The Destruction Of Hell: Annihilationism Examined -- By: Jeffrey M. Spencer

Journal: Christian Apologetics Journal
Volume: CAJ 01:1 (Spring 1998)
Article: The Destruction Of Hell: Annihilationism Examined
Author: Jeffrey M. Spencer

The Destruction Of Hell: Annihilationism Examined

Jeffrey M. Spencer


Every Christian doctrine has its day to be attacked - and defended. The Christian Church, from its conception, has believed in such magnificent teachings as the existence of a theistic God, the possibility of miracles, the uniqueness of Christ, the truth of His inerrant and infallible Word, the bodily resurrection of Christ, and the necessity of God’s eternal judgment of those who do not accept His offer of eternal life in Jesus. Yet, all of these doctrines have been attacked by skeptics, critics, cultists, and even those within the Christian faith. It is natural to question why all of these beliefs have become so unbelievable in this modern day.

For the past century there has been a battle for the traditional doctrine of Hell. The results of the battle have culminated in the erroneous teachings of various evangelical Christian leaders as well as the cults of Christianity. Why has the belief in a literal, eternal hell as a punishment for those who reject God become so unpopular? Is it because new exegetical discoveries in modern biblical scholarship have ruled out the traditional view of hell? Not at all. Regarding the traditional view of hell, one author says, “These truths have become awkward and disconcerting to hold not because of new light from the Bible but because of new darkness from the culture.”1

The darkness of the culture has produced a rejection of the doctrine of hell. In its place, a growing number of scholars, evangelical and non-evangelical alike, have embraced a view of the destiny of the unbeliever called annihilationism or conditional immortality. This teaching denies the eternal punishing of the unbeliever, and thus, the orthodox Christian doctrine of hell.2 It is the purpose of this paper to examine the teachings of Clark Pinnock and John R. W. Stott, two evangelical scholars who teach annihilationism. It is my desire to demonstrate that annihilationism is untrue, being built on faulty reason and unsound biblical interpretation. Thus, I place myself in the company of those who hold the orthodox doctrine of the eternal punishing of the unbeliever in a literal place called hell, “where ‘their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched’” (Mark 9:48; cf. Isaiah 66:24).

The Case For Annihilationism

In his book Studies in Theology, B. B. Warfield maintained that there are three different forms of annihilationism: pure mortalism, conditional immortality, and ...

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