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Many evangelical churches offer a Halloween alternative. Instead of scaring children with skeletons and ghosts and goblins, children can walk through church-sponsored “Judgment Houses” or “Hell Houses” where the message is essentially, “are you going to make the right choice or end up in hell?”
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For the past month or so, I have seen signs all over my city for the “Judgement House” evangelism outreach at a local church.
Here is the description at the church’s website:
. . . . No other tool is more effective at presenting people with an opportunity to choose a personal and saving relationship with Jesus Christ. Over more than 20 years, Judgement House has established a remarkable track-record as the most effective evangelistic tool for reaching those who are wary of attending a traditional church service or outreach event. Since its inception in 1983 an estimated 3.9 million people have attended a Judgement House presentation with 390,000 of those choosing a saving and personal relationship with Jesus Christ for the first time.
How do the powers that be who accumulated the data know how many had a conversion? What about follow-up? Where are those people now? Are they still maintaining a relationship with Jesus based on fear? Were these young people discipled? Why not?
Here is a video trailer I found of a Judgement House:
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And a Hell House video:
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Have you ever wondered what to do with your youth group at Halloween? Worry no more! Let us introduce to you. . . “JUDGEMENT HOUSE,” a Christian alternative to Halloween and the notorious haunted house.
This is a FREE PRESENTATION by _______ Church. Hurry, because space is limited. Youth groups are particularly encouraged to attend the first week-end so they can bring back unsaved friends the second week-end.
This next part struck me as odd:
Due to the mature content, no one under the age of 7, including children, toddlers, or infants, will be allowed to go through Judgement House, and no childcare is provided.
What about all of the verses in the Bible about little children coming to Jesus? Were they scared into a “saving and personal relationship?”
In addition to Judgement Houses, some churches offer Hell Houses.
The Judgement House organizers are quick to point out there are distinct differences between the two:
Judgement House does not deal with socially controversial issues and instead chooses to focus the entire presentation and in fact every scene, even Hell, on presenting people with the opportunity to choose a saving and personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
Hell House on the other hand, deals very graphically with highly controversial social issues such as abortion, homosexuality, date rape and suicide. The guides for a Hell House presentation are demons who want to convince the audience that there is a penalty for these sinful social behaviors. Hell House is very controversial, not only to most churches but to the general public as well. Hell House is headed by Keenan Roberts, Pastor of Destiny Church of the Assemblies of God, in Broomfield, CO. (Information about Hell House comes from their website as well as their readily available literature.) (Source)
After looking over the Judgment House website, perhaps the scripts aren’t as strong and relevant to teens as the themes with Hell House, but in each Judgement House room, you will find a real-life scene depicted in which people are facing agonizing choices and circumstances. Here’s an example:
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You can take a look at other scripts here.
So, what do you think? Is this the right way to present a gospel message? Does this remind you of similar street evangelism methods? Does this work? Do you know of anyone impacted by this ministry work?
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- A Hell House of Cards: My Experience with Christian Scare-Tactics (thecosmiccathedral.wordpress.com)
- UPDATE: “Judgement House” Play Based on Teenager Killed in Crash (wsaz.com)
- Evangelical ‘Hell Houses’ Still a Thing This Year, Now With Additional Creepiness (psmag.com)