Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Resources Arguing for the Traditionalist Understanding of Hell

The following are some resources that argue for the traditionalist understanding of Hell. I haven't read all of the books, but I believe the various authors agree about the eternal nature of the conscious torments of hell for the wicked. That is the case even if they may have some disagreements about certain finer points of theology (e.g. the millennium; the nature of the intermediate state; anthropology [trichotomy vs. dichotomy]; the nature of the covenants and dispensations; the inherent immortality of the soul; the precise definitions of words like Gehenna, hades, sheol, tartarus; et cetera). I have listed the links chronologically from the oldest (the bottom) to the most recent (the top) as best as I could date them. I've noticed that some have two dates (e.g. Moses Stuart's work). That's probably because one date refers to when the work was originally published and the other date has to do with the time that particular copy was printed (hence the work may have been updated). So, it may be the case that some of the dates I've used to arrange the following list isn't the original date of publication.

I've listed and linked these works because of the growing discussion and debate among my fellow Evangelicals about which view of hell is truly Biblical, the traditional view of everlasting conscious punishment or conditional immortality and annihilationism [and to a lesser degree, the issue of universalism/apocatastasis which is another view concerning the fate of humanity at the end of the world].

The websites to go to to get the best modern defenses of conditional immortality and annihilationism are the Rethinking Hell website ( and Theopologetics (

Most of the works I've listed are dated and don't address the more sophisticated arguments modern conditionalists make. Nevertheless, there are some insights which these older defenders of the traditional view make which can be utilized by contemporary defenders.

Personal Note: I've held to both positions at different times in my Christian life. Currently, I lean toward the traditional view. However, in my opinion, some of the arguments modern conditionalists make have some force. I've linked mostly to traditionalist material because I think there isn't the concerted effort by contemporary traditionalists in defending their view as I think there should be (unlike contemporary conditionalists who are united, organized and keep abreast of the latest developments in the ongoing discussion).

A link to my blogpost:

Additional Arguments in Favor of the Traditionalist View of Hell

What in Hell is Going On? by James Holding (2011)

An Examination of Annihilationism by J.P. Holding (date?)

Paul on Hell by Douglas Moo (c. 2007; chapter 4 of Hell Under Fire with Robert A. Peterson)

Hell and Annihilationism by Sam Storms (2006)

The following articles are from The Master's Seminary Journal 1998

Hell: Never, Forever, Or Just For Awhile? by Richard L. Mayhue (c. 1998)
Jesus' View of Eternal Punishment
by Robert L. Thomas (c. 1998)
Paul's Concept of Eternal Punishment
by James E. Rosscup (c. 1998)
Eternal Punishment In John's Revelation
by Trevor P. Craigen (c. 1998)
A Kinder, Gentler Theology of Hell?
by Larry D. Pettegrew (c. 1998)

Evangelical Annihilationism in Review by J.I. Packer (1997)

Evangelicals and the Annihilation of Hell by Alan W. Gomes (1991)
Part ONE
Part TWO

Heaven and Hell: A Biblical and Theological Overview by Peter Toon (c. 1986)
Part ONE Part TWO

Death and the Afterlife by Robert A. Morey (c. 1984)
[ I HIGHLY recommend getting a printed copy of this book despite some of the flawed reasoning used inside it. Read THIS REVIEW by conditionalist Edward Fudge of Morey's book and apply it's corrections and crticisms in your own reading of Morey. If one does, there will still remain a good amount of useful and persuasive arguments for some of the tenets of Traditionalism. (e.g. dualism, an intermediate state, eternal life beginning in this life rather than postponed till the resurrection etc.) ]

The Doctrine of Eternal Punishment by Harry Buis (c. 1957)

Systematic Theology by Louis Berkhof (lived 1873 - 1957)
See especially the following portions of Berkhof's masterpiece:
The Constitutional Nature of Man
Physical Death 
The Resurrection of the Dead
The Immortality of the Soul
The Final Judgment
The Intermediate State 
The Final State
The Punishment of Sin

Annihilationism by B.B. Warfield (from the New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge c. 1908) PDF

Hell by Stewart D.F. Salmond (1898)

The Christian Doctrine of Immortality by Stewart D.F. Salmond (1895)

Facts and Theories as to a Future State by F.W. Grant (c. 1889)
alternative links HERE (HTML), and HERE and HERE

The Doctrine of Endless Punishment by William G.T. Shedd (c. 1885)
alternative links HERE, and HERE and HERE

On Eternal Punishment, According to the Rabbis and the New Testament by Alfred Edersheim (c. 1883)
(Appendix XIX of his book The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah)

What is of Faith as to Everlasting Punishment by E.B. Pusey (c. 1881)

The Future Life: A Defence of the Orthodox View by Most Eminent American Scholars (c. 1878)

Universalism Not of the Bible by Nathan Dow George (c. 1874)
alternative links HERE, and HERE and HERE and HERE

Future Punishment by Charles Hodge (1873)

Annihilationism Not of the Bible by Nathan Dow George (c. 1871)

Eternal Suffering of the Wicked and Hades by Robert Govett (c. 1871)

Life and Death Eternal by Samuel Colcord Bartlett (c. 1866)

Immortality of the Soul and the Final Condition of the Wicked by Robert W. Landis (c. 1859)
alternative links HERE and HERE
For a text version created using Optical Character Recognition, click HERE. Note: the recognition isn't perfect. There are many mistakes. But I've been able to have a text-to-speech program read it while I follow along on the PDF version.

The State of the Impenitent Dead by Alvah Hovey (1859)

A Discussion on the Doctrine of Endless Punishment: Affirmative Rev. Luther Lee; Negative Rev. Eli Ballou (1857)

The Doctrine of Future and Endless Punishment Logically Proved by Reune R. Coon (1850)

The Immortality of the Soul by Luther Lee (date?)

A Discussion on the Important Question, Do the Scriptures Teach the Doctrine of the Final Holiness and Happiness of All Mankind? A Series of Letters Between Rev. Abel C. Thomas and Rev. Luther Lee (1845)

Universalism Examined and Refuted by Luther Lee (1836)

Exegetical Essays on Several Words Relating to Future Punishment by Moses Stuart (1830)

Of the Punishment of Sin (or HERE) by John Gill (lived 1697 - 1771)
(from his book A Body of Doctrinal Divinity)

Of the Final State of the Wicked in Hell by John Gill (from A Body of Doctrinal Divinity; Book VII: Of the Final State of Man, chapter ten (see entirety of Book VII which contains eleven chapters) 

The Eternity of Hell’s Torments by Jonathan Edwards (1739)


 Chris Date and Phil Fernandes Debate on Hell 
YouTube LINK
Rethinking Hell LINK
 My Comments on the Debate LINK


  1. Thanks for linking to Rethinking Hell and Theopologetics!

  2. Here is a blog post I did called, "John Stott, Rob Bell, and the Controversy on Hell." It contains some bibliographic information regarding John Stott's views.

    1. Thanks :-) I also appreciated your (blog) quoting Morey on the cycles of belief in the Church regarding eternal conscious torment.