I haven’t read the book, Heaven Is For Real, or seen the movie, and don’t intend to. (Which I probably shouldn’t be admitting since my literary agency sold the book and my publisher published it.) I have, however, reflected on the phenomenon.
This is a book that has sold 9 million copies in the US and been translated into 35 languages. Last weekend, the movie raked in over 22 million dollars. Clearly, the story of a little boy who says he went to heaven during an appendectomy has resonated with a lot of people.
Plenty has already been written about the book’s shaky theology, so I’ll not plow that field again. My concern has more to do with what this movie says about the Body of Christ. It unsettles me to think that so many believers apparently find the testimony of a small boy to be more faith-bolstering than the time-tested words of Jesus, the Messiah.
One person said to me, “The book (Heaven Is For Real) just brought me so much comfort. I was like, wow, it’s really true. Heaven really is for real!”
As if Jesus telling us wasn’t good enough.
And therein lies our problem, it seems to me. Jesus isn’t good enough for us.
His promises aren’t believable enough, so we look to books like Heaven Is For Real to bolster our faith.
His commands aren’t reasonable enough, so we engage in rationalizations to justify our disobedience.
His grace isn’t big enough, so we continue to beat ourselves up over sins we repented of years ago.
His church isn’t likable enough, so we church hop, or just quit altogether and invite our friends over for a happy little get-together in our living room.
Poor Jesus. He is good, but for some people he just isn’t good enough.
Is Jesus good enough for you?