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 (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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14 Responses to How to Read Your Way to Heaven?

  1. john mcintyre says:

    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 says:

    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.”


    “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 says:

      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:-)


  3. Nellie says:

    Be doers…
    Thank you


    • Manny1962 says:

      Works without faith? Or faith without works?


    • Manny1962 says:

      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


  4. Marcos says:

    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 says:

    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 says:

      ” 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 says:

      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 says:

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


  7. Linda says:

    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.


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