishing company (I guess now I have to research it). This degree of gullibility is too much.

Meanwhile, a Spanish edition is in the works for The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven, and a documentary DVD was released by Tyndale House in conjunction with the book.
Going to have a LOT to answer to God for there, Tyndale House, and all the rest of you, in misleading Christians, and worse, most likely misleading others away from Christ when you should be leading them TO Him.

"It's probably an overstatement to say that books about kids dying and going to heaven have become a trend," Tyndale Associate Publisher Janis Long Harris told Christian Retailing. "But it's clear that people are fascinated with and find comfort in the topic of heaven. We've certainly seen that here at Tyndale."
You should be pointing them to scripture for that comfort instead of leading them down the primrose path to this bogus "heaven" of mere experience and demonic plots.

Harris cited Randy Alcorn's Heaven, which has been through 17 printings, totalling more than 675,000 copies, since it was released in October 2004,

Joel Kneedler, a literary agent for Alive Communications, told Christian Retailing that he pitched Heaven is for Real to Nelson because he thought "it needed to be told." He added that both the book and The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven "are remarkable and deserve to be told."

"I do not see a specific trend," he said. "Books about heaven have a way of comforting Christians and increasing our faith. It's natural to wonder about heaven, what it will be like, who we will meet. … I think Don Piper's book opened a door in the trade book market for books on heaven."

Following its release in 2004 by Revell/Baker Publishing Group, Piper's 90 Minutes in Heaven was a mainstay for three years on the New York Times Paperback Nonfiction best-seller list. It has more than 4.5 million copies in print in softcover, Spanish, hardcover, audio and large-print editions.
Here is a gospel-centered review of Piper's book, and here is the crux of that review:

But what true, lasting assurance can we find in the dubious experiences of another mere human? Our assurance is to be in God and His promises through Scripture, not in man.

I do believe Don Piper is a sincere man and one who loves God. He seems to sincerely believe that he experienced heaven and has been called by God to share his experience with others. But I do not believe that he did see heaven. I cannot say what his experience was, whether it was purely psychological or whether it was even some type of demonic deception. What I do know is that the Scriptures are wholly sufficient for believers. We do not need to see or experience heaven in this life. Nor should we desire Don Piper’s heaven.

I see no reason to believe that God wants us to know more about heaven than He has revealed to us in His Word.
Exactly!

Christian Retailing concludes:

"God always has a message for us, but it seems right now it's about the hope we have in Him—the hope of heaven," Baugher said. "We've come to understand that many people have these near-death experiences, but not all get to see as much as Colton did. "
Again, how sad it is that Christians are so willing to abandon faith for sight -- which always sets us up for deception.

And why should we trust publishers either? Something comes to mind about the love of money ...

But since it is so hard to get anyone to listen to any of this who is enamored of these stories, I also have to comment on how sad it is that there are so many Christians who think Christians aren't supposed to judge one another on Christian doctrine, or judge whether someone is a Christian or not. Where is that in scripture? We are told we will judge angels, so much the more we are to judge true and false Christian doctrine. Christians accept others as Christians who are not Christians and show it in many ways, even in the grossest of false doctrine. This is SO sad. All one can do is pray that God will give light. But such basic gullibility also explains why there is no discernment about bogus visions of "heaven" as well.

Perhaps the worst thing about all this is the PRIDE these gullibles show who react indignantly against anyone who tries to set them straight. All they can do then is keep digging themselves further into deception and getting further from recognizing the truth. OK, best I not accuse people of pride or other attitudes that can't be proven. Maybe it isn't always pride, but just naivete. The problem is it's such a stubborn naivete that won't yield.

66 comments:

Rick said...

Read the book, "23 Minutes in Hell." The account of the author, a devout Christian who is brought into Hell and experiences the torture of a designed separation from God and a physical torture by his demonic captors is a shocking reality check that Hell does exist. There are no flowery adjectives to describe this horrible place but a frightening reality for the unbelieving among us. Your review beforehand may have helped to temper your goal of uncovering the truth. I thank you for revealing again the spiritual warfare that must be dealt with.

Anonymous said...

I'm just curious if the author of this blog has even read the book..."the Boy who came back from Heaven"? This doesn't seem to me to be a family "under deception"

Faith said...

Hello Anonymous,
The evidence is in the experience itself, not in the credentials of the family as devout Christians. I believe true Christians can be deceived by these things. Communications from another world can have a powerful emotional impact, probably especially when people are dealing with terrible suffering.

I haven't read that book but I would like to and perhaps some time I will be able to, but I see no reason to even suspect that it's authentic while the others I know more about aren't.

There is simply no reason why God would grant such an experience. We are given the Bible, we are given prayer, we are exhorted to walk by faith. I also believe miraculous healings are still sometimes granted by God, although rarely.

A trip to heaven adds nothing necessary to God's provision for us. I truly believe this is sufficient reason to doubt the authenticity of the story.

Faith

Faith said...

Hello Rick,
As I said in the blog post, I'm more likely to take a story about hell as authentic than a story about heaven, but I have the same basic objection to it anyway: We should know from scripture that Hell is a reality.

And in this case I have to ask what could possibly be gained by the experience of a "devout Christian" of the tortures of Hell? That is, the very definition of a true Christian is that we are now no longer under condemnation but freed forever from Hell. What message does it send that a "Christian" has such an experience?

I'm sorry, it makes no sense.

Faith.

www.facebook.com/ruthallenart said...

I agree with you Faith. I posted some doubt to the truth of Colton's account on their facebook page and got a couple readers "up in arms" defending the book. Christians can be deceived-and I believe Satan comes after us more so to deceive. Can I post a link to this page on the facebook page?
thank you

Faith said...

Appreciate your comment, Ruth. Sure, post a link.

--Faith

Anonymous said...

the fact that you brought up the story of Thomas, and how he refused to believe the reports until he had seen with his own eyes, seems contradictory to what you yourself are saying. This is a "report" , much like the reports of the disciples, and one that lines up with Scripture on a lot of points, yet you are refusing to believe it. Where is the difference?

Faith said...

Sorry I didn't see your post until now, Anonymous.

You don't say which story it is you think lines up with scripture, but I believe it's clear that all the stories fail that test. The tone alone fails the test.

We are not to believe any story without careful testing EXCEPT those in the Bible, and again, these fail the test.

Faith said...

I realized there may be a better way to answer "Anonymous:"

So you're asking: If it was wrong for Thomas to refuse to believe the accounts he heard of Jesus' resurrection, why isn't it also wrong for us to refuse to believe these accounts of heaven?

And the answer is that I do believe them. Thomas had years of acquaintance with the people who told him about seeing the Lord risen to give him a lot more reason to trust them than I have to trust the writers of these books, but nevertheless I don't have any reason to doubt that they had those experiences.

I don't doubt the facts they gave, I doubt that what they experienced was Heaven, and I doubt that because it doesn't fit the way scripture talks about Heaven. I gave many examples in my various posts of how it doesn't, starting with the lack of awe and even fear in the tone, then the false images of God and Jesus and so on.

What was reported to Thomas was a simple fact: Jesus was dead but now He's alive. And He was seen by many, not just one in a state of sleep. But the heaven stories were experienced by only one, a child, in a state of sleep, and although I have no reason to doubt their account of the facts, I have every reason to doubt their understanding of the source of those facts.

I hope this may be a bit clearer than my other answer.

Anonymous said...

I am so glad you have the guts to post about this. There is such a need. You are like the voice of one crying in the wilderness...and very unpopular in mainstream Christianity I fear.

I just read the 1st chapter of the book about Alex Malarkey. While I do believe this family is very sincere, I also believe they have been deceived. As one who has recently left the charismatic movement where experiences and "manifestations" are weighted heaver than digging deeply into God's Word, I can understand how this happens. I found conflictual evidence to the Bible, albeit very subtle in the reading of the first chapter.

We as modern Christians are sorely lacking in Biblical/scriptural knowledge and it shows. We are emotional creatures; our flesh is ALWAYS needing attention and we are infested with sin. The devil knows this and he is a master at deceit...we tend to put too much value in ourselves in being discerning (pride) when in fact we should have our eyes on the LORD at all times. Why else would the LORD tell us to pray without ceasing? He knows this and that we are like (dumb) sheep gone astray.

There are many, many stories like this. It is so easy to get emotionally wrapped up and embrace them (human sentimentality & flesh) instead of doing the "mundane" work of being a "biblical archeologist" and making a stand for what God has revealed to us in His Word.

Furthermore, there should be no shame in defending the faith "as it was delivered" to us and calling out heresy. We are too worried about offending others and we should be more worried about offending God!

Faith said...

Thanks very much, Anon. I agree with everything you said.

Anonymous said...

Is Colton's story meant for Christian Scholars to analyze or was it blasted across the airwaves (by God vs satan) for non-christians to digest, perhaps those struggling like I did for 37 yrs.? Is it God's way of getting His children's attention?

Also, are we not to have the faith of a child? (or have I misinterpreted the Gospel?) God's word does not say the faith of a scholar! Is it not these stories that help us search and research His Word to learn more and make that commitment to follow Him like I finally did years ago?

PS. I appreciate your insight and wisdom in these stories. Anonymous...

Faith said...

God uses many means to bring us to Him, and such a story could be used even if it isn't in line with His truth. He led me to Himself through the testimony of some Hindu gurus; I had to unlearn all that later but the point is that God can work through any means He chooses. That doesn't make those means trustworthy in themselves.

Vicki said...

Thanks so much for this blog, I praise the Lord to see someone who is truly being directed by the spirit of God, who promises to guide us into all truth. It is has been a great concern of mine for many years that people everywhere are being deceived by demon spirits in regard to condition of their dead loved ones. In hospitals I have worked in before in different parts of the country there have been many stories of nurses seeing spirits of departed patients, etc. stories like you might think of as coming out of the jungle somewhere are common in modern, Christian society in America.

A key issue to help us be protected from deception is our understanding of the true state of the dead. I would ask anyone reading this to consider prayerfully and study for yourself that there is overwhelming evidence in the Bible letting us know that the dead do not know anything, they are merely sleeping in the grave awaiting Christ’s return. Our faith and doctrines need to be based on Bible texts, looking at all of the texts and all of the stories related to a particular subject, not merely based on tradition or what the pastor said.

As for hell, once again- look at all the texts based on this subject and related key words all throughout the whole Bible (online concordances are great). It is clear that hell will occur on Earth at a time in the future, after the New Jerusalem descends out of heaven, at the time when the wicked come with Satan to surround the city and try to take it over. Then fire will come down and destroy them, they will be burned up completely to ashes, after which the earth will be recreated anew. The eternal stated of the wicked dead is “the blackness of darkness forever” as it says in 2 Peter and Jude, which also describes clearly how hell will take place on Earth in the future. A few verses in Revelation seem to say they will be burned forever, but consider this in relation to old testament verses about forever which also means “until the end of the age” or until that person dies. We cannot create doctrines off of a verse here and there. Sodom and Gomorrah are the example of what eternal fire will be like, the Bible says. Are they still burning today? No, they were utterly burned up- as will be the work of eternal fire which comes from an eternal God who’s glory is a consuming fire. God is not a monster who burns people eternally for the sins of one lifetime, neither is He “too nice” to punish people. He will utterly destroy the wicked, and make an utter end to sin, it will not rise up again.

I recommend reading the chapter "The Scriptures a Safeguard" from the book Great Controversy, which can be found on this website under search, and go to book and page;

http://www.whiteestate.org/search/search.asp

May God bless each one.

Vicki said...

Sorry, the chapter that is even more specific to this issue is "Can Our Dead Speak to Us?"
http://www.whiteestate.org/books/gc/gc34.html

Faith said...

Thanks very much for your comment, Vicki, and I agree with you completely that the dead don't stay around in hospitals or anywhere else. When people see such apparitions they are no doubt seeing demon impersonations, and you are right, this phenomenon is very common in primitive societies.

However, I do have problems with your theology beyond that point. I can't claim to have studied it closely myself but trustworthy theologians teach that the dead in Christ are not sleeping but go to be with Christ. Beyond that they teach that scripture shows there is to be an eternal punishment, which parallels the eternal life of the saved. Whoever sins even in one point is guilty of all the Law. We sin against an infinite God, that's why punishment is infinite.

I'm afraid I can't regard Ellen G. White, at the link you posted, as a trustworthy theologian.

Thanks again for your thoughts.

Vicki said...

Hello Faith,

I understand and respect your concerns. However I would encourage that anything regarding spirituality or the Bible should be brought to the test of the Bible and carefully investigated, rather that trusting theologians.
"sola scriptura" as Martin Luther advocated. Human beings are so falable- all doctrines must be investigated by the test of scripture, and it is the responsibility of each Christian to seek the truth in the word of God carefully in order to avoid being deceived in these last days. Seriously, check out what I am saying by every text and story on this subject and see what the conclusion is.

Thanks again for your message, it is a blessing to many.

Faith said...

That is good advice, Vicki, and eventually I may do that scriptural study. I did at least go to A. W. Pink, one theologian I generally trust -- though I have disagreed with him about a few things at times too, as I assume you must also at times disagree with Ellen G. White -- and have begun reading his study of the scripture on the question of eternal punishment. Here is his study for anyone who is interested.

Vicki said...

I have nothing to urge regarding Ellen G. White, except that I feel things she has said are really pertinent and useful to the times in which we live, such as the two chapters I pointed out, as she had a lot to say on this very subject (regarding Satan deceiving people by impersonating their dead loved ones). And since you mentioned her credibility I will just briefly share my viewpoint. I know that many things have been said against her, most of which are not true as far as my investigations have revealed. The fact that there is a lot of noise against her does not necessarily prove anything against her writings, especially in the light of how the world has historically received light and truth from heaven- the pages of history being covered with the blood of prophets and holy men of God. And of course, even Christ Himself was rejected by the theologians of His day and crucified. Once again, each person should research things out on their own before judging prematurely. Though false prophets and teachings are a dime a dozen, so caution is certainly waranted in every investigation.

I personally find the teachings of Ellen White to be more in line with what my studies of the Word of God reveal than any other teacher or theologian. My beliefs are not based on her teachings, but rather on the Bible, but I also find no disagreement with what I study in the Bible and her writings.

Take care and may God bless you.

Anonymous said...

Hello Faith,
You still need to recognize that God can do whatever He wants. He gave John a vision with heaven, Moses and Elijah appeared at Mount of Transfiguration with Jesus, angels appeared in Old and New Testament and God is still making miracles. Yes! We need to walk by faith, but God showed John the vision of heaven and things to come... is that mean that we should disregard that? Of course NOT. I think the big problem is getting the hype of going to heaven and missing who is really in heaven.
We should investiagate and pray and ask God for wisdom on how we can deal with this kind of story. God's understanding is beyond our febble minds.

Faith said...

You still need to recognize that God can do whatever He wants.

Anything at all? Would he give false images of "heaven" that contradict His word?

He gave John a vision with heaven, Moses and Elijah appeared at Mount of Transfiguration with Jesus, angels appeared in Old and New Testament and God is still making miracles.

All the Biblical events support each other theologically. The heaven stories don't support those events. What I've written ought to show that clearly. They give false, even silly, ideas of God and Jesus for starters.

Yes! We need to walk by faith, but God showed John the vision of heaven and things to come... is that mean that we should disregard that? Of course NOT.

I certainly don't disregard the Biblical accounts of such things.

I think the big problem is getting the hype of going to heaven and missing who is really in heaven.

Which is exactly what these heaven stories DO, anonymous, they misrepresent the Lord while hyping the experience itself.

We should investiagate and pray and ask God for wisdom on how we can deal with this kind of story.

We certainly should. I believe what I've written shows how we are to "deal with" this kind of story. Those I've discussed are all counterfeits to be rejected.

God's understanding is beyond our febble minds.

Which is why He gave us His word, so we won't be taken in by false teachings.

I do hope you WILL pray about this more.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if Christians spend as much time and energy on their Bible reading & prayer life as they do reading these stories. I can ask this question with a relative certainty of the answer b/c I have been there myself.

In no way have I "arrived," but I certainly have grown after leaving a denomination or "movement" as it were, that is fraught with dabblings of the supernatural. I was hungry for these stories...I now see it was my FLESH that was craving the EMOTIONAL SATISFACTION of them. (If I know this, don't I realize that Satan does too? And we judge within the confines of time whereas Satan exists outside of that realm--which is why God tells us NOT to trust our experiences, but to walk by faith). I now know that my satisfaction comes from drinking from the fountain of the Word ("all my fountains are in You") Sorry folks, there are no extra-Biblical revelations. We have 66 books of the Bible: God's revelation of Himself to mankind. Have you studied that--I mean, really, really studied it? Daily? Several times a day? I'm not talking daily 15 min. devotions; I'm talking like studying as if you were earning a college degree! That's how God wants us to be, Christians! (Remember the Bereans?)

I believe that when we are studying God's Word like this, praying, really digging in, we won't be taken in by "heaven stories" and the like. We won't have time. We will be so in love with Jesus and the Word of God (one in the Same) books like this won't matter.

Come on, Christian, open your Bible and fall in love with Jesus. When these stories come around you won't even NEED to read them. You will see them for the deception they are.

We need to pray for these deceived souls, sincere as they are. The enemy is laying a foundation for something big. Look at the times.

Of course God can do whatever He wants. But He won't go against His Word. If you know that Word, you will see the deception immediately.

Now...let's go open up our Bibles and fall in love with Jesus!

Raych said...

I do agree that there were a few things that are not what the Bible describes, in that book. But there were several things that this child described perfectly along with the Bible, and it is not something an average 4 year old learns in SS. I think he truly could have had that experience in Heaven.
Why do you want to argue over a book, when there are people like Harold Camping out there who are deceiving people much worse, and causing it so that people are more-so going to be asking where the promises are of Jesus coming back? Jesus is coming, and it will be a day, and hour, when no man expects it. Be prepared all the time. Reach all that you can for Him.

Faith said...

Hi Raych, thanks for your input.

I do agree that there were a few things that are not what the Bible describes, in that book. But there were several things that this child described perfectly along with the Bible, and it is not something an average 4 year old learns in SS. I think he truly could have had that experience in Heaven.

I'm afraid this is awfully naive of you, Raych, which is of course a big part of my point -- how naive Christians are. The devil can preach the gospel, he knows the Bible better than most of us. Such counterfeits are easy for him, he invents a whole heaven and Christians fall for it these days.

It's awfully interesting how many Christians have come here to defend these false books. This has got to be one of the devil's most successful enterprises.

Why do you want to argue over a book, when there are people like Harold Camping out there who are deceiving people much worse, and causing it so that people are more-so going to be asking where the promises are of Jesus coming back?

What's to stop me from posting on both subjects? I might even still do a post on Camping but I've found many out there who have done a very good job on him so that I don't think I could add much. There are probably way fewer deceived by him than by these heaven books. And I'm sure these books draw unbelievers as well as believers.

Jesus is coming, and it will be a day, and hour, when no man expects it. Be prepared all the time. Reach all that you can for Him.

Amen.

harry Madden said...

I just read the book Heaven Is For Real. I don't understand why all of the comments are negative about the boy's experience, and that they were probably the work of satan. Firstly, Jesus is merciful. This boy was
septic and was about to die. The father, a pastor, with
a degree in Divinity, pleaded with God and argued that
he committed his life to serve what Jesus taught us to do. He also is a fireman and a coach, which to me is very serving. Oh, okay, he puts up garage doors. (Remember Paul was a tent maker.) ((His choice in vocations is faith put in action. Remember James?)) As a Christian I know one thing, Jesus is merciful and full of love. Doesn't God answer prayers, or is that demonic too. Does God choose people and give them gifts to do work here on earth, and often that
becomes a burden to that person's life? You bet it does.

I was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer 3 years ago. People in my church prayed for me and my
Bible group laid hands on me and prayed for me. I am now running on the track a 6 min. mile. Is this demonic? Sometimes self-righteous Christians think
they have all of the answers and anything that deviates from their frame of thinking is wrong and
demonic. Self-righteousness can lead to cults such as jehovah's witnesses or mormons.

God is Love! (John.) Heaven and Is For Real is about
faithful parents who love their son and asked God
for intervention. God showed his mercy and love
to his creations. Now as far as making lots of money
from the book, well, what is the author doing with it.
I know that Rick Warren put the money back in ministry. I would hope that this author follows the same path.

Remember 1 Corinthians 13, if you have no love, speech and rhetoric is nothing more than a clanging bell. Little Colton spoke nothing but praise for Jesus, so how is that demonic.

Faith said...

Thanks for your comment, Harry.

I just read the book Heaven Is For Real. I don't understand why all of the comments are negative about the boy's experience, and that they were probably the work of satan.

All of the comments here are NOT negative, most are positive like yours, as it seems an awful lot of people are deceived by these books.

Firstly, Jesus is merciful. This boy was septic and was about to die. The father, a pastor, with
a degree in Divinity, pleaded with God and argued that he committed his life to serve what Jesus taught us to do. He also is a fireman and a coach, which to me is very serving. Oh, okay, he puts up garage doors. (Remember Paul was a tent maker.) ((His choice in vocations is faith put in action. Remember James?)) As a Christian I know one thing, Jesus is merciful and full of love. Doesn't God answer prayers, or is that demonic too. Does God choose people and give them gifts to do work here on earth, and often that becomes a burden to that person's life? You bet it does.


Harry, You need to think about the arguments I actually made here, you are ignoring them, I've said nothing about any of these things you are talking about here, they are irrelevant.

God can certainly heal people, but He doesn't normally do it with experiences of heaven.

I was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer 3 years ago. People in my church prayed for me and my
Bible group laid hands on me and prayed for me. I am now running on the track a 6 min. mile. Is this demonic?


No, that's biblical, and praise God for his answer to prayer. If you had claimed your healing involved an experience of heaven that would be something else.

Sometimes self-righteous Christians think they have all of the answers and anything that deviates from their frame of thinking is wrong and
demonic.


I'm not concerned about what deviates from my thinking but what deviates from scripture, and too much of these heaven stories do, as you might know if you'd read and thought about what I've written here. They all produce images and experiences of God and Jesus that are false, demeaning, silly caricatures at best.

to be continued

Faith said...

concluded

Self-righteousness can lead to cults such as jehovah's witnesses or mormons.

God is Love! (John.) Heaven and Is For Real is about faithful parents who love their son and asked God
for intervention. God showed his mercy and love to his creations.


The question is whether this mercy and love were shown in accord with what God has revealed in his word and my conclusion is that they were not. The devil comes as an angel of light, his aim is always to imitate God, you know, show lots of mercy and love, but he always leaves signs of his own work. The trivializing demeaning images of God and Jesus in these stories show the experience is not genuine.

Now as far as making lots of money from the book, well, what is the author doing with it.

I haven't said a word about making money off the book. Please read what I've actually written. And since you go on to suggest that my thinking is cultish, I might remind you that the cults do good with their money too and look for all the world like genuine Christians to those who don't test things clearly by scripture.

I know that Rick Warren put the money back in ministry. I would hope that this author follows the same path.

Well, if you're a follower of Rick Warren no wonder you are deceived.

Remember 1 Corinthians 13, if you have no love, speech and rhetoric is nothing more than a clanging bell. Little Colton spoke nothing but praise for Jesus, so how is that demonic.

Praising Jesus is of no value if the Jesus he praised is not the Jesus of the Bible, and all the fleshly sentimental pap about his "sea blue" eyes and "smile that lights up the heavens" is utterly out of keeping with the scriptural portrait of Jesus. It's more like the portrait painted by the girl Akiane who also had an experience of what she believed to be heaven, but what she brought back from her experience was nothing but New Age lies about God and Jesus.

You are putting your trust in human experience and not in God's word.

Anonymous said...

Why is it that Pastors and others insist that Near Death Experiences are the devil's work, when almost everyone who has had a NDE comes back to proclaim the glory of God? Why would the devil promote glory to God? The Bible is highly contradictory. Jesus took one of the men from the cross promising that "today you will join me in heaven" (paraphrasing) while other parts speak of dead people asleep until judgement day. NO ONE knows for certain. I feel the Burpo boy was probably put up to his claims. They've made at least $1 million from sales. If this is a fabrication, shame on the Burpo family!

Faith said...

Why is it that Pastors and others insist that Near Death Experiences are the devil's work, when almost everyone who has had a NDE comes back to proclaim the glory of God?

If you've read the reasoning here you might grasp that it's because the "God" whose glory is being proclaimed is not the true God.

Why would the devil promote glory to God?

He doesn't, he's promoting glory to a false god, who is always in reality himself.

The Bible is highly contradictory. Jesus took one of the men from the cross promising that "today you will join me in heaven" (paraphrasing) while other parts speak of dead people asleep until judgement day. NO ONE knows for certain.

As far as this topic goes, we do know that a false description of God coming back from an experience of "heaven" is a sure sign that it was not the true heaven that was experienced.

I feel the Burpo boy was probably put up to his claims. They've made at least $1 million from sales. If this is a fabrication, shame on the Burpo family!

I doubt it is a fabrication.

Faith said...

Also, Jesus did not say the thief would be in "heaven" with Him but in "paradise" which is understood to be a different place. It is possible that those who are saved go there to await judgment while those who are not saved are asleep until judgment day.

Rule of Bible interpretation: ALWAYS assume an apparent contradiction reflects your own misunderstanding. Eventually it may be resolved, or not, but accusing God's word of being contradictory will most certainly mean you'll never see it resolved.

Suzie Q said...

Faith, do you also question and doubt the salvation of Paul, his testimonies of being taken up to Heaven, and do you also question the validity of the Book of Revelation written by John in his being taken to Heaven?? Yes, we do need to check the scriptures. However, you're painting with a very broad brush. And if you did so consistently, you would need to disbelieve Paul's testimony, John's testimony, and books of the Bible. The OT and NT are full of such visions and experiences. We cannot paint with a broad brush and "assume" such things are most likely demonic. I read your "tearing apart" of the one woman's testimony. Well, it could be that you were incapable of seeing the meaning of her vision, misinterpreted, then turned to falsely accuse her. God can send anointing from Heaven and may be what she "saw and "described" in a picture form. Also, those steps to the throne of Grace could have represented revelation whereby we increasingly gain strength to come boldly. I'm not validating her. I'm saying that you are not necessarily right in how you are testing the spirits. You may be misinterpreting.

And you cannot be biblical and paint with so broad a brush as evidenced by Paul and John and so many others and their scriptural real experiences.

When you get to the level of Joseph Smith, and others, yes, we can throw out their testimonies as not aligning with scripture.

We can also throw out certain testimonies of hell in which born-again Christians are testified to be "in the flames" for not having taught enough Sunday school. (Denying the cleansing power of God's blood and making salvation about religious works, etc.)

When you attack my salvation on the basis of your prejudice making an assumption, you make a rather large error.

Faith said...

Faith, do you also question and doubt the salvation of Paul, his testimonies of being taken up to Heaven, and do you also question the validity of the Book of Revelation written by John in his being taken to Heaven?? Yes, we do need to check the scriptures.

No, I don't doubt scripture, Suzie, scripture is the basis for judging everything else, and it's by scripture that I find your own testimony to be highly questionable.

Have I questioned your salvation? I don't think so. I don't know if you are saved or not, but what I have questioned is your testimony of going to heaven, it's either a lie or a terrible deception you've fallen for, and your rejection of Paul's teachings makes you a false teacher.

It's interesting that you put yourself on the level of scripture here by asking if I doubt Paul or John, as if to doubt you is to doubt them. In fact you put yourself above scripture when you accuse Paul of reverting to the Law in his teaching about the head covering. You seem to think you are the equal of the apostles. Should we consider your every word to be scripture? I believe you think something like that about yourself.

However, you're painting with a very broad brush. And if you did so consistently, you would need to disbelieve Paul's testimony, John's testimony, and books of the Bible.

You are very confused, Suzie. I've judged the heaven stories including yours by scripture. Scripture is the foundation. Scripture is to judge us, we aren't to judge scripture.

he OT and NT are full of such visions and experiences. We cannot paint with a broad brush and "assume" such things are most likely demonic.

You are very confused. The apostles' visions and experiences are to be believed, but they are the measure, not us. I believe others have had God-given experiences, but yours doesn't meet the test. You are truly confused about these things.

I read your "tearing apart" of the one woman's testimony. Well, it could be that you were incapable of seeing the meaning of her vision, misinterpreted, then turned to falsely accuse her. God can send anointing from Heaven and may be what she "saw and "described" in a picture form. Also, those steps to the throne of Grace could have represented revelation whereby we increasingly gain strength to come boldly. I'm not validating her. I'm saying that you are not necessarily right in how you are testing the spirits. You may be misinterpreting.

I could be, but I've given my reasoning and it IS scripture -based.

And you cannot be biblical and paint with so broad a brush as evidenced by Paul and John and so many others and their scriptural real experiences.

Again, you are terribly terribly.confused. I have not rejected all visions and experiences, I believe the reports of Paul and John to be scripture, beyond question, and I would defend some others outside of scripture as well. Again, yours, and those I've written about in this post about heaven stories simply fail the scriptural tests.

When you get to the level of Joseph Smith, and others, yes, we can throw out their testimonies as not aligning with scripture...

When you attack my salvation on the basis of your prejudice making an assumption, you make a rather large error.


I haven't merely made an "assumption," nor argued from prejudice, I've made a good case for what I've said here. I also haven't attacked your salvation (though perhaps you should examine yourself to see if you are in the faith). I doubt your claim to have been in heaven and seen Jesus, and you haven't given me any reason to change my mind. In fact you show such confusion in your posts to me I'm more certain than ever that you are terribly deceived.

Faith said...

You know, Suzie, you haven't addressed one thing I've said. You've misread some of it and ignored the rest. Thought I might ask you some questions again.

You also didn't really provide a description of the heaven experience -- just saying God showed the Creation, the Fall and Jesus' resurrection tells me nothing about what you actually "saw." Was it in a form a three-year-old would be expected to understand? You talk about it as if an adult had experienced it, using terms a child could maybe parrot but couldn't understand. That makes me suspect you could have made the whole thing up. Could have, I don't know.

You don't have to tell me about it, I think really it should be on your blog, in your profile or in a special post you link from the margin, but you're welcome to write it here if you want.

Did you get your "calling" from God during that same vision, the message about the US that you connect somehow with Revelation 12? Was it presented in a way a three-year-old might be able to grasp it?

Do you have a church right now? If not, when was the last time you did? Were you ever in a charismatic / pentecostal type church?

Have you ever talked to a pastor or elder about your heaven experience?

You like the Reformed tradition, so you claim, and even did a study of John Owen's Death of Death in the Death of Christ" although that theology depends heavily on Paul's writings and you reject Paul as an inspired author of scripture. Owen certainly regarded Paul's writings as -- all --inspired by God.

Would you be willing to find out what R.C. Sproul or J.I Packer or Paul Washer might have to say about your experience?

Do you believe Satan and his devils can give visions and other supernatural experiences?

You're obviously quite intelligent but you don't seem willing to put your experience to a test.

Ron macD said...

As important as your call for scriptural discernment is, so is the danger of bibliolatry. John tells of Jesus' priestly prayer for us and his admonition that eternal life is knowing the Father and the Son, not mentioning knowing correct doctrine or information. Yes, we crucially need to know scripture and even embrace, but not follow signs and wonders as scripture clearly tells us. This, even knowing there are those engaging in them in Jesus' name, but do know him or have his endorsment. Jesus also warned those who searched the scriptures thinking that the life was in them, but they would not relationly come to him. It is not scripture that will examine us, it is Jesus, and Paul even took the option to committ his motives and heart to that time. (1Cor 4:1-5)

Faith said...

Hello Ron McD,

Your post is incoherent and about all I get out of it is that you are accusing me of bibliolatry on the basis of some false idea you have about what it means to "know" God and Jesus. If you would like to come back and clarify perhaps I'd see it differently.

Lush said...

Hi Faith,

You've made some very substantial arguments regarding the deception of satan and his foot soldiers, highlighting the susceptibility of believers. In many ways, I agree with you. American "Christian" culture of today fosters more of faith centered on materialism/The American Dream, and a notion of God as if he exists as a genie to grant our selfish wishes. Many so-called believers prefer a flowery understanding of an all-loving, compassionate God, denying his wrath. This lends the devil, who masquerades as the angel of light, much potential for influence in deception of those failing to discern.

However, I'd caution you in applying your contentions against the Malarkey story, The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven. I personally just finished reading the book and can genuinely vouch that the protagonist's experience of Heaven isn't its sole feature. I actually felt the book lacked in that regard as I was initially expecting a full composition about the boy's experience of Heaven, Jesus and so forth. Ultimately, the book encouraged an understanding of God's glory and grace, the importance of prayer, faith, worship and relying upon God (not our personal understandings) in our lives' most trying tribulations.

Anyway, I highly recommend that specific book. As well as I'd caution you against self-righteousness - while it's only in our arrogant, sinful human nature to be such...God requires us to humble ourselves.

Faith said...

Hi Lush, thanks for your comment.

I'm not sure why it is a recommendation of the book that it doesn't spend much time on the experience itself since that is of course the focus of its marketing and the reason people buy it. I read some complaints against it because of that, as you acknowledge. Seems a bit deceptive perhaps.

I stand by what I've written about it. It's based on what is out there about the book and you don't offer anything to make me rethink it. It is no corrective to the problems with it that it majors in worship and God's glory and grace if the experience itself promotes a false image of God and Jesus.

I'd LIKE to read the book but my budget is very limited. I'm very sure that if I did read it I'd only have more to say along the same lines I've already written.

By the way, God taught me a lesson about humility many years ago as I was hesitant to criticize a ministry I felt strongly was supporting some false charismatic signs and wonders, a situation somewhat similar to these heaven stories. I was entertaining the idea that it would be humble to keep my mouth shut since after all there are many good things about the ministry too, when the Lord distinctly gave me the inner prompting to my conscience in clear though not audible words: "That is not humility."

It wouldn't be humility in this case either.

Thanks again for your comment,
Faith

BobBarker said...

I think its disgusting to go calling Akaini's work, the other child's heaven experience and 90 minutes in heaven demoniacally inspired.

Where is your proof that Akainie is tied to Hinduism and new age deception?

You mention that some of these people have a lot to answer to God for. But how about yourself, speaking against Gods chosen servants like this?

I wouldn't be surprised if your blog is what convinced someone I know to speak against these people as well as Heidi Baker, youth with a mission and a house of prayer as demonic activity.

Faith said...

Hello Bob:I think its disgusting to go calling Akaini's work, the other child's heaven experience and 90 minutes in heaven demoniacally inspired.

Where is your proof that Akainie is tied to Hinduism and new age deception?


I believe I've already given proof but since you want more I've written a new blog post to answer you. If I still haven't succeeded in making my case to your satisfaction please comment there. I'm sure there is more information I could find for the purpose.

You mention that some of these people have a lot to answer to God for. But how about yourself, speaking against Gods chosen servants like this?

Obviously I'm claiming they are not God's servants but deceived by a false idea of God, a false Jesus Christ, a false heaven.

I wouldn't be surprised if your blog is what convinced someone I know to speak against these people as well as Heidi Baker, youth with a mission and a house of prayer as demonic activity.

I have never written a thing about any Heidi Baker -- never heard of her -- or about Youth With a Mission or House of Prayer. Perhaps I should, but I haven't.

Please see new post on this subject as linked above.

Jeremy said...

Here's the problem with your "demonic" theory...

Demons DO NOT want human beings to have a closer relationship with God. Demons DO NOT want human beings to have faith or belief in God.

If this experience is demonic in origin, they are apparently, the most unintelligent demons imaginable for their actions caused precisely the result they DO NOT want.

It makes absolutely no sense for there to be any demonic deception at all. Just because a demon can, doesn't mean that a demon will or did.

I'm skeptical about the whole event. I don't know what to believe. But what I do believe with some certainty, is that it was not demonic deception, there is not only zero motivation, but instead, motivation for such an experience to not even be told (even if untrue).

Faith said...

You are quite right, Jeremy, that demons do not want to encourage closeness to God, and by creating a false idea of God they keep people away from Him. That's what they are doing with these "heaven" stories. I have the impression you didn't read my blog posts or the comments section on this subject very carefully, and it might change your mind if you did.

Jeremy said...

Well, I read this article in its entirety and in no part of it do you offer an actual argument for your position (that they are demonic deceptions).

Stating that demons can deceive, is not the same as arguing that demons did deceive (in this instance or any other).

Comparisons to other deceivers (such as psychics) are also irrelevant. That psychics can deceive, and demons can deceive, doesn't mean that Colton WAS deceived and demons were at work.

It's like saying "My car can go fast, therefore it did", even though it wasn't turned on and no one was in the vehicle and it was stationary. It's just bad reasoning.

That children CAN be deceived, doesn't mean that one WAS deceived. This commits the same fallacious reasoning as above.

Describing Heaven (re: Paul) doesn't mean that demons were at work here, it means that the experience described by Colton may be caused by something other than actually experiencing Heaven (if it stands that God would not allow anyone to experience Heaven and come back). But this doesn't mean that demons must be involved. There are a variety of possibilities (fraud, child brainwashed, child overheard descriptions of people and buried it subconsciously, etc...).

The problem is, you have fallaciously claimed that it demonic deception is the most likely cause...yet you never offer any evidence or reasons to support the position.

Faith said...

I believe I made the case that the reports from "heaven" are clearly counterfeits, false ideas about God and Jesus in particular. If I've made that case then the obvious conclusion is that they weren't from God. That leaves some kind of deception or fraud, either by the people having or reporting the vision as you also point out, or by demonic entities. I can't prove the people aren't committing the fraud but I don't happen to believe they are. Writing such books suggests to me they believe what the children experienced. I don't think the children were lying or the parents. If I'm wrong then I'm wrong but I haven't ignored that possibility, I simply don't believe it. I also don't believe in the kind of psychological explanation you offer. All your views of this make the people out to be far more stupid or deceitful than I could think about them.

That leaves demonic deception, and the images of God and Jesus are exactly what demons try to put over on people these days, a Jesus who didn't die for our sins, a God you can "see," very much as they did on Joseph Smith and his followers.

Again, I don't think children would make up such images, I believe they did have these experiences. That leaves demonic deception. I do think the adults should have known better than to accept such ideas of God but I'm allowing for a lot of ignorance among Christians these days.

Donald said...

You write: "I have to admit that I'm more likely to believe an experience of Hell than of Heaven, just because it seems less likely to gloss over the danger faced by those who are not saved by Christ, but since I don't know what the book says I can't be sure its impact is what I imagine it to be …"

By your own admission you didn't even read the book, yet you feel justified in publishing almost 4000 words of judgement, declaring these revelations to be from demons, and declaring yourself to be an authority on the matter?! You say the Bible is your authority, yet for all your words you give not one shred of genuine Biblical evidence to refute this boy's testimony—nor could you, since you don't even know what his testimony is.

I have read the account of both boys, Colton Burpo and Alex Malarkey, and while one could get caught up in a debate about details (Does Jesus where a sash? How big are the angels?), I see nothing in either testimony that paints a false picture of God—his character as revealed in scripture. In fact it's quite the opposite—both accounts give glory to the God of the Bible and point to Jesus as the only saviour of mankind.

Our God has a long history of doing the unexpected—of revealing himself to the most unlikely of prophets. And the Bible also records for us a long tradition of those who, thinking themselves wise, are quick to shout 'heresy'! How sad when people are blind to the tradition they embrace.

Consider Paul, whose writings you no doubt revere. Who was he before his EXPERIENCE on the road to Damascus? Like you, he was well-educated and zealous in his defence of what he thought to be true. Yet he was found to belong to that ancient tradition, of those who persecute the prophets!

Be very careful what you judge, and what you proclaim to be demonic. Jesus himself was accused of having a demon by men who had studied the law and thought themselves wise.

In these days we are going to see false prophets, yes. But we are also going to see a great outpouring of the Holy Spirit, people seeing visions, speaking and acting in power. Many people will see and embrace what the Holy Spirit is doing, but many others will cling to their much safer religion—one where spirits and visions and things beyond their understanding are kept at a safe distance, confined within the pages of a book they can study, dissect and debate, and think themselves wise.

Faith aka Connie said...

Hello Donald,
You can't have given careful consideration to my argument here, but perhaps I will have the time later to come back and be more specific than I can at the moment.

Also you are suggesting that I deny that true supernatural experiences are possible these days and I don't deny that. The evidence as I have seen it is that these particular experiences are not of God -- and I do believe I've made the case for that.

If you want to prove that the books reveal something other than I've gleaned from reviews and quotes you'll have to give some examples.

Tee said...

Even though I don't necessarily trust these testimonies either, I think it is equally dangerous to be proud enough to proclaim your standpoint as the TRUTH. Isn't that not what false prophets do.

First of all, while completely against new age movement, I don't stand for shooting down children's account of testimonies right away. First of all, I don't feel ANY HUMAN BEING can or will either completely grasp the meaning of every word of the Bible. How do you know that IF INDEED Jesus decides to show Himself to a child, He won't present Himself to them in a less awe-inspiring and frightening way. You have to understand Jesus and the Father is one God, but they don't appear in the same manner. Jesus showed Himself to the disciples after He rose from overcoming death. They were extremely afraid because they couldn't believe He was alive again. But afterwards they even have meals and hung out together. Jesus is FULLY GOD and FULLY MAN at the same time. He was a perfect, unblemished human as He is today. This is doctrine.
So it is VERY possible that when He appears to a child He is very approachable. He is all powerful. But that doesn't take away from that He is the humble King.

I agree with the previous commenter that God can choose to do whatever HE WANTS and will always surprise us. If you think you are an exception then you can be deceived as well. No one expected God to wipe out the earth with the flood until He did it. He never did it before. No one would think reasonable that GOd should wrestle with a mere human Jacob and lost to him. Yet He did. No one thought God would send His commandments through moses the fugitive and in the form of stone tablets? He did. No one thought a lowly carpenter's son was Son of God, and yet He was.

Jesus saved on the Sabbath, and didn't the scribles and pharisees say He broke the law. And did He? You are quoting things from the Bible to conclude that because something didn't happen in the BIble, it will NEVER happen to people now. While most of the time I follow that rule, I think God's way is higher than rules and bookworm tendencies of people who feel that GOD is of the past. God is a living God and in control. We don't get to judge people. We can say we don't believe something. But to call everything WE HAVE NO WAY OF KNOWING demonic is demonic in itself.

When Jesus was preaching the good news. What did the scribes and priests call Him? Crazy, demon possessed! And yet you are here, without knowing people personally, saying definitively ANY visions of the Heaven must be demonic. This is VERY WRONG.

I love doctrines and myself following God's Word closely, but it certainly doesn't make me an authority of EVERYTHING I hear. This is very wrong. No one can know the truth unless they first submit their heart to God. I cannot say definitively that I know everything that you have proclaimed to be fully right or fully wrong. But I certainly feel that there is great pride here, and that is the very thing that leads to deception.

When you said" it doesn't make sense that God needs to show us Heaven" as if you know what is needed for human beings. and the mind of God. God sometimes go beyond our senses and logics.

I don't claim to be highly knowledgeable, but I have read the Bible for 20 some years and teach regularly. I don't feel what you are saying is fully from God. I feel there's a lot of oversimplification and pride.

IYou need to bear fruits(peace, joy, love, kindness, goodness,faithfulness, patience, gentleness and self control and then you will know that you have the Holy Spirit in you. God says: with every word you teach or judge others, it will be used to judge and assess you. So be careful.

I urge everyone to think for themselves, read the Bible and ask God for guidance.

Tee said...

Faith,

I think that you need to stop standing so much by YOUR POINTS and open your eyes to God's Word.

You're answering everyone like you are defending your blog. True Christians will go back to the Bible with an open heart to what God wants to teach them, not working hard to ensure they appear correct.

The Bible stands on its own. It doesn't need any defense. HE SHOWS US. WE DON"T HAVE ANYTHING TO SHOW.

Hope you think about that and not just reply again with lots of arguments about why you are right.

Faith aka Connie said...

I'm not immune to pride, Tee, but you seem to have the idea that being sure of one's judgment is the proof of it, as if the fact that you are so unsure of your opinion makes you less prideful. I'm not so sure of that. You sound rather proud of your lack of certainty.

Anyway, thanks for your comment.

Faith aka Connie said...

At first there didn't seem to be much reason to answer more of your comment, Tee, since you mostly wanted to judge me personally, but I find myself having more to say.

Even though I don't necessarily trust these testimonies either, I think it is equally dangerous to be proud enough to proclaim your standpoint as the TRUTH. Isn't that not what false prophets do.

Isn't that what TRUE prophets do as well? Proclaim their standpoint as the Truth? Certainty is not the proof either of being right or of being proud.

First of all, while completely against new age movement, I don't stand for shooting down children's account of testimonies right away.

Who said I did anything about this "right away?" I gave it quite a bit of thought and prayer.

First of all, I don't feel ANY HUMAN BEING can or will either completely grasp the meaning of every word of the Bible.

Nor do I.

How do you know that IF INDEED Jesus decides to show Himself to a child, He won't present Himself to them in a less awe-inspiring and frightening way.

All I know is He wouldn't contradict what He's already revealed in His word. Jesus doesn't present Himself as frightening in His word anyway. If He wanted to present Himself to a child He'd no doubt appear just as He does there.

You have to understand Jesus and the Father is one God, but they don't appear in the same manner. Jesus showed Himself to the disciples after He rose from overcoming death. They were extremely afraid because they couldn't believe He was alive again. But afterwards they even have meals and hung out together. Jesus is FULLY GOD and FULLY MAN at the same time. He was a perfect, unblemished human as He is today. This is doctrine.

So it is VERY possible that when He appears to a child He is very approachable. He is all powerful. But that doesn't take away from that He is the humble King.


He couldn't be any MORE approachable than He is in His word. He doesn't need to appear in any other form to get that across.

I agree with the previous commenter that God can choose to do whatever HE WANTS and will always surprise us.

Even if He contradicts His word?

If you think you are an exception then you can be deceived as well.

I have been deceived and can still be deceived, no doubt about it.

No one expected God to wipe out the earth with the flood until He did it. He never did it before.

You seem to be confused here. First there was plenty of reason for people to know in advance that the Flood was coming. It took Noah a hundred years to build the ark and all that time he preached God's judgments to them.

But you are also implying that just because the Bible reports on something that God did in the past that therefore similar things can still go on of the same magnitude and we can expect God to reveal them to us too. But this is exactly what God doesn't do now that the canon is closed. I believe He may speak to us in various ways even now, even in prophecy or other supernatural ways, about our own situations, but I don't think He's going to reveal anything new about Himself or heaven. That's what the Bible was for.

Oh well, I think I've said enough.

Anonymous said...

I disagree about the author of this articles position about ' scripture being enough' for true Christians. I work hard to stay in the word, but there are often times I am challenged or am unable to interpret the meaning of a passage or a chapter. There are numerous translations which change meanings slightly. If a good person is motivated to pray more, to accept Christ or to perform works for others, then why is it impossible to believe that God is using it as a tool to reach people. The bible is a collection of historic stories written over hundreds of years. Why cannot the 'stories' be continuing to evolve? I don't think you can believe Jesus Lives and say that his word is unchanged since his death?

Faith aka Connie said...

Could the Bible "evolve" in the direction of ideas that contradict it? That's what these stories are doing. They don't point people to salvation in Christ but to a false Christ.

I've got a blog on the Bible versions problem because I believe our having so many different "translations" is a disaster for truth and for the Church because it encourages exactly your attitude. The Bible is and must be our only solid foundation, for judging these heaven stories as well as everything else.

Anonymous said...

Just read all of the blog and comments for the "Heaven" issue discussed. Just finished "The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven" and found it very inspirational! Unlike the host of this blog, I did read the book in its entirety and found that Alex and his father stress throughout the book that it is about God. Not some demonic entity impersonating God, but our living God who can do all things. Including giving a little boy hope, a calling, and an inspirational message to pass on to others who may be waivering in their faith.
As for the books of the Bible, yes, there are 66 books in our present day Bible. However, there are other books associated with and written by other people mentioned in our modern day Bible. They also give insight into who God was, is and will be, just as others give insight into who Jesus was, is, and will be. The Lord has been dealing with me personally and I have been instructed to look at the "bigger picture". I see the bigger picture here as being the idea that if even ONE person is inspired by these stories to take that ONE step toward Jesus, my Lord and Savior, and salvation, than the purpose for writing these books has accomplished something good. I do not disregard your arguement that demonic forces are involved in anything! However, we are instructed to come to the Lord and He will make the changes in us if we only take Him into our hearts. Do we need to be dicerning? YES! But as a new Christian, we must learn to crawl before we walk. The Lord deals with EACH AND EVERY ONE OF US based on our individual needs!

It does disturb me personally that you have based your blog on the "reviews" of others and not personally read the material. To me that would be like sitting in A church, listening to A pastor and never verifying anything that was preached with the Word. There are pastors out there who have based their sermans on one "key word" from A Bible, whether it be the KJV, NIV, etc. Guess what, that is a very dangerous thing to do! Why? Because the Word of God is as a whole, just as God is all encompassing. God is all things and all things belong to God. These statements may mean totally different things to different people, based on their understanding of God and their need at the time. Peoples needs change and so does their understanding. Just as we have Biblical accounts of visits to heaven, the accounts are based on the individuals skills and abilities to describe and document.

I urge you to read the books before you post ANYTHING about them. I believe that would be the honest and right thing to do in God's eyes.

May God Bless you and Keep you!

Faith aka Connie said...

If there is enough material available describing the book's content, quoting it and so on there is really no need to read it to recognize it as deceptive. But as a matter of fact I did finally get around to reading it and my blog based on that is up today. You might also be interested to know that Beth Malarkey, Alex's mother, does not agree with the book.

If the book gives a false idea of God and heaven, which it does, what "good" is it actually doing? It is misleading people to put their trust in a false revelation rather than in the Bible.

I'm actually glad to find out that Beth and her son aren't responsible for the book. Now whether the father Kevin also repudiates it or not I don't yet know.

wingedlion said...

Having died, and been brought back to life myself, I will have to agree with the Burpo's. I am somewhat concerned about makeing demons more powerful then God though, I believe this is the work of a Satanist infiltrtor, and not a "concerned Christian". This is a faith destroyer, not a faith builder.

Faith aka Connie said...

Hello Wingedlion,

Did God allow Satan to deceive our first parents? Has He allowed him to deceive countless millions across the world and down the millennia who are enslaved to false religions? If so, why wouldn't He allow demons to deceive us still if we believe things contrary to the Bible? What sort of "faith" is it that is built on false experiences?

I can't judge your experience since you don't describe it, but the Burpo boy brought back descriptions of supposed occurrences in "heaven" that contradict the Bible. I cover this more in a more recent post on this subject than I do in this one.

Christians CAN be deceived and "supernatural" experiences are apparently an all-too-easy way for the devil to accomplish this these days.

Anonymous said...

Hi Bob. I must address Heidi Baker and International House of Prayer. Umm Heidi Baker stems straight out of Toronto Blessing (FALSE) "revival" where they were barking like dogs, howling like wolves...all under the guise of the "Holy Spirit". The manifestations of not only the animal sounds but the twitching, shaking, convusling, oh and lets not forget the "spiritual drunkeness", are NOT Biblical but resemble Hinduism rather than Biblical chrisianity.

I came out of the charismatic movement, I saw it first hand. And if you are in it, I pray you get out! I attended one of Baker's meetings and literally the whole time she rolled around on the floor laughing saying how in love she was with Jesus. The same manifestations can be seen at International House of Prayer, Bill Johnson's Bethel, Rick Joyner's Morning Star and on and on.

2 Corinthians 9 speaks very much on "another Jesus...another spirit". The Bible commands us to test the spirits. To assume something is christian just cause it sounds, smells, feels good or cause humanitarian works are done, but yet much of the doctrines dont like up with scripture is misguided.

Scott Perry said...

Scripture teaches us to, "judge them by their fruits". It also teaches us that "the fruit of the spirit is love". I will judge
Colton's experience in this way.

Truth seeker said...

I had to stop reading this half way through... when we close our minds to everything. Everything except what only we as individual people believe can be possible. We have already eliminated any possibilities beyond our narrow views. Some people call it ignorance. Science.. Skepticism.... Pick your flavour.

I have only read the story of Colton. While I personally believe we all have a little doubting Thomas in us, I also believe we all have the ability of Faith and somewhat righteousness. I believe in the glory of God, I believe in Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Personally I dont believe demons would be going around telling people that the only way into heaven is through Jesus Christ. It does not fit in my mind. But thats just my personal belief.

When we talk in the flesh as though we personally have the definite answers , when we most definately do not.. Well, this is much scarier then a little boy telling of an experience in Heaven.

Personally I understand that both a little boy couldnt exactly convey or understand a heavenly experience as neither could a grown man. (Excluding Jesus) . We are just not capable of complete understanding here on Earth in my mind.

Divisions are built off of perceived definate beliefs and personal interpretations. Some would even interperate that this path to division is the great liars best weapon. So focused on the argument that we miss the fellowship. The disputes historically leading to war and corruption.

As youve said, we are all fallen. We are all only men. Question each other, yes of course. But only the Heavens contain pure Truth ;)

May God guide you in your search for it.

Bless.


Faith aka Connie said...

My standard for judgment is and was clearly presented here as the Bible, an objective standard, "Truth seeker," what's yours? Sounds like it's some kind of personal fleshly made-up notion about the "Heavens" but if it is in contradiction with the Bible, which all my arguments aim to show, then it is a bogus standard you need to rethink.

Apparently people with little or no grounding in the Bible come across these books and read with unquestioning credulity. Why, just because they purport to reveal something about the unseen world? As if there were no such thing as Satan, no such thing as deception in such things.

We are told to "test the spirits," not gullibly swallow everything that comes down the pike calling itself spiritual revelation.

I'll say it again, all the sincerity of Colton cannot prove the truth of his experience, and his parents, apparently true Christians, should have known better.

Faith aka Connie said...

To Scott Perry:
You say you will judge Colton by the standard of love, which is of course required of all of us, but you seem to fail to recognize that the Bible is the source of that standard and ALSO the source of the information about heaven that falsifies the reports of these children.

Judging them by God's love, I have no reason to doubt the truth of their accounts as having really happened as they describe them, but nevertheless they contradict Biblical truth in many ways that I have presented here.

I've argued from the Bible, but those who disagree with me don't address the Biblical standard at all, seeming to put their trust in their own emotional response to the books.

Anonymous said...

I am glad that someone is finally showing a little light on supposed "God encounters," as most encounters do not describe even closely what the real heaven is like. Visions, maybe some of them, but not "died and gone to heaven, then came back" encounters. HOWEVER, as for the matter of Akiane Kramarik's paintings and poetry, I absolutely must disagree with you. I have been friends with the Kramariks, especially Akiane, ever since I was in the 2nd grade. This is not even close to a demonic encounter. She does not paint for her own benefit, but gives almost all of the proceeds to Christian programs to benefit them. Moreover, I have personally witnessed her artwork and talent, as well as her faith. Though I do not agree with all of her beliefs (which I must point out, every single Christian to have ever lived, save Christ Himself, has had a wrong belief at some point in their lives about the Truth), she is most definitely a true Christian, and does not use her paintings for vain glory or money, but to spread the gospel of Christ to ALL. One last point, although I don't know what she saw in a vision as a child, but what I do know, she doesn't claim that her paintings are exact interpretations of the Risen King, but simply a close interpretation of what she believes he looks like. When my close relative, whom I will not name, as he does not want any of the glory to himself, but all to Jesus, met Akiane for the first time, she didn't think he was Jesus, but an answer to her prayers, as she had been praying for a model she could use to try and portray her vision of the Risen Saviour. That picture she painted was using my relative for an archetype of Jesus, because none have seen Jesus's face in his risen form that are still alive today. In conclusion, don't judge Akiane because she is an imperfect human being like all the rest of us, but give God the glory that He can even use "the least of these," even the little children to spread His Gospel to all corners of the world.

Faith aka Connie said...

Thank you very much for writing about your personal knowledge of Akiane. I have to point out, however, that being a Christian is not a matter of doing good works.

I don't doubt that Akiane is a likeable and kind and giving girl, but being a Christian is something else that she lacks completely, which is a knowledge of salvation through Christ, a knowledge of herself as a sinner for whom Christ died. Jesus Christ is God Himself who became a man and died to pay for our sins. This is something one knows through the Bible alone, and the Bible also doesn't figure in Akiane's ideas about God and Jesus.

There is not one iota of Jesus as Lord and Savior from our sins in anything I've read about Akiane. What she presents, as I say in my post, is a New Age idea of Jesus, not the true Biblical Jesus at all.

Matti said...

Hello Faith,

I just read the book "Heaven is for Real" which I got as a Christmas present. I live in Finland, the book has been recently published in Finnish. The book's message led to some questions about whether there is something on this subject on the internet, and I found your blog. In your comment of June 06, 2011, you say

The question is whether this mercy and love were shown in accord with what God has revealed in his word and my conclusion is that they were not. The devil comes as an angel of light, his aim is always to imitate God, you know, show lots of mercy and love, but he always leaves signs of his own work. The trivializing demeaning images of God and Jesus in these stories show the experience is not genuine.

My question is, how does Colton's experience fight against the Scriptures? You claim to defend the Scriptures. I have read every comment here but you never cite anything from the book discussed or from the Bible so as to really show us how they are conflicting. I do not see any conflict when Colton tells that he saw Jesus' wounds, or when he tells that Jesus was sitting at the right hand of God, or when Colton tells that Jesus said to him He died on the cross for us so that we can enter the kingdom of God, or when Colton tells that there is never dark in heaven and God and Jesus are the sources of light there, or when he tells that Jesus took him, a little child, in His arms. As far as I understand, all this is fully in line with the Scriptures.

I also wonder how a little boy can describe God or Jesus or anything in heaven in any other way than somehow trivializing or childishly. He has not yet learned the vast vocabulary or developed the way of thinking needed to tell something that is even beyond understanding of grown-ups.

Apostle Paul says, "When I was child I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child". This is what Colton does.

In the book of Revelation, John describes Jesus in many ways, often saying He was "like" something. Ezekiel, as well, saw "a figure like that of a man", or "he was like fire" or "he stretched out what looked like a hand" etc. These men of God could not exactly tell how it is like in heaven, or how those heavenly creatures look like. Colton says things as he sees them, using the words he has, simply and sincerely.

It is possible that Colton's experience was intended just for his own family, but it can also work as encouragement for others. I cannot see the story fighting against the main doctrines of the Bible. I do not fear that this kind of story could somehow substitute the Scriptures or lead us astray from the Bible.

Anonymous said...

I have read this blog topic completely after setting out to discover if others were also uneasy with these books. I must say that originally I was very touched by both, but kept having thoughts that something just wasn't right.

I do agree with your conclusions and also lean toward the thought that while at first, on the surface, these might appear to be God; they are actually the devil trying to deceive.

My questions were put to rest after I found and read the following blog "The Burpo-Malarkey Doctrine" www.gty.org/blog/B121018 which references Proverbs 30:4 and John 3:13 and reads as follows:

We know this with absolute certainty, because
Scripture definitively says that people do not go to
heaven and come back: "Who has ascended to
heaven and come down?" (Proverbs 30:4). Answer:
"No one has ascended into heaven except he who
descended from heaven, the Son of Man" (John
3:13, emphasis added). All the accounts of heaven
in Scripture are visions, not journeys taken by dead
people. And even visions of heaven are very, very
rare in Scripture. You can count them all on one
hand.

Thanks for sharing your concerns regarding these books. I will not be going to see the movie.

I would be interested in your thoughts regarding the movie "God's Not Dead".


Faith aka Connie said...

Thank you for your comment. Of course I agree with you and the reference to Proverbs 30:4 makes an interesting point.

I haven't seen "God's Not Dead" though my impression from reviews and ads is that while it may make some good arguments for Christians it's not likely to reach unbelievers, who are often familiar with that sort of argument and already rejected it. Of course I'd like to be wrong and maybe there are some it could reach.

CARMEN LAMAIZON said...

mmm...so here we are today..Jan 15/2015 and Alex has just apologized, because his story is NOT true!! :(