Monday, February 23, 2015

Not heretical, not wacky

Conditionalism (its name derived from the concept of conditional immortality) is a set of beliefs about final punishment that denies the traditional understanding of hell - specifically that God will torment the unsaved forever.

Admittedly, there are many belief systems 'out there' that deny hell and yet are not biblical. This is not the case with conditionalism.

The doctrine of hell is, in my understanding (I believe God gave me this understanding), unbiblical. For this reason I choose to bring it into the light to be examined as effectively as I can.

I do not claim to know beyond a doubt that conditionalism is the 100% correct view on final punishment. It is a view that has more biblical support than the traditional view and that is why I hold loosely to it.

Am I alone? Is it so crazy, is it so heretical to believe that perhaps we've gone astray in some of our doctrine? Read the following excerpt to find out who else holds these beliefs:
"A growing host of respected biblical scholars now publicly question the traditional notion that God will keep the lost alive forever so he can punish them without end. These include such luminaries as F.F. Bruce, Michael Green, Philip E. Hughes, Dale Moody, Clark H. Pinnock, W. Graham Scroggie, John R. W. Stott and John W. Wenham. 
These men represent evangelical Christian scholarship at its best. They recognize that Scripture must judge all traditions and creeds, not the other way around. They realize that most of the church was wrong for centuries on doctrines far more fundamental than the doctrine of hell, and they understand that it would be presumptuous to suppose that the majority might not have erred on this point just as it did on others. 
J.I. Packer rightly notes that "we are forbidden to become enslaved to human tradition,... even 'evangelical' tradition. We may never assume the complete rightness of our own established ways of thought and practice and excuse ourselves the duty of testing and reforming them by Scripture." 
John Stott reminds us that "the hallmark of an authentic evangelicalism is not the uncritical repetition of old traditions but the willingness to submit every tradition, however ancient, to fresh biblical scrutiny and, if necessary, reform." 
The growing evangelical rejection of the traditional doctrine of unending conscious torment is not propelled by emotionalism, sentimentality or compromise with culture but by absolute commitment to the authority of Scripture and by the conviction that a faithful church must be a church that is always reforming."1

1 Edward William Fudge and Robert A. Peterson, Two Views of Hell, p. 21. InterVarsity Press, 2000.


  1. Dirk Waren at writes:

    "Adherents of both everlasting destruction and eternal torture believe that hell, the lake of fire, exists and that ungodly people will be cast into it on judgment day. The issue of contention concerns the nature of punishment these people will experience in the lake of fire. The Bible calls it “the second death” (Revelation 20:14-15). Does this second death consist of eternal conscious torment or literal everlasting destruction? You see, the issue is not whether hell exists, but what happens there.

    The obvious reason supporters of eternal torment resort to such tactics is because they don’t want people to be exposed to the monumental scriptural support for everlasting destruction. If they can successfully malign adherents of literal destruction as “heretics who don’t believe in hell,” most Christians won’t even consider the immense biblical support for everlasting destruction. After all, if they can keep people from studying it they can keep them from believing it. The reason they take this approach is because they cannot disprove literal destruction scripturally; they therefore attempt to keep people from considering the position altogether by misrepresenting it."

    Go to:

  2. From -
    "Like traditionalists, evangelical conditionalists are committed to the authority of scripture, and are not liberal in their bibliology. First and foremost, conditionalists believe in the final annihilation of the lost precisely because they find it to be the product of sound exegesis, a better application of the traditional rules and principles of hermeneutics. They believe that their view is the more accurate, better reasoned, and proper understanding of the biblical passages concerning hell and final punishment. However, many conditionalists believe that there are additional, secondary but important arguments from moral reason and philosophy that support the case for conditionalism against the traditional view."

  3. D. Barry writes:

    "A growing number of well-known Christian leaders, such as Dr. David R. Reagan, John R. Stott, Greg Boyd, Roger Forster (co-founder of the March for Jesus events), Philip Hughes, Michael Green, Stephen Travis, and Clark Pinnock have declared support for part, or all, of the biblical doctrine of Conditional Immortality. Even the British Bible translator, William Tyndale, defended Conditional Immortality during his lifetime. Also, the very well respected scholar F.F. Bruce states, “Eternal conscious torment is incompatible with the revealed character of God” so he chose to write the forward to an excellent evangelical book on this topic called, The Fire that Consumes by Edward Fudge."


I understand this is a difficult subject and there are different views from folks who all value God's inspired word. I value your feedback, corrections and questions. Please leave a comment!