Phil Johnson releases ‘more proof that Tyndale House Publishers knew the Malarkey book was a fraud’

In a further development of the Boy-Back-From-Heaven scandal that has been covering, Phil Johnson has released additional emails exchanged between publisher Tyndale House and Beth Malarkey, the mother of the boy who is the subject of the book The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven.

The emails released in Johnson’s post, More Proof that Tyndale House Publishers Knew the Malarkey Book was a Fraud, are in accord with the earlier report by The Guardian, a national UK newspaper.

In the same article in which he releases the emails, Johnson – who is Executive Director of John MacArthur’s Grace to You organization – also gives a more comprehensive account of his understanding of the background to the present controversy.

Photo credit: Liane Metzler.

Tyndale’s justification for not withdrawing Boy-Back-From-Heaven book: if we don’t publish, someone else will

National UK newspaper The Guardian has a 3,000 word article on the Boy-Back-From-Heaven scandal that has been covering. This section is particularly noteworthy:

Jan Long Harris, a publisher with Tyndale House, was Beth Malarkey’s primary correspondent. She offered to correct inaccuracies in consultation with Kevin, “since our contract is with him”. According to the emails newly obtained by the Guardian, Harris acknowledged that Beth had presented larger issued [sic] with the book, writing: “I realize that your concern about what you feel are inaccuracies is not the only issue you have with the book, but it is the issue that could be most easily addressed.”

Beth replied: “Revisions are not what will restore what has been stolen from my son, who continues to suffer.” She asked if Tyndale House could break its contract with Kevin Malarkey.

Harris, evidently exasperated, replied:

Even if we could make a case for breaking our contract, the book could (and probably would) be back in print with another publisher within a few weeks. So I don’t think that would achieve your goal.

‘If we don’t then someone else will’ does not seem to be a worthy reason for a supposedly Christian organization to publish a book containing known ‘inaccuracies’.

Harris continued to explain Tyndale’s position:

Also, I’m sure you can understand that we can’t break a contract with an author just because someone else – even if the someone else is the author’s spouse – makes accusations about him. We have to give the author, in this case Kevin, a chance to respond.

The question of breaking a contract should not have arisen, as Tyndale should never have agreed to publish the book.

Tyndale House says that it is ‘substantially owned’ by a foundation whose mission is ‘to spread the Good News of Christ around the world’. One wonders how publishing fabrications and false doctrine assists in spreading the Good News of the One who is Truth (John 14:6).

Photo credit: Liane Metzler.

Tyndale House responds to what it deems ‘inaccurate statements’ concerning Boy-Back-From-Heaven scandal; Phil Johnson counters

On 16 January 2015, Phil Johnson made public his unanswered June 2014 letter to Tyndale House, publishers of the The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven book that is the centre of an unfolding scandal. Shortly after, Tyndale House Senior Publicist, Maggie Wallem Rowe, issued the following statement:

Due to inaccurate statements currently being disseminated on some social media outlets, Tyndale is providing a further statement on our decision to take The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven out of print.

“Earlier this week Tyndale learned that Alex Malarkey, co-author of The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven, was retracting the story he had told his father and that he recounted in the book they co-authored for publication in 2010. It is because of this new information that we are taking the book out of print. For the past couple of years we have known that Beth Malarkey, Kevin’s wife and Alex’s mother, was unhappy with the book and believed it contained inaccuracies. On more than one occasion we asked for a meeting with Kevin, Beth, Alex and their agent to discuss and correct any inaccuracies, but Beth would not agree to such a meeting.”

Phil Johnson, who is Executive Director of John MacArthur’s Grace to You organization, has published Tyndale’s statement on his own website, together with his email response to Ms. Rowe. In that email, Johnson asserts that Rowe’s statement ‘is demonstrably untrue on several levels’, and provides supporting documentation. He writes that he has ‘many more emails between various Tyndale representatives and Beth Malarkey that further prove the point’, and that he is ‘willing to make them public if that’s what it takes to make the truth of the matter known.’

Johnson concludes his email by highlighting the primary issue, which is why Tyndale House would ever have published a book containing supposed extra-biblical revelation and false doctrine:

I cannot close without pointing out that on top of all that, the book itself tells a tale that on the face of it is highly dubious and in places patently unbiblical. It seems quite at odds with Tyndale House Publishers’ founding principles. Instead of trying to spin the facts and make excuses, Tyndale ought to apologize to Beth and Alex Malarkey, and to the reading public as well, and consider instituting major reforms.

Photo credit: Liane Metzler.

LifeWay issues second misleading statement, is ‘committed to becoming even more proactive’ in evaluating resources

continues to cover the unfolding Boy-Back-From-Heaven scandal that has so far implicated both publisher Tyndale House and SBC bookseller LifeWay.

On 16 January 2015, LifeWay provided radio show host Janet Mefferd with a statement regarding The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven book, which she has shared in a Twitter message. The statement repeats almost verbatim that issued to Dr. Warren Throckmorton on the previous day, but goes further in asserting that LifeWay will be ‘even more proactive’ over the coming months in evaluating the resources it carries.

Here is the statement provided to Mefferd in full:

LifeWay Christian Resources Statement regarding “The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven”
January 16, 2014 [sic]

LifeWay was informed this week that Alex Malarkey has retracted his testimony about visiting heaven as told in the book “The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven.” Therefore, we have returned to the publisher the few copies we had in our Stores.

LifeWay is committed to becoming even more proactive the next few months [sic] in evaluating the resources we carry.

Marty King, Director of Corporate Communications and Spokesman
LifeWay Christian Resources

This latest statement from LifeWay is, like that given to Dr. Throckmorton, particularly worded. It implies that LifeWay only found out about the book’s falsehood last week, but careful parsing reveals it merely to assert that LifeWay was informed last week, which it was. The statement neither confirms nor denies that LifeWay was also informed previously.

The impression given by the statement, if not its precise wording, is incongruent with the evidence showing that LifeWay’s Dr. Thom Rainer and Dr. Ed Stetzer both knew that the book was false back in May 2014, but chose to keep selling it anyway. It also does not explain why LifeWay ever decided to carry a book that contains supposed extra-biblical revelation and false doctrine.

continues to await a response from LifeWay to our own enquiries. We suspect they may be rather busy at the moment.

Photo credit: Liane Metzler.

Mother of Alex Malarkey issues statement about ‘Boy Who Came Back from Heaven’

has been covering the unfolding Boy-Back-From-Heaven scandal that has so far implicated both publisher Tyndale House and SBC bookseller LifeWay.

Beth Malarkey, mother of the subject of the book The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven, has now issued a statement on her blog:

For at least three years, my son Alex Malarkey has been speaking the truth and pleading to be heard regarding The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven. I’m thankful to the Pulpit and Pen blog for posting Alex’s open letter last week and finally helping his voice to be heard. The sudden interest of the media has meant that many reporters are seeking to investigate the story and I would love to answer every question, but since 2006, I have been Alex’s only nonstop caregiver, and I also have three more precious children to care for. So I’m forced to say no to all interview requests. I hope people understand. The facts of the case are being heard, through sources like the Pulpit & Pen website ( and the Grace to You blog (

I do stand with my son and I’m proud of the courage he has shown. “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth” (3 John 4).

I also want to correct one glaring error that has appeared in countless news articles over the past few days: I have not divorced my husband and I am not planning to pursue a divorce. Kevin and I are still married. My hope is that all of this can be resolved in a way that exalts Christ by honoring the truth (2 Thessalonians 2:14). That, likewise, has been Alex’s only aim in all his attempts to set the record straight.

“Now may the God of peace … equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.” (Hebrews 13:20-21).

Photo credit: Liane Metzler.