Pulpit and Pen recently posted an article in regard to an IMB Missionary (in fact, a regional director for the missions organization) making a lengthy sermon illustration out of the book, 90 Minutes in Heaven. The P&P has regularly pointed out the danger of the Heaven Tourism industry and the danger of these unbiblical claims of direct, divine revelation. It was troubling that IMB personnel would quote from the book, let alone do it in such a way that it seems to be commending the book to his audience.
Soon thereafter, JD received an email from IMB Vice President, Ken Winter.
We are joyful that the IMB has responded in such a fashion, concerned about doctrine being taught (how refreshing!) and willing to listen to criticism (again, how refreshing for an SBC entity!). It was also encouraging to see Winter refer to Platt’s own criticism of Heaven Tourism as a reason for handling this situation quickly and responsibly.
We are also pleased to hear that Duane regrets his use of this claim of extra-biblical revelation as a part of a sermon to a Christian church, but we pray that it isn’t because of a blog post or a few emails to his employer in opposition. Rather, we hope that Platt, Winter, or someone else at NAMB was able to explain why these books are contradictory to the Bible and stand in opposition to the sufficiency of Scripture. Heaven Tourism and other continuationist myths and legends only hold their popularity because our leaders rarely challenge them.
With our thankfulness to the IMB clearly articulated, let us consider one other topic. Southern Baptist leaders, like Platt, have verbalized the theological problems with these books. Southern Baptists have voted to articulate the same in a resolution passed last year. So why is Lifeway still profiting from Heaven Tourism? Why are they still selling 90 Minutes in Heaven, Heaven is For Real and other books?
Is it not at least a little embarrassing that our bookstores are selling books that to the International Mission Board aren’t fit to mention from the pulpit? Southern Baptists messengers clearly feel these books are not fit for spiritual consumption, and neither does the IMB. Why, then, is Lifeway – led by theologically astute people like Thom Rainer – insist on selling these books in the spiritual marketplace.
JD and Justin Peters at Lifeway Bookstore in Billings, MT. This is a collection of books ranging from 90 Minutes in Heaven and Heaven is for Real to Jesus Calling and Four Blood Moons, to one by anti-Trinitarian, TD Jakes.
If you think of any reason besides shameless profit motivation, let us know. In the mean time, we’re content to say that Thom Rainer and Lifeway are peddling heresy for profit, and Southern Baptists simply do not seem interested in stopping them.
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