Back in Kansas they say “the shirt’s in there Mabel.” In other words, if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. A New York Times bestseller by the name of – The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven … a true story – has been flying off the shelves since Tyndale published it four and a half years ago. Now it’s being pulled from book stores because the author has admitted that the whole story was just made up. This isn’t surprising. A booklet that criticized the book for violating basic Biblical teachings was published a year later but was vehemantly criticized. I have not read either book but I have another on my shelves that was recommended by a hospital chaplain. It records stories from hundreds of people about messages from the grave that provide hope to grieving loved ones. According to this book and another that I read about near death experiences, it doesn’t really matter what you believe. The message is that clearly all of the world’s religions are mistaken.
Why are people so eager to believe every and all spiritual messages, as long as they are not from the BIble? People want a religion where no one fails to get to heaven and nobody is in error. In college I visited a church where all religions were thought to contain some truth but where theirs was more true than the others. They had great red zinger tea. But I didn’t join.
There is a reason that Martin Luther concluded that “scripture alone” is to be the basis for what we believe. He read many other books where spiritual experiences or human philosophy lead to a maze of contradictions. Only one book, the Bible, tells the truth about God and salvation all of the time. Jesus said “I am THE way THE truth and THE life, no one comes to the Father except through me.” What we believe matters, eternally. Jesus told a story about a rich man who was in torment and a poor man named Lazarus who was in heaven. The rich man asked that Lazarus be sent back to warn his living relatives. He was told that that couldn’t happen, because there was a chasm that prevented such a journey.
Being aware of that story should have been sufficient to demonstrate that The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven wasn’t a true story. The Bible isn’t only true for those who believe it’s words. The Bible will one day be found to be true also by all of those who never believed it. It is the only book that God himself has written, through apostles and prophets. If you want to know about how to get to heaven and be with God one day, read his book. In it you will find one great exception to the adage that things that sound too good to be true probably aren’t. The exception is the gospel, for the greatest of gifts (life with Christ forever) isn’t something that we earn or deserve. It is an undeserved gift paid for by Jesus and received by all who trust that they are forgiven, because of Christ, rather than by anything they could claim to have done.
Though the Bible is a best-seller, most people – including people who go to church – have never read it all the way through. Why not make 2015 the year for reading the greatest of books? The truth and mercy that you find there will give you hope.