Oct
23

Hell Houses

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A lady shares  – One Halloween a trick-or-treater came to my door dressed as Rocky, with satin shorts, high-top sneakers, boxing gloves, etc.  I gave him some goodies and soon he returned for more. I asked, “Aren’t you the same Rocky who left my doorstep several minutes ago?” He replied, “Yes, but now I’m the sequel.  And I’ll be back three more times tonight.”

They are called Hell Houses and are designed to replace the old haunted house for Halloween.  A Hell House is a building of rooms constructed to depict what an eternity will be like in the Lake of Fire.  The first part of the tour presents sin, the second part judgment, and the third part, hell itself.  Finally, as you exit the abode of darkness, there are workers ready to present the plan of salvation to any who want to be saved.  And the evangelistic outreach concept has (pardon the pun) spread like fire.  There is even a kit you can order, The Hell House Outreach Guide.  It comes complete with instructions for such things as -  rooms, actors, costumes, scripts, props, music, effects, etc.  The back of the box reads as follows:

“Now you can shake your city with the very latest thing; the most-in-your-face, high-flying, no-denying, death-defying, devil-be-crying, keep-you-from-frying, theatrical–like-styling, no-holds-barred, cutting-edge evangelism tool.”

One newspaper reports the following:  For the past few years, a growing number of conservative churches around the country are sponsoring for Halloween what are called, Hell Houses …  It’s a few hours before the opening of one such place at the First Baptist Church and dozens of amateur actors are practicing their lines.  In the basement, the Gatekeeper of Hell, portrayed by the church organist, welcomes a visitor into the fiery underworld with her best high-pitched cackle  – “Well, well, well, we’ve been expecting you.  You didn’t think God would send you down here, did you?  What, with all those good works you’ve done, you thought you’d go to heaven.”  … Welcome to the creepiest stop in the afterlife, complete with real fire, demonic characters, heavy metal soundtrack, and unfortunate souls bound by clanking chains.  Situated under 15,000 square feet of black plastic sheeting, the church has been transformed into the place of darkness.  And outside, hundreds of teens are lined up to pay good money (about the price of a premium movie ticket) in order to be scared out of their very wits.

The bottom line?  The Bible does say in Jude 1:22-23,

Of some have compassion, making a difference:
and others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.

✓Note – Now and then I am asked about the church’s teaching on Halloween (i.e., should we be taking out or sending out our children in costume to trick-or-treat).  And my position, based on Romans 14:1-6, is as follows – You are free to choose what you decide to do on Halloween with your own family, but you are not free to criticize what others decide to do on Halloween with their own family.  And the same principle also applies to both the Christmas and Easter holidays.