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John Mark Harris

Annihilation does not necessarily deny eternal punishment (in fact, it demands it)



Thanks. The nature of a proper or "biblical" annihiliationist perspective is beyond the pale of this piece. Admittedly, there are varying forms of it, all of which, by the way, I reject on biblical-theological grounds.

With that, I am...

Darby Livingston

Comparing Stott and Bell on this issue isn't comparing apples and oranges. Maybe tangerines and oranges. Stott has been careful to say that annihilation should be considered as an option. He admitted it was on emotional rather than textual grounds, though he tried to slip the argument through the texts that seem to deny it. That might be why those you quote seemed more tolerant of him.

I do agree these guys have been very quick to publicly slam Bell, and it probably is because they just don't like the guy very much.



Thanks. The likeness (only from what we scantily know about Bell, however) is enough to suggest a firm discrimination between their treatment by TGC bloggers. Nor does it matter how Stott comes to his conclusion if conclude he does. Both position are UNorthodox so far as the position TGC is concerned.

Plus, of course, the others like M. Green and P.E. Hughes not to mention SDAs make TGC look like knee-jerk reactionaries against a guy, in your words, they don't personally like. It's just too convienient.

Grace, Darby.
With that, I am...

J. K. Jones


Is there a difference between the apporach one should take against an annialationist and the approach one takes against a universalist?


boB Cleveland

It seems to me that "destruction" could hardly be "everlasting" unless one continued to exist in perpetuity, to be everlastingly destroyed.

Sounds like an eternity in hell, or some such.



You'll have to be specific about what you mean by taking a "different approach" to each view.

With that, I am...


From my understanding Bell seems to be leaning towards a Universialist understanding of redemption, completely opposite of Annihilationism. Dr. Patterson spoke of it this morning in chapel, also calling Bell's teaching heretical.

And DeYoung does not have a doctorate.

Les Puryear

Another scholar who embraced the annihilation perspective was SWBTS professor Dr. Earle Ellis. I heard him promote that view while when I took his calls on the Theology of Paul. Dr. Ellis was a great theologian but he was wrong about annihilation. Did that make him a heretic? I think not.

BTW, am I to understand that these guys are blasting Bell's book before reading Bell's book? I'm no Rob Bell fan but if that is true, it sounds a bit unfair to Bell. If his book promotes universalism or annihilation, blast away after the book is read. But to go on the attack prior to reading the book seems unethical at best.




I do not know if Bell is leaning toward Universalism, nor do I believe Annihilationism is the "complete opposite" of Universalism. How you come to that conclusion is hard to tell. Both are two of three historic views of the afterlife, the eternal punishment view leading the pack among the orthodox.

As for what Dr. Patterson said, I cannot say. What I'm fairly confident about is, whatever view Dr. Patterson holds concerning Bell, he did not come to his conclusion based upon a video or reading the jacket cover of a book.

With that, I am...



Thanks for the info on Ellis. I had no idea. As for the TGC, my take is, the blogging crew simply could not wait to dub Rob Bell a heretic. And since none of them could quote the book (even if they apparently had the book), they exploited the cover to sound the alarm.


With that, I am...




With that, I am...

Robin Foster


Great article. You have caused me to rethink this issue. We need to be careful on who and why we call heretics. I believe many from the Calvinistic perspective were screaming this when Dr. Jerry Falwell labeled those who believe in limited atonement as heretics. Maybe they can take a point from their own criticism.

I would also add that historically evangelicals only had two doctrines for which they required as necessary points of agreement. First was the inerrancy of God's Word and second the blood atonement of Jesus Christ. The problem with this minimalist approach is that evangelicals have been their own worst enemy. The doctrinally minimalist mindset of the past has led to the acceptance of beliefs that did not fit with historical orthodoxy. And in my opinion, this has also led wider evangelicalism to a doctrinally anemic clergy and laity that focuses more on what is currently hip and feels good rather than was is biblically sound. Hence, a ministry like Rob Bell's flourishes. Before blaming Bell, maybe evangelicalism should look at her own house and do some doctrinal repairs itself.

I am in agreement with you. I would rather be called a baptist than an evangelical. But I am afraid that as the current trend in our denomination of doctrinal minimalism continues to take hold, I may have to drop baptist also.


The Advent Christian Church and the Seventh Adventist Church are two different denominations. I know little about the ACC, and don't know if they teach annihilationism or not.

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