There are many reasons why I will not read and will not attend the upcoming movie “Heaven is for Real.” The most important is that I will not be lead astray by accounts about heaven or hell that are unbiblical and unwarranted. I have come across a variety of responses to these kinds of accounts. Some might see these as mildly entertaining and essentially harmless. Others would argue they serve as conversation starters with people who are otherwise closed off to the Gospel. And still others would go so far as to argue that this (my response) is why some in the world outside the church are disenchanted with the church.
I would like to give an answer to each of these.
1. A Lie is ALWAYS harmful
If we, as the church, are going to entertain every frivolous account about doctrinal questions, we need to stop complaining about the church being too strict on other doctrinal subjects. Whatever might be wrong with the church and anything else we may want to complain about related to what people are doing in the church are not reason enough to entertain lies. Lies are deadly. Any argument to the contrary undermines the testimony of the bible and reason itself. In fact, a lie is the reason sin entered the world and lies are the reason hell exists. Lies are eternally harmful.
2. A conversation starter about faith in Jesus should not begin with a lie, but with the truth of the Gospel.
Not only are lies harmful to the church, a believer’s witness and faith, a lie should not be the opening statement of the Gospel to a non-believer/seeker. This is pure madness. Not only does it show a lack of trust in the Holy Spirit/God’s Word/God/Jesus, it trivializes the problem of sin. We have to stop allowing the world the access of dictating to us, the church, how it should do its work and fulfill its mission.
I know there are many who think I am overreacting. And they may be right. But, my question is why aren’t more believers reacting at all? The problem is if we never react at all, when the time comes for the needed strong response, it will be too late. We will have waited too long and lost too much ground. The truth must be the bastion of our faith and evangelistic efforts.
3. What the world thinks about the church should not cause the church to give ground on truth
I find myself growing wearisome of the constant droning about why this group or that group are leaving the church. Could it be more true that people are leaving the church for the same reason they leave everything else? Maybe the church is not “me” centered enough. It is possible that people are leaving the church because we are trying harder to get them in the building, rather than spending time trying to get HIM in the building.
I am not going to allow those who are not on the journey of faith with me from altering my focus and direction. There are many issues the church needs to address, many concerns that must be answered. But, these issues and concerns will not be solved by listening to the masses. It was the crowd that called for the death and crucifixion of Jesus. Or have we forgotten this as well?
The world and those who love it are not the counselors we should seek. Only the counsel of God is necessary and will be sought.
Whether we like it or not, the Gospel is at stake if “Heaven is for Real.”
The following video by Dr. David Platt provides a succinct and compelling reason for avoiding material (regardless of medium) that is not clearly and undeniably grounded in God’s Word.