Jude speaks about that as a legitimate motive. This type of thought about which I will say nothing more than this, is simply the view that all men inevitably cease to exist at death. The actual punishment will be greater than any figure of speech can portray. That’s a biblical doctrine.” That is, all the lost and all the saved shall be resurrected. 10-11). Conscious existence, conscious life in a body resurrected and suited for everlasting punishment. It’s not a doctrine of just a few people; it’s a doctrine of the whole Christian church. Those who are in Adam die; those who are in Christ are brought to the possession and experience of spiritual life. About the concept of "eternal," he suggests, "It is punishment that fully accomplishes God's purpose in punishing; no other punishment will follow or be needed. And they died. Does it not seem strange that Christ would speak of the “danger” of hell (Mt. They have, in one form or another, denied eternal punishment. And universalism is one of the ways by which eternal punishment is denied. You might even say, “Well, I don’t know how to answer that. The essence of punishment is suffering. Men don’t love cats. And we’re thankful that we are able so many hundreds of years after the writing of the last book of the word of God to be taught by the Holy Spirit having the assurance that that which we have in our hands is indeed the inspired word of God. “Even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” One might say, “As in Adam, everybody dies, so also in Christ everyone shall be resurrected.” That is, all people are going to enjoy – I don’t know whether you’d call that enjoy for the lost – but experience resurrection. However, beginning with the eighteenth century a new wave of “clergymen” within the ranks of “Christendom” began to deny this fundamental tenet of biblical doctrine, and today a significant segment of American society (almost half) no longer believes in hell. I think thirteen times Gehenna or hellfire is mentioned in the New Testament and twelve of those occurrences are from the mouth of our Lord. One of the major doctrines of this apostate faction was the belief that unbelievers will remain eternally dead. God is loving (1 Jn. It is naught but human emotionalism that obscures the issue for some. Well, we looked at the history of the doctrine. . [Laughter] Did you read in this morning’s paper about cats? Shedd, one of the finest of the Christian theologians, has some very strong words to say about eternal punishment and the denial of it in various forms. At any rate, animals do have a form of existence, even cats. The book of Revelation describes the anguished fate of those who experience the “wrath of God.” They are tormented forever and ever (14:10-11). The rational basis of universalism has always been the love of God. And you will appreciate that it is beyond the bounds of possibility for any of us to present within the scope of one address the wholeness of the biblical testimony to this extraordinary and awesome doctrine. Did not, for example, God say in the Garden of Eden, “Adam and Eve and the day you eat of the fruit of the tree in the midst of the garden in that day you will surely die.” Well, they ate. Russell charged that no person “who is really profoundly humane can believe in everlasting punishment” (1957, 17). Destroy it.”. The two main contemporary challenges to the doctrine of eternal punishment in hell are universalism, the belief that all will be saved, and annihilationism, the belief that those condemned to hell will be destroyed rather than eternally suffering. Paul does not hesitate to affirm that those who “know not God,” and those who “obey not the gospel,” will “suffer punishment, even eternal destruction from the face of the Lord and from the glory of his might” (2 Thess. After all, who is the person who has spoken more of hell and hellfire than anyone else?” Well, it’s clearly the Lord Jesus Christ out of – I think I’ll, in the next message or so, will deal with this, but so my figures may not be quite accurate. I did not say anything about the ways by which we may object to the doctrine of eternal punishment if we’re not Christians, for example, reincarnation. The philosophical argument most often heard by those who propound the doctrine of annihilationism or “Conditional Immortality” is that eternal punishment of the wicked simply does not comport with the goodness and justice of God. It is time that faithful gospel preachers give more diligence to teaching the truth regarding eternal retribution. If 10% of the earth's people believed on Jesus Christ then the remaining 144 billion must consequently spend eternity being punished. The death is called eternal. She also brought in some other things that she thought might enable her to make contact with him. And in verse 17 of chapter 3, Peter says, “And now, brethren, I know that through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers. One will be judged according to his knowledge, ability, and opportunity. And I want to devote some time one of these Tuesday nights probably to raise the question, “How could God have dealt with men?” And I’d like to show you, I think it can be shown very plainly, that the most gracious way to deal with us is to deal with us through representative individuals. It also teaches that unbelievers will bear just punishment after death, as I’ve mentioned. As a matter of fact, one might ask a question “Is there here a slur on the character of our Lord? Well, an individual might reply to this. Notice, it’s in Adam, everybody dies. Hell is a place of darkness reserved, not annihilation. Historically, the major Christian denominations have taught that those who die outside of Christ will suffer eternal punishment in hell. But if it’s not a reality and if our Lord does know all things and he knew that then he was only bluffing when he talked about eternal punishment or maybe I should put it in a question. And so, if consciousness characterizes spiritual death now, why should it not characterize spiritual death after we die? Surely it should be obvious that these are symbols intended to convey the horrors of eternal judgment. Dr. S. Lewis Johnson continues his discussion of eternal punishment, expounding Christ's own words regarding the afterlife. Book digitized by Google from the library of Harvard University and uploaded to the Internet Archive by user tpb. One aspect of “materialism” is the theory that man is wholly mortal. Do we not have a hermeneutical rule that if you have a word in one part of a sentence and it’s used again in the latter part of the sentence that you should give them the precisely same significance?” “Therefore, as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation. Another thing, according to this theory, animals are punished too because they die and they incur an everlasting loss. 19:15). Also telling is the fate of the Beast in Revelation. And here Paul says, “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.”. It’s a slur directed to Jesus Christ himself because he is the one who is responsible for this teaching if any biblical character is responsible for it. Punishment that goes on forever! So, if we are to say that the love of God is such that we cannot think of the fires of hell as really expressive of the character of God, it’s not simply a slur on preachers who preach hellfire and damnation. That he is also just and righteous. Well, of course, we give them praise for trying to find in Scripture their doctrine. [Prayer] We thank Thee for the word of God and for the privilege of pondering it. Of course, no one complains that eternal happiness is unjust in the case of those who have served God only briefly on this earth. That’s characteristic of some of the cults that you know about. I have a dear uncle who was like a father to me and about whom I can hardly bear to think because I have a horror that he may not have accepted Christ before he died, even though the Gospel had been clearly presented to him. We get philosophical terms like nihilism. And we are grateful too for the prophets of the Old Testament and the apostles of the new. Not torture it. "The Doctrine of Endless Punishment is a well-reasoned, theologically accurate statement which treats fully yet concisely the date contained in the revelation of God to man. They don’t eat quiche, they don’t like cats. The rejection of the doctrine of Endless Punishment cuts the ground from under the gospel. In other words, one would get the impression he’s embracing conditional immortality. For example, the Jehovah’s Witnesses allege that the concept of everlasting punishment is an “unreasonable doctrine” that “contradicts the Bible” (Make Sure Of All Things 1953, 154-55). And I know you’re happy about that. Transcription from tape 3. So, the spiritually dead are described in Scripture as conscious. Jesse B. Ferguson came to work with the church in Nashville, Tennessee in the winter of 1846. Of course, you can retreat and say, “Well, Paul’s usually right. A sober look at the eternal torment of those who reject Jesus Christ as Savior. Was Jesus Christ only bluffing? 2:4). So, you can see that there is no earnestness, no zeal in the proclamation of the gospel, no sense of the lost condition of men, no sense of the fact that they may slip off into an eternity of separation from God at any moment and consequently the preaching of the gospel suffers from it. The Eight Most Important Christian Truths, https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/sljinstitute-production/doctrine/eternal_punishment/02_SLJ_eternal_punishment.mp3. Was he only bluffing? Mike Royko, wonderful article, very true. Rather, they surmise that the wicked simply will be annihilated after an appropriate punishment (Seventh-day Adventists Believe... 1988, 369-72). Moreover, when all factors are taken into consideration, the problem is not insurmountable. Genesis 1:26-27; Matthew 5:22; 1 Thessalonians 5; Matthew 10:28; 1 Peter 3:4; Revelation 6; Psalm 116:3; Jonah 2:2; Daniel 12:2; Matthew 25:46; 2 Thessalonians 1:9; Matthew 25:41; Mark 9:48; Matthew 25:30; Revelation 19:15; 1 John 4:8; Psalm 145:9; Ephesians 2:4; Genesis 18:25; 2 Peter 3:9; Romans 9:22; Acts 13:46; Habakkuk 1:13; Psalm 89:14; Revelation 16:5; Romans 3:24-26; Hebrews 5:8-9; Matthew 10:15, 11:20-24; Luke 12:47-48; Hebrews 10:29; Revelation 20:12-13, Jackson, Wayne. In that, in our theological schools, many of our schools, many of our schools that you might think would be relatively sound are influenced by the doctrine if universalism. 116:3). When folks thrust from them the Word of God, they judge themselves unworthy of eternal life (Acts 13:46). And in verse 18 he says, “Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.” A Universalist might say, “Don’t you see? Churches of Christ have not been without their own problems when it comes to a denial of the doctrine of eternal punishment. They died spiritually. A study of God's major judgments (e.g., the flood and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah) shows that the Old Testament focuses on premature death when dealing with the fate of the ungodly, not on life after death. If the apostles didn’t denounce it and if the Lord didn’t denounce it, it may be true.”. Everybody in Adam dies, everybody in Christ and all in one clause must equal the all in the other clause must it not? Another thing, the spiritually dead are described in Scripture as conscious. Now, over in 1 Peter chapter 3 – I didn’t refer to this last week because I want to give you something new every week – 1 Peter chapter 3, verse 18 through verse 20 we have another text that has sometimes been used by universalists to suggest that everybody is going to be saved. These Christians point to biblical references to eternal punishment, as well as eternal elements of this punishment, such as the unquenchable fire, the everlasting shame, the "worm" that never dies, and the smoke that rises forever, as consistent with the traditional doctrine of eternal, conscious torment of the non-believers or sinners in hell. What About Daniel’s Prophecy of the General Resurrection? The early decenters included some men like Origen who lived in the 3rd century. He doesn’t understand. Slip in something that’s a little wrong and see if anyone would catch it. He might say, “Well, he can have degrees of punishment until he is extinguished. F.F. Another doctrine different from universalism, but one that alleviates endless conscious punishment is conditional immortality. It’s rather used of regeneration. They lose whatever existence they had. Further, even if this were a reference to preaching the gospel and even if it were in the word spirit a reference to people, you’ll notice it’s just some people anyway. For over 30 years, Dr. S. Lewis Johnson led the congregation of Believer's Chapel in Dallas, TX. [Prayer] Father, we thank Thee for the teaching of the word of God. 7. Now, spiritual death and eternal death are the same thing. Of a truth I say unto you, that he will make him ruler over all that he hath. Some people believe, and usually these are cultic Christian groups, that when a person dies, if he’s not a believer in Christ, he’s annihilated at that moment. And so, I can’t satisfy my curiosity. Others also have toyed with this ideology. It’s a doctrine of John Wesley and it’s a doctrine of John Calvin. Even some religionists who profess a reverence for the Bible repudiate the proposition that there is a part of man that survives death, hence, may be subject to punishment forever. So, lying back of it is really a rational idea built upon certain biblical concepts, but at the expense of other biblical concepts. Now, tonight I’d like to take a look at some of the contemporary errors and deal just a little bit in more detail with conditional immortality since this is a view that is held not simply by individuals who are unsound, but by some who are in many points sound in the faith, but nevertheless have question about the eternal conscious punishment of the lost. But we’re not discussing that because that hardly can be called a scriptural doctrine at all in the sense that usually people who hold to a doctrine like that don’t claim to be Christians. In Jesus’ name. And that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. He suggests, “the doctrine [of endless punishment] is not only Biblical, but rational It is defensible on the basis of sound ethics and pure reason. In addition there is the awareness of being under the wrath of God and of enduring the curse of a righteous sentence because of one’s sins that were consciously and voluntarily committed (Powell 1988, 953). Given the arrogant disposition of mankind in general, the idea of eternal punishment has met with considerable resistance, even though it is plainly taught in the Scriptures. Rom. Modern theological concepts about life after death are also critiqued. But, nevertheless, it’s rather striking that he has. ISSN: 1559-2235. Recent writers have sought to ground its support in exegesis, however. This could not have been said if human beings were entirely mortal. Once more: "All souls are incorruptible, but the souls of good men only are removed into other bodies; but the souls of bad men are subject to eternal punishment." It’s used of entrance into spiritual life. Well, next Tuesday night, the Lord willing, we will pick this up and continue from this point. That if we try to hold Christianity and the same time hold universalism, we really do not have a gospel. In other words, it’s not something that we have because we are men and women. We want to see people saved from eternal punishment – eternal punishment, punishment that never ends. 2:2). 16:5). But the Bible calls it eternal punishment. It wasn’t the preaching of the gospel at all. The Scriptures teach that punishment will be proportionate to the degree of one’s guilt (cf. There are people who think that it’s not fair that what Adam did should affect us, little realizing, of course, that the way we share in the blessings of life is because of what Christ has done for us. 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