First, please read the article posted by Dr Russell Moore, dean of the School of Theology at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (my alma mater), called “Seven Reasons Halloween Judgment Houses Miss the Mark,” and then come back to read my two additions to the seven reasons below the Judgment House logo.
In the past, I have been part of putting on a Judgment House or Hell House and have taken groups to a Judgment House. So, I have experience. To be honest, I’ve felt uneasy about them the entire time. Dr Moore’s reasons are excellent, but based upon what I’ve seen, I would add two more reasons they miss the mark:
1) They get you scared at the wrong being. They usually communicate that salvation by faith in Christ is ultimately about being saved from the devil. No doubt, once in Christ, we have personal victory over Satan, but we must get the biblical perspective concerning from whom we are saved. Ultimately, God, by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, saves us from God Himself. It’s not the devil that unrepentant sinners should fear. It’s God. It’s God who can destroy both body and soul in hell. It’s God who will pour out His wrath forevermore on unrepentant sinners, including the devil and his demons. We should fear God way more than the devil.
2) They get you to answer the wrong question. Like similar ministries such as “Heaven’s Gates, Hell’s Flames,” they try to get you to answer this question: do I want to go to hell? I’ve certainly heard a few in my day say that they do want to go to hell, but 99% say that they don’t want to go to hell. Then Judgment House leaders will usually say something like this, “If you don’t want to go to hell, pray this prayer, and ask Jesus into your heart.” If you do so, they’ll then pronounce you saved from the fires of hell.
The only problem is that they’ve gotten you to answer the wrong question. The question of the gospel is not “Do I want to go to hell?” The question of the gospel is “Do I want Jesus as my Savior and Lord?” Almost everybody wants to avoid to hell. However, many want Jesus as Savior for “fire insurance,” but few want Jesus as Lord. The only problem is that if Jesus is not your Lord, He is not your Savior. Judgment Houses almost always miss this crucial part of the gospel.
Maybe you’re reading this article, and you have not been saved from the wrath of God by repenting of your sin and believing on Jesus. I would invite you to read our intensive gospel presentation from our website. It starts right here.
May all believe on Jesus and be saved from the wrath of God!
Amen, Bro. Keep up the good work.
Thanks for the encouragement, Jeremy!
Your 2 points are dead on. I like #6 on Moore’s article also. Another related question would be, “How many people who were saved at judgment houses are still in the church 3, 5, 10 years later?”
Mark, excellent question! That’s where I thought Dr Moore was going to go with #6. The Judgment Houses that I’ve been affiliated with have bragged of many “decisions” for the Lord. They claim that many have been saved through their ministry, but like you point out, I’m afraid that many are false professions and false conversions. Many are found to be explicitly faithless later on or at least functionally faithless in that their life bears no fruit of conversion. Those who are truly saved will be found faithful and fruitful 3, 5, and 10 years later.