Malarkey's story malarkey

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DrJamesAch's picture

This is OLD OLD news. Alex recanted this a long time ago, and my guess is that it was due to the mother's relationship with Phil Johnson and his article that dismantled the story behind the movie which she discusses on her blog. Beth Malarkey tells Hank Hannegraff of Christian Research Institute

My name is Beth Malarkey. I am the mom of Alex Malarkey who is the subject of the book The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven. I wanted to let you know that I agree, as does Alex himself, that the book is deceptive and biblically wrong…Thank you for standing for and teaching truth!

The tweet about this matter to JD Hall was in early December, so why is it just now coming out when "The15" have been screaming about Lifeway publications for over a month? Simple, it's all about timing and deflection. 

After we posted our article on the G3 Conference, several other people following The15 complained about the hypocrisy of the Calvinists among The15 in that none of them are demanding ANY kind of action over Lifeway sponsoring and being an exhibitor at a conference where James White, Paul Washer, Voddie Bauchum, et al, are all speaking at. Lifeway's participation at this conference was by  INVITATION ONLY so they are not there by accident. So while The15 are complaining about Lifeway's inventory, they choose to remain silent when their favorite Calvinist speakers share an event with them.

The article about the boy came out within 24 hours of our article being posted and redistributed, even though JD Hall had this information as early as December 6, 2014.

It takes a real dedicated handful of gullible sheeple to keep buying JD Hall's Miracle Wheat.

Dr James Ach

What Kills You Makes You Stronger Rom 8:13; 7:24-25

Do Right Christians, and Calvinisms Other Side

pvawter's picture

I seem to recall one of the sessions at JMs Strange Fire conference mentioning that the boy had recanted his story. That would have to be someone in 2013, although I don't have time at the moment to find it.

Ok, I found it. Justin Peters talked about it in the session entitled Spiritual Shipwreck of the Word-Faith Movement. Here's the part where he talked about Malarkey's book.

"By the way, this book has not been as popular, but somewhat popular, Alex Malarky(?) now don’t…I know what your…please don’t…please, please don’t.  Please don’t…please don’t.  The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven., Alex was a little boy in a vehicle with his father and they had a horrific car accident, and Alex was left paralyzed and now is almost completely helpless, physically.  Will never recover, will never get any better.  This happened to Alex when he was six-years-old.  Alex is now 15, I believe, 14-15 years old.  What’s interesting about this book, it wasn’t written by Alex, it was written by his father, Kevin Malarky.  Kevin has made this story up. You know how I know that?  Because Phil Johnson and I have spoken with Beth Malarky, Alex’s mother.  And this story is not even true. 

Alex, the boy, pleaded with his pastor, when this book was coming out and becoming very popular pleaded with his pastor, lying in his hospital bed, mind you, “You’ve got to tell your church the truth about the book.  It’s not true.”  But Kevin makes money, he’s exploiting his paralyzed son. It’s not even true.  It doesn’t keep quote/unquote Christian bookstores from selling it."

I'm not sure why it's taken this long for the story to "break," but it's certainly not a new story.

Jim's picture

Shortly after “The Burpo-Malarkey Doctrine” was posted on our blog two years ago, Alex’s mom, Beth Malarkey, contacted me to acknowledge that John MacArthur’s analysis is correct: “These modern testimonies . . . are simply untrue.” She and Alex had already been doing everything they could to get the word out that The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven told a largely imaginary story, and that most of the details had been greatly embellished and exaggerated in the writing. Publicity about the book had incited a cult of afterlife enthusiasts and hangers-on who wanted to canonize Alex and idolize him as a mystical seer with an open connection to heaven. Alex was uncomfortable with the feeling of moral and spiritual responsibility his sudden fame had thrust on him. Still a child, he nevertheless understood that the truth was more important than his own reputation.

The publisher refused to pull or alter the book. Alex’s father, thrilled with the book’s best-seller status, stood with the publisher. Even a pastor from whom Alex sought counsel said he thought the book was “blessing” people. He advised Alex to be quiet and let it ride.

DrJamesAch's picture

pvawter wrote:


I'm not sure why it's taken this long for the story to "break," but it's certainly not a new story.

It didn't take the story long to break. The entire Christian community knew about it from Phil Johnson and Hank Hannegraff's reviews alone. Tyndale and Lifeway didn't respond so it simply appears as if it never broke. The difference THIS TIME is that the the LIBERAL media picked up the story because it was reported AS IF it was a recently recanted case, and outlets like Washington Post, People, Newsweek, et al, loved the fodder it offered to their atheist subscribers as much as articles like the recent one by Kurt Eichenwald on the Christmas Day Bible Massacre. Because the liberal media picked it up, it appeared to be bigger than what it already was in the Christian community.

The sad thing about that, is that Lifeway (who is of course still sponsoring and exhibiting at the Calvinist G3 Conference in which the Calvinists now protesting Lifeway are completely silent about) and Tyndale ignored believers who complained, and capitulated only when the ungodly newspapers used it as a whipping post for ignorant Christians.

Dr James Ach

What Kills You Makes You Stronger Rom 8:13; 7:24-25

Do Right Christians, and Calvinisms Other Side

DrJamesAch's picture

Jim wrote:

Jim,  can you reply to any of the issues raised, or are you going to just continue to link to news articles that repeat each other?

Here's a really simple question that none of the media have picked up on:

In 2012, Phil Johnson and Beth Malarkey claimed that Kevin Malarkey made up the entire heaven story. Yet, in 2015, Alex is taking the rap for it as "doing it for attention". Why would Phil & Beth allow this quadriplegic boy to take the blame for something they claimed was made up by the father 2 years ago?

The issue isn't about whether or not Alex retracted the story, it's whether or not he did so THIS WEEK since Pulpit & Pen gave the impression that it was a NEW recant; and indeed, it is somewhat new considering the above facts that Phil & Beth claimed it was Kevin who made up the story. And, it's about whether or not the truth is being told about who is responsible for this fiction. 

It's simple logic: two mutually exclusive opposing statements can not be true at the same time (unless you're a Calvinist). Kevin Malarkey couldn't have made up the whole story, AND Alex have made it up "for attention" at the same time. I would think that as much as P&P's Servetus Klan and "The15" claim to want to get the truth out, and are "sick of the cover ups" that they would have the integrity to respond to this blatant contradiction in the Malarkey narrative.


Dr James Ach

What Kills You Makes You Stronger Rom 8:13; 7:24-25

Do Right Christians, and Calvinisms Other Side

Phil Johnson's picture

1. I've always thought "DrJamesAch" was someone's mean-spirited parody of a Ruckmanite. I'm still not quite convinced he is real. I pretty much agree with this guy:

2. I don't typically answer parody accounts, and I'm generally wary of feeding malicious trolls, but I'm nevertheless going to reply here just once, in case any SI readers might be confused by this fellow's line of questioning.

3. "Who is responsible for this fiction[?]" The answer is hardly as mystifying as our troll friend wants to make it seem. A 6YO boy coming to grips with total paralysis (and coping with the boredom of a very long hospitalization) told some made-up stories about things he said he saw in heaven. Those tales later became the the premise for a book written by the father (NOT, as the book-jacket says, co-authored by the son). The book greatly embellishes and exaggerates the boy's original account, and the father has added even more to the narrative during an extended speaking tour. The end product is indeed solely the father's work, against the wishes of the son.

4. Read MY words (not the troll's) and you'll discover I never said "it was Kevin who made up the story." I DID say that he has embellished and exaggerated the story despite his own son's and wife's persistent objections--and that the book is solely his, not a joint effort by father & son.


DrJamesAch's picture

It never ceases to amaze me how the same crowd always begins their critiques with personal attacks. And of course, what better way to start it off then by classifying me as a Ruckmanite to a crowd that is mostly BJU. Phil didn't even attempt to prove that I was a Ruckmanite, knowing that just the mere mention of it is enough to send people running!! Nothing like harpooning the jury FIRST and then on to your bogus analysis!

And in case Phil Johnson isn't aware of what a parody is, a parody normally reflects the same character of another person. James Ach is not even remotely close to Peter Ruckman. What's REALLY funny is that in support of Johnson's argument, he links to A PARODY WEBSITE called Wee Calvin. So much for consistency.

Let's just skip right to #3 shall we.

A boy "coming to grips with paralysis" was never part of the excuse you gave as the reason Alex 'made up' the story. And you couldn't even describe his paralysis right. It took me 15 seconds to find out the Alex was quadriplegic, yet you maintained he was/is paraplegic in every public statement you made on this matter. Sloppy, but I digress. 

And just where is Alex's so-called ORIGINAL account? You can't embellish something that DOES NOT EXIST. There IS NO original account. It's not on Beth Malarkeys blog, it's nowhere in yours. You'd think with a blog that goes back to 2007, with Beth blogging virutally every day or week, that her paralyzed son talking about going to heaven and back would have been in their SOMEWHERE. Oh but let's just throw a non-existant story out there because you know that whatever the 'embellishments' are we have no standard of comparison. How convenient.

And as I noted on my article (which you conveniently avoid since it is far more systematic than this thread is designed to be) how did Alex ever construct this fantasy without his mom knowing about it considering that you labeld him as a dead beat dad, was never around (another point which I debunked in the article), and that Beth was his ONLY CAREGIVER, how did Kevin ever sneak in to get this story from Alex without the mom noticing? The book was released July 2, 2010 and her comments about the book don't appear until a year later. Assuming the book took some time to prepare, there's ZERO mention of it on her blog before July,2010, and in fact, there's about 6 months of blogs missing from February-July of 2010, right about the time mom would be discussing a publishing company talking to her husband about a book. Or did it take a WHOLE YEAR for Beth to figure out a book was released?

ANother no brainer is if the story was embellished, then IT WAS FALSE REGARDLESS OF WHETHER OR NOT IT WAS EVEN BIBLICALLY POSSIBLE. IN other words, genius, Beth didn't need an epiphany that the book was biblically false in order to know that the FACTS THEMSELVES were FABRICATED. What kind of person WAITS OVER A YEAR to complain about something they KNOW IS UNTRUE?

IN fact when it comes to "fabrications" the mom seems quite capable herself of having a vivid imagination; especially since she ENCOURAGED IT before 2010:

When and at what age is it that we close our minds and stop dreaming? When do we stop using our imagination to go beyond what the world says we should and we then just accept what we are told’? We sometimes become what we are on a piece of paper. What if some of the greatest dreamers had listened to that advice and stopped pursuing the vision that they were entrusted with?…What if we stopped telling people that their dreams were impossible and just allowed them to dare to go where their belief may take them?

On January 24, 2008, Beth discussed a song called “I Can Only Imagine” which is about how the singer describes what heaven would be like, and on July 21, 2009, you offered a few more thoughts on dreams and imaginations in “Barriers“

Do you believe in dreams? Do you believe that as an adult the visions that dance around in your head can begin to unfold. What if one of those dreams involved creating a place where people of all diversities of abilities could function, play, interact, and just be together. I have one of those dreams.

I'd say if ANYONE had the kind of imagination and dreaming it took to make up this book, IT WAS THE MOTHER. 

Alex's ONLY previous mention against this book by Alex is based on ONE short comment in August of 2011 of which those Facebook accounts no longer exist, the account of which is took place on no longer exists, and can not be verified.

And as far as what you "actually said" regarding Kevin's involvement:

The book’s cover lists Kevin and Alex as joint authors, but the copyright notice is in Kevin’s name alone, and it is clearly Kevin who tells the story

 But as we shall see, there is considerable evidence that Kevin Malarkey has embellished, exaggerated, and even fabricated the supposed visions and experiences he attributes to Alex

Notice that Kevin made up the story, and attributed it to Alex. NOT ONE MENTION OF ALEX HAVING ANY ORIGINAL STORY and THEN Kevin embellishing it. There is ZERO evidence of Alex's original story and you've had three years to produce it. But as I shall prove on my next point, that's not the bigger picture.

Finally, Alex's 'recant' claimed that "I DID IT FOR ATTENTION". Now think about that. Just WHAT exactly did Alex do for attention? If the whole book was based on an EMBELLISHMENT BY KEVIN, and Alex was just an innocent bystander who had his story twisted, YOU MEAN ALEX GAVE AN HONEST TESTIMONY TO GET ATTENTION? The proof that someone is lying is in Alex's recant alone. If Alex is claiming that he did something for attention, that completely contradicts that narrative that you are trying to paint of his "original story" simply being one that got manipulated by Kevin. Doing something FOR ATTENTION is implying that Alex did something wrong, and he's repenting of it. But why is he repenting of ANYTHING if his so-called original story was nothing more that a heartbreaking testimony taken out of context by his father? I'll tell you the simple answer to that: IT WAS A COACHED CONFESSION because you and JD Hall were not getting the results you wanted, so Pulpit & Pen cast the story as if it was a new epiphany that would get the attention of the liberal media.

Congratulations. It worked, but the problem is that the story Alex gave is a complete and utter contradiction from the story you painted of Kevin Malarkey, and you, Beth Malarkey and JD Hall shamefully threw a teenage quadriplegic under the bus to get the attention of Thom Rainer for ignoring JD Hall over Lifeway books. It was and is one of the most deceptive, vindictive and evil tactics I have seen out of professing Christians.

Shame on you Phil.




Dr James Ach

What Kills You Makes You Stronger Rom 8:13; 7:24-25

Do Right Christians, and Calvinisms Other Side

DrJamesAch's picture

And by the way Phil, as far as your friends making me look like I am defending Kevin Malarkey and supporting the book:

1. You already know I am a fundamental Baptist (IFB). When was the last time you knew of an IFB that supported a charismatic movie/book?

2. While you are on Twitter agreeing with these lies, did you not notice what I said in my article?

I'll spare further commentary for now so we can just get straight to the questions. Moreover, this is not about the review of the book Phil offered which in our opinion is pretty good for a Calvinist Smile

...and the numerous other places where I stated I AGREED with your analysis of the book?

Are you that desperate to shut me up you have to succumb to reckless character assassinations? And your ministry is called GRACE to YOU? Seriously? How many times have you and Fred Butler discounted false victim claims and then in response, stated that disagreeing with the victims story is not co-writing abuse? And yet that's exactly what you've done to me. I don't agree with your response, and yet because of that, I must be agreeing with Kevin Malarkey by default. That's just irresponsible and unscholarly.  

Dr James Ach

What Kills You Makes You Stronger Rom 8:13; 7:24-25

Do Right Christians, and Calvinisms Other Side

Phil Johnson's picture

That second-to-last comment from from the troll or sock-puppet who started this thread could well be the most concentrated extract of pure, oblivious hatefulness I have ever read on Sharper Iron. And here we see the wisdom of not feeding trolls--especially the stubbornly nefarious ones.

No one has yet given a start-to-finish, blow-by-blow account of Alex and Beth Malarkey's frustrating attempts to make clear that Kevin Malarkey's book is fiction. I'm sorry if our voyeuristic troll friend feels he is being cheated by not being told every scandalous detail of how the strife over this book unfolded in the Malarkey family, but I for one intend to respect Mrs. Malarkey's wish to protect a few shreds of the family's privacy. The publisher withdrew this book, and the author has refused all interviews with investigative reporters--both for a good reason. Reasonable people understand the implications of that.

But stuff like this: "There is ZERO evidence of Alex's original story and you've had three years to produce it." Is borderline insane and doesn't really deserve a serious response. No one has ever suggested that Alex's "original story" was written down, and (more to the point), no one other than this perverse troll has ever even asked for such evidence.

I gather this person is just a typical cyber-bully who thinks he is somehow embarrassing JD Hall, or someone else whom he has a vendetta against. It's a shame he has to hold a disabled child and his mom up to public scorn in order to make his point.

He himself uses the word "shame," but it's clear he doesn't have a clue what that is.