Christian films continue to dominate at the box office thanks to a growing consumer appetite for faith-based entertainment, but one Christian professor says that a particular theme of Christian films and books, namely those about Heaven and the afterlife, could potentially be harmful to Christianity.
On Friday, the Michael Polish-directed feature film, “90 Minutes in Heaven,” which is an adaptation of The New York Times best-selling book of the same name by Pastor Don Piper, was released to theaters across the U.S. It tells the real-life story of a Texas pastor who had a near-death experience and comes more than a year after Randall Wallace’s box office hit “Heaven Is for Real,” which made $101 million during its box office run. It also comes ahead of the highly anticipated Christian drama “Miracles From Heaven” starring Jennifer Garner.
Scot McKnight, who’s a professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary in Lombard, Illinois., shared his concerns about NDE-inspired films and the impact that they can have on Christian theology during an interview with The Christian Post on Friday.
“It has to do first with how we learn to believe what we should believe as Christians and our primary source of information — our foundation of information is the Bible and we challenge all experience on the basis of what we find in the Bible,” McKnight told CP.
“I find that, with many people either going to movies or reading these books and stories of near death experiences, I find that people believe these stories because they’re so compelling and powerful and real, so people believe that they must be what Heaven is like.”
McKnight, who has studied more than 100 NDE stories, said believers should not rely on them as fact because they are not consistent with the Bible.
“If we study what the Bible says about Heaven, we will come to the conclusion that what the Bible says about Heaven is seriously out of synch with what NDEs tell us about Heaven and that deeply concerns me,” he continued. “I believe that reliance upon these stories can harm Christian theology and a biblical understanding of what Heaven is like.”
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SOURCE: The Christian Post