ABC News’ James Wang reports:
The movie “Heaven Is for Real” has been a heavenly hit in theaters while also sparking debate on its perception of heaven.
The film, based on The New York Times bestseller of the same name, is based on the true story of then-4-year-old Colton Burpo, the son of a Nebraska pastor who nearly dies during an emergency operation. Colton survives and comes back home with memories of how he went to “heaven.”
“That’s where I got to see heaven and Jesus and some angels came and flew me to heaven,” Colton told the Christian Broadcasting Network. “He was wearing a white robe and a purple sash and he just came down nicely and gracefully.”
Colton’s father, Todd Burpo, wrote the book upon which the movie is based.
“Heaven Is for Real,” which stars Greg Kinnear as Burpo, was made with a $12 million budget and has already grossed $29 million since its April 16release.
The movie, which joins the ABC show “Resurrection” and Eben Alexander’s New York Times bestselling book “Proof of Heaven” as popular entertainment about the afterlife, has both its critics and its foes.
“I’m convinced that the entire book and movie is a hoax from start to finish,” said John MacArthur, the pastor of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, Calif. “It has nothing to do with Christianity. It has nothing to do with the Bible.”
Bishop T.D. Jakes, the founder and chief pastor of The Potter’s House, a nondenominational church in Dallas with over 30,000 members, was one of the film’s producers and says the movie provides hope.
“Faith is, in its essence, the substance of things we hope for,” Jakes said. “And so the great gift of ‘Heaven Is for Real’ is that it poses for us the possibility of the impossible.”