"Biblically Unsound and Irrational"
HELLBOUND? is a documentary about the afterlife. It ultimately supports the aberrant, heretical view that God will save everyone. Thus, sinful non-believers (and even believers) will suffer some form of punishment in some kind of Hell or Purgatory before they get to Heaven.
The movie opens by going to story guru Robert McKee, an atheist, who clearly tells the filmmakers that their view of Universal Salvation makes no sense. McKee says Universal Salvation removes all sense of urgency from the Gospel. It then shows a couple interviews with Christian theologians and pastors who agree with McKee, including the head of the Christian Research Institute, Hank Hanegraaff, and Mark Driscoll, pastor of Mars Hill Church. The rest of the movie mostly shows interviews from the people supporting the notion of Universal Salvation, with only Pastor Driscoll from the other side of the debate appearing consistently.
HELLBOUND? is a myopic, fatally flawed, and ultimately one-sided presentation of this issue. It never deals with the objections of those who oppose the Universal Salvation position. Nor does it give them a chance to refute any of the rather weak points that the Universal Salvation proponents make throughout the movie. Also, some of the attacks against Christians who believe in Eternal Punishment in Hell for those of us sinners who reject the Gospel of Jesus Christ are emotional, ad hominem attacks. Hence, the criticisms are illogical and abhorrent.
At one point, the filmmakers list some biblical passages favoring Eternal Torment for those who reject Christ, passages favoring Annihilation, and, finally, passages allegedly supporting Universal Salvation. Most of the quotes from Jesus, however, favor Eternal Torment or Annihilation, with only one of them (John 12:32) seeming to favor Universal Salvation. Also, the movie doesn’t mention the Eternal Torment passages in Rev. 21:6-8, 21:27, 22:14,15, and 22:18,19. The Revelation passages are essential to understanding the Final Judgment because they actually describe the Final Judgment in some detail. Also, they seem to echo what Jesus says in such verses as Matthew 5:22, 13:38-42, 25:31-46, John 3:36, and Luke 12:5. Finally, only about four of the passages cited for the Universal Salvation passages seem to contradict the other passages favoring Eternal Torment or Annihilation. The other passages offered for support are very weak. Since the Eternal Torment passages are so clear, a facile interpretation of the strongest Universal Salvation passages would destroy the Bible’s logical consistency. However, if you place these passages in context, you can see that these passages aren’t really referring to the eternal destination of nonbelievers. They are actually referring to the efficacy of Jesus Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross. Thus, Christ’s sacrifice is sufficient for the salvation of EVERY human being who lived on Earth, but God will only apply that sacrifice to those who believe on that sacrifice.
When, therefore, Jesus says in John 12:32 that He will drag ALL men to Himself for judgment, He doesn’t mean ALL men will be saved. Later on, of course, Jesus says He will not be the one who judges but indicates that God the Father is the judge. In John 12:48, Jesus adds, “There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; that very word which I spoke will condemn him at the last day.” This verse sure doesn’t sound like Universal Salvation!
This brings up another problem with HELLBOUND?. The movie suggests at one point that all those who oppose the heretical doctrine of Universal Salvation believe that the Jews who died in the Holocaust will all go to Hell. In the first place, no one knows whether, before they died, Jesus didn’t spiritually visit some, most, or all of these people and give them a chance to accept Him as the Messiah. Also, we don’t know which ones actually believed in God, much less Jesus Christ. Furthermore, as for people who have never heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ, there are some, if not many, people in this category who do accept the things that God chose fit to reveal to them. Thus, some, if not many, of these people may be like the Jews before Christ who are saved because they looked forward to the Messiah that God promised the Jewish people. Obviously, the filmmakers, and many of the people they interviewed who favor Universal Salvation, aren’t aware of all the arguments on these subjects that may be brought to bear.
Finally, the movie’s suggestion that even believers might be subject to some form of punishment in Hell or Purgatory is reprehensible. In 1 Cor. 15, St. Paul discusses the Resurrection. Toward the end of that passage in 1 Corinthians 15:55-57, the apostle says that death has no sting for those who belong to Jesus Christ. Thus, if even believers will suffer after death, then the Gospel of Jesus Christ becomes pointless! Where’s the joy in the Gospel, where’s the deliverance from the pain of sin and death, if believers have to suffer somehow in some kind of temporary hell???? Once again, the false doctrine of Universal Salvation undermines the Bible’s authority and makes it contradictory and, therefore, false.
The doctrine of Eternal Punishment also makes more sense because it shows that God honors people’s freedom of choice. Thus, you’re still free to choose whether to live in Heaven eternally with Jesus or live in Hell eternally without Him. If Jesus saves everyone, no matter what they think before they die, then it’s as if Jesus is forcing people to love Him. That’s not real love – it’s a parlor trick created by some kind of demonic kidnapper appearing as an angel of light.
Despite its emotional, irrational arguments, HELLBOUND? isn’t entirely abhorrent, however. At a couple points, it affirms other aspects of the salvation that is found in Jesus Christ. Thus, Movieguide® gives the movie it’s next to lowest rating, a Minus 3. The filmmakers should have consulted more with Hank Hanegraaf and his staff at the Christian Research Institute (CRI). Failing that, the staff of Movieguide® has at least three top-notch theologians on its staff and Board of Directors, and can refer people to even more such theologians, in addition to the staff at CRI. There’s no excuse for the sloppy research and theology that this documentary presents.
Recently, the writer/director of this movie made some very caustic, ad hominem attacks against one of Movieguide®’s friends, who wrote a couple articles lamenting that fewer people teach the orthodox doctrine of Hell anymore. He does none of that here, because it’s harder to get away with such boorish behavior when you’re being photographed. However, anyone who takes seriously the Anti-Semitic, leftwing rants of Franky Schaeffer seriously is not himself a serious person. We pray for their repentance.
(FRFR, C, AbAb, PC, AP, L, S, A, DD, MM) False religious worldview with some positive Christian content about Jesus, but that supports a false position on the doctrine of Hell that’s aberrant, and probably heretical, some people interviewed who claim to be Christians express Anti-Christian attitudes toward fellow believers and use ad hominem attacks against them (for instance, they say they want to hold power over people and are afraid of losing power and that’s why they believe in Eternal Punishment in Hell, not because they believe the Bible says so), one person attacks the Protestant reliance on the Bible for doctrine, one person attacks the Protestant doctrine of Sola Scriptura, and at least one person seems Anti-Semitic when it comes to Israel, and movie unfairly (with logical fallacies) criticizes the position of those who disagree with the movie’s viewpoint and doesn’t really summon some of the best biblical arguments of the other side or bring any real biblical arguments to support the movie’s view, which is considered false by traditional church doctrine but not some liberalized denominations (the movie falsely claims that the Orthodox Church accepts Universal Salvation as a doctrine you can hold but that’s not really true), plus some politically correct references by a couple loony liberal or misguided pacifist “Christians” against American foreign policy, against the War on Terror, and against Israel, the latter of which border on Anti-Semitism if not actually being Anti-Semitic and both of which seem to ignore Romans 13:1-5, especially Verse 4, a passage that also seems to contradict the movie’s position on hell and punishment; a couple obscenities (including an “f” word on the back of a T-shirt) by “Death Metal” fans, who proudly flaunt their atheism, their Devil worship, and their Anti-Christian bigotry; some discussion of violence but no actual violence; no actual sex but a couple references to sex by “Death Metal” fans; no nudity; two Death Metal fans hold cups of beer in their hands; a mention of drugs in a positive sense by a Death Metal fan; and, nonbeliever refuses to shake street preacher’s hand and documentary is one-sided.
HELLBOUND? is a documentary about the afterlife. It ultimately sides with the aberrant, heretical view that God will save everyone. Thus, sinful non-believers (and even believers) will suffer some form of punishment in some kind of Hell or Purgatory before they get to Heaven. The movie opens by interviewing opponents of the Universal Salvation theory. The rest of the movie mostly shows interviews from the people supporting the notion of Universal Salvation, with only one pastor from the other side of the debate appearing throughout.
HELLBOUND? is a myopic, fatally flawed and ultimately one-sided presentation of this issue. It never deals with the objections of those who oppose the Universal Salvation position. Nor does it give them a chance to refute any of the weak, emotional points that the Universal Salvation proponents make throughout the movie. The biblical verses presented for Universal Salvation can be refuted easily by anyone looking up the Bible verses cited. Also, HELLBOUND? fails to cite the verses in Revelation about Judgment Day that clearly undermine its position. Media-wise viewers will put little stock in HELLBOUND?