Saturday, January 17, 2015

"The body who came back from heaven": Near-Death Experience Recanted

Image:  Alex Malarkey

I did a post back in December 2013 on the recent phenomenon of evangelical memoirs claiming near death experiences and the doctrinal errors, especially regarding the sufficiency of Scripture, they promote:  Near Death Experiences and the Sufficiency of Scripture.

On January 15, 2015 NPR posted an article concerning another book in this genre that I did not mention in my article:  The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven (Tyndale, 2010).  See also this Washington Post article.  The twist here is that the young man, Alex Malarkey (yep, I know, ironic name given the story), upon whose experience the book was supposedly based and who is listed as the co-author of the book along with His father, Kevin Malarkey (the author’s blurb identifies Mr. Malarkey as a “Christian therapist with a counseling practice hear Columbus, Ohio”), has now issued a recantation of his story and a rebuke of the retailers who continue to promote and profit from the book.  The NPR article reports on a written statement from Alex:

"I did not die. I did not go to Heaven," Alex wrote. He continued, "I said I went to heaven because I thought it would get me attention. When I made the claims that I did, I had never read the Bible. People have profited from lies, and continue to. They should read the Bible, which is enough. The Bible is the only source of truth. Anything written by man cannot be infallible."
He concluded, "Those who market these materials must be called to repent and hold the Bible as enough."
This statement certainly took a lot of courage for this young man to make.  It also sounds like someone has pointed out to him how his book challenges and is in conflict with the authority of Scripture.  Among the distributors of the book directly mentioned are LifeWay, the publishing arm of the supposedly conservative SBC.  Sadly, the article also points out that somewhere behind the conflict is a disruption in the Malarkey family:
Alex's parents are now divorced; he and his siblings live with his mother, Beth Malarkey, who has previously spoken out against the book featuring her son. She has also said that profits from the book haven't been going to Alex. Another book about a boy who said he had gone to heaven, Heaven Is For Real, has been turned into a movie.

Last spring, Beth Malarkey wrote a blog post stating, "Alex's name and identity are being used against his wishes (I have spoken before and posted about it that Alex has tried to publicly speak out against the book), on something that he is opposed to and knows to be in error according to the Bible."

Maybe this controversy will help open the eyes of those duped by the errors promoted in these “Christian” near death memoirs.  As Father Abraham told the rich man in Hades:  “If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead” (Luke 16:31).


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