Heaven is for Real: to see or not to see

Posted: May 6, 2014 in CE/Youth MInistry

A recounting of a young boy who had a vision of Heaven was turned into a book and now into a Movie. I have not read the book, but what I have to say fits any incident fitting the vision of heaven experience.
I think that visions can happen, though that does not mean that case by case we should not be aware that it’s possible someone just had a vivid dream. But what is a little off is 1) needing some extra confirmation of heaven (though it is encouraging to have it, we shouldn’t need it) and 2) thinking that there is new truth revealed to these people for the Church.
This is not to say that experiences can’t be of great encouragement. But it does seem that an individual’s vision can give us more surety of the reality of God than how he has spoken to all of us. And though we want to affirm that God speaks to our hearts in many ways, and through many means, we should be careful when we take what we feel God is saying to essentially be equivalent in it’s authority to His Word, a Word which we are to interpret our experiences by, and not interpret it by our experiences.
To defend this, let’s go to the Bible where two apostles talk about Visions. Paul talks about being caught up to the third heaven and he chides the Corinthians for caring more about visions, gifts and experiences than about growing closer to Christ in holiness. But the most Amazing text is in 2 Peter 1:16-19

For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,” we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain. And we have something more sure, the prophetic word, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts

Did you catch that? The vision was an affirmation of the truth of the Gospel. He doesn’t dismiss its power. But Peter says that the scriptures as MORE sure than that! Let me be clear as crystal… the point of this passage is not to DOWNPLAY the significance or validity of experiences (certainly the mt. of Transfiguration was meant to strengthen their faith) but to RAISE us to new heights in appreciation for how amazing, how incredible is God’s Word! If we are in practice finding more validation in individual experiences, (for though many of us would say we don’t, yet really we do) lets us raise our appreciation for the Holy Spirit’s power in scripture. Let us go there to find nourishment to live whether or not God gives us experiences.
Lastly let’s be careful about adding on to scripture. It is very common to take someone’s experience and decide that it is revealed truth from God on par with scripture that is for all the church to believe. If this boy saw angels in a certain way in his vision, that may very well have been part of the vision but I think it’s a bit sketchy to start making extra biblical conclusions about the nature of heaven from anything but the Bible. I say this because revelation warns us not to add to scripture, and Paul says not to go beyond what is written. To be encouraged by a vision or revelation has a place in our lives. To be given new information that is for all the church for all time (not specified for you or your immediate context) I think you would need to petition the church to reopen the canon so that the new additions and revisions you have to the word of God can be put in there. But since few of us are as bold to do that, and those who have done that began Mormonism, Christian Science, and the Jehovah’s Witnesses, let’s make sure that we are not looking to visions to revise and improve the Bible. We do not believe in an open Canon, so lets’ not act like we do.
In conclusion, Experiences and visions can happen and are great when they do. But they are always under and submissive to the Word of God both in their affirmation to our hearts and to truth.
So I probably won’t see it in theatres, but if you want to I’d say go for it and be encouraged.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s