Hello, my name is John and I have been a pastor of several small Baptist Churches in the past. I have a degree in religion from Oklahoma Baptist University and attended Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Eventually I got into other lines of work. I have been thinking about getting back into the ministry if possible lately…but I decided not to for a while because I realized that my spiritual life is not what it used to be. Part of the problem is that I have been feeling for a couple of years that I am not close to God like I should be. At times I feel upset with God. I finally realized that the reason is that the doctrine of hell is making me feel that either God is not truly a God of love…or that if He is then the Bible is incorrect in teaching that God will torture the unsaved for eternity. Either way this represents a serious crisis of faith. The logical inconsistency at times seems to be driving me almost insane. The doctrine of hell as understood by tradition and by most in my churches has been bothering me daily for most of my life. Because of my training I know a little about Greek and about church history and about Jewish and Greek and Roman tradition. So I can tell that you are correct in most, if not all of your arguments. I am beginning to think that what you are teaching is really the truth. I feel a great sense of hope that my attitude toward God will begin to improve as I begin to understand Him better. Keep up the good work and I will try to study the subject more. Thank you for your work and may God bless you.
Just want to say thanks for your huge article on hell. I have been struggling with this for many years almost to the point of losing my faith. It’s terrifying to understand how a tradition can be so ingrained in us that we can’t see the wood for the trees.
I came to your site through a forum run by one who takes the Traditional view on hell. I have also been reading John Stott – I haven’t actually got to the end of your writing but am well into the process.
It’s like scales falling from my eyes and also like a great weight has been lifted.
I cannot even begin to describe the catharthis my mind, body and soul went through while reading this book. You may have saved my life and/or my sanity as a result.
You see, i live in San Francisco, and recently renewed my quest for religious truth. Such quest occurred after attending a very blasphemous Easter event hosted by a local organization called the sisters of perpetual indulgence (i purposely did not capitalize their name, because i do not respect or admire their work). These sisters (actually men is elaborate drag) essentially mocked God and the Lord Jesus Christ by encouraging lascivious and offensive behavior, and even had a “sexy Jesus” contest, not at all befitting to the Son of Man.
My quest led me into the darkest spiritual prison imaginable, and consumed my every waking moment. I rapidly descended into a confusing world of evangelical Christianity, which on the one had told me that there is a loving God that wants me to love him with all my heart and mind, but that it’s unlikely that all my efforts with result in salvation- and my punishment would be spending eternity burning with billions of others. This warped view created in me a sense of anxiety and paranoia I’ve never known before. I even had thoughts about leaving my family and moving into the woods so i would get away from all the ungodly people i was around, including family. I had terrible thoughts that my daughter might be better off dead, because God wouldn’t allow an innocent child to burn in hell for all of eternity. I thought of departed family members roasting in the lake of fire because they were Catholics, and all Catholics were deceived by false doctrines, and therefore by extension were worthy of eternal torment.
Out of desperation, i tried to correct my sinking ship by doing good works and praying often, which is certainly a good thing and something I’ll continue doing for the rest of my life. However, the huge difference is that i was previously doing it not so much out of love (although i told myself this), but out of sheer terror. I was en route to the loony bin, suicide or heart attack if i continued. My family was scared of the monster that i had become- albeit a softly spoken monster, but one nonetheless. I finally decided to search out opposing positions, because i just could not believe that a loving God would allow the majority of those that ever lived to be subjected to an eternity of horrible pain. That’s when i found your site and book. My anxiety slowly started to dissipate, i was able to eat again, i no longer scared everyone in my family, and i started to develop a genuine love for our merciful heavenly father.
I’m not sure if the scar of this experience will ever go away, but I’m sure glad to have come out on the other side still intact.
My faith is Jesus Christ has never been stronger, and i look forward to continuing a loving relationship with him.
Thanks for listening and God be with you,
San Francisco, CA
Thank you for an awesome and thorough site on this subject. I’ve believed this for years after coming to the truth through Fudge’s book in part but mainly just sitting down with a bible and a concordance. Much prayer and study made it obvious.
The Body of Christ needs this. It has certainly made me more evangelistic and love God more knowing this important truth. Keep up the fine work. Blessings to you and all holding and sharing this!
I came across this website a few weeks ago as I started researching the topic of hell, whether it’s eternal torment or eternal destruction.
At first I stood firm in my belief about hell being eternal torment, but it started to sink more in my head of the simple clarity of the words death and destruction for the unsaved. It intrigued me and I began doing more research online. Your website is the most well-done one I have come across so far and have thoroughly enjoyed learning from it and I often go back to re-read sections or get references.
It’s comforting to know that there are other Christians out there who believe in this. Eternal torment has always disturbed me and honestly has always been something I hated about God, even though I love my Savior, and eventually caused me to distance myself from Him several years ago after having my first child. My son was the most precious thing to me and it infuriated me even more that God would allow souls to be born just to be tormented forever if they ended up not choosing Christ before dying, and that I didn’t hold the fate of my son’s soul in my hands.
One day as I pondered this matter and was thinking bitterly to God about it, I felt His amazing love once again, just like He always shows it, and felt this great sense of peace and Him telling me that I didn’t need to worry, that He is God. I felt so relieved even though I didn’t understand, and little did I know that about a year later He would prompt me to step outside of my Traditional box and dare to learn from someone else’s perspective.
Your website is very easy to read and understand…very uncomplicated and very knowledgeable. Makes far more sense now. Growing up I do remember always finding it very odd that Jesus” death on the cross took the place of mine, because in the back of my head, I was like, but his dying was a few hours of agony, certainly not eternity in torment. And I always found it odd that death actually meant a continual state of dying.
Thank the Lord for your website. I will enjoy getting to meet you someday in eternity 🙂 You helped change the way that I will now be sharing part of the Gospel to others.
I’m from Australia.
Thanks so much for your site. My love for God has dramatically increased! Now I’m able to have more confidence in telling others about God’s love and that He doesn’t torture people forever in hell even though eternal destruction is not to be taken light with. Thanks for solidly biblically refuting the Traditional view on hell.
I felt a sense of relief when you addressed Revelation 20:10 because out of all past pro-Conditional Immortality articles I’ve read, you are the only one that addressed and successfully explained it. Again thanks very much for your efforts.
Fudge’s book was pivotal in helping me understand this true doctrine.
I was raised in the Roman Catholic church and was ingrained with the concept of immortality (as a given) AND the insanity-producing threat of eternal conscious torment. I went through numerous denominations and suffered decades of mental torment that manifested in mental illnesses (severe recurrent depression, ocd, chronic fatigue).
I do not attend a church because their is no church anywhere near me that does not have eternal torment as a doctrine and I will not support that ever again.
I knew that our God Who defines Himself as Perfect Love would not behave worse than the worst of men – eternally torturing His enemies while telling us to forgive our enemies. In recent years, I have become a Christian Universalist – but there were so many unanswered questions regarding Jesus’ words of condemnation in Matthew 25, the wheat & the tears & the sheep and the goats.
As a result of a recent run-in with a co-worker who adamantly believe in eternal conscious torment, I could feel the horror of another episode of severe depression about to over-whelm me yet again. In true desperation, I ran a search “does the teaching of eternal conscious torment cause mental illness” looking for an answer. I found your writings and I am over-whelmed – all the questions are answered – all the scriptures make sense.
I sense my anxiety and mental torment dissipating and sensing a genuine hope that I can actually have peace about God and men and the scriptures
It is a bit daunting to realize that people are not born with inherent immortality – but it is so far superior to believing in eternal conscious torment. I thought you would like to know that your writings have accomplished this! I am a 63 year old man and I finally HAVE the answers!
You have my eternal gratitude.
I am very glad that I came upon your site. I came to the same conclusion a few years ago after losing my grandfather who was a devout Catholic. I began to research the subject to really find out that no one except our Lord has immortality, and that this is the gift that He promises to those who believe in His beloved Son. But I find it extremely hard that most people who claim to believe in the word of God embrace so many false doctrines.
It is also difficult because they believe that what I share is something new, and pretty much suggest that I sound like a heretic, propagating false doctrines. I feel at peace with God now more than ever knowing more of his true nature, and this gives me the boldness that I never had before, because even tough I believed the Bible, I always had this burden about this doctrine that I could not get rid of. I just wish that I could meet believers of like mind on this issue.
If you know of any groups of believers like this I would appreciate if you could let me know who they are. I live near Barrie, Ontario, Canada.
God bless you!
Thank you so much for your website and for the wealth of solid biblical insight you have given.
I grew up attending several different denominations of Christian churches, and I was taught the Traditional view of hell. All the churches I have attended as an adult have taught the Traditional view.
I’ve always wondered why the word, “perish” didn’t actually mean “perish” or “be destroyed.” I was taught that it meant “be eternally tormented.” I have always wondered why the Bible said eternal life was a gift if it was something we already were going to have no matter where we ended up. Now I know I was right to question these things.
Paul never preached about eternal torment, only of the gift of eternal life one could receive by putting their faith in Jesus. How sad it is that so many people only hear of a God that will send them to hell where He will torment them eternally instead of the God who gives eternal life as a gift because of His great love.
I got saved in 1984-from a NA background-I didn’t believe in hell-we had reincarnation & karma. I read Mary K Baxter & Bill Weiss bks & didn’t like them. Those bks are horrific-they’re portrayal of God & Jesus didn’t seem the same as the Bible.
Most bks about hell teach the Traditional view. I only heard of Conditional Immortality last year through “lamb & Lion” website-David Reagan. As I trusted his view on prophecy I have decided to check it out for myself.
I have read all of hell-know-I’m looking up the passages still-excellent stuff. I’d read Isaiah 66:24 many times and always read it as a view into hell-which I think Perry Stone teaches as well-but it says Dead Bodies-not souls in hell.
City of Adelaide-
I can see that we haven’t quite left the dark ages yet; we are in need of a second reformation.
May this article put us a big step closer to the end of the dark night we are in.
Congratulations on your excellent site! After reading the information on your site, I am now 100% convinced that what you are saying is the biblical truth. God Bless.
A Christian from Romania.
I came to the same conclusion through personal study. I don’t understand why the majority of believers either can’t or don’t want to believe this message.
The Traditional teaching on Hell lead me away from Christianity when I was younger, but I am now beginning to see the truth. God bless.