Gun Slinger (Chick tract)
Gun Slinger is a Chick tract whose description is "A hired killer trusts Christ and, at death, goes to heaven. But the law-abiding marshal who hunted him rejects Christ and goes to hell. Clearly shows that salvation is through grace, not works."
In the old west, Terrible Tom comes to town. Tom is a hitman who is hired to kill the town preacher. Upon hearing the preacher's sermon, Tom has an attack of conscience. Instead of killing the preacher, Tom falls on his knees and accepts Jesus Christ.
An hour later, Terrible Tom is arrested by the town marshall, who describes himself as "the most honest, law-abiding man in this whole territory." Tom spends his last day chatting with the preacher from jail, and says that he is ready to go meet God.
In an ironic twist, the marshall is killed by rattlesnakes hours after Tom is hanged. Since the marshall did not accept Jesus, he goes to hell, while Terrible Tom goes to heaven.
The moral of the story is laid out in the last panel, which says: "Going to heaven is not a matter of GOOD or BAD. It's a matter of SAVED or LOST. No matter how bad you've been, Jesus still loves you and wants to save you right now! Will you let him?"
This tract starkly lays out Chick's fundamentalist philosophy that it does not matter how good or bad you are. Many people view heaven and hell as reward and punishment for good and bad behavior. Hank Hanegraaff has argued:
"[C]ommon sense regarding justice dictates that there must be a hell. Without hell, the wrongs of Hitler's Holocaust would never be righted. Justice would be impugned if, after slaughtering six million Jews, Hitler merely died in the arms of his mistress with no eternal consequences. The ancients knew better than to think such a thing. David knew that it might seem for a time as though the wicked prosper despite their evil deeds, but, in the end, justice will be served. We may wish to think that no one will go to hell, but common sense regarding justice precludes that possibility."
- — Hank Hanegraaff, Why Should I Believe in Hell?
Jack Chick's philosophy turns this question on its head. If salvation is based entirely on grace rather than works, then it is entirely possible that Hitler not only died, but then immediately ascended to heaven. Hitler was a Catholic, of course, and Chick believes that all Catholics are deluded. But who is to say that Hitler did not, like Terrible Tom, experience a conversion and acceptance of Jesus hours before his death? Worse yet, many of Hitler's Jewish victims probably died in their sins and went straight to hell (in Chick's world view).
This cartoon should make it clear that many Christians do not regard heaven and hell as divine justice at all. Salvation and damnation are not based on anything that a person has done in their lives. It is quite clear that the use of heaven and hell is more for fear mongering to scare people into believing in Jesus as they may be perfect in every other way but if they do not accept him, you will go to hell.