Are You Testing “Heaven Is For Real” According To Scripture?

It seems that we are living in times where many Christians today are just simply taking in everything that looks inspirational, without question, as long as it makes them feel good.  I believe that it is getting worse and worse, and nothing has been better illustrative than the excitement to go see something that has come out of Hollywood, and without question, believe that it is going to be a good thing for everyone!  Nothing was more illustrative of an incredible lack of discernment and good judgment than the latest Hollywood disaster (in biblical terms) than Noah.  It was not even close to being a good rendition of the Bible account of Noah and the flood- yet undiscerning Christians flocked to it, and most likely walked away disappointed.

When will some Christians start understanding that if it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, it is NOT necessarily a duck- unless you know what is in the product!

I understand that many non-believers and even naïve young Christians (young in the faith) might be excited about such movies, and go to them, enjoy them, and come away excited and even encouraged about the afterlife.  That is quite understandable.  What bothers me is how supposedly mature, Bible-believing Christians, especially pastors and other leaders, are encouraging people to go to the movie, without checking out the claims of the young man and seeing whether they clash with Scripture in any way.  What would be more disturbing I suppose is if a Christian leader knows that this movie is very dubious, and recommends it anyway.  The emotional value of a movie it seems might be a very influential factor that perhaps clouds an otherwise mature Christian’s judgment, and makes them set aside God’s word, in exchange for the emotional benefits from the story.

I listened to a portion of Sean Hannity’s radio show a few days ago, where he interviewed Colton Burpo, who is now 14 years old, and his father Todd Burpo.  Colton is the young man who claims that at four years old, while undergoing surgery, he went to heaven and experienced some incredible things, including meeting Jesus, his grandfather who he never knew, and his sister who he never met, because she had died while in her mothers womb.  The movie is opening nationwide this Wednesday, April 16, and I am sure it will make millions of dollars this week.

Do We Have Physical Bodies in Heaven Right After We Die?

In the interview, Colton was asked about the people he saw in heaven, and whether they have physical bodies or not, or whether it was just a spiritual thing.  He answered Sean Hannity and said that definitely everyone in heaven has their own physical body, and he was able to hug some people physically.  So he had no doubt that people that he met in heaven possess physical bodies.

Now, the important question: what does Scripture say about death, and about what happens after a Christian dies?

As a believer who is saved, Scripture says that after death we are taken into the presence of Christ.  To the thief on the cross, Jesus said: “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with me in Paradise” (Luke 23:43).  And on two separate occasions, Paul said the following regarding death and bringing us into Christ’s presence:

“But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better; yet to remain on in the flesh is more necessary for your sake.” (Philippians 1:23-24)


“Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord–for we walk by faith, not by sight–we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord. Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him.” (2 Corinthians 5:6-9)

Here’s where it gets “tricky”, in relation to Colton Burpo’s testimony.  I believe that when a Christian dies, his spirit/soul goes to be with the Lord- but not his physical body.

How do I know that?  Let’s see what Scripture says about this.

Paul says, in Romans 8:23, “And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.”

Then we have 1 Corinthians 15:50-54, 50 I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. 53 For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. 54 When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:  “Death is swallowed up in victory.”

And then 1 Thessalonians 14: 13-17, “But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. 14 For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. 15 For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord,4 that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.”

These two passages are describing believers being resurrected and given glorified bodies.

The question then follows here:

If believers go to be with Christ immediately after death, what is the purpose of this resurrection? It seems that while the souls/spirits of believers go to be with Christ immediately after death, the physical body remains in the grave “sleeping.” At the resurrection of believers, the physical body is resurrected, glorified, and then reunited with the soul/spirit. This reunited and glorified body-soul-spirit will be the possession of believers for eternity in the new heavens and new earth. (source, www.gotquestions.org)

And according to Revelation 20:11-15, those who died as unbelievers will also be resurrected just as the believer will be, but they will be eternally condemned to hell.  They will be resurrected to be judged at the Great White Throne Judgment. The Scriptures say that those judged are judged according “…to what they had done as recorded in the books” (Rev 20: 12). And v 13 says, “And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.” This answers the question: “What about the poor heathen who never heard?” They will be in this judgment.

Frankly, I don’t think a movie called “Hell is For Real” would have much appeal to people today, although if it followed Scripture, it could present the Gospel and show unbelievers where their destiny would be without Christ.

So it seems to me that Colton Burpo got it wrong.  The only other conclusion is that Scripture has it wrong, and what is described in the Bible is a mistake.  So you must choose: either believe Colton Burpo, or believe Scripture.

If Scripture is correct, what does that say of Colton’s testimony?  We already know of the other contradictions from his account that do not line up with Scripture.  What does a Bible-believing Christian do with the fact that much of Colton’s story is in opposition to the Bible?  What does one do with the fact that his claim to have gone to heaven is contradicted by God’s word?  Jesus told Nicodemus:

“No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven–the Son of Man.” John 3:13

I don’t often reference the NLT, but I believe it translates it most clearly: “No one has ever gone to heaven and returned. But the Son of Man has come down from heaven.”

Dear brothers and sisters, pastors, and youth leaders, you may think I am obsessed with yet another nitpicky thing.  Why should I ruin such a wonderful, inspiring and emotionally reassuring story? Why spoil people’s chances at getting a good feeling about life after death?  Why not let them have a modicum of comfort in their lives?  The answer is simple.  We must not accept anything just because it has the label of “Christian”, or because it feels good, or looks good, for the sake of temporary good feelings and comfort- if it goes against God’s Holy word.  Don’t you think that there are many more people in this world who could sit down and write an even more incredible story than Colton has written?  Would you believe them too?

Either Colton Burpo’s story must be rejected, or you must reject the veracity of Scripture.  You cannot have both.

Reference: https://reformednazarene.wordpress.com/2014/04/11/how-do-i-know-heaven-is-for-real/

Diaprax: How Most Christians Are Deceived Today And Become Blind To Truth

If, for example, you are attending a “church” that is taking or has taken polls, surveys, and feasibility studies to “grow” itself (the same method that is used in marketing to “make customers,” i.e. the same method used by Total Quality Management in the workplace, Common Core in education, etc.), it is trusting in the opinions of men, making man’s “feelings” and “thoughts” its head rather than the Lord God and His Word.  The dialectic lie, i.e. the great deception is that the “church” can “grown” itself (basing fellowship upon mans relationship with man—“and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.”  1 John 3:1).  The truth is the Lord only adds to the fellowship of believers by His Word being preached and taught as is and accepted as is and obeyed as is, i.e. un-tampered by “human reasoning,” i.e. un-perverted by the opinions of men.  The minister of the Lord feeds the sheep with the Word of God.  He does not contaminate it with the opinions of men as the wolf in sheep skin does. (Dean Gotcher, from www.authorityresearch.com)

So this is about the “how” and less about the “why” as to why so many Christians are being led down the wrong path and are either accepting the false as being true, or worse, are behaving in an “I know nothing, I see nothing” state of mind.  The “why” can be difficult to know, but we do know it is happening, and that is what is frightening.  Have you heard of the term “diapraxis?”

What is diapraxis? What is the Hegelian dialectic process? As best as I can explain, it is a dangerous process which is used  over and over again by many false teachers and corrupt pastors to convince undiscerning Christians that there is nothing wrong with what they are teaching them, and that perhaps there can be two differing points of view that can live right alongside each other in harmony.  It is a way of teaching that says we can get along fine and accept each other’s seemingly contradictory belief systems.  Dean Gotcher explains that the dialectic process means that “truth must be treated as an opinion.”  For example, the battle going on now between theistic evolutionists and Biblical creationists is a good example.  Many in the Nazarene denomination and other denominations make the argument that we can hold to either belief system and still have harmony within the church.  Many of these folks have been victims of diaprax, and they don’t even know it.

In this short video excerpt from Dean Gotcher’s seminar on diapraxis, he gives a brief explanation of the term, and also his testimony of how he managed to escape the dangers of worldly thinking and reasoning, and his return to complete trust in the Bible.  I encourage you to go the links at the end and watch his full seminar on this important topic.  It is probably the primary way that today’s false teachers and corrupt pastors are bringing great harm to the church.  Instead of standing completely on the full authority of God’s word, many foolish Christians are being swayed to “get along”, to seek “unity”, and to not cause division, and these diapraxers know exactly what they are doing.

I recall from the past five years what may be a classic example of diapraxis.  I recall one of them particularly, which is a bit frightening, and it is something that probably happens all the time to many undiscerning Christians, even longtime “mature’ Christians.  You see, I believe in what God says, and that there is no other option for me.  Some however are easily swayed by the words of man, and are led to compromise their faith in God and what He says.

It was my first public presentation on the emerging church, which happened in 2009.  I was invited to speak by the pastor at my current Nazarene church, (since retired), and whom I consider to have been very bold and courageous for asking me to come.  I spoke to a crowd of about 150 people, including quite a few from various churches in the area.  After the presentation, I was approached by several people; some came to compliment me, others had some questions.

It was then that an older Christian from my former church came up to me.  He was full of encouragement, and expressed his appreciation for my taking a stand against false teaching.  I was, needless to say, happy to have his support and hear his encouraging words.  But I was shocked and dismayed, when less than six months later, to hear of what seemed to be a turnaround for this longtime respected Christian in the church.  At my former church one Sunday, my brother passed out copies of my not so well-received front page article from The Good News Today, which essentially was the same thing I talked about months earlier.  As my brother recounted to me later about his experience, he told me how that gentleman, who had acknowledged the truthfulness of what I spoke, now had changed his mind somehow.  His very words regarding my article were something like, “that belongs in the garbage.”  I believe that over those six months, he had been “diapraxed”.

What makes people change their minds like that?  This gentleman never once called me to explain why he changed his mind.  He may not even be aware that I know what he said that day.  Was he concerned for me, that I was now in error, and that what I taught that day was totally wrong?  If so, why could he not approach me and correct me as a fellow believer is encouraged to do from the word of God? Did he not care about my spiritual well being enough to try to convince me, with the word of God, where I was wrong?

This is just one small example of many.  Over the past five years, I have received testimony from many Christians about how their fellow believers seemingly have turned on them, even when they acknowledged that they spoke the truth.  Some of these who have turned against them, in spite of the truth, have probably been “diapraxed.”  They have been taught that it is better to get along rather than keep your convictions about the word of God.  It is a dangerous place to be, because many have remained to this day in that state of mind.

Have you been diapraxed?  Have you been taught to ignore the truth, in exchange for “unity” and “fellowship?”
Please keep this Scripture passage in mind: “13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.  2 Cor. 11:13-15

I encourage you to bookmark these four sessions by Dean Gotcher and spend some time going through all of them.  It is very important in order to understand the mindset of the false teachers and how most of them operate.  Dean is the founder of Authority Research (http://authorityresearch.com/

and bases his work on the foundational reliability of Scripture.

Dean Gotcher’s seminar on diaprax:

Part 1 (1:13) : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DMTgxDbxa2g

Part 2 (1:12) : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OQGV04XqTls

Part 3: (1:10) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SHOg4bOD9tA

Part 4 (41 min): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zgxwaKhxs0Y

Beware of: Jakes, Osteen, and Meyer

What if a Bible teacher:  teaches that there are many paths to God; does not know whether Muslims will go to heaven or not; and does not believe in the proper biblical teaching of the Trinity,  but instead teaches that the Trinity is “God manifesting Himself in three different ways, or “modes.”​​

What if a Bible teacher:  refuses to answer whether homosexuality is sinful; refuses to say whether homosexuals will not go to heaven; and cannot say for sure who goes to heaven or not, even atheists;  and teaches that “following your dreams” is what will make your life happy.

What if a Bible teacher: teaches that Jesus was tormented in hell by demons; believes he/she believes they do not sin anymore; and that you cannot be saved unless you believe that Jesus went to hell.

Would you accept any of these teachers as legitimate Bible teachers?  Would you use their books as good resources, knowing that they teach these things?  Are these teachings or beliefs okay with you, or are they demonic?  Would you warn your friends about them?  If not, why should you not warn your Christian friends about them?  Is it wrong to call out these teachers and expose them if they are preaching false doctrines?

I have been concerned recently about some friends who have been reading books by so​me of these teachers, and quoting them, and apparently accepting the false idea that these are good Bible teachers.  They are not, and so I give you a brief summary of just some of their false teachings and why you should stay away from them.  Instead you should have no fellowship in any way with them, and you ought to be getting more into the word of God than into their “inspirational, feel good teachings”​

Here is the summary of three false teachers: Joel Osteen, TD Jakes, and Joyce Meyer.  All three also share the same kind of prosperity gospel or word-faith teachings that are heretical as well.  ​I will post additional​ updates ​with three more for you in a few weeks.

Please also go to the suggested video links for detailed shocking exposes​ of their ministries.​

BewareFalseProphets_jakesOsteenMeyer

For further References:

​TD Jakes and his corrupt conferences with secular artists:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4KmRSqHiFfA

Joel Osteen’s Lies:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yG5hmZctmZw

Joyce Meyer and her word-faith gospel and greed:​

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aUwfc-j0zlQ