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 Eternal Hell

Hopefully this will not spark too much controversy... I know of a church that has ceased "believing in hell" and has started preaching "annihilationism". That there is no resurrection of the dead as it pertains to unsaved people, the lost simply die and cease to exist.

Can a person believe this doctrine and be a Christian? Is there grace for an unorthodox teaching (and I believe unbiblical teaching) like this?

Does it fall under "heretical"?

I'm honestly asking this because I dont know what to think about it. I'm not trying to set anybody up.


 2011/10/14 8:02

Joined: 2009/4/5
Posts: 2003
Joplin, Missouri

 Re: Eternal Hell

Krispy: I believe it is pretty plain in scripture that the unrighteous will be resurrected to face judgement. So to say that there is not resurrection of the dead as far as the lost go I believe is an error, but I would not call it heresy. The issue that would be the turning point of that opinion is the hell and judgment issue. If this group begins to say there is no hell and no judgement then I think they are off into heretical teachings.

Annihilationism falls in a bit different category than the first idea. I could build what I believe is a pretty strong and straightforward case for annihilationism. It is not an idea reserved for cults although it is taught by some of them. The foundations of pentecost included many people who believed in annihilationism including Charles Parham and others. I was raised believing that the lost will be destroyed in hell rather than tormented eternally. As I realized that more Christians believed in eternal torment than did annihilationism I have gone back to the subject several times to try to see if I was looking at the issue wrongly. This is what I have found.

The scriptures that seem to support annihilationsim are more straightforward and plain in what they say, in my opinion, than those that speak for eternal torment. It is more consistent, I believe, with the character and nature of God to destroy the unbelievers than it is to keep them on the hook eternally. Annihilationism does not violate any clear scriputural teachings.

I do see the argument on the other side as well and I believe it can be supported but not as strongly as annihilationism. I would not in any way label this idea as heresy and it does not bother me one bit if I see this issue differently from a brother that I would walk closely with.


 2011/10/14 8:38Profile

Joined: 2006/5/22
Posts: 2667
Nottingham, England

 Re: Eternal Hell


You might not want too much controversy, but there will, obviously, be some. As you are aware of.

Scripture is sufficient and final in its authority, regardless of man's self-deception and lies.

Luke 16v19-31, tells us clearly about the rich man and Lazarus, and the torment the rich man was in. He was aware of where he was and what was taking place. He also remembered his brothers.

Some have said this is a parable, and then fight to make their beliefs overshadow what scripture say. I don't listen to such people.

What then do we say of the lake of fire written of in the book of Revelation? It also speaks in chapter 20 of the second death. If the first death were annihilation, what need is there of a second death?

That's it.

 2011/10/14 8:50Profile


Thanks enid & twayneb! That was very helpful...

Done properly, this could be a very good discussion.

Controversy is ok, it's all in how we handle it.

Anyone else?


 2011/10/14 8:53

Joined: 2008/4/1
Posts: 531
America's Heartand


@ Krispy-

YOU ASKED: "Can a person believe this doctrine and be a Christian? Is there grace for an unorthodox teaching (and I believe unbiblical teaching) like this?".

I RESPOND: Of course they can believe in annihilationism and be an absolute born again child of God. My theology is in line with yours about an eternal hell. However, it is certainly NEVER indicated in scripture that agreement with that view on hell is a requirement for salvation. You know what the requirements are for salvation:

1. Repentance from dead works (sin and/or religious rituals)
2. Belief ( absolute abandoned trust in , clinging to, and total reliance upon) in Jesus and His substitutionary sacrifice on the cross.

To add a requirement for salvation such as , "You must also agree with this particular theological view on hell" is certainly not contained in scripture. It also makes the cross of Jesus of little effect. If partial attainment of salvation comes by ascribing to a particular view on hell as a means of getting, or keeping, our salvation then the cross was not sufficient to obtain it. It is repentance and faith in Christ's work..... not agreeing to every theological detail that enables salvation to work in our lives.

GUESS WHAT- you, me, everyone on this board... we all have beliefs that are in error..or "heretical" if you will. None of us has it all figured out. The greatest theologian ... the average Joe..all of us are heretics in one place or another. Ignorant of the fact of where we are... but all of us theologically flawed none the less. None of us has God in our box...He simply will not allow it. We all see through a glass darkly at this point in time. We know much truth... but there is so much more to God we have never encountered yet or seen...but one day we will.

Anyway...hopefully that is helpful to the discussion. Certainly one could hold to the annihilationism view and be saved. I believe one day they will see it was in error...but what does that matter. I am to follow Jesus.


 2011/10/14 9:13Profile

Joined: 2007/6/29
Posts: 342

 Re: Eternal Hell

Hi Krispy,

You wrote:
"Can a person believe this doctrine and be a Christian? Is there grace for an unorthodox teaching (and I believe unbiblical teaching) like this?

Does it fall under "heretical"?"

One of the the key verses for me would be where Jesus says:

"And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal." Matthew 25:46

The "punishment" of the wicked is said be "aionios", forever.
The "life" of the righteous is said to be "aionios", forever.

The word translated "punishment" is the same word translated as "torment", the fear of which "perfect love casts out", in I John 4:18.

The word for "life" is the same word "life" that Jesus said He came to give "more abundantly" in John 10:10

Now, if the punishment of the wicked came to an end, then logically, the life of the righteous must come to an end too, it would see to me, anyway.

It's tough... (for myself), but if we take such verses at face-value, they teach us something very dreadful, something very terrifying about the Holy character of the God who made us.

How Sweet His Mercy; how Amazing His Grace, in the light of all of this...

Even if this is interpretation is true though, I don't think every individule Christian has to understand "all knowledge" or have "all wisdom" to still be a "true Christian" however. Rather, it is the responsibility of the local Church to shine a clear light upon the Scriptures, and let the Spirit that inspired them speak for Himself.

We do the best we can: trusting God to make up for what we lack, and praying for grace and mercy for what we may miss.

Be well,

 2011/10/14 9:35Profile

Joined: 2007/6/29
Posts: 342

 Re: Solomon101

I appreciate the spirit of what you said. I guess we were writing at the same time. Amen Brother.

Be well,

 2011/10/14 9:38Profile


Doug... you said:

It's tough... (for myself), but if we take such verses at face-value, they teach us something very dreadful, something very terrifying about the Holy character of the God who made us.

Yea, see thats where I am coming from on this... in order for God to be just there has to be punishment. Thats one of His attributes. Just dying and ceasing to exist is hardly "justice". I'm not at all fearful of that, and to be honest most people are not either. Why not just party it up... if we cease to exist then we wont care if we're in heaven or not.

So let me throw this in the mix... suppose this church wanted to minister to your youth, what then? They wanted to host events and what-not and use it as an outreach to other churches, and to the community.

Does that change anyone's thoughts on seperation from them?


 2011/10/14 10:19


...makes a difference now, doesnt it?


 2011/10/14 14:23

Joined: 2007/6/26
Posts: 2093
Whittier CA USA

 Re: Eternal Hell

"The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever."(Revelation 20:10)

Can't get any more clearer than that to me. I would say the doctrine of annihalationism is definitely heresy. But I'm not sure I can say that belief in it absolutely disqualifies someone from being genuinely born again. We all sometimes hold certain "heresies" that the Lord later on delivers us from. But there are some heresies that are more severe than others, like a denial of the deity of Christ for example. Or a denial of His atoning work on the cross and His resurrection.


 2011/10/14 15:06Profile

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