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“A beautifully written glimpse into heaven that will encourage those who doubt and thrill those who believe.”

—Ron Hall, coauthor of Same Kind of Different as Me

“Do you remember the hospital, Colton?” Sonja said. “Yes, mommy, I remember,” he said. “That’s where the angels sang to me.”

When Colton Burpo made it through an emergency appendectomy, his family was overjoyed at his miraculous survival. What they weren’t expecting, though, was the story that emerged in the months that followed—a story as beautiful as it was extraordinary, detailing their little boy’s trip to heaven and back.

Colton, not yet four years old, told his parents he left his body during the surgery–and authenticated that claim by describing exactly what his parents were doing in another part of the hospital while he was being operated on. He talked of visiting heaven and relayed stories told to him by people he met there whom he had never met in life, sharing events that happened even before he was born. He also astonished his parents with descriptions and obscure details about heaven that matched the Bible exactly, though he had not yet learned to read.

With disarming innocence and the plainspoken boldness of a child, Colton tells of meeting long-departed family members. He describes Jesus, the angels, how “really, really big” God is, and how much God loves us. Retold by his father, but using Colton’s uniquely simple words, Heaven Is for Real offers a glimpse of the world that awaits us, where as Colton says, “Nobody is old and nobody wears glasses.”

Heaven Is for Real will forever change the way you think of eternity, offering the chance to see, and believe, like a child.

Topics: Family, Christian Afterlife, Angels, Nebraska, Midwestern America, Inspirational, Heartfelt, The Afterlife, Heaven, Near-Death Experiences, and Miracles

Published: Thomas Nelson on
ISBN: 9780849949203
List price: $9.99
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Very well done. more
:-) :-) :-) !more
its amazingmore
This book was a long and drawn out sorry. The author could have made it 100 pages and it would have been fine. Its not bad just a bit boring. Guess i will have to watch the movie to see how it ends. more
I really enjoyed this book.more
Remarkable and inspiring story. Made me cry, made me feel the energy that a testimony of Jesus and the next world can give.
Thank you for writing this book.more
It is such a good book I recommend younger people to read this and then they will know what they've been though more
A very spirtual uplifting story of a young boy Colton visit to Heaven, this book is way better than the movie, the movie leaves out alot of parts from the book, more
This is a wonderfully uplifting story - I would highly recommend it!more
A wonderful uplifting story! more
If this story doesn't inspire and move you; you're either a brick wall, or dead.more
Truly an inspirational book; not to proud to admit that I actually cried several times and learned a few thingsmore
In Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo, the Burpo family takes a roadtrip to visit the kid's aunt and see a few things along the way. It takes a terrible twist when Colton, a 3 year old little boy gets extremely sick with stomach issues. At first his mom assumes its just a stomach bug but when things look worse he gets taken to the hospital. No big result until a few weeks later. Colton has to have surgery preformed on his stomach and no one is sure if he will make it. He comes out fine and all is well. So the Burpo's head back home. One day he and his father, who is a pastor are playing and Colton makes a connection to what he saw in Heaven. His father is taken back and cannot beleive it. But it happens more and more and everything reminds him of Jesus or what he saw in Heaven. He died for 3 minutes during his surgery. This book is about Colton's remarkable journey to Heaven and back. Heaven is for Real is an amazing story. I'd give it 5 stars! It shows how Heaven will be if you're going up in beautiful detail. It always keeps you hanging and wanting to read more about Colton's experience. I would reccomend this breathtaking book to anybody interested in religion or Heaven or anybody who just likes good stories!more
I'm too cynical and my theology too different to really enjoy this simple book.more
This was truly such an uplifting and inspirational story that helped me get through a really tough time in my life, when it seems like nothing else could give me hope. There is so much speculation whether this could be true or not but in my opinion, true or not, it really helped open my eyes up a little bit. I believe that the Burpo's honestly believe each and every word that was written and prove to be excellent examples for how to live your life. No one will ever know the truth of the matter until your time comes, and then you won't be able to share it with others, so what does it hurt to just believe a little now?

As being a mother who has also lost a child to miscarriage, it helped me find some peace and understanding that I had not been able to find in the seven years since the miscarriage.

I think I can honestly say that there has been no book that has impacted me quite like this one, to where I can say I still think about it over a year after reading it!

In my opinion, you can't go wrong reading this book, even if it's just to give yourself a little spiritual uplifting (and I am not the most spiritual person, by far - even though I should be!)

Truly touching! There isn't one person that I would not recommend this book to!more
Quite an interesting story. Although it seems improbable for a family to believe every little thing their 3/4 year old tells them, the story itself was inspirational. A nice quick read.more
So I'll preface this by saying the following:
1.) I would have never read this of my own accord. I read it only for book club.
2.) I was skeptical going in.
3.) Though I'm a born-and-raised Catholic, I would classify myself as an agnostic, at best.
4.) I'll also admit I skimmed huge chunks of this book. It was the only way I was going to get through it at all. It was worse than I expected.

Things that Bothered Me (in no particular order):
1.) The first half of the book is the father rambling about his illnesses. Yes, I'm very sad the guy had kidney stones and breast cancer and [some other ailment I can't remember]...but I don't see what any of that has to do with the kid getting sick.

2.) If this was all so moving, why did they wait seven years before writing the book?

3.) The kid is 11 now. Don't you think that's old enough that he could have wrote the book on his own? Or at least contributed a chapter in his own words?

4.) Others have said this, but it bears repeating: isn't it convenient that this miracle happened to a pastor's kid? The dad keeps going on and on about how Colton just "couldn't have known" about so much of this religious stuff. Really? Kids are remarkably perceptive. I would find this all much more moving if it had happened to a kid who had never heard "the good word."

5.) The parents only dragged the story out of the kid over the course of years. As a parent, this is extremely odd to me. If my kid started telling me one day he'd been to heaven, you better believe I'd be asking some questions, and right now, not five years later.

Finally (and this verges on a rant), it kind of annoys me how many Christians are saying that this changed their life / moved them to be better parents / etc... I'm sorry...you have the Bible. The WORD OF GOD isn't enough for you? It takes a fairy tale as told by a three year old to convince you that maybe you should get your act together and start acting like a Christian?

Fundamentally, I was just the wrong person to read this book. I am not its target audience. A belief in heaven presupposes a belief in God. Until you can sell me on that, there's not much this (poorly written, highly questionable) book is going to do for me.

ETA (2/2012): I think it's pretty clear I think this particular book is crap. However, if you're interested in first-hand, post-death experiences, I'd suggest reading, "90 Minutes in Heaven". It's similar in its premise--a man dies, spends 90 minutes in heaven, comes back and tells his story--, BUT it's experienced by an adult and told by that same adult. (Unlike "Heaven", which is merely the dad's retelling of the kid's story.) I read it several years ago, but remember being much more impressed by it. I will offer the caveat that I was a much better Catholic/Christian at that time than I am now, so that likely colored my perception of the book. However, even accounting for that, "90 Minutes" is certainly the better written book.more
Another Christian book I picked up without being anything more than barely spiritual myself. And another Christian book I picked up without being anything more than barely spiritual myself that I was disappointed in.

Did this book make me believe there is a heaven? Not any more or less than I did before I read it.

What annoyed me most about this book was that Colton's descriptions of heaven were so completely accurate with scripture. I don't think it is possible that, if there is a heaven, the people who wrote that particular version of the Bible that Todd Burpo references got it right down to a tee. There are so many different versions of the Bible that each version is bound to have different thoughts of the details of heaven. Yet Colton's "visit" lined up perfectly with the details in the Bible his dad used to preach.

The second most annoying thing in this book is how saturated it is with scripture. It makes it feel preach-y. Definitely not something I enjoyed.

I don't profess to know what (if anything) happened to Colton Burpo. However, I do know my own mind. And my own mind didn't enjoy this book.more
Disappointment, dread, consummation, laughter, tears, wonder, amazement, pride ? all are emotions I went through while reading Heaven Is For Real. Disappointment came because I couldn't start reading the book when I wanted to because it's arrival via my mom was postponed. The dread was felt once I had the book in my hands and had to make myself sit down to read ? funny how that is. Even funnier was the fact that as soon as I started turning the pages and reading, I was totally consumed. I was consumed with the story of a boy, his family, and their incredible journey through tremendous struggles. So wrapped up in the words that I finished the book in one sitting.Regardless of religious beliefs, this book has the power to evoke emotions from deep within, passionate emotions. Confession: I cried. Not unexpected when reading a book about death and illness. Everyone is someone's child, and those connections are so touching that when they are threatened to be broken, it's hard not to get emotionally attached. I laughed. The complete naivety and honesty of a toddler is precious. Colton's spirit and witty comments kept my emotional roller coaster going.The main concept of the book, Colton's recollection of heaven, is what brought in the loops of wonder and amazement to my coaster. I was filled with complete awe some amazement that so many pieces of his story fell perfectly in to the religious puzzle. It's hard not to go in to detail, but I want to make sure that anyone who reads this book is truly as surprised as I was at every new tid bit of information.After sitting down and reading the whole book without unfurling from my warm ball in bed, I felt pride. First of all, just pride because of that concept itself. I also felt pride because it really made me question and reflect on my own relationships within my faith. It takes a powerful book to provoke that level of personal reflection. The author, Colton's dad, does a great job of letting the story tell itself and not letting the words get in the way.Kaitlin K.more
When a young boy faces a medical emergency that nearly costs him his life, his survival is just the first surprise. Four year old Colton begins telling his parents about his journey to heaven during his surgery. He is able to provide details about deceased relatives that he never met, describe Jesus, and even glimpses about the future. For those with the faith to believe, a comforting portrayal of life after death is shared through the eyes of a child.more
"Heaven is for Real" is an inspiring story about a little boy's experience in heaven. Its simple wording makes it easy to read for ages 10 and up. I gave it four stars because depending on the setting, like a school classroom, the content may be controversial. However, in a sunday-school class, children could draw pictures of what they think heaven will be like. The teacher could also create a reading circle for children and their parents to read together.more
(I had a hard time rating this book... it's hard to do so without seeming like I'm passing judgment on the validity of the Burpo's claim)This nonfiction book tells the story of Colton, a 3-year-old pastor's kid who has a near-death experience and later reveals to his parents that he was in heaven during that time. The first half of the book, which describes the family's struggles leading up to the illness, and then the rupture of the appendix and subsequent surgeries, is rather dismal and depressing. The second half of the book is a series of conversations over the next few YEARS in which Colton's parents hear about what he (supposedly) saw in heaven during this experience. A couple things stood out to me when reading this book (with a rather skeptic eye, I might add) :- There are some things that Colton knew that were truly amazing. Recognizing a great-grandpa that he never met from an old picture? Very interesting. But so many of the things that he described from heaven that the Burpos thought were so amazing were things that he easily *could* have known from Bible stories, Sunday School, or just listening in on Sunday readings and services. I have a two-year-old -- I KNOW they hear much more than what we specifically, directly tell them. But for them to say there was no way he could have known that John the Baptist was Jesus' cousin, or that Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father (Nicene creed, anyone?), or that Jesus had wounds in his hands and feet made me scratch my head. Many of these details came out over the next months or years, and by the time a pastor's kid is seven, he would have surely heard or read or seen pictures of the Biblical descriptions of heaven? I know for a fact that at least two of our children's Bibles we read have illustrations of John's vision of Revelation. I'm not saying that the boy didn't see these things... just that I don't necessarily believe that there's no way he would have known these things without having seen them himself -- that's simply not giving the kid enough credit.- I initially was really impressed with how the author seemed to "test" Colton's descriptions using Scripture. At one point, he writes, "As a pastor, I've always been very conscious about what I share about heaven from the pulpit, and I still am. I teach what I find in Scripture." I was pleased to hear this. But some of the things didn't fit so neatly, and I wondered if the author weren't trying a bit too hard to force Scripture to "fit" into his son's ideas. The book of Revelation is filled with symbolism, and to say that they definitively mean one thing or another based on a child's vision seem unwise.- The whole "battle at the end of time" thing really bugged me. Not only did the author admit that his son was a huge fan of the Narnia movies, but the theology here is shaky at best, downright heretical at worst. The fact is that Satan has already been defeated, and the suggestion that men (yes, only men, not women or children) would have to fight in an epic battle in heaven really put up some red flags in my head.- I was also really frustrated that the parents were so hesitant to ask him for more information. This made no sense to me at all. I understand not wanting to plant ideas or ask leading questions, but the fact that it took literally YEARS for the son to disclose what he saw seemed kind of unlikely. I know if it was my son, I'd be asking him to tell me all about it right there when he brought it up. We wouldn't have left the Arby's without getting the whole story!As I read this book, a particular Bible passage kept coming to the forefront of my mind: “He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’”The purpose of this book is rather unclear. The boy's story seems to line up fairly well with Scripture (though there are obviously figurative parts of Revelation which are taken very literally, such as the rainbow-colored horse), so what is its purpose? If someone doesn't believe the Words of God Himself in Scripture, then why would they believe the same thing as told by a four-year-old?more
If you believed in heaven prior to reading this book, and if you haven't spent a terribly great amount of time thinking through your conception of heaven, this book will tickle your confirmation bias.If you don't believe in heaven, this book will not do much to change your mind. It takes all of the cliched imagery associated with the afterlife, and then says that some young boy saw it while having critical surgery.It offers up little proofs of its validity, like Colton Burpo recognizing a picture of a deceased relative that he had never met before, and then explaining that he met him while he was in heaven. Naturally, these proofs do not offer the skeptical reader much, since there's no way to verify the events described ever actually took place. Then it tows the line, with Colton describing the things he saw which reminds his pastor father of a passage in the Bible that he can then quote to show that his son's experience was in line with scripture.The book would be more effective (minutely, but still) if Colton had not grown up in a Bible believing family, if his dad were not a pastor, or if Colton could give details that were not already a part of his dad's theology. As it stands, it sounds like a young child had a near death experience, and then regurgitated the thoughts he had heard his father preach on the afterlife. There's nothing innovative, and therefore it does not even feel like any first hand experience took place, even if we put aside the fact that there's no way to determine whether or not the events described in the book were fabricated or exaggerated.While I myself am a skeptic, I imagine that the people who would be most irked by this book would be Christians themselves. Heaven is for Real describes an afterlife that is essentially a really happy and spiritual version of earthly life. It's the kind of heaven you would expect from a young child: earth, just without bad stuff. I know that many Christians share this conception of heaven, but many Christians also believe in a fundamental redemption and transformation of experience, and there's none of that in Burpo's near death experience.The book is short, it's not the worst way to spend some spare reading time, and whether you're a skeptic or a Christian it is sort of fun to imagine that there is a little kid out there who can put all of the armchair theologians to shame by virtue of first hand experience. But that's all this is, a sort of fun story, it does not really hold up upon reflection. So, if you are thirsty for proof of an afterlife or if you are dreading the possibility that there may actually be one, you need not spend time on this book while searching for information. This is just the same old folksy heaven put into a child's mouth.more
This book was about a young boy has to have surgery on his appendix. He dies and later on comes back to life. While he is dead, he witnesses Heaven. This book tells you about what his family had to go through and the challenges he had to face. He was just a little boy and he has to face some very tough challenges but he gets to see what Heaven is like! Then he comes back to life and he gets to tell everyone the Heaven is for real! God sent him here for him to teach everyone his true story. His family was happy once they knew he came back alive. I would be too. I love, love, Love this book! It makes you realize that Heaven isnt fake, Hell isnt fake. I wish more people would read his book. Its really short, a day you could read it. It made me happy, sad, tearful and just plain amazed. I would recommend this book to anyone, if it gets them to realize that God is real. Even if you dont believe in God right now, you should read this book. It will make you inspired.more
Wasn't looking forward to reading this book which was a recent selection of my book group. However, I am so glad I did. It gives one hope for reuniting with loved ones and being at peace and truly happy. Also, humble story of a regular family and how they dealt with a lot of bad juju.more
Read all 104 reviews

Reviews

Very well done. more
:-) :-) :-) !more
its amazingmore
This book was a long and drawn out sorry. The author could have made it 100 pages and it would have been fine. Its not bad just a bit boring. Guess i will have to watch the movie to see how it ends. more
I really enjoyed this book.more
Remarkable and inspiring story. Made me cry, made me feel the energy that a testimony of Jesus and the next world can give.
Thank you for writing this book.more
It is such a good book I recommend younger people to read this and then they will know what they've been though more
A very spirtual uplifting story of a young boy Colton visit to Heaven, this book is way better than the movie, the movie leaves out alot of parts from the book, more
This is a wonderfully uplifting story - I would highly recommend it!more
A wonderful uplifting story! more
If this story doesn't inspire and move you; you're either a brick wall, or dead.more
Truly an inspirational book; not to proud to admit that I actually cried several times and learned a few thingsmore
In Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo, the Burpo family takes a roadtrip to visit the kid's aunt and see a few things along the way. It takes a terrible twist when Colton, a 3 year old little boy gets extremely sick with stomach issues. At first his mom assumes its just a stomach bug but when things look worse he gets taken to the hospital. No big result until a few weeks later. Colton has to have surgery preformed on his stomach and no one is sure if he will make it. He comes out fine and all is well. So the Burpo's head back home. One day he and his father, who is a pastor are playing and Colton makes a connection to what he saw in Heaven. His father is taken back and cannot beleive it. But it happens more and more and everything reminds him of Jesus or what he saw in Heaven. He died for 3 minutes during his surgery. This book is about Colton's remarkable journey to Heaven and back. Heaven is for Real is an amazing story. I'd give it 5 stars! It shows how Heaven will be if you're going up in beautiful detail. It always keeps you hanging and wanting to read more about Colton's experience. I would reccomend this breathtaking book to anybody interested in religion or Heaven or anybody who just likes good stories!more
I'm too cynical and my theology too different to really enjoy this simple book.more
This was truly such an uplifting and inspirational story that helped me get through a really tough time in my life, when it seems like nothing else could give me hope. There is so much speculation whether this could be true or not but in my opinion, true or not, it really helped open my eyes up a little bit. I believe that the Burpo's honestly believe each and every word that was written and prove to be excellent examples for how to live your life. No one will ever know the truth of the matter until your time comes, and then you won't be able to share it with others, so what does it hurt to just believe a little now?

As being a mother who has also lost a child to miscarriage, it helped me find some peace and understanding that I had not been able to find in the seven years since the miscarriage.

I think I can honestly say that there has been no book that has impacted me quite like this one, to where I can say I still think about it over a year after reading it!

In my opinion, you can't go wrong reading this book, even if it's just to give yourself a little spiritual uplifting (and I am not the most spiritual person, by far - even though I should be!)

Truly touching! There isn't one person that I would not recommend this book to!more
Quite an interesting story. Although it seems improbable for a family to believe every little thing their 3/4 year old tells them, the story itself was inspirational. A nice quick read.more
So I'll preface this by saying the following:
1.) I would have never read this of my own accord. I read it only for book club.
2.) I was skeptical going in.
3.) Though I'm a born-and-raised Catholic, I would classify myself as an agnostic, at best.
4.) I'll also admit I skimmed huge chunks of this book. It was the only way I was going to get through it at all. It was worse than I expected.

Things that Bothered Me (in no particular order):
1.) The first half of the book is the father rambling about his illnesses. Yes, I'm very sad the guy had kidney stones and breast cancer and [some other ailment I can't remember]...but I don't see what any of that has to do with the kid getting sick.

2.) If this was all so moving, why did they wait seven years before writing the book?

3.) The kid is 11 now. Don't you think that's old enough that he could have wrote the book on his own? Or at least contributed a chapter in his own words?

4.) Others have said this, but it bears repeating: isn't it convenient that this miracle happened to a pastor's kid? The dad keeps going on and on about how Colton just "couldn't have known" about so much of this religious stuff. Really? Kids are remarkably perceptive. I would find this all much more moving if it had happened to a kid who had never heard "the good word."

5.) The parents only dragged the story out of the kid over the course of years. As a parent, this is extremely odd to me. If my kid started telling me one day he'd been to heaven, you better believe I'd be asking some questions, and right now, not five years later.

Finally (and this verges on a rant), it kind of annoys me how many Christians are saying that this changed their life / moved them to be better parents / etc... I'm sorry...you have the Bible. The WORD OF GOD isn't enough for you? It takes a fairy tale as told by a three year old to convince you that maybe you should get your act together and start acting like a Christian?

Fundamentally, I was just the wrong person to read this book. I am not its target audience. A belief in heaven presupposes a belief in God. Until you can sell me on that, there's not much this (poorly written, highly questionable) book is going to do for me.

ETA (2/2012): I think it's pretty clear I think this particular book is crap. However, if you're interested in first-hand, post-death experiences, I'd suggest reading, "90 Minutes in Heaven". It's similar in its premise--a man dies, spends 90 minutes in heaven, comes back and tells his story--, BUT it's experienced by an adult and told by that same adult. (Unlike "Heaven", which is merely the dad's retelling of the kid's story.) I read it several years ago, but remember being much more impressed by it. I will offer the caveat that I was a much better Catholic/Christian at that time than I am now, so that likely colored my perception of the book. However, even accounting for that, "90 Minutes" is certainly the better written book.more
Another Christian book I picked up without being anything more than barely spiritual myself. And another Christian book I picked up without being anything more than barely spiritual myself that I was disappointed in.

Did this book make me believe there is a heaven? Not any more or less than I did before I read it.

What annoyed me most about this book was that Colton's descriptions of heaven were so completely accurate with scripture. I don't think it is possible that, if there is a heaven, the people who wrote that particular version of the Bible that Todd Burpo references got it right down to a tee. There are so many different versions of the Bible that each version is bound to have different thoughts of the details of heaven. Yet Colton's "visit" lined up perfectly with the details in the Bible his dad used to preach.

The second most annoying thing in this book is how saturated it is with scripture. It makes it feel preach-y. Definitely not something I enjoyed.

I don't profess to know what (if anything) happened to Colton Burpo. However, I do know my own mind. And my own mind didn't enjoy this book.more
Disappointment, dread, consummation, laughter, tears, wonder, amazement, pride ? all are emotions I went through while reading Heaven Is For Real. Disappointment came because I couldn't start reading the book when I wanted to because it's arrival via my mom was postponed. The dread was felt once I had the book in my hands and had to make myself sit down to read ? funny how that is. Even funnier was the fact that as soon as I started turning the pages and reading, I was totally consumed. I was consumed with the story of a boy, his family, and their incredible journey through tremendous struggles. So wrapped up in the words that I finished the book in one sitting.Regardless of religious beliefs, this book has the power to evoke emotions from deep within, passionate emotions. Confession: I cried. Not unexpected when reading a book about death and illness. Everyone is someone's child, and those connections are so touching that when they are threatened to be broken, it's hard not to get emotionally attached. I laughed. The complete naivety and honesty of a toddler is precious. Colton's spirit and witty comments kept my emotional roller coaster going.The main concept of the book, Colton's recollection of heaven, is what brought in the loops of wonder and amazement to my coaster. I was filled with complete awe some amazement that so many pieces of his story fell perfectly in to the religious puzzle. It's hard not to go in to detail, but I want to make sure that anyone who reads this book is truly as surprised as I was at every new tid bit of information.After sitting down and reading the whole book without unfurling from my warm ball in bed, I felt pride. First of all, just pride because of that concept itself. I also felt pride because it really made me question and reflect on my own relationships within my faith. It takes a powerful book to provoke that level of personal reflection. The author, Colton's dad, does a great job of letting the story tell itself and not letting the words get in the way.Kaitlin K.more
When a young boy faces a medical emergency that nearly costs him his life, his survival is just the first surprise. Four year old Colton begins telling his parents about his journey to heaven during his surgery. He is able to provide details about deceased relatives that he never met, describe Jesus, and even glimpses about the future. For those with the faith to believe, a comforting portrayal of life after death is shared through the eyes of a child.more
"Heaven is for Real" is an inspiring story about a little boy's experience in heaven. Its simple wording makes it easy to read for ages 10 and up. I gave it four stars because depending on the setting, like a school classroom, the content may be controversial. However, in a sunday-school class, children could draw pictures of what they think heaven will be like. The teacher could also create a reading circle for children and their parents to read together.more
(I had a hard time rating this book... it's hard to do so without seeming like I'm passing judgment on the validity of the Burpo's claim)This nonfiction book tells the story of Colton, a 3-year-old pastor's kid who has a near-death experience and later reveals to his parents that he was in heaven during that time. The first half of the book, which describes the family's struggles leading up to the illness, and then the rupture of the appendix and subsequent surgeries, is rather dismal and depressing. The second half of the book is a series of conversations over the next few YEARS in which Colton's parents hear about what he (supposedly) saw in heaven during this experience. A couple things stood out to me when reading this book (with a rather skeptic eye, I might add) :- There are some things that Colton knew that were truly amazing. Recognizing a great-grandpa that he never met from an old picture? Very interesting. But so many of the things that he described from heaven that the Burpos thought were so amazing were things that he easily *could* have known from Bible stories, Sunday School, or just listening in on Sunday readings and services. I have a two-year-old -- I KNOW they hear much more than what we specifically, directly tell them. But for them to say there was no way he could have known that John the Baptist was Jesus' cousin, or that Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father (Nicene creed, anyone?), or that Jesus had wounds in his hands and feet made me scratch my head. Many of these details came out over the next months or years, and by the time a pastor's kid is seven, he would have surely heard or read or seen pictures of the Biblical descriptions of heaven? I know for a fact that at least two of our children's Bibles we read have illustrations of John's vision of Revelation. I'm not saying that the boy didn't see these things... just that I don't necessarily believe that there's no way he would have known these things without having seen them himself -- that's simply not giving the kid enough credit.- I initially was really impressed with how the author seemed to "test" Colton's descriptions using Scripture. At one point, he writes, "As a pastor, I've always been very conscious about what I share about heaven from the pulpit, and I still am. I teach what I find in Scripture." I was pleased to hear this. But some of the things didn't fit so neatly, and I wondered if the author weren't trying a bit too hard to force Scripture to "fit" into his son's ideas. The book of Revelation is filled with symbolism, and to say that they definitively mean one thing or another based on a child's vision seem unwise.- The whole "battle at the end of time" thing really bugged me. Not only did the author admit that his son was a huge fan of the Narnia movies, but the theology here is shaky at best, downright heretical at worst. The fact is that Satan has already been defeated, and the suggestion that men (yes, only men, not women or children) would have to fight in an epic battle in heaven really put up some red flags in my head.- I was also really frustrated that the parents were so hesitant to ask him for more information. This made no sense to me at all. I understand not wanting to plant ideas or ask leading questions, but the fact that it took literally YEARS for the son to disclose what he saw seemed kind of unlikely. I know if it was my son, I'd be asking him to tell me all about it right there when he brought it up. We wouldn't have left the Arby's without getting the whole story!As I read this book, a particular Bible passage kept coming to the forefront of my mind: “He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’”The purpose of this book is rather unclear. The boy's story seems to line up fairly well with Scripture (though there are obviously figurative parts of Revelation which are taken very literally, such as the rainbow-colored horse), so what is its purpose? If someone doesn't believe the Words of God Himself in Scripture, then why would they believe the same thing as told by a four-year-old?more
If you believed in heaven prior to reading this book, and if you haven't spent a terribly great amount of time thinking through your conception of heaven, this book will tickle your confirmation bias.If you don't believe in heaven, this book will not do much to change your mind. It takes all of the cliched imagery associated with the afterlife, and then says that some young boy saw it while having critical surgery.It offers up little proofs of its validity, like Colton Burpo recognizing a picture of a deceased relative that he had never met before, and then explaining that he met him while he was in heaven. Naturally, these proofs do not offer the skeptical reader much, since there's no way to verify the events described ever actually took place. Then it tows the line, with Colton describing the things he saw which reminds his pastor father of a passage in the Bible that he can then quote to show that his son's experience was in line with scripture.The book would be more effective (minutely, but still) if Colton had not grown up in a Bible believing family, if his dad were not a pastor, or if Colton could give details that were not already a part of his dad's theology. As it stands, it sounds like a young child had a near death experience, and then regurgitated the thoughts he had heard his father preach on the afterlife. There's nothing innovative, and therefore it does not even feel like any first hand experience took place, even if we put aside the fact that there's no way to determine whether or not the events described in the book were fabricated or exaggerated.While I myself am a skeptic, I imagine that the people who would be most irked by this book would be Christians themselves. Heaven is for Real describes an afterlife that is essentially a really happy and spiritual version of earthly life. It's the kind of heaven you would expect from a young child: earth, just without bad stuff. I know that many Christians share this conception of heaven, but many Christians also believe in a fundamental redemption and transformation of experience, and there's none of that in Burpo's near death experience.The book is short, it's not the worst way to spend some spare reading time, and whether you're a skeptic or a Christian it is sort of fun to imagine that there is a little kid out there who can put all of the armchair theologians to shame by virtue of first hand experience. But that's all this is, a sort of fun story, it does not really hold up upon reflection. So, if you are thirsty for proof of an afterlife or if you are dreading the possibility that there may actually be one, you need not spend time on this book while searching for information. This is just the same old folksy heaven put into a child's mouth.more
This book was about a young boy has to have surgery on his appendix. He dies and later on comes back to life. While he is dead, he witnesses Heaven. This book tells you about what his family had to go through and the challenges he had to face. He was just a little boy and he has to face some very tough challenges but he gets to see what Heaven is like! Then he comes back to life and he gets to tell everyone the Heaven is for real! God sent him here for him to teach everyone his true story. His family was happy once they knew he came back alive. I would be too. I love, love, Love this book! It makes you realize that Heaven isnt fake, Hell isnt fake. I wish more people would read his book. Its really short, a day you could read it. It made me happy, sad, tearful and just plain amazed. I would recommend this book to anyone, if it gets them to realize that God is real. Even if you dont believe in God right now, you should read this book. It will make you inspired.more
Wasn't looking forward to reading this book which was a recent selection of my book group. However, I am so glad I did. It gives one hope for reuniting with loved ones and being at peace and truly happy. Also, humble story of a regular family and how they dealt with a lot of bad juju.more
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