Thursday, August 8, 2013

Two Views of Hell

My recent Amazon review of "Two Views of Hell::

"Two Views of Hell" is a fascinating dialog of two theologians arguing from two different perspectives of the nature and duration of hell punishment. Robert Peterson argues from the "traditionalist" view, that hell as taught in Scripture is that of a conscience, eternal punishment, whereas Edward Fudge argues for what is called the "annihilation" view, which is the view that the sinner in hell encounters a final destruction. I was curious to read this title as, until now all I've really known about annihilation is from certain fringe voices like theologian John Stott (as well as certain cults), but never really in mainstream evangelical Christianity. Fudge does a considerably good job of arguing for annihilation from the strength of Scripture, and Peterson offers equally good counter-arguments to Fudge's position. Both men make strong appeals to Scripture, and church tradition when relevant, and I found both sides of the argument to be compelling. Historically I've enjoyed a number of "different viewpoints"-type of theology books in the arguments/counter-arguments format, and this particular work on the topic of hell does a fascinating job of exploring the different views while being ground in Scripture and not sentimentalism or anything like that. Both men agree that there is a specific doctrine of hell as taught in Scripture, but the eternal nature of it can be open to debate. This is worth checking out.

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