Publishers responded diplomatically to the news that “heaven tourism” books will no longer be sold at LifeWay Christian Stores, the bookstore chain operated by the Southern Baptist Convention.
“We always support LifeWay in their work to serve their constituents with carefully focused purchasing,” said Dwight Baker, president of Baker Publishing Group, which publishes one of the affected titles, Don Piper's 90 Minutes in Heaven: A True Story of Death and Life (2004). “This situation does not present an exception,” he added. The book, according to BPG, has sold about 7 million copies.
Marty King, a LifeWay spokesman, said the decision to stop selling heaven visitation books was part of a “new direction” for LifeWay. “Last summer, as we began developing LifeWay’s new structure and direction--what we’ve now identified as One LifeWay--the role of heaven visitation resources was included in our considerations,” he said in an email. “We decided these experiential testimonies about heaven would not be a part of our new direction, so we stopped re-ordering them for our stores last summer.”
Last summer, the SBC agreed that what the Bible says about heaven and the afterlife is "sufficient," and that the popular subgenre of books and movies about heaven are “antithetical to Scripture.” The SBC didn’t name specific books or movies in its resolution .
Filming for the movie version of 90 Minutes, starring Hayden Christiansen and Kate Bosworth, has recently wrapped up, with a fall 2015 release scheduled.