“Heaven Is for Real,” “90 Minutes in Heaven,” and other books about visits to Heaven or Hell

by Randy Alcorn
May 09, 2011

In the past few months, I have been repeatedly asked about the phenomenally popular book Heaven Is for Real. This book was again number 1 on the May 8 New York Times bestseller’s list. It has already sold something like four million copies, and it’s not slowing down.

Truthfully, I didn’t want to say anything about this book. But after being asked about it again and again on Facebook and in emails and at a conference, I’ve decided I need to say something. People tell me, “Since you wrote the book Heaven, we want to know what you think.” Well, that doesn’t make me an expert on people’s claims of after-death or near-death experiences, but for what it’s worth I’ll share my thoughts. I will also address other Christian books that claim to record actual experiences of going to Heaven or to Hell. Consequently, this will be an unusually long blog, article-length.

Heaven Is for Real is written by an evangelical pastor, Todd Burpo, and tells of his then four-year-old son Colton, who survived emergency surgery and later told his family that he went to Heaven. Colton described seeing Jesus and meeting his miscarried sister and his great-grandfather, who died before he was born.

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