Paradise Lost: ‘I Did Not Die. I Did Not Go to Heaven’

Longreads

Alex Malarkey was paralyzed from the neck down in a car accident when he was six years old. The young boy claimed to have visited heaven, seen his stillborn sister and talked with Jesus. Years later, he began to recant the story touted in his bestselling book, but no one would listen–until now. Michelle Dean reports at The Guardian:

“I did not die. I did not go to heaven. When I made the claims, I had never read the Bible. People have profited from lies, and continue to. They should read the Bible, which is enough,” Alex wrote.

Jokes playing on his surname have been made far and wide, but Alex Malarkey is not James Frey for the evangelical set. He was not, and still is not, an adult. He is dependent on the care of others. Contesting this book would mean discrediting his own father as his co-author. It would also…

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“The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven” Recants Story, Rebukes Christian Retailers [UPDATED!!!!!]

I’m looking at you, Colton Burpo…

Polemics Report

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UPDATE 1 ! According to sources, Lifeway intends to pull this book from it’s bookstore! Warren Throckmorton has the story, but the gist is that in response to  Throckmorton’s questions, “Martin King, Director of Communications at Lifeway issued a statement saying the stores are pulling the book:

“LifeWay was informed this week that Alex Malarkey has retracted his testimony about visiting heaven as told in the book “The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven.” Therefore, we are returning to the publisher the few copies we have in our Stores.”

We have commentary on this and will be posting a fuller update tomorrow morning. 

UPDATE 2! The Washington Post confirms that Tyndale House will also stop selling this book

UPDATE 3! Emails Suggest Lifeway President Knew of Heaven Scam, Chose Not to Act

Lifeway has been selling The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven for many years now. It is part of the trifecta of…

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A Seasons of New Old Things

Ryan Cagle

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The last several months of 2014 have been a bit of a primer for the season of life that is the new year. It started when Holy Spirit began to lead me down some old paths but were very new to me. It has been as if I have discovered a new land but only to find out that I am certainly not the first to step foot on it’s shore. My heart resonates with G.K. Chesterton when he describes his journey toward biblical orthodoxy in this way. This is a very new and unfamiliar season for my family but it is a new season filled with old things, ancient things, and even forgotten things. A season I am more than glad to embrace.

This season is more than just about diving head first into the traditions and teachings of the church. It is about the resurfacing of dreams and…

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Matthew’s Nativity Story, Critically Examined

Is That in the Bible?

Another Christmas has come and gone, and it is a time of year when one Bible story stands out above all else—the nativity of Jesus. Despite the deep reverence Christians have for this story, many (perhaps most) are aware at some level that the ubiquitous scene with the shepherds, the three magi, the star and the stable full of animals is an idealized fairytale version. As a mythologized tradition, it exists in numerous cultural variations—those from Naples may include taverns and merchants, for example, while Catalan nativity scenes always include a character who is defecating (!), called the “Caganer”. The Bible itself tells two separate tales of Jesus’ birth (one in Matthew and one in Luke), and neither of them presents an account that resembles the modern nativity portrayal. Nor, for that matter, can the two accounts be merged into a single, consistent narrative without altering or omitting numerous critical…

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Why I won’t teach my Son about David vs. Goliath

Ryan Cagle

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David hoists the severed head of Goliath as illustrated by Gustave Doré (1866). [words are my own]

Just to start out I want to make it clear that I am not critiquing anyone else’s ability to parent their children Or the decisions they make in raising them. Nor am I speaking as a pro at parenting or theology.

I think most people are fairly familiar with the narrative of the battle between David of Israel and Goliath of Gath that is found in the Hebrew/Christian scriptures. The story of this battle is honestly one of the first things I learned in my sporadic visits to church as a child and as the years have gone by I can say for sure that it is a staple in most churches Sunday School curriculum. The fact that this story, one of a man killing another man, is taught to young children deeply…

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