Creation & Apologetics

Update: Dangerous Books!


Important Update: A movie has been made on the book “Heaven is for Real” by Burpo. So I thought it would be appropriate to update the article I wrote on that book –  and other dangerous books.

If you didn’t believe me back then in 2012 when I said these books were dangerous, then maybe you will believe me now when leading pastors and ministers in apologetics have recently written against the book “Heaven is for Real”. I added a link to an article by apologet-theologian Phil Johnson, on  the book “Heaven is for Real”. Read it here


For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions. (2 Timothy 4:3)

Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way… (2 Thess. 2:3) 

Therefore, dear friends, since you already know this, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of lawless men and fall from your secure position. (2 Peter 3:17)

Here is the promised post about books I do not recommend.
Some of you may think the title of this post is a bit exaggerated. But is it really?

I would like to remind you that books are powerful tools. Reading  shapes a person’s mindset and influences his or her life. Reading is brain food, and just like you are what you eatin the same way, you are what you read.

That is why books can also be dangerous. So be careful what you read just like you are careful what you eat.

I want you to know that I prayed before writing this post. If you did not read the verses above yet, please go back and read them.

What I am about to write concerning these authors and books is not written lightly, but is done after prayer and research to provide facts that show how and why these books are actually dangerous.

Case #1:

You’ve most likely seen this book in Christian bookstores, and other websites or ads.
The cover may look innocent and it may be misleading for some. But read the title and subtitle more carefully. Sadly this book has been circulating widely among many evangelicals. Why did I say sadly? Because the book is heretical to say the least! Read and you will see.
The 4 year old, who supposedly “went to heaven” claims that He saw Jesus, who was shorter than the angel Michael, and the Holy Spirit as a blue transparent being. It doesn’t stop there.
Way of Life Ministries, does a good book review of this book, on their website, pointing out the false claims it contains. Here I are some quotes from the book review that show the statements made by Colton the boy, and his family:

“Colton says Jesus’ horse is rainbow-colored (p. 63), whereas the Bible says it is white (Rev. 19:11).

Colton says the Holy Spirit shoots down power from heaven (p. 125)..

Colton says everyone has wings in heaven except Jesus (p. 72), that the angel Gabriel sits on the left hand of God’s throne (p. 101),
that the Holy Spirit is blue and sits in a chair near the throne of God (p. 102),

and “for our Catholic friends” the book is happy to report that Mary stands in heaven beside Jesus (p. 152).”

If you want more details, read the whole article here, Heaven is for Real: A Dangerous Book for an Apostate Age. Note, I am not affiliated in any way with this ministry, but have found their article helpful and useful.

Case #2:

This may seem like a nice inspirational book about missions to Africa. If you read the description on the back, it may even convince you about how sacrificial Katie is, and what a missionary heart she has. Don’t get me wrong. I am a daughter of missionaries myself, so I am not denouncing mission work.
I love reading about the lives of missionaries such as Gladys Aylward, Hudson Taylor, Jim Elliot and many others who God used so mightily. Yet I couldn’t help but see the real motives behind this book. I watched an interview with Katie.  She stated that her real goal was “to be the next Mother Theresa”. Many of us have heard of Mother Theresa described as a kind of saint, but Mother Theresa was a universalist, meaning she believed all religions lead to God.

Coming back to our book, Katie decided to leave for Africa without her parent’s approval at the age of 18. In fact her parents were against it. As long as a girl is under her parent’s authority (which is until she reaches adulthood or gets married), I believe Biblically that she must live in obedience to them.

Katie mentioned in her interview that she felt it was time to “choose between her father and God”, and so she chose to go to Africa.  Yet, the Bible never tells us as young people to choose between Him and our parents- rather to submit to them, especially if they are believers, and even if they are nonbelievers, they have the God-given authority to provide guidance and instruction till adulthood or marriage.

Finally, I came across the missing puzzle piece, which explained why there were so many red flags about this book. A reviewer of the book on explained everything thoroughly. The author of the book, Katie Davis, is actually into mysticism and the emergent church movement. Read the review below:

Missing Biblical Soundness/Revised Review, October 20, 2011
This review is from: Kisses from Katie: A Story of Relentless Love and Redemption (Hardcover)

“I am sadly retracting my earlier positive review due to the fact that I have recently found out that Katie stands for and believes in mystical/contemplative spirituality/emergent church types of religion. It is a departure from true, historical Christianity. She quotes on FB many mystical writer’s and thinker’s, including Brennan Manning, Ann Voskamp, Ann Dillard, etc. So it is with this knowledge that I now believe she is not Biblically sound.

Looking back at her book I now see that the emphasis is more on what she does than on Christ getting the glory. How she bows low and gives up her life for the children. The constant references to her “messy” life and how it is all so disorganized bothers me a bit. Ann Voskamp also makes reference to her “messy” life ad nauseum. To what end do they always refer to that? I have to point out also that she has taken on the viewpoint that God is in all things…meaning even the evil things that are on the earth. Also a lack of mention of sin and the need for repentance required for salvation. …unfortunately, good works minus good theology don’t amount to much.”  (Amazon review).

Case #3:

I’m sure a number of the readers of this post probably admire Ann Voskamp. She has a nice blog, popular link ups and so forth.  I too dropped by her blog once or twice after discovering her from another blog. As I browsed through, it seemed quite attractive, but I felt a warning tug in my heart about something there that I couldn’t quite put my finger on.

Her book above is very popular among evangelical women. I am concerned however, because many women do not actually know what Voskamp’s beliefs are, or what she actually implies in her writing, because it is put in such a veiled way, wrapped in a beautiful package.  In fact I am so concerned, I would have put this book as #1 on the list, but I wanted to prepare you readers for it. Since other bloggers have done a magnificent job of revealing the divergent teachings in her book, I highly encourage you to document yourself and read their posts. These are reliable people who know exactly what they are talking about because they have been involved in the false religion and worldviews that Voskamp’s book contains.
I will give you these quotes from the two articles to whet your appetite to read them and find out what Voskamp actually promotes:

“Her book One Thousand Gifts, [is] a highly poetic, eroticized, “Christianized” version of Panentheism”

“For those who aren’t familiar with what Panentheism is, Panentheism is a worldview that embraces the view that God is “in” everything.”

“Oh, how I have compassion for all of the other real women out there who have not been shepherded well, and thus discern teachings and books based only on the emotional pull, poetic writing, and likability of the teacher. I also have compassion for women who think the greatest sin is to say that a teaching is wrong because it does not line up with Scripture, but who have no fear of the Lord, nor reverence for his Word, and honestly do not think that believing a falsehood about God is a sin.”

“One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp, a book that takes romanticism to a new level, using sensuality to invoke religious feelings and, ostensibly, true devotion”

Sola Sisters article

Review of “One Thousand Gifts”

Case #4:

Janette Oke is a popular name, what with the movie sequel that was made from her novels, “Love Comes Softly”. My family and I even bought two or three of the movies at first, and I read some of her books too. Now you wonder, what could be wrong with it? Let me just say that I love reading good historical fiction and learning about the good old days, or reading about pioneers and early American times. I am not writing about a particular book of hers, but  about the style or topics she writes, which is “Christian Romance”. Now as I said in a previous post, I do not think Christian Romance is a healthy reading choice for young women who want to honor the Lord. If you think I am exaggerated, I want you to know I’m not the only one who thinks this way, and I’ve actually found a post by another young lady who, like me, decided to stop reading Christian Romance for the right reasons. Read her story here: Christian Romance- Why I Gave it Up.

— ~ —

Well dear readers, to your relief, this is the end of the list for now! I would’ve added several more books that I feel need to be treated, but I will leave it at that for now, since there is already so much information to digest. After you read this post, go pray about it and then do what the Lord leads you to do.

I assume I don’t even have to mention the book “The Shack” since I hope you all know why that book should be on this list as well. Feel free to leave comments. I would like to hear from you.

9 thoughts on “Update: Dangerous Books!

  1. Hey Rebekah!

    This was really interesting to read. I have not read the three “popular books” you mentioned but have heard quite a bit about all of them. An interesting thought that a pastor friend brought out about “Heaven is for Real:” is there ever an instance in the Bible where someone *died*, saw heaven, and came back to life? Those like the Apostle John and Prophet Ezekiel were *still alive* when they saw glimpses heaven. I thought that was a good point.

    I was surprised to hear about Ann Voskamp — well, I don’t do a lot of browsing online, so haven’t come across anything about panentheism or romanticism in her book. I began her book but could never “get into” it and thus never read it (like you said, “couldn’t quite put my finger on it”). I found the article from Sola Sisters very interesting which has given some food for thought. I think my Mom is intrigued and actually has the book open now to see about it. 🙂

    Now, this brings up an interesting question: I know that these books are dangerous, but what about Disney/Pixar/other films with “white” magic such as “Spirit,” “Tangled,” “Frozen,” and the list goes on (even down to the old “Cinderella”)? Where is the difference? Or is there a difference since these don’t “claim” to be Christian? I know how the Lord is working in my heart for the answers, but was wondering if these “Christian” books should be talked against, but “secular” material accepted?

    Praying your finals go well tomorrow!


    “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15

    1. Hi Amanda,

      Sorry for my late reply! Although I’m in break, there was so much to do, I hardly had time to myself.

      Thank you for the great thought provoking comment! Let me know what your mom found in her research. Thank you for your prayers for the finals- they went well!
      Definitely, I can say that according to the Bible, believers should not accept the supposedly “sanitized” christian version of occultism (in the form of books/literature, music, or movies), and much less the secular movies with seemingly harmless forms of magic. When I was younger, my parents did not have as much spiritual discernment as they do now, and we did watch Disney movies like Cinderella. But we have come a long way from that by God’s grace, and now we are very selective with our media and literature, and the little ones watch educational documentaries and other selected videos, books and music.

      1. Hey Becky!

        Mom (Dad doesn’t read much) decided that “One Thousand Gifts” looked a little questionable . . .

        Your testimony sounds very similar to mine. Though I still don’t know quite where God is leading me to stand in reference to movies, books, music, I tend to draw the line more of secular vs. sacred (though, as you pointed out, just because it is labeled “sacred” doesn’t mean it is Biblical — I like how the Ludys put it: “There is no group of ‘elders’ perusing the shelves of the Christian bookstore to ensure that only CHRISTIAN material is out there. We must study for ourselves.”). Aren’t you so thankful that God is constantly growing us? 🙂 There is no point of “I have arrived” upon which we must adamantly stand . . . yet little by little, He shows us what pleases Him, gives us the strength to make those choices, and then still loves and forgives us when we mess up. 🙂


        “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matthew 6:33

  2. hhmmmmm…. I remember this post. I was kind of like “really?” 🙁 when I saw they were coming out with a movie based on ‘heaven is for real’. People that come into my store and will talk about it, wondering if I’ve seen it. Thanks for the link to the apologetics concerning the entire thing! I skimmed through it and plan to thoroughly read it later. I HAVE noticed how there’s been a lot of “to heaven and back” books hit the market recently!
    I AM extremely disappointed– okay, fine. UPSET– when Christians protest these types of things and SLAM their inconsistencies WITHOUT GRACE or any hint of love. THAT bothers me. So thank you for pointing out these “dangers” with firmness and passion but without intense condemnation.

  3. I agree with you whole-heartedly. Knowing the Scriptures is key to understanding how thing like this can easily deceive the reader. I tried to read both The Shack and 1000 Gifts and could not get through the first few pages. I perceived a very demonic spirit in the writing, and stopped immediately. It is so easy to be deceived…and sensationalism coupled with the pressure of popular opinion can easily lead one astray.

  4. This is very interesting! I’ve heard about warnings on Ann Voskamp before, but never saw it written as plainly as you did here. Thank you for sharing all of these–it’s very thought-provoking (and slightly scary!) to read and think about.

    Many blessings,

    1. Hi Esther,

      Yes, I only wish more ladies would be willing to research her background and the facts about this book before they read it…or even defend it. Thanks for stopping by and for your encouraging comment!

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