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  • Mark Clary

The Fallacy of Near Death Experiences

Why are so any people intrigued by the prospect of near death experiences? We all have a desire to know what happens after we die. Rather than rely on what God tells us in His Word, we would rather conjure up the god of our imagination or read what others have written. For example, a recent book published by John Burke of Gateway Church in Austin, Texas, entitled “Imagine The God Of Heaven” which is a follow-up book to “Imagine Heaven.” Both books address near death experiences of people around the world. He is just another charlatan who is peddling a book and preying on the emotions of people in order to pad his bank account and puff himself up.


Let us look at what the Bible actually says with regard to glimpses of heaven to quickly dispel the lies of Mr. Burke's near death experience books. 2 Corinthians 12:1-7, “It is doubtless not profitable for me to boast, I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord: I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago- whether in the body I do not know, or whether out of the body I do not know, God knows- such a one was caught up to the third heaven. And I know such a man- whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows- how he was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter. Of such a one I will boast; yet of myself I will not boast, except in my infirmities. For though I might desire to boast, I will not be a fool; for I will speak the truth. But I refrain, lest anyone should think of me above what he sees me to be or hears from me. And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure.”

Here are some of the theological errors made by Mr. Burke. The Apostle Paul was very reluctant to even speak of the third heaven; this incident happened 14 years prior to Paul's letter to the Corinthians. He said it is not profitable to boast, which is what Mr. Burke is doing by peddling inaccurate books for profit. He is not only boasting himself, but he is also encouraging other people to boast of their near death experiences. Secondly, only God knows if things are in the body or out of the body, man does not have this power or intellect to know as Mr. Burke purports. Thirdly, the Apostle Paul heard inexpressible words which a man is not allowed to speak. The Apostle Paul says nothing of what he saw, which is contrary to all the near death experiences of today. The near death experiences of today focus on seeing a bright light, which makes perfect sense since Satan himself is portrayed as an angel of light. 2 Corinthians 11:14, “No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.”

Mr. Burke continues to propagate lies through these books which will ultimately result in a much more severe judgment eternally for him. This type of apostate teaching is more indicative of a gateway to hell. The missing ingredient in Mr. Burke is his immense lack of humility. The Apostle Paul exhibited a lowly spirit in light of such grand revelations. The Apostle Paul abased himself continually and beat his body into submission so as not to exalt himself above measure. Mr. Burke would do well to take a play out of Paul's playbook so that he may come to his senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will (2 Timothy 2:26). Mr. Burke falls into the category of those “whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole households, teaching things which they ought not, for the sake of dishonest gain.” (Titus 1:11).

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