Tuesday, October 31, 2006

CNN Profiles "Hell House"

I wish I could link to this, but the feature is not on their site at this time.

The Hell House they visit is in Plainview, TX, and its rife with high budget horror costumes and special effects.

Its also rife with different "sin" rooms. The first one, for example, shows a demon leading a gay marriage. He says that being gay leads to death by AIDS and an eternity in hell. Apparently it didn't get any better from there.

To say the least, this disturbs me, a Christian. Obviously there are a world of things wrong with this, but I just want to cover one particular question I have:

If they scare these people into "accepting Christ" on the basis that they will get to avoid hell, is that really a Gospel principle, as the pastor claims in the piece?

Did Jesus really say He wanted us to follow Him for the purpose of staying out of hell? Certainly Jesus said there would be a judgement. But I'm not sure He gave this as the REASON to follow Him.

The Gospels don't report that Simon and Andrew or James and John followed Jesus after He said, "Follow me or I'll strike you dead"....or even "Follow me and I'll give you mansions in heaven". Jesus just said "Follow me". Or "Follow me and I'll make you fishers of men".

Seems to me if I follow Him because I'm only interested in avoiding punishment or gaining heavenly rewards, then I'm missing the whole point of the very selflessness He taught.

I suppose it is easier to get a 12 year-old to walk down the aisle if you appeal to their emotions, especially if you show them a visual of them burning in hell because they drank a beer.

But I honestly don't see a whole lot of difference between this and converting someone to Islam by the sword in the middle ages. A person converts for all the wrong reasons. And a person, for the rest of their life, perceives God as a maniacal dealer of fiery death to 80% of all the people He ever created.

You may not believe in God.

I may not believe in a God who burns 80% of His creation.

But you and I should both realize that some things are real whether we believe them or not. So God could certainly turn out to be the Being that some fundamentalists believe He is.

If that be the case, I hope you live in the Southern United States and dropped by a Hell House or a Tent Revival at some point in your life, and then repeated the correct words they taught you.

If you are one of the other 4 billion people who haven't heard it explained in that particular theology, (or if, like me, you disagree with that theology, even though we've experienced Fear Evangelism), then I don't know what will happen to us.

As for me, I depend on the true grace of God to be infinitely greater than these people believe it to be. And I depend on Jesus' death and resurrection to be accomplished for infinitely more of God's creation than these folks dream.

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