Posts Tagged ‘mike stanwood’

Film Review: HELLBOUND?

By Mike Stanwood
Free lance writer and defender of the faith

Screen writer Kevin Miller is probably best known for co-writing the Ben Stein documentary Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, a film that shows how those who believe in intelligent design are being ridiculed by the scientific community.

For his next project, Miller is about to take on another big topic in an upcoming documentary [1] called Hellbound?” which is going into production this summer. Like Rob Bell, who has recently taken on hell with his controversial new book Love Wins, Miller will be exploring similar questions: “If God is our pure, all-loving Creator, can he really turn his back on sinners and allow them to suffer for eternity in hell? Where did this vision of hell come from? Is it possible we’ve got hell wrong? Or are recent challenges to the traditional view merely an attempt to avoid the inevitable?” [2]

He has already begun by attending a heavy metal concert in Copenhagen called Copenhell, a two-day festival inspired by music from the Abyss. This year’s big performers were Judas Priest and Korn, but Miller was also interested in finding out what was behind the hell-themed imagery in the music and artwork of other acts at this event. [3] (first clue: Satan?)

In the next stage of his Hellbound? production, some other names Miller will be turning to to aid him in his exploration are from the Pacific Northwest. These include William Paul Young, author of The Shack, philosopher Thomas Talbott, and Regent College professor John Stackhouse, Jr.

Also to be interviewed are three of Miller’s fellow writers at Clarion Journal of Spirituality & Justice, all of whom hold to some liberal, unorthodox beliefs. These colleagues are Anglican scholar and university professor Ron Dart, Arch Bishop Lazar Puhalo of All Saints of North America (Canadian Orthodox Monastery), and contemplative prayer/visualization teacher Brad Jersak,  author of Stricken by God?, a collection of essays on alternative atonement theories.

As Dart, Puhalo, and Jersak often appear together in filmed discussions [4], it is not surprising that they will all be part of Miller’s next film. If their ‘pre-interview’ for Hellbound? by Kevin Miller is any indication, Puhalo and Dart will be attempting to dismantle the biblical concept of hell. According to Archbishop Lazar Puhalo, hell is simply anger, malice, and the condition of our conscience [5], while Ron Dart believes that “a literal hell is a preposterous understanding of scripture.” [6]

Jersak’s beliefs on hell can be found in his recently written book on hell, judgment, and universalism called Her Gates Will Never Be Shut: Hell, Hope, and the New Jerusalem in which his “position seems to be that hopeful universalism is a good evangelical position.” [7]

As if the direction of Hellbound? isn’t already obvious, the participation of The Shack’s author William P. Young in this production may be an even stronger indication of where Miller intends to take his viewers. Besides adding to the buzz, Young’s theology may bring even more confusion to the topic. In the same interview where he denied the penal substitutionary atonement of Christ when he said “No. I don’t, I am not a penal substitution …reformation…point of view”, Young also recommended his listeners read Brad Jersak’s book about alternative atonement theories, Stricken by God? [8]

Also of note is another notorious film documentary, which screenwriter Kevin Miller has co-authored, [9] called With God On Our Side,  a movie aimed at naive evangelical audiences challenging support for Israel and Israel’s significance in Bible prophecy. The film featured Stephen Sizer who has defended Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad [10] and acclaimed Helen Thomas for saying that Jews need to “get out of Palestine” and go back to Poland. [11] This anti-Israel film was championed by Jim Wallis, Tony Campolo and Brian McLaren. [12]

In conclusion, it is apparent that at least some of Kevin Miller’s sources consistently appear to be those who have departed from (or never did in the first place) believing that God literally meant what He said in His inspired Word. Instead, these men make their own theories and turn the truth of God into fables (2 Timothy 4:4). However, “far from legend, myth, metaphor, or allegory, the Bible presents hell as a real place where wicked people suffer the wrath of God.” [13] With the recent popularity of Rob Bell’s book Love Wins and the subsequent shift towards universalism among youth, it is concerning that Miller’s Hellbound? production could prove to be a widely viewed film, which will no doubt add to the confusion. Given the facts, it’s not unreasonable to offer a more than strong word of caution about this upcoming film. Those seeking answers about their eternal destination could be sent in the wrong direction by listening to the voices in Hellbound?

Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels … And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal. Matthew 25: 41, 45

Jesus said, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3). And also:

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. . . . I am the door of the sheep.  All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

The way of escape from Hell is a free gift, offered to “whosoever believeth on Him” (Jesus Christ – John 3:16). But those who deny biblical truths such as Hell and atonement have taken that free gift and the sacrifice Christ made on the Cross and slammed it to the ground. In essence, they have rejected the free gift of salvation through Christ.

Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels. (Mark 8:38)

[1] “Hellbound?” interview on Atlanta Live; ‘Expelled’ Writer Tackles One Hell of a MovieHELLBOUND: Abbotsford filmmaker asks questions about hell, films documentary locally
[2] Hellbound? documentary to film throughout the Pacific Northwest this July
[3] Hellbound? to begin production at “Copenhell” this June; Hellbound to begin production at “Copenhell”
[5] Part 1: To Hell or not (unsegmented at
In this video, Archbishop Lazar Puhalo says hell is not a created fire pit but simply anger and malice and the condition of our conscience when we depart this world. Also in this video, Ron Dart, who does not have a literal way of reading the Bible, says that we need to transcend a literal way of understanding the Bible because literal interpretation leads to ridiculous consequences – and a literal hell is a preposterous understanding of scripture.
[6] Pt 2 To Hell or not to Hell
In this video, Archbishop Lazar Puhalo says that hell corrupts the concept of the nature and mercy of God, so we have to go to the early church beliefs to find the answer about what hell is. Ron Dart says that to rescue the church from literalism is to track back to the ancient wisdom of the church mothers and fathers.
[7] The Evangelical Universalist featuring Gregory MacDonald and Thomas Talbott: A Forum dedicated to Evangelical Universalists
Her Gates Will Never be Shut
, by Bradley Jersak (Review); By Gregory MacDonald;
[8] Listen to the interview with The Shack author William Young on KAYP by Kendall Adams, pastor of the Burlington Baptist church, where Young denies the substitutionary atonement and recommends Stricken by God? by Brad Jersak;;
Transcript of Interview
[10] In 2007, Stephen Sizer defended Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad during an Islamic Republic News Agency press conference in Tehran. See “A Goliath in the Church
[11] Sizer acclaimed Helen Thomas for saying that Jews need to “get out of Palestine” and go back to Poland. See: Turning Churches Against Israel [12] See: Film Warning: With God on Our Side – Championed by Jim Wallis, Tony Campolo, Brian McLaren & Steve Haas (World Vision)
[13] The Truth About Hell

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