Southern Baptists say Holy Writ, not Hollywood, proves heaven is for real

Southern Baptists believe heaven is for real, but not because they saw it in a movie.

By Bob Allen

The Southern Baptist Convention passed a resolution June 10 warning against books and movies suggesting that near-death experiences prove the existence of heaven or hell.

heaven-is-for-realA resolution on “the sufficiency of Scripture regarding the afterlife” says many books and movies purporting an experience of the afterlife “cannot be corroborated” and “contain details that are antithetical to Scripture.”

“Many devout and well-meaning people allow these to become their source and basis for an understanding of the afterlife rather than scriptural truth,” the resolution states.

Because “the doctrines of the afterlife are critical to a full understanding of salvation and repentance,” Southern Baptists “reaffirm the sufficiency of biblical revelation over subjective experiential explanations to guide one’s understanding of the truth about heaven and hell.”

Resolutions committee member Chris Osborne, senior pastor of Central Baptist Church in College Station, Texas, said the resolution was a general criticism not directed to any particular book or movie title.

During an earlier business session, however, Thomas McCracken, pastor of Community Church in Salem, Va., brought a motion asking that LifeWay Christian Resources “cease all sales, support and distribution” of Heaven is for Real — a 2010 best-selling Christian book and 2014 movie starring Greg Kinnear about the true story of a 4-year-old son of a Nebraska pastor who reported that he visited heaven during a near-death experience in 2003 — “for theological reasons.”