Hell – Part 2 of 5: “Where Do You and Your Church Stand on the Doctrine of Hell?”

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In our time together last week, I began the first of a series of five articles on the doctrine of hell. We learned about the sobering Scriptural reality and frightening fact that people are perishing in Hell’s unending flames (Luke 16:23-24). Well, nothing has changed since last week about the eternal destiny of the unbelieving – that is, men, women, and children are still each day waking up in hell at death, to be circumvented ONLY by believing in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior while living on earth! 

So, my hope is that you will soon be moved to speak of Christ to the Christ-less in your daily sphere of influence. A recent survey revealed that 52% of Americans are certain there’s a place called Hell, while 27% believe there might be. Of those Americans polled, 48% believe that Hell is a real place of fiery torment (or 25% of all Americans!), while 46% believe that Hell is a state of anguished existence, rather than an actual place. Sadly, the evangelical church’s position on Hell is not as clear or as orthodox. Believe it or not, evangelicals presently hold five different views about Hell. Those views are: (1) Eternal, Conscious, Physical and Spiritual Torment – This is the view taught by the Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 25:46); (2) Eternal, Conscious, Spiritual Torment – Many professing evangelicals hold to this unscriptural view; (3) Eternal Separation from God – Another view held by many who attend church, but it’s also void of Biblical support; (4) Conditional Immortality – Teaches that Hell is just a big “black-out” or “blank-out,” or simply a “harmless, nebulous” realm of whatever or wherever; and (5) Annihilationism – The unbeliever is annihilated, destroyed, vaporized, or fried instantly and completely to eternal death. Oooooh! That’s scary… Now, think for a moment. If you were the devil, which view(s) would you be most comfortable with? I will let you guess…. The fact that views two through five even have an audience, reminds me once again that Scripture has a selective authority in today’s evangelical church. Don Carson correctly summarizes this grievous phenomenon:  “…evangelicalism has contributed to the gagging of God by silencing the severity of Hell’s warning by minimizing the awfulness of its punishment.”  We conclude with the following insightful words of C.S.Lewis: “There is no doctrine which I would more willingly remove from Christianity than Hell, but it has the full support of Scripture and, especially, of our Lord’s own words.” …Part three, next week.

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