How to Read Your Way to Heaven?

Advertising claims can be quite sensational, but I’ve never heard one quite like this. I came across this ad for a brand new book that promises instant access to heaven IF you’ll only read the book, titled, How to Read Your Way to Heaven – A Spiritual Reading Program for the Worst of Sinners, the Greatest of Saints, and Everyone in Between,

That’s quite a claim, considering Jesus says He is the only way to Heaven.

For it is by grace you have been saved through faith, and this not from yourselves; it is the gift of God, not by works, so that no one can boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9).

The book was written by a Catholic author Vicki Burbach, who leads the book club at SpiritualDirection.com (a Roman Catholic resource site for mystical practices.) In promoting the book, the site’s editor writes:

What if I told you, you could chart a course to heaven simply by reading? The fact is that many of the saints regularly read the spiritual classics. And, what they read affected their spirituality, their Catholicity, and their lives in a positive way.

See our White Paper on Spiritual Formation

So reading the book helps you get to heaven. But if you can’t read, or if you don’t buy the book, I guess you are out of luck and will have to find a different path. After all, this book is to be taken literally as a how-to manual:

“She knows that getting to heaven is not as simple, and as easy, as curling up with a Good Book and the beverage of one’s choice. But, she also understands how critical spiritual reading is to our faith-life and our development as Catholics, and ultimately our journey to heaven.”

Says Dan Burke, President of the Avila Foundation, Founder of the Avila Institute, Getting to heaven often requires that we rely on the wisdom of those who have gone before us. Vicki Burbach has done us a great service by providing an insightful reading plan and approach that, if absorbed and followed, will no doubt produce saints!”

See our White Paper on Roman Catholicism

But the Bible says something quite different about getting to heaven. Salvation is by faith alone. No works, and no righteous acts will get us there. The only righteousness we can lay claim to is Christ’s righteousness, imputed to us.

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6

Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” John 3:3

Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” John 6:28-29

He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior. Titus 3:5-6

Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous. Romans 5:18-19

Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. Romans 10:9-10

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23 Responses to How to Read Your Way to Heaven?

  1. john mcintyre December 21, 2016 at 8:57 pm #

    I think you might be taking what she means a little out of context. Many Christians through the ages have come to faith through the means of reading something, including the Bible of course. Augustine heard the voice of a child, coming from an adjacent house, saying: “Tolle Lege”, which means :Take up and read. In response, Augustine randomly opened the New Testament, started reading, and gave his life to Christ. John Wesley was famously converted when reading Luther’s renowned commentary on Romans. Upon reading, Wesley stated that his heart was “strangely warmed.” How many people have come to Christ after reading C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity or Josh McDowell’s Evidence That Demands a Verdict? There is not a single one of us who hasn’t been influenced in our spiritual life by some book written by a Christian author. Are we saved merely by reading: No. But many of us wouldn’t be believers, or have grown to become mature believer’s, without the writings of those who have gone before us.

  2. Gill Rapoza December 21, 2016 at 11:55 pm #

    On the inside flap of the book it says this (in part):

    “Designed for individual or group settings, How to Read Your Way to Heaven will guide your quest to delve deeper into a relationship with Christ by meditating on the written word while organizing your reading around the four pillars of the Catholic Faith the Creed, the sacraments, morality, and prayer.”

    AND

    “By following this plan, you’ll meditate daily on Sacred Scripture and read the entirety of the Catechism over the course of the program. You’ll be introduced to a treasure-trove of the greatest Catholic books ever written, and you’ll learn prayerful reading methods such as lectio divina as well as time-tested advice on where and when to read.”

    The creeds, the sacraments, the Catechism, and the lectio divina save no one. Neither can four pillars of any faith. It is Christ alone that saves. This reading program does not save.

    • Edwitness December 22, 2016 at 12:49 am #

      Gill R,
      “The creeds, the sacraments, the Catechism, and the lectio divina save no one. Neither can four pillars of any faith. It is Christ alone that saves. This reading program does not save.”

      Amen brother:-)
      Blessings:-}

  3. Nellie December 22, 2016 at 4:50 am #

    Be doers…
    《《Bow》》
    Thank you

    • Manny1962 December 23, 2016 at 12:55 pm #

      Works without faith? Or faith without works?

    • Manny1962 December 23, 2016 at 1:11 pm #

      John 6:29
      King James Bible
      Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the WORK of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent……..

      James was a rebuke to those that bare no fruit, live as they wish and yet call themselves Christians.

      Romans is a rebuke to those that seek righteousness by their works.

      Their not antithetical, but complementary. If one claims Christ but habitually lives in the world there’s cause for concern. If one claims Christ, yet believes he can earn righteous credit with God by keeping the law, there’s cause for concern.

      As Paul says in Romans 7:1-7:25 , 8:1-8:9

      • Edwitness December 24, 2016 at 12:54 am #

        WOW!!! Manny1962. AMEN TO THAT!:-D
        Blessings:-}

  4. Marcos December 23, 2016 at 6:53 am #

    That’s a heresy that is also embraced by Protestants, especially Anglicans with their Common Book of Artificial Prayers.
    They think that if they spend time on the book, they somehow will mystically get closet to God.
    It is a longer version of a mantra, really.

  5. Andy December 23, 2016 at 9:33 am #

    Who says believers go to Heaven after death? Not Jesus that’s for sure. Not Paul either (see your quotations above). They both believed the Kingdom of God was coming here to Earth within the lifetime of their original audience (Matthew 16:27-28; Matthew 24:27, 30-31, 34; Luke 21:27-28, 33-34; 1 Corinthians 15.51-52; 1 Thessalonians 4.15-17).

    It’s all very well you criticising Burbach’s nonsense when your own theology is just as faulty.

    • Manny1962 December 23, 2016 at 11:48 am #

      ” They both believed ” Well, if Christ is God, wouldn’t He have known for sure? If that didn’t come to be, what does it mean? Jesus got it wrong? Paul also has it wrong? For surely we are not living in any kingdom, we are clearly and openly living in a corrupt society that has thoroughly rejected God, Christ and The Holy Spirit……….. Unless you’re saying all of Revelation was fulfilled in AD 70? Or do you mean we are going to usher in the kingdom?Can you clarify? Thanks.

    • Manny1962 December 23, 2016 at 11:55 am #

      Seems like all your scripture references allude to Revelation, rapture and Judgement. I don’t see you mention:

      2 Corinthians 5:8
      We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord

      Proverbs 14:32
      The wicked is thrust down by his wrongdoing, But the righteous has a refuge when he dies.

      John 12:26
      If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, My servant will be as well. If anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him.

      2 Corinthians 5:6
      Therefore we are always confident, although we know that while we are at home in the body, we are away from the Lord.

      Philippians 1:23
      I am torn between the two. I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better indeed.

  6. Brenda December 24, 2016 at 10:35 am #

    Excellent Excellent Scripture verses describing salvation in Christ!! Thank you! God Bless you abundantly & Merry Christmas! ~Brenda

    • Manny1962 December 24, 2016 at 12:18 pm #

      Bless you Brenda, may our loving Lord and Savior be a lamp onto your feet, maranatha.

  7. Linda January 2, 2017 at 5:04 pm #

    Nowhere does the author state that reading is the only way to heaven. In fact, by encouraging spiritual reading as many great leaders and saints who have gone before us have, she is encouraging the reader to develop a relationship with Jesus Christ by coming to know him more, to meditate on his teachings – including and especially Scripture. In spiritual reading, one feeds the soul. The path to heaven is through Jesus Christ in God’s mercy. This book will provide strength for the journey. It is not required to get to heaven, nor does it claim to be.

  8. Anne G July 7, 2017 at 9:38 pm #

    I know this is a dated review, but did you read any of the book? Or even look at the introduction. You take so much out of context that your comments become not just uncharitable, but unfaithful to the Gospel.

    • Manny1962 July 8, 2017 at 12:12 pm #

      Hello Anne,

      https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1622823605/cathospiridir-20

      “How to Read Your Way to Heaven will guide your quest to delve deeper into a relationship with Christ by meditating on the written word while organizing your reading around the four pillars of the Catholic Faith the Creed, the sacraments, morality, and prayer.”

      Can you spot anything wrong with this? Are you Roman Catholic?

      • lyn July 8, 2017 at 1:47 pm #

        good job in pointing out the the connection to the RCC Manny. If folks want a deeper relationship with Christ, all they need is their bibles.

        The RCC teaches falsely and is a works-based religion. Salvation by the God of the bible is free, and is based on His grace as Eph. 2:8-9 clearly teaches. It is beneficial to always compare what someone writes/says with what the Bible actually states. If it doesn’t line up, then flee from it.

        • Manny1962 July 8, 2017 at 3:32 pm #

          Amen Lyn, sometimes people just don’t want to read. In this case it was very obvious this book is not scriptural, it’s teaching a false premise from a false religion. And you’re so right, the simplicity if scripture is all that’s needed! We don’t need a human perspective. In a nutshell:

          2 Timothy 3:16-17

          16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

          17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.

        • Manny1962 July 9, 2017 at 7:23 pm #

          Vatican police ‘break up drug-fuelled gay orgy at home of secretary of one of Pope Francis’s key advisers’

          http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4667098/Vatican-police-break-gay-orgy-apartment.html

          Vatican police have broken up a gay orgy at the home of the secretary to one of Pope Francis’s key advisers, it has been reported.
          The flat belonged to the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which is in charge of tackling clerical sexual abuse.
          When police showed up, they found drugs and a group of men engaged in sexual activity, local reports state.
          Reports in Italy claim the occupant of the apartment is allegedly the secretary to Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio – a key aide to the 80-year-old Pope

          CHURCHIANITY is rife with perverted sin, institutional relegion whether of a Roman or Protestant stripe is equally ungodly. Both are corrupt and ecumenical.

  9. Linda July 9, 2017 at 10:51 pm #

    “How To Read Your Way To Heaven” – folks, the title is very tongue-in-cheek and not meant in a literal sense. I have it on very good authority that is a fact.
    Anne G, I have indeed read the book and found it immensely helpful to my spiritual growth. As to your other “observations” about my remarks, I disagree.
    lyn, you say “if folks want a deeper relationship with Christ all they need is their bibles.” Wouldn’t one need prayer to develop their relationship with Jesus?
    lyn and Manny: Where in the Bible does it say that all one needs is the Bible?
    It always strikes me odd that so many hate what they think is the Catholic Church, but the Catholic Church consistently extends its hands to all other faiths in love, respecting their beliefs. INDIVIDUALS in the Church may not play nice, but the teaching of the Church is crystal clear.
    As to the recent news out of the Vatican and the priests involved, shame on them. We all fall short, but our leaders – of all denominations- are held to a much higher standard. They will have to account to God.

  10. Manny1962 July 10, 2017 at 9:25 am #

    Good morning Linda,

    I hope today finds you well!

    “the Catholic Church consistently extends its hands to all other faiths in love, respecting their beliefs.”

    That is the problem, the Vatican is ecumenical, it does extend it’s hand to all other faiths as you say….such as: Apostate American Christianity like Rick Warren and his Emergence, Islam, Taoism, Wicca, African animists, Hinduism and every other “ism” under the sun. You cannot respect these beliefs, you cannot respect these religions, and still be yoked to Christ.

    “Second Vatican Council, Lumen Gentium 16, November 21, 1964
    “But the plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place among whom are the Muslims: these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, mankind’s judge on the last day.”

    http://www.usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/ecumenical-and-interreligious/interreligious/islam/vatican-council-and-papal-statements-on-islam.cfm

    No mention of Jesus as the only way!

    Vatican Council And Papal Statements On Islam

    http://www.usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/ecumenical-and-interreligious/interreligious/islam/vatican-council-and-papal-statements-on-islam.cfm

    “The Church has also a high regard for the Muslims. They worship God, who is one, living and subsistent, merciful and almighty, the Creator of heaven and earth (Cf. St. Gregory VII, Letter III, 21 to Anazir [Al-Nasir], King of Mauretania PL, 148.451A.), who has spoken to men. They strive to submit themselves without reserve to the hidden decrees of God, just as Abraham submitted himself to God’s plan, to whose faith Muslims eagerly link their own. Although not acknowledging him as God, they venerate Jesus as a prophet, his Virgin Mother they also honor, and even at times devoutly invoke. Further, they await the day of judgment and the reward of God following the resurrection of the dead. For this reason they highly esteem an upright life and worship God, especially by way of prayer, alms-deeds and fasting.

    “Above all, the Pope urged all religions to join in embarking on a path of dialogue, rejecting the aimless paths of disagreement and closed-mindedness.
    He appealed to never let it happen again that religions, because of the conduct of some of their followers, convey a distorted message that is out of tune with that of mercy.
    “Sadly, not a day passes that we do not hear of acts of violence, conflict, kidnapping, terrorist attacks, killings and destruction. It is horrible that at times, to justify such barbarism, the name of a religion or the name of God himself is invoked. May there be clear condemnation of these iniquitous attitudes that profane the name of God and sully the religious quest of mankind” he said.
    Pope Francis concluded his message calling for the peaceful encounter of believers and genuine religious freedom: “Here, our responsibility before God, humanity and the future is great; it calls for unremitting effort, without dissimulation. It is a call that challenges us, a path to be taken together, for the good of all, and with hope”.

    Linda, the RCC has always been about ecumenism, the compromise, the rejection of Scripture for a mixed pharasaic version of law keeping and tradition shows the institution for what it is……..Apostate, heretical, anti Christian.

    For the RCC say that Islam has anything to do with Yahweh is diabolical, they reject Jesus Christ as His only begotten Son, they reject The Holy Spirit.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religious_perspectives_on_Jesus

    “Christianity teaches that Jesus is the Messiah (Christ) foretold in the Old Testament and the Son of God Incarnate. Christians believe that through his death and resurrection, humans can be reconciled to God and thereby are offered salvation and the promise of eternal life.[5] These teachings emphasize that as the willing Lamb of God, Jesus chose to suffer in Calvary as a sign of his full obedience to the will of his Father, as an “agent and servant of God”.[6][7] Christians view Jesus as a role model, whose God-focused life believers are encouraged to imitate.

    In Islam, Jesus (commonly transliterated as Isa) is one of God’s highest-ranked and most-beloved prophets. Islam considers Jesus to be neither the incarnation nor the Son of God. Islamic texts emphasize a strict notion of monotheism (tawhid) and forbid the association of partners with God, which would be idolatry (shirk).”

    To answer your questions: 1. “Where in the Bible does it say that all one needs is the Bible?”

    2 Timothy 3:16-17

    16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

    17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.

    Question 2: “Wouldn’t one need prayer to develop their relationship with Jesus?”

    Philippians 4:6. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

    Prayer is the backbone of the Christian, it is not a suggestion it is a command, we worship in prayer, we plead in prayer, we communicate in prayer. A Christian who doesn’t pray will have a dead walk. You can’t be walking in The Spirit without prayer.

    https://www.biblegateway.com/resources/dictionary-of-bible-themes/2360-Jesus-Christ-prayers

    We find out about the importance of prayer, the need for prayer in scripture. Not in books. Scripture is the manual for living, for understanding, for reproof, for discernment and for understanding where this world is headed.

  11. Manny1962 July 10, 2017 at 10:22 am #

    “What if I told you, you could chart a course to heaven simply by reading? The fact is that many of the saints regularly read the spiritual classics. And, what they read affected their spirituality, their Catholicity, and their lives in a positive way.

    vicki-burbachHere at SpiritualDirection.com we have some exciting news for you. Our own Vicki Burbach, who guides the book club on this site, and has led other book clubs, has written How to Read Your Way to Heaven – A Spiritual Reading Program for the Worst of Sinners, the Greatest of Saints, and Everyone in Between, a how-to manual for doing just that. She knows that getting to heaven is not as simple, and as easy, as curling up with a Good Book and the beverage of one’s choice. But, she also understands how critical spiritual reading is to our faith-life and our development as Catholics, and ultimately our journey to heaven.

    Let’s face it, many of us would just love to spend more time digging into the riches of our faith. But, where would we ever find the time to do so? Or, even the discipline?

    Vicki, herself, is a busy homeschooling mother of six. She’s a committed Catholic convert who has been featured on SpiritualDirection.com, The National Catholic Register, Catholic Exchange and Big Pulpit, and on her own blog Pelican’s Breast. As you can imagine, she is no stranger to this predicament.

    Flexible and Easy to Follow

    Vicki has carved out a fail-safe, step-by-step program for accessing both the riches of our faith in Sacred Scripture and the Catechism, and in some of the greatest Catholic books ever written. It’s a plan that integrates these fundamentals into a flexible one, three or five-year program, which can be adapted or tailored to a very full and demanding life.

    Structured around the four pillars of the faith, which the Catechism identifies as the Profession of Faith, the Celebration of the Christian Mystery, Life in Christ, and Prayer, it comes complete with checklists which lay out a 15 or 30-minute schedule for prayerful reading and study five days a week — with the possibility of splitting the reading up when time is at a premium. It’s also chock full of inspirational quotes from saints and other holy people, which serve to accompany readers and spur them on the way. As well, it contains a list of the favorite books of some of today’s prominent Catholics, Catholics who include members of the clergy, lay theologians, and popular Catholic writers (Venerable Fulton Sheen and Servant of God Elisabeth Leseur are two of Vicki’s favorites).

    Linda are you Catholic?

  12. Manny1962 July 10, 2017 at 10:27 am #

    This applies not only to Romanism, but to churchianity as well:

    “Confronting the False Teachers

    The somber tone of these verses reflects the gravity of the situation that Titus faced in the Cretan churches. Paul focuses on the utter uselessness of the false teaching and the depravity of the heretics. Yet a note of hope, however muted, is sounded.

    Paul’s instruction in verse 9 is to refuse to enter into the false teachers’ dialogue (see 1 Tim 4:7; 6:20). Apparently, the arcane nature of their doctrine, which, as genealogies and quarrels about the law suggest, built upon a novel use of the Old Testament (see on 1:14; 1 Tim 1:4 notes; 1 Tim 6:20), led to a great deal of bitter controversy. In fact, throughout the Pastoral Epistles it is controversy (see notes at 1 Tim 1:4) and strife (NIV arguments) that most typify the opponents and their false doctrine (1:10-12; 1 Tim 1:4-7; 6:3-5; 2 Tim 2:23). The final evaluation of the false message and its results as unprofitable and useless stands as the exact antithesis of genuine Christianity (profitable for everyone, v. 8).

    Paul’s way of dialoguing with the false teachers and those they have attracted is on an individual basis. But rather than talk theology with the divisive person, Titus is to warn (or “admonish”) that person “once and twice.” As in 1 Timothy 5:19-20 and 2 Timothy 2:25, the purpose of this confrontation is to induce the erring brother or sister to repent, and the admonition is understood to be positive instruction given within the context of a caring relationship. Verse 10 may be the apostle’s abbreviated reference to the disciplinary procedure that Christ taught the apostles (Mt 18:15-17; Lk 17:3). If so, then Paul means that an individual confrontation, if fruitless, is to be followed up with a visit to the erring party by two or more believers (see Deut 19:15). If the second attempt also fails, then the recalcitrant one is to be avoided–that is, treated as an outsider to the faith. Although the idea of excommunication is expressed more clearly in Matthew 18:17, have nothing to do with him must mean the same thing in view of the tone of finality of the description in verse 11. Something (presumably acceptance of the false doctrine) has turned the unresponsive one away from God (compare 1 Tim 6:4-5; 4:2). In this “turned” condition, the continuation of sin (the NIV sinful is better translated “he keeps on sinning”) shows the rejection of the warning. Finally to refuse to heed the apostolic warning is tantamount to pronouncing sentence on oneself (compare Lk 19:22; Gal 2:11).

    There is a warning in this instruction (especially in combination with 1 Tim 4:2; 6:4-5; Deut 32:20) for all who will hear. False doctrine, like the practice of idolatry, will turn one’s heart away from God; it may not be possible to detect precisely the point at which the turn becomes permanent, but that this point can in fact be reached is indicated by the descriptions in the verses cited above.

    There is also a question to be asked. On the basis of this and other related passages (Mt 18:15-17; 1 Cor 5:9-13; 1 Tim 1:20; 5:19-21), is not church discipline a matter to be taken seriously? The unfortunate reality of sin in the church (see 2 Tim 2:19-21) would seem to call for an affirmative answer. Experiences of excessive and unfair judgments have left their mark on the church. So has the spirit of toleration, which, though positive in many respects, often leads to indifference when practiced uncritically. The fact of the matter is that both the Christian community and the individual must be protected from sin. And the procedure taught in the New Testament is designed for this purpose. Properly executed, it allows the leadership to encourage purity of doctrine and behavior as erring individuals and groups are given every reasonable opportunity to acknowledge their error and turn from it. The process is meant to be a positive one of reclamation, and the church must keep this in mind. Yet it also provides for the judgment of separation to be administered (though still with hopes of reclamation) in cases of stubborn refusal to turn from sin. Paul’s letters to the Corinthians show something of the difficulty and stress connected with church discipline; they also reveal how desperately it is needed. Things are no different today.”

    https://www.biblegateway.com/resources/commentaries/IVP-NT/Titus/Confronting-False-Teachers

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