I have been asked several times about my opinion of the movie Heaven is for Real so I took the time to watch the DVD. I will start out with what I liked about the film.
Overall I thought the acting was good. I like how the pastor is shown before and after the traumatic event of his son’s near death experience, the local church he pastor’s struggle with the situation, and the fact that the movie raises the question of heaven for those who reject the concept. As I watched the film, I was taken back to an event in my life as my son Asher struggled to breath in a children’s hospital. I was told at one point that he wouldn’t make it. Needless to say this movie pulled at my heart strings. I enjoyed how the pastor was shown in a positive light in the church and community. I also enjoyed seeing how the pastor struggled and wrestled with issues in the Word of God. These aspects are very true to life for all pastors and churches. Pastors are humans who struggle with situations and theology just like everyone else. In addition to this, I also enjoyed seeing how the church leaders struggled with the situation. They had given the pastor room to deal with some of his issues, but most didn’t really seem to truly grasp the struggles of the pastor and his family. It is difficult to describe the unique pressures and struggles that ministry places on individuals and families. I felt the film did a good job of showing the tension of an imperfect pastor leading an imperfect church, and in the end both coming out the better. This is a common and important concept for local churches. In addition, I also enjoyed that the question of the existence of heaven after death was raised for those who don’t believe.
Now I will move on to what I didn’t enjoy about the movie. First off, the images of heaven are not biblically based. When Colton goes to heaven, he finds himself at the church building? The Word of God makes no mention of church buildings in heaven anywhere. Even our most beautiful buildings will not even be close to what God has hand crafted in heaven. Second, the attempt at showing a “beautiful heaven” in the church building was cheesy at best, and downright not helpful. Showing angels as these star things that sing? There are many examples of angels in the Word, but none show them as this movie does. In addition to this, the overarching problem with the vision, is the lack of seeing Jesus as the crown jewel! While Jesus is part of this vision of heaven, Jesus plays more of a side character or like a glorified “table host” of café heaven in Colton’s vision. At no point does Colton worship Jesus or show that Jesus is King, Lord, and worthy of worship (Revelation 5).
My overall opinion, take this movie with a grain of salt, the images of heaven seem more cooked up by an active four year old imagination than based in Biblical reality. I fear that our need and attention to movies and books along this line, only points to the spiritual immaturity and our addiction to “junk food” Christian entertainment instead of healthy biblical truth. Experiences never dictates doctrine, especially the doctrine of heaven. This movie is simply entertainment, not biblical reality. Keeping in mind this is simply entertainment not something to base a bible study on, I would give this a four on a scale of one to ten.