Christian leaders give thumbs up to 'Heaven is for Real'

Posted at 04/18/14 4:59 PM

A scene from "Heaven is for Real"

MANILA -- Christian leaders in the United States have thrown their support for the religious-themed "Heaven is for Real," deeming it a must-see for the Easter holidays.

The film, based on the best-selling book of the same name, tells the real-life story of Todd Burpo and wife Sonja, whose 4-year-old son survived a near-death experience back in 2003 and innocently recalled his short trip to heaven.

Set to open in Philippine theaters on April 19, Black Saturday, the film will be the latest flick to hit local theaters this year catering to faith-based moviegoers following "God's Not Dead" and "Son of God."

"It's is an inspiring film that is a great first step for people who are on the journey, and a great film to foster conversations with unbelievers," said Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, president of the US-based National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference.

The film, directed by Randall Walace (who wrote "Braveheart") and produced by Joe Roth and spiritual leader Thomas "T.D." Jakes, stars Greg Kinnear as Burpo and newcomer Connor Corum as his son, Colton.

"I think anyone can relate to an ordinary family who is grappling with the biggest questions," Jakes said. "We’ve all known tragedy and adversity -- and I think to see this family go through a crisis, and find a place of real resolution, it helps others to believe they’ll find their own place of resolution."

Other members of the American Christian community, like Jakes, were impressed by the story’s ability to make a difference to all those who came across it.

Angel Ruiz of Young Life Field Ministry lauded the movie as an "incredibly powerful and refreshing account of a story that resonates" with the innate desire to see God, while Dr. Sheron C. Patterson of the United Methodists of North Texas Conference called it a "blessing" to have it in theaters.

"The masses of people need to see that there is power in prayer and that there are modern-day miracles. Colton's story confirms for even the most hardened atheist that there is a God, and God is good!" Patterson explained.

"In this gifted and grace-filled vision from filmmaker Randall Wallace, we experience what is impossible and possible, where doubt and faith collide, where flawed humans emerge as beloved children. This film allows all of us to encounter and participate in a conversation hinged where life and death meet," added Kim Dorr-Tilley, associate pastor of the Bel Air Presbyterian Church.