Last Sunday at The Donelson Fellowship I illustrated my sermon with a story from the runaway bestseller Heaven is For Real by Nebraska pastor Todd Burpo. It’s the account of his son, Colton, who momentarily died on the operating table during emergency surgery. In the months following, Colton described visiting heaven, seeing Jesus, meeting his sister who had miscarried, and describing obscure details that match what the Bible teaches about heaven. His story was remarkable, and the book is a publishing sensation.
As I shared that story, I knew that Todd and Sonja Burpo—along with Colton—would be standing at that very spot on our TDF platform within 48 hours. I didn’t say anything, for Thomas Nelson Publishers had planned the event for its army of hardworking employees and it wasn’t open to the public.
But Katrina and I, along with our TDF staff, were invited to attend. Afterward Katrina, who had just finished the book, took off after Colton and he and his dad signed her copy, saying: “To Katrina: Heaven is for Real… and you’re going to like it! Hebrews 12:2. Todd Burpo. Colton Burpo.” What a friendly and sincere family! There’s no doubt they’re for real.
While we never base our theology or doctrine on personal experience—we have plenty of great Scriptures for that—it’s wonderful when a person’s testimony helps make that doctrine more vivid to us. I’m hoping this book will crack the hard soil of the secularism of our age and get some people thinking about the realities of eternity. Heaven IS for real — and we’re going to like it!