Is Hell Forever? Evangelicals and Eternal Retribution

Reprinted with permission from Voice, Sept./Oct, 2001. By Dr. James R. Mook.

Will the destiny of the unsaved be eternal conscious torment or annihilation (total cessation of existence)? The eternal conscious punishment of the lost has always been a fundamental doctrine of Christian orthodoxy. Tertullian, Augustine, Luther, Calvin, Wesley, Edwards, Pieper, Berkhof, Shedd, Chafer, Erickson, and other theologians affirmed the doctrine of eternal conscious punishment as a biblical essential-explicitly defining divine eternal “punishment” against “annihilation.” (Robert A. Peterson, Hell on Trial: The Case for Eternal Punishment, Presbyterian & Reformed Publishing Co., 1995, pp. 97-137.)

But in recent years some prominent professing evangelicals have advocated conditional annihilationism (which includes the concept of postmortem evangelizing of those who die without having heard the gospel).

Examples: Philip E. Hughes, Clark H. Pinnock, John R. W. Stott, and John W. Wenham.

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