God’s Book & God’s Voice

Among certain Christian circles, extraordinary claims of a trip to heaven are accepted as true.

Last week we looked at a glimpse of the kingdom, from the Transfiguration in Luke 9. Peter, James, and John experienced a moment of heavenly glory come to earth, and they heard the audible voice of God. This raises a question as to whether glimpses of glory and hearing God’s voice do still happen today.

 

Not many people see heaven and live to tell about it. In Scripture, those who may have (Lazarus, Paul, and the girl we call Talitha), never recorded a word of what they saw. Only John’s Revelation was given for the church. But among certain Christian circles, extraordinary claims of a trip to heaven are accepted as true.

One far-fetched claim gained notoriety on March 11, 2011, when the New York Times ran: “Celestial Sales for Boy’s Tale of Heaven.” The article reported young Colton Burpo’s “testimony” of a trip to heaven, which a mercurial marketing campaign (complete with book deal and movie rights) grossed him unbelievable sums. The book, “Heaven is for Real” sold over 12 million copies, and the film adaptation grossed over 100 million dollars.

What do we do with these types of claims? Are the claimants lying, crazy, or for real? Is it wrong to doubt the experience? Should we envy his experience? Are we lacking faith in God’s power and work?

Last week we looked at a glimpse of the kingdom, from the Transfiguration in Luke 9. Peter, James, and John experienced a moment of heavenly glory come to earth, and they heard the audible voice of God. This raises a question as to whether glimpses of glory and hearing God’s voice do still happen today.

I am not going to take a view on whether they can happen, but I simply what to suggest a biblical response for when you hear these claims and to dispel any thought you might have of missing out.

3 Reasons Why You Do Not Need To Envy Claims Of Mystical Experiences

1. Experiences Are Not Trustworthy

Luke 9:36 And when the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silent and told no one in those days anything of what they had seen.

After this most life-changing, faith-validating experience, Peter, James, and John rush out to sign a book deal? Not exactly. The only time the event is mentioned is in the Gospel account and one other time, where Peter downplays its significance to Christian faith.

Peter never referred to his supernatural experience as proof of anything. He never said: “I know Jesus is the Messiah because I heard God’s audible voice tell me so.” Instead, Peter and the apostles in the book of Acts preached Jesus’ Messiahship from the Old Testament Scriptures.

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