Tuesday, April 22, 2014

MOVIE REVIEW: Heaven is for Real


Feeling hungry?
Well, get ready.
Here comes
a Twinkie!

Is heaven for real? Is it beautiful? Is Jesus there? Does God love us?

All of these questions are addressed, and the answers revealed, in the new Hollywood smash, Heaven is for Real — a delightful family film that's also as dangerous as a 40-something divorcee with a Xanax script and a loaded pistol.

Directed by Randall Wallace, the movie is based on the bajillion-selling book by Todd Burpo. It's a wonderful story of Burpo's four-year-old son Colton's visit to Heaven during a surgical procedure  — an experience that the child recounts in glorious, vivid detail.

Connor Corum as Colton Burpo.
The story is engaging. The cast, featuring Oscar-nominated actor Greg KinnearKelly ReillyLane StylesMargo MartindaleThomas Haden Church and Connor Corum is superb. And in its opening weekend, the movie raked in more than $25 million at the box office, against its $12 million budget. A sweet success, indeed.

So what's the problem? It's a "Twinkie."

Yes, Heaven is for real. It is beautiful. Jesus is there waiting for us. And God loves us. But the projected message of the movie is that God's love alone is a guarantee of our place in Heaven.

Greg Kinnear and Kelly Reilly 
as Todd and Sonja Burpo.
And that's where Heaven is for Real jumps the track. When a grieving mother asks Pastor Burpo whether or not her son is in Heaven, he assures her that God's love is sufficient. As a pastor offering comfort to a mother who had lost a child, Burpo's words were kind and heartfelt — but they contradict God's Word — making for a dangerous big screen message.

Whosoever has the Son has life; whoever
does not have God's Son does not have life.
1 John 5:12 (NLT)

Heaven is for Real delivers
family entertainment.
If the perceived message of the movie is in fact true, then the price that Jesus Christ paid at the Cross for our sins was worthless. The "stripes" that he bore and the blood that he shed his death and ultimate resurrection, were all pointless. Be sure that if any of us gave up our son to be crucified for the sake of all mankind, we would place considerable value on that sacrifice. God does love us very much. That's why he gave up His Son at Calvary. Simply put, Jesus Christ is the ONE and ONLY key to Heaven's gateway. And the really good news is, salvation —  the complete assurance of a place in Heaven is available to us ALL. And it's a gift that is absolutely FREE. We need only to reach out and accept it by accepting Jesus Christ as our Savior.

Heaven is for Real is a cute family movie that comes at a time when we really need more family movies. Heck, if I had any youngins, I'd take them all to this one — and then we'd hit the ol' DQ on the way home.

A positive and
lighthearted message.
In sum, while it does deliver a huge entertainment payoff, Heaven is for Real is a product of Hollywood. And I strongly encourage folks not to be fooled by a feel-good, but to use the movie's positive, lighthearted message merely as a springboard in which to dive deeper into God's message. I highly recommend the NLT (New Living Translation) as a fantastic place to start. Get the scoop HERE.

And if like me, you possess a true passion for movies, I also recommend another current blockbuster, God's NOT Dead. If Heaven is for Real connects with you and successfully establishes the existence of Heaven, then God's NOT Dead will close the deal by showing you how to get there.

-Christopher Long
(April 2014)

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1 comment:

  1. I believe in Heaven Glimpses and occasional Trips Like Bro Hagin had !But These days every body and Their Doggy is having Heaven Trips Everyday! Maybe they are all going to Heaven Who knows?? But Postle Paul said When he went To The 3rd Heaven It was Was Unlawful for him To say what He saw and He waited 14 years before he wrote about it -Phil Ferraro