John MacArthur on the phenomenon behind Heaven is for Real:
The typical Christian today seems oblivious to the principles established by Deuteronomy 29:29 and 1 Corinthians 4:6 (“that you may learn . . . not to go beyond what is written”). In fact, people seem to be looking for spiritual truth, messages from God, and insight into the spirit world everywhere but Scripture.
Today’s evangelicals have been indoctrinated by decades of charismatic influence to think God regularly bypasses His written Word in order to speak directly to any and every believer—as if extrabiblical revelation were a standard feature of ordinary Christian experience. Many therefore think charity requires them to receive claims of “fresh revelation” with a kind of pious gullibility. After all, who are we to question someone else’s private word from God?
So when dozens of best-selling authors who profess to be Christians are suddenly claiming they have seen heaven and want to tell us what it’s like, most of the Christian community is defenseless in the wake of the onslaught.
Todd Burpo’s astonishing multimillion best seller, Heaven Is for Real,  epitomizes the phenomenal success Christian authors and publishers have had with books about alleged visits to heaven. It also illustrates the danger of basing one’s ideas about the afterlife on personal experience rather than Scripture alone.
Most of the familiar features of the genre are included in Burpo’s story: conscious out-of-body travel, the ability to see things from an ethereal perspective, visions of angelic beings, sublime emotions, vivid lights and colors, and lots of unexpected but finely detailed trivia about heaven’s look and feel. But Heaven Is for Real also includes dozens of biblical references throughout. The entire story is carefully clothed in familiar evangelical language and imagery. And Burpo has clearly succeeded in selling a near-death-experience story to evangelicals as if it were a legitimate source of knowledge about heaven. Droves of Christian readers have heartily embraced his book . . .
If you needed to remember a recipe for dinner, an accurate record of your phone messages, or trustworthy driving directions, perhaps the last place you’d turn is the foggy memory of a small child. And yet many believers consider that a reliable and even authoritative source of revelation about God and His heavenly kingdom