Colton Burpo, the little boy featured in the best-selling book and movie "Heaven is for Real," has said that he stands by his account of visiting heaven shortly after another boy, Alex Malarkey, made headlines when he admitted to lying about a similar experience.
"I know there has been a lot of talk about the truth of other Heaven stories in the past few days," says Burpo in a statement posted on his website.
In his book, Burpo says that when undergoing emergency surgery at the age of four, he went to Heaven, met Jesus and saw Mary and the angels.
"I just wanted to take a second and let everyone know that I stand by my story found in my book 'Heaven is for Real,'" Burpo says.
"People may have their doubts about my story, but the thing is, I wasn't coaxed into doing this," he adds. "I wanted to tell people about my experience. In fact, I started sharing my story with my friends and people in our town way before there was a book called Heaven is for Real."
Burpo says he hopes that his story would continue to point people to Jesus. "He really, really loves you."
Last week, Alex Malarkey, who wrote "The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven" with his father, Kevin Malarkey, recanted his story of meeting Jesus after suffering a horrific car accident in 2004.
"I said I went to heaven because I thought it would get me attention. When I made the claims that I did, I had never read the Bible," Malarkey wrote in a letter titled, "Open Letter to LifeWay and Other Sellers, Buyers, and Marketers of Heaven Tourism, by the Boy Who Did Not Come Back From Heaven."
"People have profited from lies, and continue to. They should read the Bible, which is enough. The Bible is the only source of truth. Anything written by man cannot be infallible."
Malarkey added that the only true path to salvation is through Jesus Christ alone.
"It is only through repentance of your sins and a belief in Jesus as the Son of God, who died for your sins (even though he committed none of his own) so that you can be forgiven may you learn of Heaven outside of what is written in the Bible... not by reading a work of man," he said.
USA Today reports that both LifeWay and Tyndale House will halt on publishing Malarkey's book, first published 2010, after the retraction.