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Joined: 2011/11/11
Posts: 706
San Diego

 Re: So many tracks, so little time!

When James writes in his epistle "For him that knoweth to do good and doeth it not it is sin," he proclaims the word and law of God. He also cuts the legs out from under the notion that God's sovereignty allows Him to do whatever He wants.

God's sovereignty is limited by the fact that He submits to his own law, and since "The law of the Lord is perfect," this is not a problem for Him. But He is content to exist with these limitations because He is a loving Sovereign and not a tyrant. He is able to work all things according to the counsel of His own will, but does not violate the freedom he has given man to love and obey him- or spurn and reject Him.

If it were in His power to save men without Christ's suffering, He is morally obligated to do that. Any less would certainly be sin.

Believing this way, Hell is a very sobering concept to me. This is why I see God as desperate to see souls repent and be saved since He has no other plan by which to save them. Any alternative that cooks them in the fires of Hell for a limited duration, then sets them free to come to heaven would be an insult to the fact He gave His Son up to death and humiliation, not to mention Jesus' own words proclaiming that there is no other way into the presence of the Father except through the atoning sacrifice of the Son of God.

While each is free to draw his or her own conclusions from the Scripture, I fear that these alternative confabulations will be a dangerous distraction. It is appointed unto man once to die, and after that the judgement. His love and grace will not be mocked, and the decision we each make is for keeps.

And I still like Finney's prayer, the one where Hell is emptied of a believer's fear.

"God if I can serve you best in Hell, send me there!"

Tom Cameron

 2013/10/8 0:32Profile

Joined: 2008/5/23
Posts: 600
Monroe, LA - USA



Whether or not you consider my friend's name calling productive or not would be irrelevant to her. She is an ex-homosexual who is very thankful for the truth which helped her get deliverance from that binding sin. That truth she found in God's Word which includes the repeated theme of eternal punishment for the wicked.

I haven't done it, but I would venture to say that if you were to take a poll of the Christian testimonies of people who have been delivered from powerfully binding sins such as homosexuality, drug addiction, alcoholism, fornication, adultery, etc., you would find that the majority were converted using the belief of eternal punishment.

To a person who believes that the Bible is the inspired Word of God, this discussion is almost a joke. Jesus spoke more about eternal punishment than he did about eternal bliss!

A person would have to believe that Jesus is deranged, or an outright deceiver to state such things as this:

Mar 9:43 And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched:
Mar 9:44 Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.
Mar 9:45 And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched:
Mar 9:46 Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.
Mar 9:47 And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire:
Mar 9:48 Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.

... to state such things as this knowing full well that the punishment is NOT eternal. Wouldn't it be a foolish or demented act to amputate your eye, hand or foot if you were going to just burn up when you went to that place, or if in reality you were going to be shuffled away from it into the universalist's heaven?

As to her "name calling" (as you label it), it is certainly within the Merriam Webster dictionary definition of what they are:

noun \ˈher-ə-ˌtik, ˈhe-rə-\

: someone who believes or teaches something that goes against accepted or official beliefs

If she is being unproductive in calling them heretics, by your own rule, are you not being unproductive calling the Westboro Baptists heretics?

You may label them "Credible proponents" but I would have to agree with Lisa and with the dictionary.

I also agree with you that the Westboro Baptists are heretics, but just because one group of heretics gets together and spotlights the horribleness of another group of heretics it doesn't take away the treachery of the finger-pointing heretics!

This website is about the promotion of Bible based revival. All of the revivals that have happened in American history have been drenched in the magnification of Christ's teaching on eternal punishment ... Sinners in the hands of an Angry God ... If such "traditionalists" have "missed it" all these years, isn't it odd that the Holy Ghost has powerfully accompanied such preaching with millions of transformed lives?

Sal 111:10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever.

What would there be to fear about the LORD if His threats were not eternal?

1Co 15:32 If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not? let us eat and drink; for to morrow we die.

And if the dead rise to just be annihilated if found guilty with no pardon? Zip ... and it is over with ... let us eat and drink for to morrow we die.

Jesus' blood cleanses from sin, and keeps a person clean so that he is preserved blameless unto the coming of the Lord (I Thes 5:23) and therefore will not have to go to eternal punishment.

Michael Strickland

 2013/10/8 0:51Profile

Joined: 2012/2/8
Posts: 5380


“And they shall go forth and look
Upon the corpses of the men
Who have transgressed against Me.
For their worm does not die,
And their fire is not quenched.
They shall be an abhorrence to all flesh.” (Isaiah 66:24)

Jesus was clearly alluding to this passage in his teaching in Mark 9. A common mistake people make is not understanding that in Jesus's day Gehenna (which for some reason is translated as "hell") was a real actual place, actually a garbage heap, outside the walls of Jerusalem, with real fires burning perpetually and with real rotting corpses. Do some research on the horrors of what the Romans did to the Jewish people in 70 AD.

When Jesus said the word Gehenna, his listeners would think of the real burning garbage dump where bodies of criminals were thrown, that's all.

A Bible teacher I really respect says this:
"I think it is a good idea to be fair-minded in considering alternative views of hell. This is one of the more recent changes I have made in my own theology. I have known of three defensible views of hell for 20 years, but was pretty stuck on defending the traditional view (eternal torment) partly because I grew up thinking of this view as a litmus test for conservative evangelicalism. I have recently been more willing to release my grip on this traditional view as the biblical evidence has become overwhelming.

I am aware of two biblically defensible alternatives to the "eternal torment" view of hell. One is the universalist view, and the other is the conditional immortality view (annihilationism). Over the years, my studies have convinced me that the eternal torment view has very little biblical basis, and depends heavily on poor exegetical practices and mistranslations of relevant biblical terminology. Of the two alternatives, I find the universalist position to be the more attractive, but the annihilationist view somewhat better supported in scripture. I realize that I could be wrong, but this is my present leaning.
Christian universalism and annihilationism both teach that there is a hell of punishment for those who die faithless, but they believe that the punishment is not eternal, but proportional (in the case of annihilationism) or else remedial (in the case of universalism). According to annihilationism, souls are not naturally immortal, and after the lost have been appropriately punished, they will pass into non-existence. According to universalism, all who are punished in hell will eventually be brought to repentance, and thereby reconciled to God.

The main arguments for universalism seem to be:

1. God desires all people to be saved (1 Tim. 2:4/ John 3:16/ Ezek.18:23, 32)

2. Christ died to redeem the whole world (John 1:29/ 1 John 2:2/ 1 Tim.2:6)

3. The Bible sometimes speaks of universal salvation and restoration (1 Tim.4:10/ Rom.5:18-19/ Col.1:19-20/ Eph. 1:9-10/ John 12:32)

4. If Christ desires that all be saved, and paid for their redemption, but, because of the devil's resistance to this, billions of people are nonetheless lost, then this makes God and Christ the cosmic, eternal losers and the devil the winner, which seems to go against many biblical statements (1 John 4:4/ Heb.2:14/ 1 John 3:8/ Col. 2:15/ Isa.42:1-4).

5. This was believed by many in the early church. Of the six main Christian schools known to exist in the first four centuries, four taught universalism (Alexandria, Edessa, Antioch and Caesarea); one taught annihilationism (Ephesus); and one taught eternal torment (Rome).

6. If this view is correct, it would be the one of the three that would cause the most rejoicing in heaven among God and the saints.

The arguments for conditional immortality (annihilationism) are principally as follows:

1. Only God possesses immortality by nature (1 Tim.6:16);

2. Men do not possess immortality naturally, and the soul can be destroyed (Matt.10:28);

3. Men must "seek" immortality (Rom.2:7);

4. God gives immortality (eternal life) to men on the basis of their faith in Him (John 3:16/ 10:28/ Rom.6:23/ 1 John 5:11-12);

5. The fate of the lost is generally described using terms such as "death," "destruction," "consumed" and "perish" (Matt. 10:28/ 1 Thess. 5:3/ 2 Thess.1:9; 2:8/ John 3:16/ Rom.2:12/ etc.).

6. The view that men are naturally immortal is not taught in either Testament of the Bible, but it was a view of the ancient Greeks, prior to and since New Testament times. Some say it is a pagan idea that was introduced into Christian theology by the Greek fathers, and exploited by the Medieval Church to "keep people in line.".

Problems with the eternal torment view include the following:

1. All the passages of scripture upon which it is based (and there are only a few) are found in apocalyptic contexts, where symbolism is a common phenomenon;

2. The Bible nowhere says that unsaved people live forever;

3. God never warned Adam and Eve (or anyone else) that, if they were to sin, they would be eternally tormented, but only that they would die (e.g. Gen.2:17/ Ezek.18:4/ Rom.6:23), which would be a misleading understatement, if the traditional view is correct;

4. Eternal punishment for temporal crimes seems unjust even by God's stated standards of justice (an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth). A debt or penalty that takes forever to repay will never be fully repaid, and there can never be any final justice or resolution of the problem of sin in the universe;

5. The Bible speaks of degrees of punishment of the wicked (e.g. Matt.10:22, 24/ Luke 12:47-48). If all sinners suffer eternally, then all receive equally infinite (not proportionate) punishment;

6. If men are not immortal by nature, what motive, apart from vindictiveness and cruelty, could God have for supernaturally keeping sinners alive forever, without any hope of eventual relief or rehabilitation? Does such a motivation agree with the picture of the merciful and loving God found in scripture?;

7. How could God and the saints rejoice in eternity knowing that their loved ones were all the while, in another part of the universe, experiencing endless torture and agony?

Now, if the Bible somewhere clearly taught that the fate of the wicked is to be endless torment (as I once thought it did), then we would have to simply ignore these objections and say, by sheer loyalty, "But notwithstanding these things, I believe that God is just in tormenting people for eternity" (as I used to say). My further studies of the scriptures, in general, and of the few verses upon which I once based my belief in eternal torment, in particular, have moved me away from my confidence that such a doctrine ever was taught in scripture. It was an effective tool for keeping the masses loyal to the church in the Middle Ages, and seems consistent with such a "God" as was presented in Medieval Christianity. However, I can no longer confidently assert that it is the doctrine of scripture, nor that it portrays the same God as He who was revealed in the Lord Jesus Christ.

in regard to the parable of lazarus and the rich man:

I confess that, for all my life, it has been the story (parable?) of Lazarus and the rich man (Luke 16:19ff) that has stood out, in my thinking, as the most convincing proof of the universal immortality of all souls--both saved and lost. I understood the evidence to lean toward the conclusion that it is a true story, and thus representative of the respective conditions of the saved and the lost (at least prior to the death and resurrection of Christ).

I have always been aware that some people regarded this to be another of Christ's parables, rather than an actual case, but I thought the use of a proper name (Lazarus) made this inherently unlikely, since no other recorded parables of Christ give proper names to their characters.

I also felt that, even if the story was indeed a parable, it still argues for literal conditions like those described, since all the recorded parables describe real-life-like situations. It was my opinion that, if the conditions described in the story were not representative of reality, then Christ could be charged with misleading His audience concerning the state of the dead.

Some argued that it must be a parable because the rich man is charged with no sin, and the beggar is not described as righteous, and so the story cannot be describing the real lot of dead people--unless we want to conclude that rich people go to hell simply because they are rich, and poor people go to Paradise simply because they are poor. This objection seemed weak to me, however, since one could, on the same grounds, argue that the parable of the sheep and the goats (Matt.25:31ff) does not teach the truth about the final judgment, since only good deeds are mentioned as a criterion. It is clear from all relevant scriptures that the final judgment will be based upon "every man's work" (Matt.16:27/Rom.2:5ff/1 Peter 1:17/ Rev.20:12-13) as the evidence of whether a man had faith or not.

I confess, it always bothered me a bit to think that those who had died 6000 years ago and were even now burning in hades, and have been all that time, were getting a worse deal than, say, those who die lost much later in history, and who therefore have to put up with much less suffering. I explained this to myself by saying that, since everyone there is going to suffer for eternity ultimately, a difference of a few thousand years is negligible. However, if the suffering is proportionate to guilt, it still seems that those who have been burning for thousands of years alteady have been experiencing suffering for a very long time, from their point of view!

I have come to a change of mind about this story however, based upon two considerations. One is that my recent studies of the scripture have given me a far greater respect for the view that the lost are not immortal by nature. The story of Lazarus and the rich man would seem to be the only passage in the Bible to teach the immortality of the human soul, and there is such a body of scripture against this proposition as to raise doubts about the literalness of this unique story.

Second, Thomas Thayer (the respected lexicographer), in an article I read some time ago ( and to which the original post in this thread provided a link) wrote: "Dr. Whitby affirms, 'we find this very parable in the Gemara Babylonicum.'." I have had no success in getting my hands upon this document, but if this is true, it means that Jesus was referencing a non-canonical story, familiar to those of His day, without committing Himself to its truthfulness. In other words, if this was a familiar story to the Jews, but they knew it to be a make-believe story, Jesus might have used it to illustrate, in parabolic fashion, some spiritual principle. I am still looking for the text of the Gemara Babylonicum. to see whether this story really resembles one found there.

This is the state of my inquiry concerning the story of Lazarus and the rich man. Obviously, if it is a true story, then the immortality of the soul must be considered as established, if only on this one passage. If the story is simply an illustration drawn from a known religious fable, then it cannot be easily employed to overthrow the doctrine of conditional immortality.

I encourage those who are interested in this subject to do their own research and to reach their own conclusions. Thayer was himself a Christian Universalist, and his article at is a valuable piece of propaganda in the defense of that view.


 2013/10/8 6:41Profile

Joined: 2008/5/23
Posts: 600
Monroe, LA - USA


TMK, you are evading the reality of the issue:

... to state such things as this knowing full well that the punishment is NOT eternal. Wouldn't it be a foolish or demented act to amputate your eye, hand or foot if you were going to just burn up when you went to that place, or if in reality you were going to be shuffled away from it into the universalist's heaven?

Since you, and those that you respect like to lean on human reasoning so much instead of taking the book at its clearly understood words ... try your reasoning on this issue! It would not be reasonable ... not even to the natural man who cannot perceive the things of the Spirit ... to amputate a body part just to evade a temporary state of pain. It would be just the trading of one temporary pain for another.

When you quote Bible perverters that you "really respect" who "reason away" simple truths that Jesus stated, it makes me wonder who you respect most ... them or Jesus.

Take Jesus at his words:

Luc 16:19 There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day:
Luc 16:20 And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores,

He said "There was", and "There was". He did not tell a fairy tale nor did he even call it a parable. He simply told a real account of two men.

Please for the sake of your eternal destiny, take Jesus at His word!

Luc 16:28 For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.

Michael Strickland

 2013/10/8 10:17Profile

 Re: Tben these verses must ve explaned away

Those who argue that the Bible does not teach eternal punusment in hell will need to explain these verses sway. Please consider.......

2 Thes. 1:6-10
For after all it is only just for God to repay with affiction, othose who affict you and to give relief to you who are afflicted and to us as well when the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. These will pay the PEBALTY OF ETERNAL DESTRUFTION, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, when He comes to be glorified in His saints in that day and to be marveled at among all who have believed--for our testimony to you was believed.

Rev. 14:9-10
if anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives a mark in his forehead or in his hand, he also will drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is mixed in full strength in the cup of his anger; and he will be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the Holy Angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment goes up FOREVER AND EVER; they have no rest day or night, those who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.

And the devil who discieved them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast in a false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night FOREVER AND EVER.

...Caps are for emphasis only...

The above verses will tell, even the casual reader of scripture, that hell is eternal punishment for those who reject Christ and His gospel. For sure there will be eternal torment for those who embrace the antichrist and his mark.

Those who argue for an alternative view of hell will need to explain these and other verses away. Those who would reason such will be hard pressed to go against the plain truth of scripture without having to do some fancy theolgizing or exegesis. For the New Testament does not teach any other view but that hell is eternal for those who reject Jesus Christ and do not obey His gospel.

Blaine Scogin

 2013/10/8 10:26

 Re: A Comparison

Mat. 25:46
These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.

The above verses clearly teach the contrast between an eternal bell and heaven. Eternal punishment and eternal life.

It stands to reason that if one argues that hell is temporary and punishment is not eternal. Then one who would reason such that heaven is temporary and that there is no eternal life.

The plain truth of scripture teaches that there is an eternal punusment in hell for the lost just as the scriptures teach there is eternal life in heaven for those who trust in Jesus Christ.

Blaine Scogin

 2013/10/8 10:47

Joined: 2011/11/11
Posts: 706
San Diego

 Re: One more thing...

One of the arguments for universal salvation is the idea that all the sins of all men were literally placed on the dying Christ. This is called retributive justice and is a widely held view of the atonement. It therefore naturally leads to doctrines of universal salvation in one form or another, since all the sins are literally paid for.

But there is another view that I hold, that of Public Justice. In this view, the sacrifice for sin only applies to those who willingly participate and receive the sacrifice as their own. (As in "accepting Christ as a personal savior.")

Here, Christ dies in substitution for one man and his sin. Any man, every man who receives it, just as valid before God for all men or no men. His sacrifice is sufficient for the salvation of the whole world if they will believe into it, but the death alone does not obligate God to save any one.

In Glory we will have a full and true perspective, but now we have the Word and hopefully the knowledge that whatever happens on the other side has been carefully crafted by a God whose character of love seeks the very best for all His created beings.

Tom Cameron

 2013/10/8 12:06Profile

Joined: 2007/4/25
Posts: 1529
Scotland, UK


Quote: In Revelation John describe Jesus as the "lamb slain from the foundation of the world." - Why? - Because God knew before he created man that man would sin and would need a savior.

Justification by faith was taught in the church of God, long before the times of the gospel. It is, in truth, the only way where sinners ever can be justified. Though deliverance is not to be expected from the law, there is a way open to escape the curse, and regain the favour of God, namely, through faith in Christ.

Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law; being made sin, or a sin-offering, for us, he was made a curse for us. The heavy sufferings of the Son of God, should loudly warn sinners to flee from the wrath to come, than all the curses of the law; for how can God spare any man who remains under sin, seeing that he spared not his own Son, when our sins were charged upon him? Yet at the same time, Christ, as from the cross, freely invites sinners to take refuge in him.

edit :- spelling

Colin Murray

 2013/10/8 13:05Profile


Sidewalk I have heard this view described as
Christ's death is sufficient for the world but effective for the elect.

But what of the fate of those who do not accept the sacrifice of Christ?


 2013/10/8 15:15

 Re: Colin

Indeed we should look to the cross to see God's attitude towards sin in the wrath He.poured on His Son. I do agree if God did not spare His own Son will he spare the one who will not accept the sacrifice of Jesus.

Would that men look to Him and be saved.


 2013/10/8 15:24

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