Scary horror clown with text overlay saying, do scary church Halloween events really reach the lost?

Should churches use horror attractions at Halloween to evangelize the lost?

Evangelizing at any cost is the calling of all born-again believers as Christ commands us to take up our cross and follow Him, sharing the gospel and making disciples. But does anything go when it comes to reaching the lost? Our evangelism must be biblically sound and glorifying to God…but do scary church Halloween events meet that mark?

Concerns about scary church Halloween events

Have you ever been to a haunted house attraction during the Halloween season?

Whether or not Halloween should be celebrated by Christians is something that believers differ on and debate about. Some churches try to find a compromise by offering a Fall Festival or Trunk-or-Treat on Halloween.

But something I never thought I would hear of is a church putting on a haunted house.

Have you ever been to one of those?

Image of scary bloody clown with title, church Halloween horror events—do they reach the lost?

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I came across this post on Twitter not long ago and it resonated so deeply with me. Maybe it will for you too:

GUTS church having kids walk through traumatic scenes like drug addiction, suicide, & implying this all end in “hell” then asking if they want to give their “lives to Christ” immediately after is some manipulative ********. so wrong. fear should never be the foundation of faith.

evy (@evysallinger) on Twitter, October 6, 2018

This post caught my attention because GUTS Church is located in my town. The program this person is referring to is called The Nightmare. I’ve never been to it, but I’ve heard of it nearly every Halloween throughout my life.

My impression of it over the years was that they guide you through scary scenes that give you a glimpse of the horrors of eternity in hell. But I wasn’t super familiar as I’d never gone myself, so I started researching it.

I was appalled.

The church actually lists this supposed evangelistic outreach as a haunted house. Yikes. But that sadly pales in comparison to the reality of what all is taking place at this attraction.

The posts I saw on social media featured photos of people soaked in blood with slit wrists, others with grotesque bullet holes in their heads, some bloody figures with chains around their necks, and all manner of gruesome death scenes and disturbingly demonic characters.

Many of those images are not appropriate to share here. However, I did choose a couple so you can see the reality of the situation. And yes, believe it or not, there are some worse than these:

These are promotional posts on The Nightmare Facebook page. There are also snapshots you can find on people’s personal pages where they’re posing with their favorite characters from the attraction, many having captions like: “Hangin’ with my favorite demon at the Nightmare!” 💔

I wish you could see my facial expression right now because it would convey what I think of this so much better than words. Suffice it to say that it’s a grimace of sadness, disgust, disappointment, and great concern.

Here’s how The Nightmare describes itself on its website:

“THE NIGHTMARE has become a Tulsa tradition that remains unparalleled and unmatched. It is a graphic walk-through presentation of real-life, modern-day struggles challenging our world today. These struggles, without the price Jesus paid on the cross, leave many lost and without hope in the world.”

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Can gory Halloween church events truly be evangelistic?

So let’s get this straight. This event is supposed to be an evangelistic outreach to the community. Okay. Keep that in mind as you look at some of their promo images from their Facebook pages:

If these images are a supposed work of the gospel to salvation, why do they look like posters for demonic horror movies?

My friend, is this the work of the gospel?

This is put on by a church.

This gory, demon-possessed-looking event is hosted by a church.

Not only is this not okay and not to be brushed off as harmless fun, it’s incredibly problematic.

They even have a Jesus hanging on the cross at the end, as if He’s just another part of the gore-fest. It’s very disturbing the way they just tack Him on at the end of the horror presentation.

I started showing my husband some of the pictures and telling him about what I was seeing.

Me: They even have Jesus on the cross at the end… 😟

Him: I’ve been through there.

Me: How was it?

Him: Terrible. They yell at you like, “You put Him there! (Jesus on the cross.) Look what you did! You should feel terrible!”

Me: 😢

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The tragic and troubling problem created by indulging in supposedly “evangelistic” Halloween horror

Let me just clear this up right now. You did not put Jesus on the cross. Neither did I. That is a damaging falsehood. It’s a manipulative tactic of the devil that twists scripture in an effort to cause a sense of worthlessness and confusion.

My friend, Jesus gave up His life as a free gift. His life was not taken from Him—He chose to lay it down. Not because we are worthy, but because He loves us so.

Thank God we owe Him nothing but the gratitude and obedience that springs forth once we are born again, because we could never give anything else—that’s the whole reason that Jesus came!

Christ chose to lay down His life for us as a payment for our sins so that we could have the opportunity to repent and accept His free gift of salvation. Our sin is shameful, yes, but the holy, righteous sacrifice freely given by our Savior is NOT.

Now that we’ve gotten that settled, let’s take a look at The Nightmare’s promotional catchphrase. Ready for this? Probably not. I wasn’t.

“It’ll scare the hell outta ya.”

It could almost be laughable if it wasn’t so damaging and such a belittling misrepresentation of Christ and His precious sacrifice.

Just to be perfectly clear, nothing—NOTHING—can scare you out of an eternity in hell.

You can be frightened to your very core of dying and winding up in hell, but if you haven’t admitted your sinfulness and turned from that disobedience and thrown yourself on the mercy of Christ, hell is your guaranteed and eternal end. No such haunted house of horrors can set you straight.

Screenshot of Notes app with title, are Halloween horror attractions at churches winning souls to Christ?

Free printable Halloween Gospel Tracts

Looking for a biblically-sound way to shine the light of the gospel into precious lives this Halloween? Download these free print-and-fold gospel tracts! (4 designs!)

Church Halloween horror events can’t reach the lost if they don’t glorify God

Look again at the pictures. Death scenes, gore, and demonic depictions do NOT glorify God. Those kinds of things attract Satan and his demons. Don’t go to such events. Any church that not only participates in such an event but dares to host one is not a church with sound teaching.

Read and study the Bible for yourself daily, and make sure your church is one that follows the solid, sound teaching of Jesus Christ, preaching the scriptures within their context and intended meaning—not catering to the world and reading into the scriptures things that aren’t there.

Jesus opened people’s eyes to the serious reality of their personal sin by pointing to God’s moral law, the Ten Commandments, and how it’s impossible for us to keep them.

If you’re caught breaking the law and appear before a judge, if he’s a righteous and good judge, he must punish you. Even if you repent and are sorry—good, you should be. But the judge must still pass judgment and bring punishment. Someone must pay for the crime. What you need is MERCY.

It is the same with God, except that He looks not only at our deeds but also at the sinful thoughts and desires within our hearts! We all stand guilty before Him, and only through throwing ourselves on His mercy and accepting Jesus’ payment on the cross for our sins can we be free from the punishment of death.

That is the truth, my friend.

Jesus didn’t send people into a haunted house.

He didn’t present people with gory imagery and gruesome scenes.

Seeing our guilt and sinfulness before Holy God reflected back to us when we look at the Ten Commandments is more than enough horror.

To denigrate Christ’s sacrifice on the cross for our sins by portraying Him as a Halloween side-show is to mock the Savior.

Have one last look at these posts from social media:

“We own October.” How flippantly this supposed outreach treats the omnipotent sacrifice of our precious Savior, of God Almighty reconciling us to Himself through Christ on the cross. How blatantly irreverent. How boastful and prideful in their gory representation of His sacred suffering and pouring out of His life’s blood for our sins. 💔

This church that invites people to delve into a demonic walk-through experience each Halloween claims to be responsible for thousands of salvations. God help them. God help us. How many of these must be false converts.

A church can’t “scare the hell outta ya.”

Jesus didn’t call us to such.

He called us to share the gospel. And to share it clearly and lovingly.

To be salt and LIGHT, preserving the truth of His Word—not trying to appeal to the world through its own appetite for darkness.

Beware of such Halloween experiences. Test them against scripture and you will be sure that they do not glorify God. Because the power of God unto salvation is the gospel. And this gore-fest is not the gospel.

Final thoughts on scary church Halloween events

While Halloween is a great opportunity to evangelize, we must be careful to do so in a God-honoring fashion. Just has not called us to win souls through catering to cultures, trends, and society. We’re to call the lost to repentance the way that Christ did, by holding by the mirror of the Ten Commandments that reflects their sinfulness and their need for the Savior. Let’s stop trying to appeal to the world but bowing to its dark appetites, but rather shine the light of God’s glorious gospel!

A church can’t “scare the hell outta ya.” Jesus didn’t call us to such. He called us to share the gospel. And to share it clearly and lovingly. To be salt and LIGHT, preserving the truth of His Word—not trying to appeal to the world through its own appetite for darkness.

Free printable Halloween Gospel Tracts

Looking for a biblically-sound way to shine the light of the gospel into precious lives this Halloween? Download these free print-and-fold gospel tracts! (4 designs!)

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Do scary church Halloween events win souls to Christ?

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