October’s required reading list includes Timothy George’s article, “The Gospel of Ghoul.” The article is a critique of that thriving phenomenon within the subculture of American fundamentalist and evangelical churches: the seasonal appearance of a Halloween alternative known as Hell House or Judgment House. George writes:

The problem with this kind of approach …  is that it says what it does not know and thus falls prey to that most damning of theological temptations, what medieval scholars called vana curiositas. Theology should be done within the limits of revelation alone but what is shown in most modern-day Hell Houses is 90 percent speculation.

It may be that some young people will find their way to genuine faith through such ghoulish shenanigans, but their overall import is a distortion of the Gospel. Those who indulge in such displays are taking something serious, eternal, and consequential and treating it with a finesse of a butcher doing brain surgery. In the process, they trivialize evil and domesticate grace. I seriously doubt that the Old Fiend himself is much upset about how his wiles are portrayed in such faux-dramas. He knows that conversion without discipleship is not likely to be lasting or deep. He is well aware that evangelism as entertainment seldom, if ever, results in genuine repentance or transformation.

The full article, which I highly recommend, can be found here.

2 Comments

  1. Wow. I was not aware that this type of “event” was available and even happening in churches across America. What popped out to me, was how this tends to “trivialize evil and domesticate grace”. ( Scary for today’s youth ) May I NEVER forget that my sin was so great that it took an even greater grace to wash that sin away, so many years ago!!!!

  2. Thank you for sharing your summary of Timothy George’s article. I’ve never attended a Halloween Hell House so found the article very informative.

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