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.

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


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?