Monday, March 4, 2013

Reading "The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven" finally

UPDATE:  The mother of the boy of the book title disclaims all connection with the book.

After writing the post below I found Beth Malarkey's blog and was very interested to see that she denies any connection with the book about her son's experiences of heaven and in fact disagrees with it.  She is very clear on at least one page I read there that she's quite content with what the Bible has to say about heaven and doesn't support extrabiblical revelations. 

This of course makes me want to know the whole story, the true story.  How does such a book get written against the beliefs and feelings of the people involved?

Unfortunately the poor woman has been plagued by people who have read the book and want to talk to Alex, apparently thinking he's some kind of seer with words of wisdom to impart.

In one of her blog posts she says she called the ninistry Grace to You and had a good conversation with Phil Johnson who had written an article about the phenomenon of heaven books.  The link above goes to that article.

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April 28:  Thanks to Beth who found this blog and wrote a nice comment on it, below. 
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This book is promoting deception

I got another comment on one of my "heaven" stories posts, complaining that I hadn't read the book about Alex Malarkey, saying how inspiring the book is.  Well, as a matter of fact I got the book some time ago and had been meaning to read it, and finally now I am reading it.

My first impression is that these are Christian people, living for Christ, living by faith, intending to give glory to God in all things, telling the truth as they know it.  They lived through the tragedy of their son's becoming a quadriplegic at age six in a car accident, who should have died but survived against all odds and seems to be a happy person and a witness for Christ some nine years later.  Hundreds if not thousands of people from their own church and other churches prayed for Alex right after the accident.  The story is a wonderful testimony of the rallying of Christians to help in tragedy through prayer and practical means.

It IS good to know all this.  I believe they are sincere people who came through a terrible tragedy.

The part I have a problem with is Alex's experiences of visiting heaven, and of angels and demons that were continuing in his life years after the accident.

I don't doubt that he had and has such experiences, I just have huge doubts as to their source and their purpose.  I also don't WANT to have these doubts.  I wish I could just believe it's all true and means exactly what it is understood to mean by the people involved with Alex, because NOT believing it all as written raises questions that are very disturbing.

If you don't think too hard about it the images aren't in themselves unbelievable but you do have to not think.  Pure white angels with wings, beautiful colors in Heaven, the presence of Jesus when comfort is needed.  What's unbelievable, really, comes from the knowledge that the only experiences of heaven described in scripture were given to a very few, Isaiah and Ezekiel of God's Old Testament prophets, and Paul and John in the New Testament.  It makes no sense that God would give such experiences to anyone since then, least of all to completely unknown children.

The book does quote scripture including warnings to trust scripture over experience among other very good teachings.  You can't really fault any way scripture is quoted and interpreted.  Nevertheless the experiences reported by Alex aren't in accord with scripture. 

IF the experiences are not from God why would God allow them to occur to a young boy who as far as anyone could possibly judge from the story was truly born again at the time?

That is a disturbing question, but all I can say is I have to remain disturbed about it because I can't just believe that God DID give these experiences.  There are too many things that bother me about them.

God.  "No man has seen God at any time" says Scripture.  But Alex saw "God" as a very large man, but only his body, not his face, the idea being that you can't see God's face and live.  Is this what Scripture is saying?  I haven't studied all the references enough to know, but it doesn't "feel" right that you could see PART of God and not the rest of him.  But what's more disturbing is that Scripture says "God is a Spirit" yet Alex says he saw his BODY.  The only bodily form God appears in is Jesus Christ.

Alex also claims to have actually talked with "God" in an undecipherable language, like "speaking in tongues" which was heard by others in the room.  This "talking" would go on for some time apparently.

Although "Jesus" is said to have been present in a few situations he is mostly just a reassuring presence and tells Alex he's going to be fully healed.  Is this really Jesus Christ?

What about angels being all white and having wings?  In Scripture there are cherubims that have six wings, and seraphims that have four wings, but there is no mention of angels having wings as such.  Angels, such as Gabriel, appear as men, and are not described as having wings. 

I've heard stories of some people who have experienced what must have been angels but they look like ordinary men.  I believe they were angels from the context of the story, such as the woman who survived being in one of the towers when the planes hit on 9/11.  A "man" held a door open for her and others who were trying to escape.  He was the only person she saw that day who smiled.  He told her she was going to be all right.  She didn't realize until much later that he must have been angel.  I think she had to be right about that.

Bill McLeod, who was pastor of a Canadian church that experienced a big revival in the 70s, described being in South America with his wife during those years, for some ministry purpose but without addresses or any way to connect with the people they were to meet as the information had never reached them, and on two occasions total strangers gave them the information they needed, one even leaning forward on a bus to tell them which stop to get off at.  Total stranger.  Had to be an angel.

These angels didn't have wings.  Neither did Gabriel or Michael in the scripture.  Why do Alex's angels have wings?

And so many in Alex's room?  Why so many?  The only time many angels appear in scripture at once is as warriors fighting for the whole nation of Israel.

Which brings up another question.  Alex also sees "demons" and Satan himself at times.  But the angels don't seem to be present at those times, which is odd since supposedly angels protect us from demons.  In scripture Michael the angel who is in charge of Israel fights off Satan's hordes. 

And another thing.  "Michael" is depicted in Alex's vision as sitting near the throne of God writing down things that happen on earth.  Michael who is the Protector of Israel?  Something is wrong here.

Also Satan is depicted as ugly in the extreme, bony, with three heads and fire for hair and flaming eyes and so on and so forth.  Alex says he never appears any other way.  Also the demons are ugly and have fire for hair.

But Satan "appears as an angel of light" says scripture.  And if nothing else pagan religions have images of demons that take many different forms, from ferocious and ugly to beautiful and apparently benign, and sometimes their practitioners experience such beings too. 

What is going on here?

If someone reading this book takes all these images at face value won't they be likely to think all pretty supernatural beings are friendly and couldn't possibly be evil entities?  Wouldn't that be a deception that would mislead them into trusting beautiful-appearing but actually evil beings?

What is going on here?

43 comments:

beth malarkey said...

Thank you for your post. What is being packaged as truth is disturbing. Praise God for discernment, His infallible word, and common sense!

Faith aka Connie said...

Thank you so much for your comment, Beth, I'm glad you are pleased with my post.

Anonymous said...

I have seen your husband Kevin talk in churches telling the same storty of the book. I do not understand why you do not agree with it now. As I understand Kevin is the author of the book. I you knew it to be a false story, why did you allow your husband to write it and promote it? Please explain. it is very confusing.....

Advocateeve said...

I believe Alex and there is a spirit world I live near San Bernardino Ca and satan is trying to take over our city our pastor has casted out many demons, like Alex said Satan is a liar and he and his demons try to mess with people. One who is truly born again will have the discernment to know light from darkness. amazing book - @advocateeve

Anonymous said...

Beth is now recanting the stories as not true due to the fact that Kevin has left her because of her crazy bible thumping attitude. She is mad that he is not giving her more of the money since it was her idea to write a book. In fact she is the one who put all of the images in Alex's head since he was born. She thought that it should have been her name and Alex's on the cover of the book but their agent thought it would be better to use the dad angle due to him not being the heavy duty spiritual one. Because it was all her idead and she has lost control of it she is going around saying it was not true. Her new agent has told her to be careful what she say because of possible libel actions and is getting her set up to put out her own book. I know more about the inside info if anyone is interested. I am friends with the nurse that introduced her to her new agent who is her cousins BIL.
I know it all and have even sat in on meetings with beth and the agent,

Faith aka Connie said...

Ah well, things are rarely what they seem, but I don't want to get into a discussion of people's motives on such a personal level. It's wearying and too hard to arrive at a fair judgment. You always have people misunderstanding each other in ways that require a lot of care to sort out, and it's just not where I want to go with my blog. As Christians we all owe each other grace and charity, to put the best construction on each other's motivations. Let's leave it at that.

Whatever the facts may be on that level, the revelations of "heaven" in the book are unfortunately not biblical and that's what matters here.

Faith aka Connie said...

Advocateeve: Yes, someone with the gift of discerning of spirits should be able to discern the truth about these extrabiblical revelations of "heaven" such as Alex Malarkey's and Colton Burpee's. But discerning of spirits isn't whatever a person feels about these things, it has to accord with the Bible or it's bogus. These heaven stories are all extrabiblical revelations that CONTRADICT the Biblical record in many ways, which my posts have all aimed to demonstrate, so any purported discerning of spirits that accepts them is false.

Again, the standard of judgment must be the Bible, but those who are accepting of these stories disregard the many ways the Bible shows them to be false.

Christal said...

I am sure glad that we serve a God who is in the healing business. I just got done reading the book. I am at the point where there are at least three sides to every story. In this case ... 4. Beth Malarkey. Kevin Malarkey. Alex Malarkey. The Truth.

Surely we know that with his sustained injuries, God had to heal him because there was no other way for that to happen physically. it oculd only be done in the spiritual realm with supernatural help.

I don't understand why people are bad mouthing Beth about this. True, everyone has their own opinion, but Beth has feelings as well. Judge not, lest ye be judged. it's up to God to punish whoever is not bringing forth the entire truth.

Beth I love you and my heart goes out to you. I pray and pray for your family. God bless you.

Diane said...

I notice now that Beth Malarkey's blog is only open to invited readers.

so sorry for all of the controversy. I started out looking at this because the "Heaven is For Real" story has gotten a lot of attention. I am a pastor, and am working with parents whose 24 year old daughter just died.

I don't know if stories like this help, or hurt. There are some things that we do not understand in this life. That is why it is called 'faith.'

Faith aka Connie said...

Thanks for your comment, Diane. Surely Christians can know that a believing daughter who died is with the Lord without extrabiblical revelations about a heaven that contradicts the Biblical revelations of heaven.

Christian faith is grounded on the Biblical revelation, it's not a wild leap into the unknown.

Bryguy84 said...

Good Morning I follow Grace to you also and I enjoy what John Macarthur has to say about Heaven and Discernment. Reading your thoughts are encouraging. We are praying for you and your son.

Anonymous said...

I've read many such stories over the years. Some by ministers and others by "regular" people. At the end of the day, you have to stick with God's Word and rely upon your personal relationship with Him. He'll provide you with whatever you need in your life. No need to rely upon the experiences of others to guide you. And as is always the case, when you look to people instead of God Himself, you're heading down the road to disappointment.

Faith aka Connie said...

You are quite right about being guided by people rather than the word of God. It's hard to fathom how so many who apparently consider themselves to be Christians could fall into that, but these books sell awfully well. This is not only dangerous for the individual, but I hate to think of the sad state of the Church in general when there are so many who follow such things.

GaebLiliAngelRemiMOM said...

The rather the biblical aspect is real or fake I am currently reading the book and I would just like to know how he is doing now. I am a young single motherof 4 my oldest is mentally & physically handicap and my baby(4 months) has been diagnosed with the same syndrome and the book touches my heart more with all the prayer warriors who were always around and are still around praying for him! Its beautiful but I would like to know updates on how he is doing

GaebLiliAngelRemiMOM said...

Regardless of if the spiritual aspect of the story is true the story of what happened and the many prayer warriors is beautiful! I am a single mother of 4 with my oldest(6yrs) being mentally&physically handicap and my youngest(4months) being diagnosed with the same thing I could only hope to encounter so many willing warriors to pray daily for the haeling of my sons bodies! I have to agree with it not being biblical especially when it has also been said that satan was attractive & not hideous and that's how he decieves people so I do love the story I cry page by page but I don't read into the heaven aspect of it.

Faith aka Connie said...

Yes, it was very touching how many people prayed for the boy, and it's good to affirm that part of the story. I think you may be able to write Beth Malarkey an email at her blog. I understand the blog is now private but she would probably be willing to write to someone with your concern.

D. Eric Williams said...

You all may be interested in this critique.

http://www.amazon.com/Truth-About-Came-Back-Heaven-ebook/dp/B0063MR3EU/ref=sr_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1385779208&sr=1-4&keywords=d.+eric+williams

Faith aka Connie said...

Thanks, Eric, I glanced through the ad and may download the book later. Seems you could use a positive review there too. If the book is truly Bible-based as you say it is, that does not speak well for today's Christians, does it?

beth malarkey said...

Connie,
I have not been on your blog for quite sometime but having come back on here, I plan to revisit and read. Thank you!!! I too listened to the Strange Fire Conference and am so thankful for the courage of those choosing to stand and fight for truth. I will say that I have taken my blog down from time to time for various reasons. I never started the blog thinking I would have to try to defend my child, myself, or God's truth on it. I will let anonymous know,(an anonymous posted a very nasty comment on my blog) that I do not have an agent, do not have nurses to have had some meeting about an agent and that I am recanting the stories because they are not true or more importantly, Biblically accurate! How the book got to the point it is at...much deception, manipulation, and evil!
Thank you again Connie for this blog and your writings. May we all seek the truth in the infallible Word of God and let it be sufficient as it is!
Beth

Faith aka Connie said...

Hi Beth, I'd been wondering how things have been going for you. Someone at the Strange Fire Conference did mention hearing from you, I forget who now. I've been kind of preoccupied myself lately and not even keeping up my blogs very well, but I'm very pleased to hear from you again. Thank you for your interest in my blogs, and I hope you and Alex are doing well.

Blessings in our Lord,
Connie

Anonymous said...

I started reading the malarkey book and ended up feeling the story was all about the dad and his efforts to make himself be able to live with what had happened to his son. So I started looking for where Alex is now and found all this controversy. This is very sad for the focus is and should always be on the hell this child has gone through and is going through. Whether or not he has seen or said things that may or may not be true is irrelevant - the degree of suffering he has endured in his short life would send most people mad. My heart breaks for him and I am praying that God will completely heal him and change the natural outcome of his circumstances.

Faith aka Connie said...

Thank you for your very sensitive comment on this sad situation. I think you may be right about the father's main motives. It's too bad he wrote such an unbiblical account because that must be answered, and that is what keeps the controversy alive.

askforpray said...

The question is .. what is the truth. Has Alex visited heaven? What was Alex side of the story.

Chuck Worstell said...

I have not read this book so I do not claim to know its contents other than what I've read from these comments and critics. With so many things that conflict with the bible, I would say that there may be some fiction mixed in with the accounts that may or may not have taken place. What I do know is that it is all irrelevent. Knowing what heaven and it's hosts look like means nothing if you don't know Jesus. If you know Jesus, you know the best part of heaven already. I get so frustrated at times when people want to debate creation or end times or even what heaven and hell looks like. None of the above are relevent to our salvation. Repent of your sins, accept Jesus into your lives, live as though He lives in you (as He does if you are saved) and when it is your time or HIS time, you are prepared to go and be with Jesus. As beautiful as I can imagine heaven is, I cannot imagine it exceeding the glory of God. I think it's safe to say that the gates carved from a single pearl, the walls of jasper, or even streets of gold will all pale in comparison to my God. We need to stop being so concerned about our rewards in the next life and worry about being a blessing to others in this one. When we do, heaven will be there waiting.

Dr. Ken Burkett said...

My own sister had a brief so-called "out-of-body-experience" when she was a little girl. Though her OBE did not involve a trip to heaven, she says that in every way it SEEMED real; however, she does not claim that it actually WAS real. After all, she was a little girl who had just suffered trauma to her head! At any rate, I am a minister with a Ph.D. in Biblical interpretation, and I have an entire sermon devoted to why I remain skeptical of all these supposed trips to heaven, if anyone would care to hear it. It is at the following URL: http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=101711125906

Faith aka Connie said...

Thank you very much pastor Burkett, I listened to most of your sermon and you make good biblical points. I'm going to post it at the top of my blog and hear the rest later.

Paige Brittain said...

I am trying to renew my faith in God, whom i love very much. I have read Heaven is for Real and am know reading Alex's story. I just happen to google his name and all I see is how none of it is true but I cant seem to find out why. This is very disturbing to me. If it is not true then what is the truth!!!! Will someone please let me know.

Faith aka Connie said...

Paige, these stories are not true because there is so much about them that contradicts the Bible. All you need to know is the Bible, that's God's message to us, and anything that contradicts it is false. We can thank God for giving us His word as our standard so we can judge such things as these books. You need to get to know God through His word. I pray you will find Him there.

Anonymous said...


Beth,
My heart and prayers go out to you and your family. I did get the movie from the library not realizing it was about a real boy. I used to work EMS but blow my back out lifting a big patient and had to get surgery. I could not move my legs for 3 days. One thing from that movie I got was a boy who had a life changing event at such a young age but found time to smile. I would like to know if I can help you in anyway. I feel a connection to Alex maybe because I have gone through a back surgery in 86 and a titanum plate in my neck from a car accident in 2001 and one in my wrist. I know this is tough mentally and physically on you and Alex. I would like to help with his medical and send you 500 dollars. Alex did not get a fair hand in life but he deserve medical help.. I am on disabiliry myself and a modest income. But Alex deserve a chance. I am trying to think of ways to raise money to help him. I believe in the power of prayer and will pray for a way to help and for you and your family. I guess one good thing that came from that movie is it made me aware a now young 16 year old who needs people to make donations to help him get his needs met. You can contact me at data625@aol.com. I never give out my personal information but my heart tells me to reach out to you and Alex. I've never posted on this and it wants me to post a profile.For me I have my own personal relationship with God. I just listen to my heart and dont't let people get in my head with their interpretations of the bible. A lit of people that read the bible to me are well I will keep my opinion to myself. Dee

Anonymous said...

I follow burpo and alex's story and there are so many controversies..dont know why the world has made up of all these misleading and guidance. I watched alex's life and i feel sorry for what the family has been going through.

Hi Beth, ive read many of your comment saying that the book doesnt reflect the story of alex's experience. Could you in your belief..let me know if u feel he really did visited heaven?

Anonymous said...

When God does not make sense by James Dobson is a good book

Faith aka Connie said...

Not sure who that comment about Dobson's book was addressed to, but it would be more helpful if you said what's good about it in this context.

Lemelia Johnson Bonner said...

There is a lot of bizarre, silly thinking in a lot of these posts, especially when it comes to judging one thing based on another thing (as in a transcendent experience versus scripture). One has to fully accept something before making a comparison to something else, and that initial blind acceptance is often completely arbitrary or the result of unconscious indoctrination. If you star a sentence with, "It makes no sense that..." you are demonstrating an arrogance and egocentricity you're probably not even aware of. You're relying upon your own understanding and your own snippet of knowledge about sacred writings (many of which have been consciously purged, destroyed, or altered for political reasons), consciousness, the nature of being, the universe, and the source of all things. That's crazy! It's really nuts. Just love God, love all of God's creation, and stop analyzing other people's experiences. We're all on a journey, and it's not ever going to be the same for everyone. Furthermore, no experience is 'right' or 'wrong', it just IS. Quit comparing. You're be a lot more content.

Faith aka Connie said...

Sure, if you don't regard the Bible as God's inerrant word anything's possible, you can make up your own God and believe whatever you want about any old supernatural manifestation.

Problem is that God did give us His word for the very purpose of keeping us from trusting in our own foolish opinions about such things, and I'm trying to base everything on that word. What's arrogant is trusting your own feelings and impressions over His word, but oh well.

The authors of the two books about the experiences of the little boys claim to be Bible-based Christians who should know better, and as far as my comments go in general, my blog IS Bible-based and I try to give you the view from that perspective.

Thanks for your comment.

Mike and ... said...

I've had the book on my shelf for a long time but, for whatever reason, took it down and read it just this week. I found it to be not that well-written (lots of repetition) yet inspiring. I would not venture to judge the content except to say that it is provocative if nothing else. I was sorry to hear of the demise of Kevin and Beth's marriage but I guess it should not be surprising, considering the massive stress all of them have been through. I would be interested to hear updates bout Alex and the rest of the family and how they are doing. There seems to be little info available, although that too is understandable for the sake of privacy. Beth, if you see this, remember, Kevin said a lot of positive things about you in the book; I'm sure he wasn't wrong on that. Blessing upon you all, especially in the new year.
Mike

Faith aka Connie said...

Hello Mike and, thanks for your comment. Sorry it took so long to get it posted, I've been away.

If you wouldn't venture to judge the content of the book, I have to suppose the Bible isn't your authority or rule of life, or you don't really know the Bible.

I continue to be saddened to find that there are so few people who know how to judge these accounts of heaven which are in contradiction with the biblical portrait of heaven.

Anonymous said...

I don't buy her story that she didn't know. I think it's sad. I looked at her blog. I have a critically ill child and I saw her thank someone who sent her a comment about that book and how it helped them. She could have went to the publisher in the beginning went to the news. Instead she writes bible quotes and writes stories. Than she post an article of being careful of witness accounts of people who have went to heaven. She is a spoof to me. I am sorry for her son. I have been through to much with my child and seen to many suffer and loose their children to even entertain her godly antidotes. Just because you write scriptures and act godly doesn't erase what you did and what you hide. Your husband or estranged husband whatever he is did it and she didn't speak up. Sorry but I can't stomach this woman at all.

Anonymous said...

I'm coming to this conversation late, but I am glad so many are politely disagreeing with the message in the book. I have read or heard of many "heaven accounts" and not only do they contradict the Bible, they are also completely different from each other.

I read one that did not even have a proper knowledge of the Biblical portrayal of heaven - he was surprised by an aspect that's clearly spelled out in the Bible - and he was a pastor!

There are so many others, especially Christians, who insist all such trips are real and who think I would take comfort in such things. When they put all their faith into something so intangible, and insist I need to believe it too, it makes me angry and sad. I've been struggling with my faith and these "heaven accounts" are just one reason among many.

To be honest I'm thankful that they're saying it's fake. Unfortunately for them, I no longer believe heaven accounts with the exception of what's in the Bible (the Biblical accounts mesh across the Old and New Testaments anyway). It's part of what's turning out to be a long journey back for me, and I'm thankful at least one has now been disproved.

Anonymous said...

There is a reason as Christians that we have a responsibility to be honest, in our walk, and in our testimony of Christ. Mature Christians may be able to read this book, receive the inspiration it provides, and move. However, the less mature Christian and the non-believe might read this book to be a true account of our spiritual interaction with Christ. When it doesn’t line up with Scripture; and when the author comes back and says its not true, that can be devastating to the faith and the walk of the non-believer or the less mature Christian. Even if the end goal of this book was to draw more folks to Christ, the fact that is not true, negates all of that. This whole situation just reminds me that Satan is the father of lies and confusion. Even if this were done with good intentions, obedience is better than sacrifice. And our obedience is to the Word of God and His call to honesty and love. The Spirit and truth will draw those as God determines. We don't need to add or subtract anything from that.

Anonymous said...

I think that when you're in a coma on some level you hear.think of all those people praying at the beginning.I think he heard them and incorporated them into a vision.now he's older he doesn't like the attention that has brought.I get the impression this is a bad divorce and the book and royalties have become involved.typical dad though creates a huge mess and buggers off.incredibly when bringing Alex home from the hospital he is still on the phone whilst driving how did he miss that lesson?

Anonymous said...

Can't seem to load this site....

Faith aka Connie said...

Your link didn't come through to the Amazon ebook you recommended, The Truth about the Boy Who Came Back From Heaven by D. Eric Williams. I am posting that much information although I can't tell if the book is a good read or not. You say nothing about the content of the book and the reviews at Amazon do nothing to help me out. If you'd like to try to describe it better, please post again.
Thanks

Patricia said...

To Beth and Alex...
Yes! This book has been a discredited to our Lord, but I sense some beautiful and undeniable fruits as well. I've just recently read the book, and some of your testimonies on the Internet so I'm sort of a "newbie" here. But as I listened to you speak, Beth, and read Alexs' letter I sensed that God is sustaining you and the Holy Spirit is comforting and guiding you.
The beginning of the book, brought tears in my eyes as I read about the support you received from the Body of Christ...the church. Even if that was grossly inflated, there must have been miracles abounding during that anointed time, although out this amazing journey.
Don't give up, don't despair...your story isn't over yet...there will be a victory. God will not allow this travesty to be the final word. Take courage and know in your heart God will supply your needs.