hell house

September 2, 2004 | 11 Comments

Is it wrong that I want to go to this?

Hell House

  • Why do you want to go?

  • david

    I think it might bring an interesting discussion of rightly focused fear/respect and the motivations of evangelism. I’d go with ya.

  • B. Willey

    I do not believe there is anything inherently wrong with watching a critically-acclaimed piece of Christian filmography for the sake of analysis. I find it important to educate ourselves, through direct experience and research, on the controversial issues within our religion (i.e. the Prayer of Jabez, The Da Vinci Code) before we arrive at an opinion or assumption.

    That being said (or written rather), I am not quite sure where I stand on the subject of using fear as an evangelistic tool. As the unmentioned head of the Hell House program is quoted in the ChristianityToday article, “A part of salvation is the fear of going to hell.”

    In the same article, Christian movie critic Michael Elliott says, “There is no doubt that fear motivates. It is used with great effectiveness by our spiritual enemy. We need not adopt his tactics. There is a stronger motivation that should be used to bring people to Christ. Scaring people into prayer will not build strong, committed believers. It is love that is the “bond of perfectness,” not fear.”

    As much as the tool of fear may not resonate with our current evangelistic practices, this did not hinder preachers of the 17th & 18th centuries. In order to fully disown this concept I must somehow overlook the words of Jonathan Edwards in his famous sermon Sinners in the Hands of An Angry God:“Therefore, let every one that is out of Christ, now awake and fly from the wrath to come. The wrath of Almighty God is now undoubtedly hanging over a great part of this congregation: Let every one fly out of Sodom: “Haste and escape for your lives, look not behind you, escape to the mountain, lest you be consumed.”

    If anyone is interested in continuing this conversation, feel free to comment on my new blog, finding monsuun. I welcome any light that you might shed on this issue.

  • The reason I wonder if it is wrong that I want to go is because I probably would enjoy more than anything the mocking of the script. That creates an awkward tension since it’s idetified with a belief system I espouse. I haven’t seen the script, but I don’t have any appreciation for this style of ‘evangelism’.

    I’m not sure we can call this critically acclaimed filmography…especially since it is a play. 🙂

    Hurry up and get that website running. Try to figure out how to get an RSS feed going, so that others can use RSS readers like BlogLines to keep up with your new posts.

    I’m not sure how to do that with Blogger since I don’t use it…otherwise I’d help you out. (But I happen to know you’re a pretty smart lad — you can figure it out.)

  • Well honestly I think you shouldn’t then John. You did ask. Hell House has bought in to a disturbing fantasy about the gospel and Jesus, and I dont think it should be supported.


  • Zach

    i think we should set up a hell house that includes a scene of “liberals” putting on a “fake” hell house. and when the curtain comes down at the end, charlton heston (playing God) can come out and burn them all alive with a flame thrower…you know……to really drive the point home that God doesn’t think it’s funny.

  • B. Willey

    I was referring to the DVD documentary. My bad for not being more specific. Perhaps I got a little carried away with the critically-acclaimed remark, though I do believe that criticis are making claims about it. Oh, btw, I have fixed the comment feature and am working on the RSS feed.

  • Well, going just to laugh at and mock our own religion was kind of the motivation behind “Saved,” wasn’t it? Non-Christians seeing the film undoubtly had different opionions about it then Christians. But I went, and laughed histerically at the film several times, because it showed Christianity as how many of the non-Christians see it. However, sitting there and laughing at Christianity was also very discomforting with me.

    My round-about purpose of this post is this: I think it would be very odd to go see this with the intention of mocking it or the Church/and Christians that produce it. It’d be akin to going to a church service that you know that you will consider “hookey” or “dated”, but you go just so you can point out their wrongs. I think this would be along those lines if those are your intentions for going.

  • Nash
    Though this isn’t a church service, and is not actually put on by Christians, I think you have a good point in there…

  • ConK


    Thanks for making me laugh out loud in the middle of my house at Midnight. I would pay money to see your play!

  • Brewster

    I saw your link to the documentary on Hell House. Interestingly enough there is something I saw an article today on a Hollywood Hell House theater production in L.A. that is mocking it. It features Andy Richter as Jesus, Bill Maher as Satan, and a host of other cast members reenacting the exact script of the original Hell House so they can spoof it.Kinda interesting…I’m not good at links, but here is one to the New York Times article…