“Conditional Immortality” -- By: J. Oliver Buswell, Jr.

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 085:338 (Apr 1928)
Article: “Conditional Immortality”
Author: J. Oliver Buswell, Jr.


“Conditional Immortality”

J. Oliver Buswell, Jr.

Since my article on “Sin and Its Punishment” published in the Bibliotheca Sacra of October, 1925, I have received numerous letters and pamphlets from those who hold some form of the view which is commonly called “Conditional Immortality” (or “Conditional Forgiveness”). There have also been articles in the Bibliotheca Sacra relating to this theme. By no means all of this material which has come to my attention has been un-scholarly or puerile.

I have wished to prepare for this issue of the Bibliotheca Sacra a thorough discussion of “Conditional Immortality” but administrative duties have made it necessary for me to postpone this task. I feel very strongly that for some of my friends there would be value in a careful study of my sections entitled “The Sinner Lives Forever,” “The Sinner Sins Forever” “(Progressive Nature of Moral Life)”, “The Sinner is to be Punished Forever.”

I should like to close the argument for the present in the words of a great evangelical scholar of the present generation: (“What the Bible Teaches”—R. A. Torrey, pages 312–314).

Question. What about our impenitent friends and loved ones?

Answer: (a) It is better to recognize facts, no matter how unwelcome, and try to save these friends from the doom to which they are certainly hurrying than to quarrel with facts and seek to remove them by shutting our eyes to them. You cannot avert a hurricane by merely refusing to believe it is coming, (b) If we love Christ supremely, as we should love Him, and realize His glory and His claims upon men, as we should realize them, we will say if the dearest friend we have on earth persists in trampling Christ under foot, he ought to be tormented forever and ever.

“Suppose one you greatly love should commit some hideous wrong against one you love more, and persist in it eternally, would you not consent to his eternal punishment?

“If, after men have sinned and God still offers them mercy, and makes the tremendous sacrifice of His Son to save them—if they still despise that mercy and trample God’s Son under foot, if then they are consigned to everlasting torment, I say: ‘Amen, Hallelujah! True and righteous are Thy judgments, O Lord!’

“At all events the doctrine of conscious, eternal torment for impenitent men is clearly revealed in the Word of God, and whether we can defend it on philosophic grounds or not, it is our business to believe it; and leave it to the clearer light of Eternity to explain what we cannot now understand, realizing that God may have inf...

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