(Jesus said) "But Abraham said, 'They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.' And he said, 'No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.' He said to him, 'If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.'" Luke 16:29-31
The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven was a pretty good book, and then it was a pretty interesting movie. But, first and foremost, it was a fascinating event. If you've forgotten the story, let me give you a quick review.
Alex Malarkey was six years old when he was in a car accident. That accident left him in a coma for two months. When he revived, the lad said he had been to heaven and had spoken to Jesus. As proof, he shared a lot of information which the family had never shared with him: things he should not have known.
A great many people were touched by the lad's story.
Some churches reported enrollment in their adult confirmation classes saw a sizable increase. I know The Lutheran Hour received a fair number of requests to talk about the boy who came back from the dead. They didn't care if we spoke about Malarkey in the sermon or in the question-and-answer segment. They only wanted us to make use of this true and moving story, so hearts might be won for the Lord.
Well, maybe it is time to speak about Alex Malarkey.
Better yet, let's let Malarkey speak for himself. Recently, in a letter which is to be published, he wrote, "I did not die. I did not go to heaven. I said I went to heaven because I thought it would get me attention. When I made the claims that I did, I had never read the Bible."
With those words Malarkey has made a pretty profound and far-reaching confession.
Some of the people whose faith was built on his previous claims will be disappointed and angry. Skeptics and cynics will point to Malarkey and say, "All Christianity is based on such lies." Preachers who founded their sermons on the reports of this innocent boy will be just a bit embarrassed. As for you and me, we should be thankful.
We should be thankful because Malarkey has more to say than "I'm sorry that I lied."
Along with his apology, Malarkey has said, "It is only through repentance of your sins and a belief in Jesus as the Son of God, who died for your sins ... that you can be forgiven ...." He continues, you can be saved, "not by reading a work of man. I want the whole world to know that the Bible is sufficient ... the Bible is enough."
Jesus said the same thing many years ago. He knew the devil loves to produce false prophets who do wondrous things and preach marvelous words. That's why the Savior warned His followers: "Listen to the Word. Only in God's Word which points to the Savior will you be given the words of eternal life" (see John 6:68).
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, I give thanks for Your Word, which is truth. Even more, I rejoice that my faith is founded on the Savior who lived, died and rose, so I might be forgiven and saved. In Jesus' Name I give thanks. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries