The Christian film hit “Heaven is For Real” has not only done well in the box office, raking in $28 million so far, but has also sparked conversations about near-death experiences.
In the movie, 4-year-old Colton Burpo nearly dies in emergency appendicitis surgery, but comes to telling of his visit to heaven where he met Jesus, his great-grandfather, and miscarried older sister.
Since the release of the film, Christians and non-Christians alike have been debating the possibility that people can come close to death and see angels, vividly colored landscapes and tunnels of light, the visions typically experienced by people who describe having near-death experiences.
One of the influential evangelists supporting “Heaven is For Real” is Rev. Samuel Rodriguez. He said, “It speaks to the power of purity, how purity and innocence really carry the potential to see what others do not see.”
But some remain unconvinced. John MacArthur, the Baptist author and radio host said, “...it is impossible to resist the conclusion that these modern testimonies -- with their relentless self-focus and the relatively scant attention they pay to the glory of God -- are simply untrue.”
The film has prompted discussion in the existence of God and the reality of heaven, whether the visions actually happen or not. Bishop T.D. Jakes, co-producer of the film said that it was “never meant to be a movie on eschatology, but on a little boy’s testimony.”
Publication date: April 22, 2014