The Deception of a Christless “Heaven”: No Repentance Required

UPDATE Sept 2021: I have come to believe that Jeff Crippen does not practise what he preaches. He vilely persecuted an abuse victim and spiritually abused many other people in the Tillamook congregation. Go here to read the evidence. Jeff has not gone to the people that he spiritually and emotionally abused. He has not apologised to them, let alone asked for their forgiveness.


[December 24, 2022: There have been some changes made to this post. For more information, read the Editors’ notes at the bottom of the post. Editors.]

(Colossians 2:18-19  ESV)  (18) Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind,  (19) and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God.

To Heaven and Back: The True Story of a Doctor’s Extraordinary Walk with God by Dr. Mary C. Neal is a current book being featured in the news. Dr. Neal, a physician, is an attractive, intelligent, confident person who has told her story of being in heaven after a kayaking accident left her drowned for some 15 minutes. She said that after she felt her legs breaking from the force of the water, she was greeted by people who came to her and comforted her. Ultimately, they told her that this was not her time and that she was to go back to this life and tell her story. Her message, as presented in her TV interview, is that “all is well when we die.”

Now, I have not read this book (I did  skim it). I have too many other reading projects to handle right now. But I want to issue this warning, based upon what Mary Neal said in the interview which I watched, and based upon a search of her book for mention of Christ or repentance. There is no heaven without Christ. And no one can come to Christ except by faith and repentance. Neal made absolutely no mentioned of Christ in this interview. Repentance is foreign to her theology. She spoke of “God”. But not Christ. Let us all remember: Christ is the only Mediator between God and man. There is no other Name under heaven by which we can stand in righteousness before our holy God.

What did Neal see? Well, Satan is quite capable of appearing as an angel of light, and his servants as sons of righteousness. What Neal “saw” in her experience before being revived is certainly nothing anyone should depend upon for the eternal outcome of their life. And note this very carefully as well: when people (as we know from Scripture) encounter the holy, holy, holy One, they are quite reluctant to speak of it. They are overwhelmed with Him. The Apostle Paul said what he saw was inexpressible. Yet these accounts that crop up in the news on occasion, like Neal’s, are anything but speechless. They talk about seeing all of one’s relatives, or of speaking with God as if He were the nice guy next door. In other words, they do not ring true to what Scripture tells us.

So make no mistake. When someone like Neal tells us “all is well when you die,” and yet never speaks of Christ, all is not well. Neal’s “vision” is a delusion. It promises eternal life without the need for Christ, or without the need to acknowledge the evil of our sin which made Christ’s death on the cross necessary. Such a message does not come from above, but from the father of lies.

P.S. What does this have to do with abuse? Well, a huge issue in abusers who claim to be Christians, as most of you know, is their claim of repentance. Here they are offered heaven with no repentance. Messages like this, pronounced anathema (i.e., cursed by God) by the Apostle Paul, only enable abusers in their sin.

[December 24, 2022: Editors’ notes:

—For some comments made prior to December 24, 2022 that quoted from the post, the text in the comment that was quoted from the post might no longer be an exact match.
—For some comments made prior to December 24, 2022 that quoted from the post, the text in the comment that was quoted from the post might no longer be found in the post.
If you would like to compare the text in the comments made prior to December 24, 2022 that quoted from the post to the post as it is now (December 24, 2022), click here [Internet Archive link] for the most recent Internet Archive copy of the post.]


Further reading

When People Claim They’ve Been to Heaven and Back, Beware! — A follow-up ACFJ post by Jeff Crippen on Mary C. Neale’s book To Heaven and Back: The True Story of a Doctor’s Extraordinary Walk with God.

7 thoughts on “The Deception of a Christless “Heaven”: No Repentance Required”

  1. Yes. We have a big media mogul here in Oz who had a heart attack and came back saying “Dying is just fine guys. Nothing to worry about”, or words to that effect. All such misplaced confidence is a delusion, just like those who ‘see a celestial light’ in some waking vision and think that’s spiritual truth so they don’t need Christ.
    Awake, dreaming or during a near-death experience — delusions and deceptions from the devil can occur whatever state a person is in. Doesn’t make it any more true just because the person was having a near-death experience.

  2. I was waiting for her to say something about Jesus and she did not confess Him at all. Another deception of the enemy to get people to search for spirituality, not God through Jesus.

    1. Maybe you should read the book before you issue a comment or critique. Otherwise you risk sounding pompous, self-righteous, and self-important.

  3. I’m about half way through this book and I’ve been troubled most of the way. I was especially troubled by her saying there was a hall where everyone had a final chance to choose God. The Bible clearly says —

    And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, (Hebrews 9:27 [NKJV])

    She talks about an owl communicating with her….encouraging her to go somewhere with someone. She says a tree that had never flowered before was covered with flowers following someone’s death. Look, this is witchcraft. We wonder what’s wrong with our nation and we want to throw the blame on Hollywood, etc., but God says —

    if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14 [NKJV])

    —so no wonder things are as bad as they are today when Christian bookstores promote books like “To Heaven and Back”.

    1. Thank you for your evaluation. Good job. Yes, witchcraft is a very good description of much of what is in it.

  4. Excellent analysis. Just received an email with video of Dr. Neal appearing on Marie Osmond’s show telling her story. I try to keep an open mind to these claims but not one word about Jesus, just a generic mention of God.

Leave a comment. It's ok to use a made up name (e.g Anon37). For safety tips read 'New Users Info' (top menu). Tick the box if you want to be notified of new comments.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.