Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Fears of Hell Scary Enough for Evangelists' Fright House

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Fears of Hell Scary Enough for Evangelists' Fright House

Article excerpt

It's the Christian version of a Halloween-style haunted house, designed to scare you out of hell.

A few Baptist churches in Jacksonville are presenting walk-through drama presentations about death, judgment day, heaven and hell, as described in the Bible.

Called "Judgement Houses," they are an effective evangelism tool, especially for attracting teenagers and young adults, church members say.

"We have more teenagers show up for this than for anything else," said the Rev. Robert Lambright, associate pastor for music and student ministries at Parkwood Baptist Church in Arlington.

Some are so moved that they go home and bring back friends or family members.

Yarelis Mora, 17, went to Judgement House last week at Parkwood. She left and returned with a friend. She hopes to take her sister this week.

Mora said that before Judgement House, she never understood the Bible and what a relationship with Jesus was. The Terry Parker High School student said she accepted Jesus that night.

"As I said the salvation prayer, I felt so overwhelmed," she said. "I started to cry. I felt relieved. I came out of Judgement House feeling like a new person."

On one recent evening at Parkwood, small groups were escorted from room to room to watch six-minute skits. The skits, performed by about 100 church members, tell a story about "Whitney," a teen who gives up drinking and smoking, joins a Bible study group and accepts Jesus as her savior. Her teen brother, "Darren," continues his partying ways and criticizes his sister for her decision.

During one of Darren's parties, the house catches fire and both siblings are killed.

Some spectators got teary-eyed during an emergency room scene where the parents learned their children were dead.

Angels usher Whitney into heaven, a bright room with clouds, angels and a golden gate laced with pearls. …

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