So yesterday I preached about hell. In 14 years at FBC this makes the second time I’ve preached it. As a follow up, I have included an outline i wrote for a doctoral seminar long ago. I also included the works cited. The outline is choppy looking on the blog because the margins do not translate well, for that I apologize.
The topic of the outline are the two competing evangelical views of hell. One, is that hell is conditional, or temporary. Punishment lasts for a while, but is not eternal. The other is the traditional view, that suffering is eternal. These were the two angles on hell that I said were biblical and orthodox for people to hold at the end of the sermon. You can hear the whole sermon by click on podcast above, at our church webpage, or on our church’s app. Don’t have the app? Search the App store for Apple or Google for “fbcpo” and it will pop up.
CONDITIONAL AND TRADITIONAL VIEWS OF HELL
Jamie D. Greening
1. Delineate between the conditional and traditional views of hell.
2. Identify the similarities both conditional and traditional views of hell share.
3. Understand the hermeneutic of both views relating to debated Scriptures.
1. Conditional immortality and the traditional view are competing opinions of hell.
A. Conditional Immortality
(1) It denies the inherent immortality of the soul (Evangelical Dictionary of Theology 2001, 282).
(2) A subset of annihilationist thought (Erickson 1986, 1237).
(3) It is represented by various modern theologians (Fudge and Peterson 2000, 21).
(4) The traditionalists view is Platonic (Fudge and Peterson 2000, 22. See Tillich 1967, 409-410).
(5) “The natural opposite of life is death, not eternal life in misery.” (Fudge and Peterson 2000, 58).
(1) The soul is immortal (Tillich 1967, 409).
(2) Orthodox theology supports traditionalism (Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church 1997, 749).
(3) It is represented by various historical figures (Fudge and Peterson 2000, 118-127).
(4) “I urge. . . the historic view of the Christian faith on the subject of hell because the church’s view is based on solid exposition of theWord of God.” (Fudge and Peterson 2000, 113).
2. There are at least three things both sides agree upon.
A. Hell is real and punitive.
B. Hell is the fate for non-Christians.
C. The Bible is the main source for understanding final states.
3. The debate centers on interpretation of Biblical texts and concepts (Fudge and
A. Genesis 19:23-26 and Jude 6-7 involves the meaning of eternal fire.
B. Mark 9:42-48 and Isaiah 66:21-24 invokes the undying worm and the unquenchable fire.
C. Matthew 25:41-46 and Revelation 20:10 regard the lake of fire.
4. It is important to draw the following conclusions.
A. Neither view should be considered liberal.
B. Both sides sincerely desire biblical theology.
C. Evangelism would not be affected by either view.
D. Neither view is impermeable.
Erickson, Millard. Christian Theology. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book
Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, edited by Walter A. Elwell. Baker Academic:
Grand Rapids, Michigan 2001.
Fudge, Edward William and Peterson, Robert A. 2000. Two Views of Hell: A Biblical
& Theological Dialogue. Downers Grove, IL: InterVaristy.
The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, edited by F. L. Cross, 3rd Edition edited
by E. A. Livingstone. Oxford University Press, Inc: New York 1997.
Tillich, Paul. Systematic Theology. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1967.