What if Heaven Is For Real isn't for real?

I posted this clip from Heaven Is For Real on my church's Facebook page.

The first reply was a dear friend stating that she would have trouble saying these things if the little kid who wrote this book was in the audience. By saying that we think Heaven Is For Real isn't for real, we're being mean to a little kid. Nobody wants to be mean to a little kid.

I removed the post because that point is not what I shared it for. Correcting false teaching is tough, especially when that false teaching comes from a little kid.

In the video, David Platt says:
"Our level of discernment on the church today on this topic is extremely low because the whole premise behind every one of these books is contrary to everything God's word says about heaven."
I don't want to offend people over an issue that really isn't essential. One's view of an afterlife experience isn't all that essential. And our church does try to avoid making firm stances on issues that aren't essential.

The essential part of the issue, which will get drowned out by the side issue of heaven and whether this boy's experience is for real or not for real, is that we should go to Scripture to let it teach us about what it addresses and not go to pop culture
. Yet all too often, we will run to pop culture and ignore Scripture. Maybe it's worse than ignore. Maybe it's we have never known Scripture.

Angel wings. Halos. Near-death experiences. All pop culture. And we are so quick to latch on to them. But what does the Bible say? Do we know? Do we take time out and read it when we get caught up in the latest cultural trend? Even trends in "Christian" culture. Even trends led by little boys.

This is not to say that the little boy didn't have an experience. This is not to say that the book doesn't tell that little boy's experience. I'm saying that a little boy's experience doesn't override God's inspired and time-tested Scripture. This is not an attack on a little boy. It's a message to the audience that we actually need to know our Scripture.

I shared my original post in an attempt to teach that we should know our Scripture because everyone is trying to tell us what Scripture says. It's constantly happening (Noah, heaven, etc.). If we're not well-grounded, we will be like a kite without a string floating in the air, flying uncontrolled in the breeze. Until we crash. Which we will do. Because we are a kite without a string. We need to keep grounded. With a Master controlling our string.

Consume the word of God and let the Master who inspired it control you.

The moral of the story is to have false teaching propagated by a kid because we will feel mean in correcting him. Or is it?

Sin. Its Consequences.

It seems like, as a whole, that our culture belittles calling anything a sin. "Purity police" or "self-righteous" gets thrown around when someone calls something sin, especially when it is something that we don't consider a sin. Instead of having a rational discussion on whether something is a sin, people resort to belittling each other.

Yet sin is dangerous. Sin places us outside of the will of God. When we sin, we are not bringing about God's will here on earth as it is in heaven.

Some just focus on getting saved. In that framework, all sin is equal and just separates us from God. We just need His grace to get us right with Him and be saved. Unfortunately, in that framework, we ignore what it actually means to live right with Him and to live saved.

If we just want to get saved, then it may be true that we aren't minimizing anything by continually sinning. Yet if we are concerned with the cause of the kingdom of God, then sin does prevent us from accomplishing that. A sin today has consequences far into the future, even after God has forgiven us for that sin.

Sin damages; that's its nature. It's us missing the mark from the life we are called to live. When we do that, we and those around us miss out.

Yet it seems popular among Christians in general and our society as a whole, to just dismiss sin. We will use the woman caught in adultery and say that Jesus didn't judge her, but that's just not true nor is it the point of the story. Jesus didn't allow her to be killed for breaking the law, but He did judge her and told her to go and sin no more. Despite our culture's great "morality" of tolerance, Jesus instructs us how to judge and tells us to judge rightly. (See Judge Not Or Judge Rightly.)

Sin is horrible for the church. And our belittling people calling something a sin is dangerous. When we treat those who want to teach moral living as jerks, we are close to just tickling our ears and being people who don't call anything sin that we enjoy doing. If we don't teach a morality different from our culture, are we really all that different? Are we really following Jesus? Or are we just being tossed here and there by the common zeitgeist? We can't dismiss sin. Our mission is too important for that.

If we are wrapped up in sin, we are not living in freedom. When we are not living in freedom and being guided by the Spirit, we will have difficulty being loving.

We must get to where we focus on doing good. It's just that sin is an obstacle to that. It doesn't help that the church in America seems to be divided between two extremes: Those who are focused on doing good and those who are focused from abstaining from certain sins.

What if we realized that not doing good is a sin and that being ensnared by sin prohibits us from doing good?

It doesn't hurt to call things that are sin "sin" because we are just instructing people about common pitfalls that prevent us from being Christlike.