Are You Going to Heaven? Sacramento, CA: Double Visions Productions, 1994. 35- minute video. $19.95.
The title of this video is catchy. There are a number of fine things about it as well. The production quality is good; this is not something put together hastily. It has an appealing, professional look to it. The interviews and the dramatic re-enactments are thought-provoking.
On a number of points it is also theologically sound. The Lord Jesus is shown as the only way to God. No one can be saved via any other religion or way. Hell is presented as a real place which will involve real torment forever. The Bible is put forth as the only reliable source of truth about what one must do to go to heaven. The video encourages new believers to start by reading the Gospel of John, a good suggestion. It also rightly urges them when they do read to ask God to open His Word to their understanding.
The video moves from the question in the title, “Are you going to heaven?” to the question of why people think they will go to heaven. This is helpful. The video then focuses on the various answers people typically give and shows why each response is inconsistent with the Bible. Again, this is good. While one could have wished for a bit more clarity in places, up to this point the video is quite helpful.
This leads to the things I found needed improvement in the video. When it came to the evangelistic close, the “fuzz factor” kicked in. Rather than telling the viewers, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31), they are told to have faith (which they say is not belief, but which is saying “yes” with your life), repent, follow Christ, and confess Him before men. Following Christ is mentioned repeatedly as a condition of going to heaven. Evidently the producers of the video feel this is the most important of the conditions they list. Confusion in the evangelistic close is especially sad since, up to this point, the presentation was well done.
The much-used Niagara Falls tightrope-walker illustration, which is a favorite of many (and one I myself once used!), is given to show that true faith is more than believing the facts of the Gospel. Commitment of life is needed to have true biblical faith in Christ, they suggest. Needless to say, I found this disappointing.
Overall, I can’t recommend this video as a tool to lead unbelievers to Christ. However, it wouldmake a nice training video for an evangelism course to show the importance of ending one’s Gospel presentation clearly and biblically.
Robert N. Wilkin
Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society