Another Silly Customer Story: Heaven

Derek Ouellette —  February 3, 2012

A customer was browsing our store recently and as she was passing by an end cap displaying Randy Alcorn’s book Heaven she said, “Ooh, another story of someone who went to Heaven?” as she took it off the shelf and began to read the back. “No”, I said. “It’s a book about heaven, but Alcorn has not gone there himself.” “Eww” she said as she promptly repositioned the book on the shelf.  “Why would anybody want to read a book about Heaven written by someone who hasn’t even been there?

No joke. She actually did just say that.

Although her question was meant to be rhetorical, I decided to answer it anyways. “Well because in those other books people will tell you that they went to heaven, but in Alcorn’s book you will find out what the Bible actually says on the subject”.

Oh“, she snarled, “there’s that.” Conversation ended.

Ya, there’s that. You know. This little thing we Protestants like to call sola scriptura. My concern – and desire – is not to pick on this one customer, but to observe a growing trend among conservative evangelicals. When books like 90 Minutes in Heaven and Heaven is For Real rise to the top of Bestseller charts in North America, and sustain their presence there, while those very same buyers avoid books like Alcorn’s Heaven or Wright’s Surprised by Hope, there’s a problem. A serious problem.

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Derek Ouellette

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a husband, new dad, speaker, writer, christian. see my profile here.
  • Dave Leigh

    What do you think of Alcorn’s Heaven?

  • Derek Ouellette

    It’s pretty good. The problem is that he continues to use the word “Heaven” (probably because he’s writing on such a popular level). But his teaching on it is very “Wrightian”. In fact, I believe it is in Surprised by Hope that Wright recommends Alcorn’s book (even though he laments the title). He does dabble in a bunch of questions like will there be animals in heaven et cetera. Take that or leave it, the book on a whole is very “New Earth”. Someone I know read it and it rocked her world for the better. She said, “I didn’t realize that our ultimate destination is here, when this earth is made new!” That’s a good sign.

  • Rielly

    Dude, I am so envious of your opportunity to experience such great anecdote. God knew you’d be writing a blog, and thus providing the comedic material.

  • Drew Chapados

    I often wonder why someone’s supposed visit to heaven is always more popular than a teaching on what the Bible says!
    I do find it interesting that there is no word from Lazarus of what his experience was like or of Paul’s visit to the ‘third’ heaven.
    Sometimes I wonder if people don’t feel very secure in their faith and feel like they ‘need’ more ‘assurances’.

  • Kimberly

    The book is about a boy named Alex Malarkey and his father, Kevin Malarkey, who were in a very bad car accident. Alex almost lost his life and was in a coma for several months. When he came out of his coma, Alex told of his journey to Heaven. He also said he met Jesus. The story is the account of Alex’s heavenly experience. The book was on the New York Times Best Sellers’ List.

  • Craig L. Adams

    Have you seen this: “‘Grandma not in heaven’ boy reports”

  • Craig L. Adams

    Maybe I should have said: that’s satire, of course. :-)