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Wednesday, June 3, 2015

A Book Revealing Heaven and Hell...Or Not

We all want to know what is on the other side of death. Such a compelling topic is certain to sell a lot of books. The latest set that I’ve read in this genre is by Kat Kerr, a handsome woman with purple in her hair. The books, Revealing Heaven and Revealing Heaven II are controversial, however. Several online reviews from bloggers like me are not flattering, and I’m afraid I’m going to add my voice to that chorus.

The format. The first irritant is the format, and not just because the books are self-published. The text is double spaced. New chapters begin on an odd-numbered page. If the previous chapter ends on an odd numbered page, the following even page is blank. There is enough wasted space in the 147 pages of the first book to add the information of the second book. But with two books, one can garner twice the profit. The second book is formatted in a similar manner except all in bold text, which takes up even more space. Many stories are similar between the two, so the promise of more information and deeper content doesn’t always materialize.

The endorsements. Most published books have endorsements by people similar to the author. My book has comments from Old Testament academics on the back, including Walter Breuggemann. A book written by a pastor may have 10 up-front endorsements from other pastors or evangelical leaders. Kerr’s book has a ‘youth leader,’ a couple of husbands, her daughter, a hair specialist, and an elementary school principal. Basically, friends and family. Her own pastors were not on the list. They did not even offer a personal endorsement of her character, which I find strange.

The Forward. It gets better. The Forward is written by Scribe Angels, “A prophetic Proclamation from God.” And who is the prophet who delivered this holy message? Why, Kat Kerr herself, of course. She is the “handmaiden” “chosen” to “reveal hidden things.” Wow. Such an endorsement. Never has a book included a Forward dictated by angels. Such an enormous privilege makes it difficult to question a single jot or tittle in the book. It must all be like holy writ. But, if so, why not just declare that it’s a prophetic revelation from the Holy Spirit, the biblical source of prophecy? Red flag number 3.

Racking my brain, I cannot imagine how anyone could so intently preach familiar, conservative, evangelical theology, most of which you could hear in any number of churches, and invent revelations to sell a book. I’m not accusing Kat Kerr of doing that, because you would have to be an atheist or psychotic to think that you could get away with it. Your whole family would have to be in on the conspiracy. You would have to invent all the sweet stories about how people were touched and convinced that her revelations were real. She doesn’t sound nuts…most of the time…but some of the things she writes about stretch credulity way beyond my wish to exonerate her. So I’m confused. But I digress…

The creation science. In a conservative Bible College you will learn that there are 3 or 4 theories about how to reconcile science today and faith. 1) No reconciliation and no dialogue. Genesis is to be taken literally, period. These are the creationists who believe that the universe is only 6,000 years old. Dinosaurs and men lived on the earth together. 2) The earth is old, but after Gen. 1:1, Satan was expelled from heaven. In his wrath he returned a perfect creation into void and chaos, so God had to re-create the earth and did it quickly (Gen. 1:2). Dinosaurs were part of the first earth. Before Satan’s fall, animals all ate plants. There was no death. 3) The earth is old and developed gradually, but God was the designer, terraformer, engineer, and instigator of each phase of development. These are the Intelligent Design folks. 4) Theistic evolutionists, who believe that God designed evolution to take care of itself and lead to all that we see today. These see God as the divine watch maker who set the process in motion and then walked away. 5) Atheists and humanists would only acknowledge random, accidental evolution.

God’s creation lab in Kerr’s second book (p. 50-55) seems to promote theory 2, and describes the creation process with the kind of faux science you might hear in a fundamentalist Bible college like the one I attended for two years. I KNOW, both from theology and from science, that what Kerr described seeing in the science lab did not happen as she presents it. She claims that all of Earth’s creatures lived in harmony until Lucifer and the angels fell. He filled them with violence, and they turned on each other. God got tired of it, so he broke apart the one large continent. Plate tectonics crushed some of the dinosaurs and the ensuing ice age killed the rest. That is unmitigated, breathtaking nonsense. Furthermore, science claims that some dinosaurs roamed even before trees and long before flowers. Kerr saw flowers as big as a 3-story house before there was an atmosphere and before animals and dinosaurs. See (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_the_evolutionary_history_of_life)

As for theology, the author of the poem that is Genesis 1 had NO thought of the earth being re-created due to the fall of Satan. That theory is contrived from our half-baked modern misconstrual of both science and scripture. A careful reading of Genesis 1 and 2, Psalms 104, 90, and 19, as well as other passages, affirm that we should not take any one creation passage too literally. For example, Job 38:8-13 [www.biblehub.com, NIV]:

Who shut up the sea behind doors
when it burst forth from the womb,
9when I made the clouds its garment
and wrapped it in thick darkness,
10when I fixed limits for it
and set its doors and bars in place,
11when I said, ‘This far you may come and no farther;
here is where your proud waves halt’?
12“Have you ever given orders to the morning,
or shown the dawn its place,
13that it might take the earth by the edges
and shake the wicked out of it?

The above is beautiful, inspired poetry, written by the Shakespeare of the ancient world. Kerr’s description is a fantasy being passed off as divine revelation.

The Maurissa story. May God forgive me if this is a true story, but it’s too corny to be believable. Maurissa died in a ski accident in 2001 at the age of 13. Kat Kerr had a vision of her with her great grandfather who is taking her to a roller coaster called The Rush. She is very excited and happy. This was a great comfort to her grieving mother, Melodee. God told Kerr that Maurissa chose to stay. “She is now a leader of the youth (age does not matter here, I judge by a person’s heart) and is in charge of organizing the youths’ contribution to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. It is a high honor for her, and I know she will do a super job…” etc. This message was passed on to Melodee sometime later in a face-to-face meeting. Melodee laughed and cried, because when she was going through her daughter’s things, she found a journal entry written in 1995 when Maurissa was 7. It reads like this: (It was scanned for Kerr’s book to show Maurissa’s own handwriting. I have reproduced all spelling and grammar):

Journal,           10-3-95
Once I dreamed…that Jesus took me up to heaven
early. And I got to see my greatgrandfather earlay.
I got to ride all kinds of rollarcoasters. I
did see all kinds of manchines.
It was wonderful. But
when Jesus took me
up he only gave me a
peek so as fast a
rollar coaster I fell
down.  Bye Bye.

Well, a 7 year old is in 1st or 2nd grade. The entry above seemed a little precocious for such a young child. There is a period after every sentence, a capital letter at the beginning of each sentence, and she spells like a much older child. So I ran to my neighbor across the street, who home-schools her children. She produced a writing sample from Holly’s 2nd grade [words underlined are her class spelling words]:

it  was  the  longest
way  tow  the  fishing
pond  I  was  careful  at
the  fishing  pond  I
cot  ten  fish  at  the
fishing  pond  but  one
fish  was  too  strong
I  fel  in  the  rivr
mI  perins  runed  too
get  me  the  fish
was  the  strongest
fish  uv  them  ol

So how does a 7 year old spell ‘dreamed’ and ‘Jesus’ and ‘wonderful’ without parental aid?

Other corny things. Babies. I know there will be plenty in heaven, but will they play games with animals and “slide down real rainbows?” (Bk 1, p. 79; Bk 2, 77-79) At the end of the day, animals carry them back to the nurseries where they get to have a party with Jesus. They stay in the nursery, visited by family members, until they are big enough to be sent to live with those kin until their parents arrive in heaven. Kerr’s heaven is like a cartoon of a small town with an amusement park, play parks, a downtown, and a throne room where you can sit in God’s lap. There is also a body parts warehouse, which God is going to empty in the next 8 years or so. That means we will receive amazing creative healings in our earthly bodies. I have actually read about this in two other books. The problem is actually accessing those new legs and lungs. It’s not so easy for us here. Surely heaven is bigger and more complex than all this!

Her description of hell is exactly what you would expect in a book like this. You either accept Jesus or you burn and scream and are tortured in a thousand insidious ways for all eternity. It’s simple and black and white. Turn or burn.

IF the people who claim that Kat Kerr heard things about their deceased loved ones that no one could have known, and IF these people are real and not fiction, then I would say that she has a familiar spirit and doesn’t know it. Her prophecies don’t always come to pass, and her heaven is way too small. There is much more to say, but I’m at my word limit. I cannot recommend this book.