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>Annihilation And Universalism

>I have been reading the book, Two Views of Hell, by Edward Fudge and Robert Peterson that one commenter suggested for me to read and I must admit that I am enjoying this book.  Some theology books, I must confess, are boring.  I read a book recently on the doctrine of the Holy Spirit and while the biblical content was sound, the book itself was a chore to read.  It took discipline for me just to finish the book and even then I found myself skimming the last few pages trying to get done.  Not so with this book on hell.  I am enjoying the book tremendously.

The question I want to propose is can one hold to annihilation and reject universalism?  Yes!  I would say that this is the case of many who do hold to the doctrine.  Even the Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that only faithful JW’s will inherit a restored planet Earth while the 144,000 will be in heaven with Jehovah.  Edward Fudge rejects the notion that all will be saved.  He believes that we should even warn people that they will be cast into hell when they die if they don’t repent of their sins.  He rejects the notion that hell is not real.  This stands in contrast to Rob Bell who believes that most (if not all) will be in heaven.  I think this is an important point.

There are other theologians who reject the traditional view of hell including John Stott, Dale Moody, Michael Green, Richard Rice, and Greg Boyd just to name a few.  Dr. Douglas Jacoby also rejects the traditional view of hell.  He agrees with Fudge that while we should warn people that they will be destroyed in hell, he agrees with Fudge that hell is not an eternal torture of the lost but is the complete destruction of them.  When a person is cast into hell, the cease to exist (Luke 12:5; 2 Thessalonians 1:9).

I don’t want to give away all that the book says and will possibly post on the subject in the future but for now I do believe that we can have an honest debate over hell.  What we can’t do is accept universalism.  This would destroy the purpose of the cross, the death of Jesus as our sacrifice for our sins, and would ignore the holiness of God and His judgment against sin.  Furthermore, it would allow evil to go unchecked and would allow that a holy God would not punish sin.  According to Fudge and Peterson, God will punish sin and He will judge those not found in the book of life (Revelation 20:15).  While these men disagree over the length of that punishment, both agree that hell is a reality that awaits all those not found in Jesus.

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Written by The Seeking Disciple

03/25/2011 at 1:00 PM

Posted in Hell, Theologial Issues

7 Responses

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  1. >An honest debate? What is it to debate? No doubt one could find a theologian to support or deny whatever is fashionable. If hell were not the hell Christ described and spoke of I suppose Christianity would be more palatable to some. But that should not be our concern. It's His. If hell is false so is heaven. He told us the worm never dies and the fire is never quenched (Mark). If Christ did not mean to convey what many have held for time immemorial what "pray-tell" was he trying to convey???? Lord knows centuries of saints have gotten it wrong (tongue placed firmly in cheek). I used to be what some would call a voracious reader of theology and Christian literature. Reading comments on positions taken by prominent theologians makes me say more and more….man just give me the "Word". Simplistic? Sure. But Im not debating rather Christ meant what he said either.Blessings


    03/25/2011 at 3:41 PM

  2. >Which Afterlife?In his new book "Love Wins" Rob Bell seems to say that loving and compassionate people, regardless of their faith, will not be condemned to eternal hell just because they do not accept Jesus Christ as their Savior. Concepts of an afterlife vary between religions and among divisions of each faith. Here are three quotes from "the greatest achievement in life," my ebook on comparative mysticism:(46) Few people have been so good that they have earned eternal paradise; fewer want to go to a place where they must receive punishments for their sins. Those who do believe in resurrection of their body hope that it will be not be in its final form. Few people really want to continue to be born again and live more human lives; fewer want to be reborn in a non-human form. If you are not quite certain you want to seek divine union, consider the alternatives.(59) Mysticism is the great quest for the ultimate ground of existence, the absolute nature of being itself. True mystics transcend apparent manifestations of the theatrical production called “this life.” Theirs is not simply a search for meaning, but discovery of what is, i.e. the Real underlying the seeming realities. Their objective is not heaven, gardens, paradise, or other celestial places. It is not being where the divine lives, but to be what the divine essence is here and now.(80) [referring to many non-mystics] Depending on their religious convictions, or personal beliefs, they may be born again to seek elusive perfection, go to a purgatory to work out their sins or, perhaps, pass on into oblivion. Lives are different; why not afterlives? Beliefs might become true.Rob Bell asks us to reexamine the Christian Gospel. People of all faiths should look beyond the letter of their sacred scriptures to their spiritual message. As one of my mentors wrote "In God we all meet."

    Ron Krumpos

    03/25/2011 at 11:43 PM

  3. >PM, I am not saying that I agree with Fudge. I don't. All I am saying is that I don't mind debating how long Hell will last but I don't believe we should debate salvation in Jesus. We must defend the Gospel but we can debate Hell. Fudge doesn't hold that all will be saved but he holds that the unrighteous will be cast into Hell where they will be destroyed forever. I disagree with him over this but I don't view him as a heretic.

  4. >Ron, myself and Rob Bell will not see eye to eye on these issues because I embrace the Bible alone as the inerrant and infallible Word of God. I believe that whatever the Bible says about heaven, hell, and salvation is sufficient, accurate, and must be preached and obeyed.

  5. >Here and NowMy comment was primarily about alternate views of an afterlife. Rob Bell has never claimed to be a mystic, but is open to contemplative prayer and meditation. While not a Universalist, he does respect people of other religions.Even within Christianity there are differing views of afterlife between Protestants, Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Mormons, etc. In any discussion between people, there will be varying personal opinions and interpretations of scriptures. Most mystics, of any faith, would agree with Jesus: "The Kingdom of Heaven is within." If you want to find Hell just read, watch or listen to the daily news or study the unkind history of humankind.

    Ron Krumpos

    03/26/2011 at 1:24 PM

  6. >@pm716:The Bible says what it says (accurately), but the traditional interpretations are not always accurate and they have changed over the centuries. For thousands of years it was assumed by Jews and Christians that the earth was the center of the universe based on their incorrect reading of scripture. I think that even the strictest fundamentalist creationist today would concede that the earth isn't the physical center of the universe.The passages you refer to about the "worm" and "fire that cannot be quenched" can legitimately be interpreted at least two different ways. Fudge's point is that we shouldn't part company over the precise nature of heaven on hell.The question is what MUST you believe to be within the orthodox spectrum of Christianity. At least for me, I think it must revolve around the basic statements found in the Apostle's Creed or the Nicene Creed. Neither of those have anything to say about the nature of hell.


    03/26/2011 at 2:41 PM

  7. >Here is an excellent site for those wishing to understand the issues in the doctrine of everlasting punishment, hell and the nature of the soul. bless us as we seek to tell the truth about GOD, His nature, His plan and His purposes.


    04/01/2011 at 10:14 AM

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