If you’ve read the previous post, you’ll know how this Grade 3 boy who has been eagerly sharing his Christian faith at his school in Halifax, Nova Scotia has been told to stop handing out Jack Chick tracts. The boy’s father, Sean Bonitto, is an evangelist who heads up International Deliverance Ministries and he commented on that previous post. He was concerned that I’m misrepresenting the message of the Jack Chick tracts. So I’ve proposed a short debate so that everyone can see and evaluate the arguments for and against the use of these Jack Chick tracts at schools. After viewing this updated report from Atlantic CTV News (Monday, Oct 4), Sean will give his Yes answer and then I will give my No answer to the question “Is passing out Jack T. Chick tracts an appropriate way for children to share their faith?”
So what do you think? (Leave a comment.)
Are Jack Chick tracts an appropriate way for schoolchildren to share their Christian faith?
Sean Bonitto, Evangelist
(International Deliverance Ministries)
The Bible teaches us to, "...Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned” (Mark 16:15-16). The Lord Jesus Christ has commanded the true born again Christian to preach the gospel to every man woman and child, so that they can be saved from the damnation of an eternal hell (Matthew 25:41), by repenting of their sin, and believing and trusting the Lord Jesus Christ by faith alone for their salvation (John 3:16).
As a result we must obey the clear teaching of the Lord Jesus Christ, by demonstrating the love of God for lost souls on their way to hell, through preaching the truth of the gospel to them, so that they can repent and be saved only through the Lord Jesus Christ (John 14:6; Acts 4:12). The Bible says, love, "Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth" (1Corinthians 13:6). We do not in any way shape or form preach hatred to any one, but we do preach the truth in love against false teachings, ideologies, and philosophies that are used by Satan to damn precious souls to hell (1 Peter 5:8). The Bible commands us to, "... have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them " (Ephesians 5:11). The word “reprove” means to expose the darkness, sin and lies of Satan in order for mankind to see the light of the gospel, repent of their sin and be saved through faith alone in the Lord Jesus Christ (Luke 13:3; John 14:6).
As a result of the aformentioned commands from Holy Scripture and many other verses that I have mentioned (Matthew 28:18-20; Luke 24:47; Acts 1:8; 1 Timothy 4:1-8), we must evangelize and preach against the false teachings of Islam, Roman Catholicism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Atheism, Homosexuality, Adultery, Fornication, Apostate lukewarm churches, etc, and all mankind that have not repented of their sin and warn them "to flee from the wrath to come" (Matthew 3:8) in hell, and how God has "commendeth his love"(Romans 5:8) to us by sending the Lord Jesus Christ to die on the cross to save all mankind from their sins, if we repent and trust Him by faith alone for our salvation (Luke 13:3; John 14:6).
The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms section 2, and 15 give everyone the right to freedom of religion and expression and we are only demonstrating our Canadian rights by handing out gospel tracts and witnessing our Christian faith at a public school. The Chick tracts that are used are not so called "hate literature" at all, because they do not express hatred to anyone, but speak honestly against any teaching that violates and contradicts the Bible that has the potential of damning souls to hell, if one believes that false teaching, and dies in their sin without true repentance and faith alone in the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 20:21). Also for one to claim that they are "scaring" people to salvation or using "scare tactics" means that they either question the serious doctrine of eternal hell fire as recorded in the Bible (Mark 9:43-50), or they do not believe in a literal hell, and have aligned themselves with the false prophets of today who are proclaiming a false gospel (2 Timothy 4:1-4; Jude 3-4).
Ken you have said, "Jack Chick hates Catholics, Jews and Muslims." This statement is absolutely not true and defamatory. Can you produce a Chick tract where he says this? He only speaks against the false doctrine or theology that these individuals adhere to that contradicts the teachings of the Bible, and that the Holy Scriptures teach that these false doctrines will send them to hell if they die rejecting the truth of the gospel (John 3:16; John 8:24; John 14:6; Acts 4:12; Galatians 2:16; Ephesians 2:8-9). My Friend you also have made the comment that "Some of these Chick tracts have even been banned from distribution in Canada because they violate Canada's hate crime legislation" before doing proper research that this statement is not only misleading, but completely false due to the fact that Chick tracts have never been banned in Canada at any point in time. There was an RCMP investigation on some Chick comic books concerning Roman Catholicism in the 1980s where they concluded that it was not hate literature, and none of the tracts have every been banned. I hope you will clarify this fact with your readers (see chick.com). They can also call the Canadian distributor for Chick tracts in Canada (1-866-567-2700).
Ken Symes, Samaritan XP blogger
Jesus loves children. In the gospels, Jesus welcomes children, blesses them and rebukes adults who fail to see their importance (Matt 18:1-6; 19:13-15; Mark 9:33-36), but no where are we told that he scares the little children by telling them all about hell (n/a). And for that matter, does Jesus ever attempt to scare someone with the threat of hell so that they will chose to believe in him instead?
Seriously, does Jesus preach “turn or burn” as Jack Chick does? Do you remember the rich young ruler? Jesus said he would have to give away his money in order to receive eternal life and that’s not something the ruler could do so he walked away. How the story would’ve been different if only Jesus had thought to threaten the man with eternal hellfire, then maybe he would’ve changed his mind! That’s what Jack Chick would’ve done! Instead Mark 10:21 tells us that “Jesus looked at him and loved him.” Jesus tells three stories in Luke 15 to explain why he was welcoming sinners (instead of judging them like the Pharisees) and the answer is that they were lost and Jesus loved them. Jesus goes out at great risk to rescue, he searches diligently and he waits patiently, but no where does the chapter say that Jesus goes about telling people they’re going to hell unless they repent and believe. How about the despised tax collectors or the divorced Samaritan woman? Does Jesus warn them about hell in order to get them to repent and believe? Nope (Matthew 9:9-13; Luke 19:1-9; John 4:1-42).
You see, Sean, as evangelists, as those called by God to share the good news, I believe we have a responsibility to learn from Jesus himself and to go about sharing the good news as Jesus shared it. Jack’s “turn or burn” approach to evangelism is not really based on the example of Jesus. And if I were to choose between following Jack or following Jesus, I will definitely choose Jesus. Of course, if we follow Jesus’ example, we might get the same reputation he had of being “a friend of ‘sinners’” (Matt 11:19) — I can’t imagine Jack Chick having that kind of reputation! Personally, I’m tired of too many of us in the church having a reputation of being self-righteous hypocrites. It’s time we tried to follow Jesus’ example.
Before you accuse me of rejecting the doctrine of hell, let me assure you that I believe in hell. Jesus teaches about it extensively, but my point is that unlike Jack Chick, Jesus never directly says to someone “Believe in me or you’ll go to hell.” His threats of hell seem to be reserved mostly for the self-righteous and to that end when you referred to Mark 9:43-50, you missed the first verse of that passage (42) which is the most relevant to our discussion: “If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them if a large millstone were hung around their neck and they were thrown into the sea.” We need to be extra careful about the way we approach children with the good news. Jesus is pretty serious about this point and about the consequences of mistreating children.
I see no reason why we should be literally scaring the hell out of little children by showing them frightful depictions of hell, demons and Satan. I have no problem at all with children talking to children about their faith, but I would have a problem with someone giving my child one of these Jack Chick tracts. Page 1 of the Oops! tract shows a man dying from a speed overdose. I would not let my kids watch a TV show that started with a scene like that. It’s not that we’re sheltered; in fact, I’m involved in ministry to crack and drug addicts, but I see no reason why my children need to be exposed to such things at their age. More to the point, I think many children would be scared of Chick’s drawings of hell (pages 17-20 of Oops!). Read the comments to the previous post on this blog—you’ll see other parents agree with me. Don’t you care what they think?
I just don’t see how the issue at Park West School is about religious freedom. A parent complained about the violent nature of these tracts. Thus, the issue is whether it is appropriate to use Jack Chick tracts to scare the hell out of children so that they will accept Jesus. I wouldn’t want this to happen to my children and I am a Christian. As I demonstrated above, there is no indication in the gospels that Jesus ever scared children (or anyone else for that matter) with hellfire in order to get them to believe. Plus what other parents think matters to me. I, therefore, conclude that it is inappropriate to attempt to frighten children with the threat of going to hell and oppose the distribution of Jack Chick tracts to children.
In fairness to Sean, when i invited him to this debate, I told him he could have the last word. I have published his "rebuttal" or "last response" in the Comments section because we've already run quite long on this post and so much of his last submission seemed to demand a response from me so I thought I could handle this easier in the comments. I trust that he will accept this as the editorial discretion of the blogger.