"Incredible Journeys" [December] provoked questions but danced around the theological issues created by the "heaven" books.
The good news isn't that all people go to heaven or even that heaven is for real; it's that in Jesus, sin is forgiven and eternal life has begun. The theological confusion in these books reveals that personal experience or private revelation is not trustworthy for doctrine. The scriptural model is that if the theology of the revelation is incorrect the revelation may not be used for public proclamation.
Mark Galli's impressive article failed to sway me from my conviction that these experiences are, at best, delusional. These stories of journeys to heaven do not seem to make room for Jesus, and none of the voyagers seem aware of the extreme significance of God's holiness. In every biblical encounter between humans and God enthroned (Ezekiel, Jeremiah, John on Patmos), the human reaction to God's presence is an overwhelming desire to sink into the ground, or have some nearby mountain range leap to shield them from his holiness. Occam's razor points the way on this one: These journeyers are fooling themselves and fooling others.
Valuing the Truth
In answering "Should churches discourage belief in Santa Claus?" [Under Discussion, December], I wonder about our teaching children the "value" of tolerance—letting others believe a destructive lie because it's only a game—or the "value" of not interfering with other parents who choose to teach lies. Would we also insist that our children never tell their Muslim friends the truth? Or discourage our ministers from saying so?
A Heart Thing