Thursday, March 5, 2009

Scary Evangelism

I'm sitting here watching a DVD of "Heaven's Gates, Hell's Flames" that was loaned to me a long time ago by folks over at Good Shepherd Lutheran. The positive message is of God's love, and that through Jesus our sins are forgiven, our lives are changed, and when we quit fighting God's love, we will be accepted by Jesus, no questions asked.

But what about the flip side? In my opinion, "Heaven's Gates, Hell's Flames" uses a message of fear to get people to accept Jesus. On the one hand, the presentation says Jesus' love is the only way to God. On the other hand, it seems to limit that love to those who make a clear "choice" for Jesus. In the play those who have not made that choice are are taken by the devil. I think that makes salvation dependent on something we do. It also claims that the devil is somehow in charge of hell, which makes no sense to me at all.

Still, some people seem to need that strong fear-based message. Some folks perhaps need to be shaken up. But when I look at Jesus' ministry, and the ministry of the disciples in the New Testament, I don't see fear being used as a weapon to bring people to their knees. When Jesus talks about hellfire and damnation, it's usually as he is confronting self-righteous and self-confident religious people, not the common people who are twisted and turned by so many religious claims. I wonder if "Heaven's Gates, Hell's Flames" is true to the Spirit of Christ.

What do you think? Should we use fear as a way of presenting the good news of Jesus? Feel free to comment and share your heart. I can be wrong.

1 comment:

  1. I had a friend walk out out the drama for the scare tactics reason.. I know that my showing him Jesus as his personal friend and savior will do more to bring him to a relationship.
    God Bless, W