Todd Burpo Calls Christian Critics of “Heaven Is for Real” Pharisees

Colton Burpo (Connor Corum) tells his dad Todd (Greg Kinnear) that he met his grandfather in heaven in "Heaven Is for Real." (ALLEN FRASER)
Colton Burpo (Connor Corum) tells his dad Todd (Greg Kinnear) that he met his grandfather in heaven in “Heaven Is for Real.” (ALLEN FRASER)

Pastor Todd Burpo, who penned the dramatic account of his son’s trip to heaven and back – now a blockbuster film – fends off Christian critics who contend the colorful account could never have happened.

“The Jesus in the Bible is the same Jesus who did this for Colton,” Todd affirms. “If Christians don’t like that they must be Pharisees,” he says. Pharisees were members of a religious party that emphasized strict interpretation and observance of the Mosaic Law. The New Testament frequently depicted them as self-righteous, because they placed the letter of the law above its spirit.

Todd says the attitude of his critics toward the supernatural is telling. “Christians and sinners still appreciate miracles,” he notes. “Pharisees never have and never will.”

“In the Bible, Pharisees used to call themselves Jews. Today they call themselves Christians.”

Todd points to the story of Jesus, Moses, and Elijah on the Mount of Transfiguration to bolster his argument. “Were Moses and Elijah angels or people?” he asks. “Are they lying in a grave somewhere waiting for the Second Coming or are they in heaven with God?”

“The people who say Colton’s trip to heaven can’t happen, I say, ‘Read your Bible.’”

Todd believes the movie is a fair and accurate representation of the book. “The integrity of the story was the biggest thing we protected,” he notes. “There are some things they had to change, but it’s very close to the story.”

Father and son agree with some of the film critics who say the strength of the movie lies in the drama that unfolded on earth, rather than the representation of heaven. “Colton would say, ‘Heaven is way much better than how they made it in the movie.’”

“With all the things Hollywood can do, they still can’t depict heaven,” Todd adds.

Before shooting on the movie began, Todd and his wife Sonja had dinner with actors Greg Kinnear and Kelly Reilly, who portray them in the film. “Greg asked me some personal questions and Kelly asked Sonja some questions. They learned to copy us fast,” he notes. “The casting is what makes the movie phenomenally good.”

“With the little boy (Connor Corum) who plays Colton, you see pretty much what I saw 11 years ago. He looked at me and he looks at you through the screen and in his uncompromising and childlike way tells you what he saw.”

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SOURCE: God Reports
Mark Ellis

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