A brief post for Halloween that came about when I analyzed EFCA Texas and Oklahoma District and one hell house that I found. Why do evangelicals do hell houses? Why can’t they be known for their love instead? Plus if I created a hell house I list 5 scenes I would recreate.
“To be brave is to love someone unconditionally, without expecting anything in return.”
“A loving heart is the beginning of all knowledge“
So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. 35 Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”
John 13:34-35 NLT
When I was working through the Evangelical Free Church Texas and Oklahoma District I came across the following video which is leading this post. It is from a “Hell House” that was held at El Camino Bible Church in San Antonio, Texas. Since Halloween is near I snagged it and put it aside for a brief post. Here in the Washington, D.C. area a couple of churches are doing this as well. Community Church out in Ashburn, Virginia has a long tradition of doing this evangelistic tactic. A couple of years ago the Washington Post had an article about the topic which you can read in “These evangelical haunted houses are designed to show sinners that they’re going to hell.”
Dishonest Tactics and Problems
Can I say something about all this? I find the idea of “Hell Houses” to be quite stupid and over the top. And while I believe in hell, I find these concepts to be annoying, problematic and deeply flawed. Lets consider the problems some hell houses pose. Some of them involve incredible deceit. They advertise something that is not what they are. In the process people are brought in to a “bait and switch” situation. After all if you think you think you are going to a fun haunted house and find yourself seeing abortions re-created or someone dying of AIDS; is that honest? Is that fair? Is that what you wanted to see? What if you lost someone you know to such a disease, is that responsible for a church to be doing that? That tactic is dishonest and ethically questionable, and should not be tolerated in my view.
Then there is another tactic that bothers me. The concept that you believe you can “scare” someone into hell. Really? Honestly? You know for many evangelicals what is disturbing is that for all the focus on the changes in society many act as if the church is okay. Its not okay. The church has major problems. From issues with domestic abuse, to covering up child sex abuse. From places being secretive about funding and finances to people giving money to pastors who are not transparent about their salary. Then some of these places are going to hold “hell houses” when there is so much internally they need to deal with. Honestly…can we please just stop the garbage that comes forward? If anyone hears of any church that aborts a hell house I would love to write about it for next year. Please contact me if you hear of such a place in the United States that cancels their program.
Why Can’t Christians be Known for Unconditional Love?
Christians first and foremost should be known by their love. Nothing more, and I am not speaking of a liberal kind of love. I am speaking about a deep, sacrificial unconditional love that presses on no matter what happens. Loving people is hard but its also what Christians should be called to do. Now here is another aspect that is troubling…when you see the money that goes into these “Hell Houses.” Could you imagine if that money was given to the poor a homeless rescue shelter? A domestic abuse program? Helping the poor or recent immigrants with housing, and job placement or language training? Can you imagine if that was where the money went to instead? What would that mean in the grand scope of things if Christians acted and lived like that. Wouldn’t it be neat if Christians were known for their love and not their arrogance or condescending nature?
Evangelical Hell House
This closing section of the post is satire but if I created my own version of a hell house it would be based off the following evangelical situations.
- Al Mohler at T$g laughing about C.J. Mahaney and the alleged cover up of child sex abuse in Sovereign Grace.
- Recreate the excommunication service from Steve Estes Community Evangelical Free Church in Elverson, Pennsylvania where Mike and Kelly Culbert pray that an alleged rape victim be turned over to Satan.
- Becoming a member of Sovereign Grace Fairfax/Redeeming Grace Church
- Be forced to listen to Mark Driscoll teach that a repentant woman gets down on her knees and gives her husband a blow job.
- Show a savage case of domestic violence and have John Piper’s teaching playing in the background instructing her to submit to the abuse.
I think that’s good enough. You get my drift….this blog is a statement on many parts of evangelicalism, and the problems that exist today. I hope you guys have a good Halloween and have a good office party or event. Feel free to send me pictures and don’t have too much of a sugar high. For many adults this is a holiday that many enjoy. Take care, guys and know that I love you!