Vincent Funaro reports at Christian Post:
LifeWay Christian Stores has come under fire for selling a book based on a boy who claimed he visited heaven and who is now saying that the story is false.
The book, titled The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven, has been available since last year and tells the story of 6-year-old Alex Malarkey who suffered a horrific car accident in 2004. The crash paralyzed Alex and it was unlikely he'd survive after slipping into a coma. He awoke two months later and claimed that angels took him through the gates of heaven to meet Jesus.
Malarkey addressed the validity of the story in a letter titled "An Open Letter to LifeWay and Other Sellers, Buyers, and Marketers of Heaven Tourism, by the Boy Who Did Not Come Back From Heaven."
"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," he explained. "People have profited from lies, and continue to. They should read the Bible, which is enough."
"Malarkey's mother, Beth, addressed the matter last April in a blog, arguing that the book was not biblically sound and that it has hurt her son 'tremendously.' She also stressed that he has not made any money from book sales," according to the Christian Post.
"Alex first tried to tell a 'pastor' how wrong the book was and how it needed stopped," his mother writes in the blog. But "Alex was told that the book was blessing people." Later in the blog, she states, "Alex did not write the book and it is not blessing him!"
The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven is published by Tyndale House. Looking at the Tyndale website today, it says the book is the "true story of an ordinary boy's extraordinary journey. As you see heaven and earth through Alex's eyes, you'll come away with new insights on miracles, life beyond this world, and the power of a father's love."
The cover of the book presents Alex as the co-author of the book, even though, as noted above, his mother states flatly, "Alex did not write the book."
Conclusion: The boy who came back from heaven actually never got there in the first place, according the boy himself, who is credited by a Christian publisher with co-authoring a book that the boy's mother says the boy did not author.
And apparently there is a "pastor" out there whose notion of Christian leadership is to advise that falsehoods are OK as long as people are being blessed. Perhaps his Bible states, "Blessed are the liars, for they shall inherit the earth."
Surely, we can do better than this, can't we? Of course we can. A little pruning may be needed, however.