LifeWay will no longer sell 'Heaven Is for Real' books

by Vanessa Garcia Rodriguez |

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Christian Examiner) -- LifeWay Christian Resources announced last week it will no longer sell books that lay claims of "experiential testimonies about Heaven."

"We decided these experiential testimonies about heaven would not be a part of our new direction, so we stopped re-ordering them for our stores last summer," LifeWay spokesman Marty King told Baptist Press in written comments.

The news source reported they were informed of the decision to halt sales of the "experiential materials" after inquiring about the book "90 Minutes in Heaven" by Don Piper which depicts Piper's Heaven experience after an auto accident. The book has reportedly sold 6.5 million copies and a movie adaptation is due to release this Fall.

"Last summer, as we began developing LifeWay's new structure and direction—what we've now identified as One LifeWay—the role of Heaven visitation resources was included in our considerations," BP reported King's statement said.

"Now that we've begun implementing the new direction, the remaining Heaven visitation items have been removed from our stores and website and will not be replenished," King said. "We have more work to do aligning the LifeWay Retail Division with LifeWay's vision and core values so we covet your prayers as we continue to provide trustworthy Biblical Solutions for Life."

Other books impacted by LifeWay's decision included works like " Heaven Is for Real" by Todd Burpo. A similar book, "The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven" by Kevin and Alex Malarkey, was pulled from shelves in January after the now 16-year-old author claimed the story was not true.

King also told BP the decision to remove the materials considered a 2014 resolution the Southern Baptist Convention adopted last June at the SBC annual meeting which affirmed the "sufficiency of the biblical revelation over subjective experiential explanation to guide one's understanding of the truth about heaven and hell.

The resolution also included warning to Christians against allowing " numerous books and movies about the afterlife to become a source or basis for an understanding of the afterlife."