The Baptist Press article about Lifeway pulling Heaven Tourism began with a lie…
NASHVILLE (BP) — LifeWay Christian Resources has stopped selling all “experiential testimonies about heaven” following consideration of a 2014 Southern Baptist Convention resolution on “the sufficiency of Scripture regarding the afterlife.”
This is not true, and no one believes it. The 2014 SBC meeting was nine months ago. Thom Rainer thumbed his nose at the Convention until a brave young man named Alex Malarkey wrote an open letter to Lifeway that became the biggest news story in the world on January 17 and put Rainer’s shame on the front page of publications from the New York Times to the Today Show (and basically everywhere on the right-hand graphic you see on this website). And as we revealed previously in emails between former Lifeway Trustee and world famous apologist, Justin Peters and Lifeway executives, Thom Rainer and Ed Stetzer, they continued to sell the book even though they knew that it was false and the boy had recanted. And to this day, by the way, Lifeway has not returned the young man’s letter or even acknowledged his existence.
The article did briefly reference Malarkey, however.
In January, LifeWay announced it would stop selling “The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven” after coauthor Alex Malarkey admitted that he lied about having a vision of heaven as a 6-year-old. See related BP story. At the time, King said LifeWay was “committed to becoming even more proactive in the next few months in evaluating the resources we carry.”
Pulpit & Pen reached out to Marty King, the Lifeway spokesman referenced in the above quotation. King is well aware that Thom Rainer received emails (to which he responded) from Justin Peters about the book being false, but has disappointedly yet to retract the false statements in the linked BP story above.
We are thankful that after bringing Lifeway’s shame to the world media and exposing Rainer and Stetzer’s knowledge of the falsehoods in that book and their putting of profit above Biblical fidelity, that they have decided to stop selling Heaven Tourism. Perhaps now Rainer needs to answer for why they ever sold it in the first place.
Thank you, Alex Malarkey, for your bravery. Thank you for being so mistreated and ignored by Thom Rainer and Lifeway with such poise and dignity. And thank you, #the15.
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