‘Hell’ in the US Cinema: 19 October

‘Is there much interest in hell at the moment?’ asked an old friend I met on a train on Monday. ‘Well… in North America there’s a new film, Hellbound?, showing in some regular cinemas. It’s a documentary interviewing people with differing views of hell. (www.hellboundthemovie.com) And Hell and Mr Fudge will soon be shown in cinemas in some American cities. Hell and Mr Fudge is a biographical drama about Edward Fudge the great American re-thinker on hell. (www.hellandmrfudge.org)

Hellbound? ‘s publicity explains:

PREPARE TO HAVE YOUR BUTTONS PUSHED

Does hell exist? If so, who ends up there, and why? Featuring an eclectic group of authors, theologians, pastors, social commentators and musicians, “Hellbound?” is a provocative, feature-length documentary that will ensure you never look at hell the same way again!

Looking at Hellbound?’s publicity and reviews gives some idea of the movie. On one side are the traditionalists who confidently, stridently, warn of excruciating pain forever for those who do not believe in Jesus. On the other side are the revisionists who gently say that the God of Jesus is nicer than that, so we’ll all probably be OK in the end. It seems that those of us who recognize the final end of the unrepentant wicked to be their utter extinction aren’t included much. And no-one makes Jesus’ words Hades and Gehenna the foundation and cornerstone of our thinking. (One extreme relativist expert says that we should just accept that people’s views are formed by impressions and prejudices from childhood, culture and personality and not engage in rational argument.) For the truth of Hades and Gehenna see The Lie of Hell (www.laddermedia.co.uk)

Hellbound? gives the impression that it has covered the whole debate by focusing on two widely opposing views. The ‘annihilationist’ view of an increasing number of Bible teachers needs also to be included – see www.rethinkinghell.com. Most annihilationists, however pay scant attention to what Jesus said about Hades. If everyone concerned looked more calmly and carefully at the words of Jesus, we should be able to agree: ‘Hell’, the combination of Hades and Gehenna is indeed a fabrication. Hades and Gehenna, clearly distinct, describe the truth as Jesus brought it to us. (More detail in ‘The Lie of Hell.’)

In America hell is fiercely debated. One of Hellbound?’s contributors says that those who reject the traditional view of hell have ‘crossed a national boundary’ – they can no longer be accepted as Christians. In the UK, thank God, the Evangelical Alliance in 2000 decided that members could hold different views (Traditional and Annihilation) and stay in fellowship. John Stott was instrumental in this agreement. (See The Nature of Hell ed D. Hilborn)

Hell and Mr Fudge is also classically American in a different way. The brave loner discovers a remarkable truth. He is pilloried, persecuted and pushed out, before prevailing in the end. This time the story is no All American myth, but the life story of Edward Fudge, now living in Houston, Texas, one of Jesus’ most gracious and most determined followers.

The movies show considerable interest in the issue of ‘hell’ in North America, and will probably stimulate more interest. The Lie Of Hell  has sold to individuals in California and Wisconsin as well as in the UK. Will the movies ever cross the Atlantic?

Roger Harper

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3 Responses to “‘Hell’ in the US Cinema: 19 October”

  1. edwardfudge Says:

    The producers of “Hell and Mr. Fudge tell me they aree even now preparing the film for distribution as a DVD. Although the timing is uncertain relative to theater showings, it shouuld eventually be available in the UK, at least as a DVD. To enroll on list for updates and new information about such, send an email to jww@me.com and in SUBJECT area write: “HAMF–INFO”.
    –Edward Fudge

  2. kevinmillerxi Says:

    Hi Roger,

    I’m the director of “Hellbound?” We are working at crossing the Atlantic as we speak. Broadcast, VOD, DVD and a college tour in early 2013.

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