People inherently love to learn about Jesus and Heaven.
Not the real Jesus or the real (purged of sin and unrepentant sinners) world to come, of course, but the happy, fluffy, man-affirming versions that they’ve made up in their self-referential little heads.
You know, smiling, happy, uncritical Jesus, and “everybody but Hitler will be there” Heaven.
As for learning about and loving the one true Christ and His actual plan for both the present and eternity…well…that’s not quite so appealing.
And by “not so appealing”, we mean, “astutely evaded, ignored, and hated”.
After all, it’s the nature of unrepentant man from birth to hate holiness, hate God (the personification of holiness), and love sin. Until and unless we are supernaturally saved by the grace of God through His incomparably confrontational Gospel, we will continue to love sin and hate holiness until the day we die and our eternity is sealed. That’s just how we roll, and proudly so.
So it’s not hard to understand why extra-biblical revelation is “a thing” these days.
It’s very marketable. It has a captive, sin-enslaved audience, you might say.
Unrepentant unbelievers and immature believers of all ages can’t get enough of this sort of stuff, and since the professing Christian subculture in America is loaded to the brim with both groups, it’s only natural that “Christian” book/video/whatever hawking businesses would seize the opportunity to make an absolute *ahem* killing pitching this stuff into and onto the culture.
This is the sad context in which news recently broke that “The Boy” who wrote The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven has both recanted his story and is rebuking the “Christian” businesses that have enthusiastically pitched and profited from his tale.
While I do want to take a moment to thank God for moving The Boy to proper, public repentance, I’m not aiming here to explore this specific story in detail. Many others have done a fine job of that.
What I do want to take a moment here to focus on is the very real and even profound danger of wildly popular books like The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven, 90 Minutes in Heaven, and Heaven is for Real.
No matter how many qualifiers, disclaimers and similarly suspicious legal/promotional/marketing maneuvers surround and escort these sorts of books into popular culture (all under the banner of Christ, of course), the inescapable, undeniable reality and well-understood reason for most of their appeal is the fact that they aim to present extra-biblical revelation of God, “Heaven”, and/or Jesus.
Please zero in and focus on that term: Extra-biblical revelation.
It’s really important.
Never forget that these books are sold on either the implied or explicit proposition that they are going to tell us something that we didn’t know about God/Heaven/Jesus before. Something new. Something different.
So this is very, very serious stuff.
And if you think that there can be such a thing as an “insignificant” addition along these lines, you are dangerously wrong. There is nothing insignificant about God.
Every little detail attributed to Christ – the way He speaks, phrases an answer, looks, or does anything else – is important. It shapes the way we understand Him. Each and every little added detail tells us more and more about His character and His nature.
Protecting ourselves from supposed extra-biblical revelations of anything about Christ – however small or trivial it might seem – is therefore what highly trained theologians refer to as “a very big deal”.
Scripture is not only perfect, it is sufficient.
God has revealed Himself to us perfectly.
We need nothing else, and this lack of need is not to be confused with a “bare minimum” standard as having been adequately met through Scripture.
No, our lack of need results from our having been lovingly provided with more depth, detail, and truth than a human mind could absorb in a hundred lifetimes when it comes to perfect revelation of the nature and character of Christ. Even the thought of our turning to extra-biblical revelations through this author or that – no matter how sweet, innocent, and “angel of light”-ish they may appear – ought to give us a chill and inspire our repentance.
We have been charged with the mission of proclaiming and applying the most unmarketable, unpopular, openly hated message to ever hit the ears of men: The Gospel command to repent and submit to the lordship of Christ in every area of life right here and right now.
Extra-biblical revelations (supposed first-hand accounts or experiences) of the character and nature of Christ are not assets to our cause. They are obstacles.
They tickle ears, promote spiritual immaturity, and waste valuable time…at best.
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© 2015 Scott Alan Buss – All Rights Reserved.
Soli Deo Gloria!