Though there are plenty of bestsellers out there written by people who want to share the experience. But now some people are calling for a halt.
Last week, one of the largest chains of Christian bookstores announced that it will no longer carry “heaven visitation resources,” the deliciously batty genre that includes the best-sellers Heaven Is for Real and To Heaven and Back. LifeWay Christian Resources said in a statement that they stopped ordering “experiential testimonies about heaven” last summer, and have now removed remaining products from its stores and website. Theologically speaking it’s a sensible and belated move, one that has likely taken so long because of the immense amount of money these books bring in.
That last line holds the rub. “For the Christian publishing industry, the books’ persistence is an illustration of the often messy line between theological purity and market viability.” For those among us who thought capitalism was the American religion, a conflict like this must seem a curious development.