Through opening himself to the “guidance” of his quiet time and “journaling,” Frank Buchman was prepared to embrace any demonic deception so long as it was a “spiritual experience.” The ultimate delusion came through a near-death experience resulting from a stroke. Buchman told friends:
“I saw the glory of the other world. I saw the outstretched arms of Christ. … It was better than anything I had ever seen, the vision of the life beyond.… I am going to stick to that vision. The unfathomable riches of Christ. It was glory. …”
Of course in near-death experiences Hindus see visions of their gods and Buddhists see the void. Is that because the brain is creating the vision from one’s belief, or do demons paint a picture within the person’s belief system? Visions are a poor basis for faith. Nevertheless, visions are held in high regard by many Christians. Some of the most popular speakers on the charismatic circuit are those who have allegedly been to heaven—and hell—and come back to tell about it.
The stories told are unbiblical at best and fraudulent in at least some cases. The End-Time Handmaidens, headed by Gwen Shaw, offer at least a dozen books featuring trips to heaven and hell. Betty Maltz’s book My Glimpse of Eternity (it sold about a million copies) tells of her meeting Jesus in heaven. Her story was published by Catherine Marshall in Norman Vincent Peale’s Guideposts magazine. The validity of her story was later questioned when her six additional books, as well as verbal accounts, added to or contradicted her earlier account.
Percy Collett allegedly spent five-and-a-half days in heaven and told his story to appreciative Full Gospel audiences. He claimed that “dogs in heaven do not bark, but the horses praise God … God the Father is bigger than Jesus and has feathers on his left hand.” One of the speakers most in demand for several years at Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship banquets and many churches was Dr. Richard Eby. His books (Caught Up into Paradise and Didn’t You Read My Book?) and accounts in meetings and over TBN are unbiblical and self-contradictory.
In contrast to the vast numbers of the clinically dead who return telling of beautiful experiences, medical doctor Maurice Rawlings, in two books, Beyond Death’s Door and To Hell and Back, tells how he became a Christian through resuscitating a heart-attack patient who was screaming that he was in hell. He has resuscitated others who similarly thought they were in hell. Rawlings explains that Kübler-Ross, as a psychiatrist, interviews days or weeks after their experience those who have recovered from clinical death and that they remember only what was pleasant. In fact, the patient who came back screaming about hell later denied having had such an experience.
There is no indication that anyone who was resurrected, either in the Old or New Testament, went about telling what it was like to be dead—and these were persons who had been genuinely resurrected from death. Paul was “caught up to the third heaven” (2 Corinthians:12:1-4) but told nothing of that experience. Only John, in the Revelation, was authorized to describe that scene.
Those who claim they have been taken to heaven and/or hell and told by God to come back and report what they have seen are either lying or deluded. When the rich man in hell asked Abraham to send Lazarus back to warn his five brothers, Abraham declared: “They have Moses and the prophets … if they hear not Moses and the prophets [God’s Word], neither will they be persuaded though one rose from the dead” (Luke:16:29,31). Clearly God sends no one on such a mission.
Contact with UFOs, communication with ETIs and discarnate spirits, the experience of so-called clinical death—all contradict the Word of God. Indeed, to contradict God’s Word and the gospel of Jesus Christ is their obvious purpose. Jesus Christ alone has come from heaven to earth to tell us of His “Father’s house” of “many mansions” (John:14:1-3). He alone has come back from the dead to tell us the truth. We do well to heed His Word.