* Most external filmography links go to The Internet Movie Database.Home/Social Media Links
Opened: 09/21/2012 Limited
|AMC Empire 25||09/21/2012 - 09/27/2012||7 days|
|Cinema Village...||09/21/2012 - 09/27/2012||7 days|
|Playhouse 7||09/28/2012 - 10/04/2012||7 days|
Trailer: Click for trailer
Genre: Canadian Documentary
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 looks at why we are so bound to the idea of hell and how our beliefs about hell affect the world we are creating today.
In February 2011, Rob Bell--pastor of one of the largest and most influential churches in America-- released a two-minute trailer to promote his new book Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived. Immediately, a firestorm of criticism erupted across the blogosphere, with prominent pastor John Piper effectively excommunicating Bell in his now infamous three-word tweet: "Farewell, Rob Bell." Others were quick to add their condemnation, even though no one had read the book. Over the next several weeks, the controversy landed Bell--and hell--on CNN, MSNBC, the cover of TIME magazine and numerous other media platforms.
Why were people so upset? Because Bell--a prominent evangelical "insider"--dared to raise questions about the traditional view of hell as a place of eternal torment for the wicked. Oddly enough, no one knew exactly where Bell stood on this issue. But for a large group of Christians, merely questioning the traditional view was crime enough.
While Bell's questions put him on the hot seat, the dilemma he was seeking to address is hardly new. For centuries, the traditional view of hell has presented us with a dilemma: If God is our pure, all-loving Creator, can he really allow (presumably) billions of people to suffer in hell for eternity? If God is good, he must find a way to deal with evil, but doesn't the traditional view of hell tip the scales of justice too far in the other direction? To many people, it seems like we can have a good God or we can have the traditional view of hell, but we can't have both...
Some people simply resign themselves to the mystery, hoping the logic of damnation will be revealed in the life to come. Others suggest alternate views, such as Annihilationism (the souls of the damned are extinguished after the Day of Judgment) or Universalism (everyone is eventually reconciled to God). Still others become so frustrated that they finally walk away from Christianity altogether.
Is it possible we've gotten hell wrong? Or are recent challenges to the traditional view a vain attempt to avoid the inevitable? Featuring an eclectic group of authors, theologians, pastors, musicians and social commentators, HELLBOUND? is a feature-length documentary that asks why we are so bound to the idea of hell and what our view of hell reveals about how we perceive God, the Bible and, ultimately, ourselves.
Throughout history, Christians have disagreed about pretty much everything. And whenever these disagreements come up, certain doctrines or beliefs become a sort of litmus test to determine insiders and outsiders: Are you one of us or are you one of them? Are you our kind of Christian or are you some other kind of Christian, perhaps a new kind of Christian, a Christian whom we're really not sure we can trust? The current debate over hell is a perfect example of this dynamic at work.
Whenever I see the battle lines being drawn like this, it piques my interest, because I know there's a lot more going on behind the scenes. On the surface, people are arguing about theology. But underneath lurk all kinds of personal, political, religious and even economic agendas.
HELLBOUND? is my attempt to get to the bottom of the current debate over hell. Why is it happening? Why is it happening right now? And of all the doctrines we could be arguing about, why are Christians so hot and bothered about hell?
Like any classic power struggle, this debate boils down to a scrappy group of underdogs seeking to overturn the status quo. In this case, the underdogs are a growing number of Christians called "Universalists" who argue that the Christian message should be reframed to include redemption for anyone and everyone. Meanwhile, the establishment is holding the line on an exclusive Gospel, where those who fail to pass the test of faith are condemned to an eternity of torment and isolation from all that is good.
While hell is the current flashpoint, I believe this debate is merely a warning tremor signaling a potential seismic shift in the religious landscape. As traditionalist pastor and writer Kevin DeYoung recently wrote:
At the very heart of this controversy... we really do have two different Gods. The stakes are that high... Both sides cannot be right. As much as some voices in evangelicalism will suggest that we should all get along and learn from each other and listen for the Spirit speaking in our midst, the fact is we have two irreconcilable views of God... Delight or deception, suffering or salvation--yes, even heaven or hell--may hang in the balance.
How all of this shakes out is still an open question. HELLBOUND? certainly isn't the last word on hell, but it is a great starting point for anyone who has ever wondered--or worried--about their eternal fate.