Halloween at the Hell House

Brian Kirk’s recent article, “Christian Haunted Houses: Scaring the ‘Hell’ Out of Teens?,” caught my attention for several reasons, including:

  • fear based evangelism targeting teens remains a tactic used by fundamentalist Christians
  • hell houses or evangelistic productions staged to “convert” teens and “save” them from hell are an extreme form deployed each year at Halloween
  • I have been to the Hell House at Trinity Church (Assemblies of God) in Cedar Hill, TX (the “original” upon which so many are now based and which was the subject of a documentary by the same name)
So What?
It is nearly impossible to adequately describe this event to those who have never attended.  Groups progress through a number of scenes – each more disturbing than the last – on their way to a final scene that ends with the opportunity to commit to Christ in order to be saved from hell.
The acting, props, and entire experience are well done from a theatrical perspective, but troubling in every other way I know to measure.  While the event is rated PG-13, it could and perhaps should be rated R.
What is Hell House? In my experience, it is nothing short of the most disturbing annual “ministry event” in the Dallas, TX area.
  • Have you ever been exposed to fear based evangelism? If so, what was that experience like for you?
  • What is your initial reaction to the “ministry” of Hell House and of other hell houses throughout the country?
  • Christianity claims to be a religion of love and those who lead ministries such as this claim to act in Christian love for a group they consider to be “lost.”  How should those within the Christian family who define love very differently respond?

Comments

  1. I particularly liked this part of the article: “In other words, is there more to being a Christian than fear of death or the guarantee of heaven? Would there be any reason to follow the way of Christ without an implicit threat of punishment or promise of reward?”

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