The First Baptist Church of Hallsville, Texas recently invited an IMB missionary to conduct revival services. The missionary’s name is Duane Falk (we trust that this information, already posted publicly at FBC Hallsville, will not compromise his security or safety).
Falk spent a good time discussing the book, 90 Minutes in Heaven by Don Piper. Piper alleges he came back from Heaven, and apparently did not have the same prohibition against speaking about such things as the Apostle Paul had in 2 Corinthians 12.
And I know that this man was caught up into paradise—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows—4 and he heard things that cannot be told, which man may not utter.
If you read the entire passage, you’ll see that Paul is warning the Corinthian church against who he calls the “Super Apostles” – who apparently were going around talking about their experiences in Heaven in order to build their false credentials and fleece the flock.
Falk uses Piper’s accounts of direct, divine revelation to discuss “crazy obedience” to the Lord. In case you’re unaware as to why this is so very, very troubling, consider these words from Justin Peters.
It’s interesting that in the New Testament, there are only three men who are allowed a glimpse into heaven: Stephen, right as he was being stoned in Acts, Chapter 7, a very brief glimpse, but we have no detail of what he saw. He just saw Jesus at the right hand of the Father, and that’s all he saw. Or that’s all we know of what he saw. John, who was writing Revelation, by far the most detailed account we have of heaven, by far. But he was writing authoritative scripture. And the only other one is Paul, who was not allowed to tell us. Now my question is, if the man who wrote roughly a third of the New Testament was now allowed to tell us what he saw and heard in heaven, how is it that all these other people are allowed to do so? And even with that, Paul with that level of humility, was still given a thorn in the flesh. Verse 7 (of 2 Corinthians 12), “For this reason there was given me a thorn in the flesh,” to humble him even further. And he wasn’t allowed to tell us. And yet everybody else that ‘goes to heaven,’ they write books, and they sell videos, and they go on speaking tours, careers are made…”
Apparently, Southern Baptist messengers agree with Justin’s assessment, in their passing of a resolution this year to state that Heaven Tourism books are “antithetical to Scripture.”
Here’s our question – how can we support the IMB when its missionaries are speaking this utter nonsense? The rest of the “sermon” was just story after story after story and literally no exegesis of Scripture was involved in Falk’s message, so it should not surprise us that Falk would rely upon the personal account of another to make for good story-telling. What’s startling is the CP is subsidizing those who – regardless of their valiant heart for missions – clearly should not be teachers. One wonders what kind of message we’re exporting through our IMB personnel.
Hopefully, new IMB President, David Platt, can fix this. If not, Southern Baptists have some tough calls to make if this is in any way indicative of the teaching being exported to the nations. There’s already enough superstition in the world that it need not be exported and advanced by the International Mission Board.
You can hear his sermon here.