This is a talk that I had the pleasure of giving to Reasonable Faith in Los Angeles in July 2014. I’m grateful to my host Chris Sandoval, and especially to the generous folks at the Conditional Immortality Association here in New Zealand who got me there.
In short. The traditional doctrine of hell is a real concern for Christian apologetics, and evangelicals ignore the problem at their peril. The fact that it creates such a serious tension with our claim that God is loving and good does not definitively prove that it is false, but it should motivate everybody who is interested in Christian apologetics to at least have another careful look at the issue, lest we seriously undermine the message we proclaim.
Christian Apologetics and Hell
We don’t generally like people to pry into our motives, but I want to share my motives with you in bringing you this message, first, because I think they are motives that we should share, and secondly, if possible I want to help us to see that we do share them and to act on them, and this discussion of motives will blend in to the things that I have to say about my subject.
Here’s what motivates me to say the things that I’ll say here. Number one, I don’t believe that the traditional view of hell is true. We may not share that belief. Christianity is a revealed religion. There are things that we only know because God has revealed them to us, and I do not believe that God has revealed the traditional doctrine of hell to us. It places me in the minority among evangelicals, but I think Scripture teaches annihilationism – the view that the lives of those who are not saved will one day come to an end forever.
That’s probably where many of you and I don’t agree and that’s why I got it out of the way first, so I can move on to the second thing that motivates me, and I think we will agree on this: What we call apologetics has a number of purposes, but one of those purposes is to break down the walls of objections to the truth about God revealed in Christ whom God raised from the dead, so that people will receive Christ and be saved.
But apologetics – or at least, a passion for apologetics – comes with a risk that can actually get in the way of this goal. We know the expression – “When all you’ve got is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” Well, when you’re passionate about apologetics, every concern raised about what you believe may start to look like a liberal or worldly argument to refute, so that you can earnestly contend for the faith. But if this is always our response, we’ll never allow ourselves to consider good objections to what we believe, and we’ll treat our own current set of beliefs as the gold standard. But we could be wrong about a whole lot of things. Here’s an example that has been getting a bit of coverage in the last few years: Biblical violence. One of the objections to Christian faith is that the God we worship, so the story goes, is said in Scripture to be guilty of genocide, specifically of ordering the Israelites to kill entire civilizations, men, women and children. That, surely, is incompatible with the Christian message that God is good. And a number of Christian scholars, including Nicholas Wolterstorff, Paul Copan and Matthew Flannagan, have sought to respond to this objection – not by dismissing it or trivialising the concern, but instead by saying – you know what, that’s a good point to raise. That portrait of God, at the very least, should give us something to think about, a reason to look at the data again. On the face of it, that’s a problem. And the way that these people have addressed the problem is by saying that perhaps the many of us are misunderstanding what the Bible actually says happened in the conquest narrative.
Maybe their arguments are sound and maybe they are not, but they are examples of what I am advocating. If we all just said: “We don’t care what you think of genocide, there’s no problem to even consider,” then we would be doing a disservice to apologetics. That response would justly lead people to wonder if there is anything we could affirm about God that we might grant creates a real conflict with the idea of God as perfectly good. If someone told us that Scripture said that every day, God required a sacrifice of live babies with all their limbs chopped off so that they bled to death in pain, would that make us think twice? Would we consider anything to be in conflict with our belief that God is good? Surely there are some things that we simply cannot attribute to a being to whom we also attribute the property of perfect goodness.
With that introduction, let’s get underway.
Hell as an apologetics concern
- God is perfectly good and God is love.
- Some people will reject God and not come back.
- God will decisively and finally deal with sin via divine justice.
I accept the truth of all of these claims, and so do evangelicals in general. Universalists deny claim 2. Everyone, they maintain, definitely will at some point be united with God and enjoy the eternal life of the blessed. Whatever problem they think they are solving, I think their solution is simply not true and I won’t have much to say about it here.
For those Christians who do accept 1) and 2), the solution comes in 3). God has acted by sending his Son into the world so that through him people can be restored to God, turn again to their true purpose and “enjoy him forever” as the Westminster Shorter Catechism puts it. But, as point 2) notes, not everybody will be so restored and some people resist and reject God. If they don’t take part in God’s solution to the problem of sin through Christ, what happens to them?
I take the view, as do a growing number of evangelicals, that there’s no plan B in creation for them. If they are excluded for God’s plan of salvation, then they are excluding themselves from the future, full stop. They have consigned themselves, to borrow New Testament language, to the current order of things that is passing away. God will not grant them eternal life. There will be a resurrection of the dead, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord, but they will finally come to an end.
Those who hold to a traditional view of hell or anything like it (including modern, more moderate descriptions of the state of the lost than, say Dante or Jonathan Edwards), maintain that if somebody refuses to have a part of the salvation offered through Christ, then God will choose to sustain them forever anyway, but they will endure intense torment, suffering, misery, or something equally horrible forever and ever in hell.
The new hell
It should come as little surprise that a view of God in which he brings about literally endless suffering for his creatures is going to make some people deny that God, so depicted, is perfectly good and loving. I know that some have become increasingly uncomfortable with the notion of hell as a place of the excruciating pain in body and soul that has traditionally been envisaged, and so they describe it instead strictly in terms of mental anguish and separation or have formulated the position called “reconciliationism,” where somehow all traces of sin are gone, but the lost, even though without all sin, still suffer endless miserable separation from God, but they can’t really let go of the notion of the endless conscious subjectively bad experience of punishment, or else you have to wonder on what grounds they think they believe in eternal punishment at all.
Part of the concern that some may have, and understandably so, is that efforts like these call into question the biblical basis for the traditional view in the first place. What has long been held to be the biblical basis of this view is passages of Scripture that talk about flames not being quenched as an indication of burning forever, of wailing and gnashing of teeth as an expression of suffering forever, of eternal punishment as an endless process of dealing out punitive measures that are never completed, and apocalyptic imagery of a lake made of fire in which fantastical creatures suffer, as a snapshot of what hell will be like. If that’s not really what this small handful of passages of Scripture mean (and I think it is not), then the whole biblical case for the traditional view is being shaken. What traditionalist apologists may be doing, then, is hanging on to the model that was created by this foundational interpretation, but only by tweaking it in such a way that really cuts away the foundation on which it was believed to stand. The moorings have been cut, so that Hell has become a free floating concept not grounded in the teaching of Scripture, but which must be tweaked to avoid philosophical objections anyway – for some reason.
Even if we’re not ready to accept that, the very least we can say with certainty is that the “new hell” that some evangelicals embrace, seeking to remain traditionalists in their view without falling prey to the objection from perfect goodness and love, whatever virtues you might think it has, is not the traditional view of hell. When Tertullian described the enemies of the church suffering in fire as a spectacle that would delight the saints, a reversal of the circus in which the Christians suffered, when Minicius Felix said that the lost would suffer in a clever fire that burns without consuming, when Augustine went out of his way to say that people can indeed burn and suffer pain without being consumed, because after all, the soul can suffer without being consumed, when Jonathan Edwards wrote of sinners being ready to fall into hell like a spider dangling about the fire and when Spurgeon mocked the idea of a metaphorical fire, remarking that you can give him has many metaphorical blows on the head as you like, you can be pretty sure that they were not talking about anything that resembles this apologetically refined version of hell. So not only – in my view – is the new eternal torment not biblical (I don’t think the old eternal torment was biblical), but it’s not historical either.
Facing the problem
If you take that view of the teaching of Scripture, then you have an issue to address, because Scripture also teaches that God is loving and good. We have all heard the justification that there is no conflict between love and justice. And that is true – that’s not the issue here. The question is not “Would a perfectly good and loving God be just?” The question is “Would a perfectly good and loving God cause anyone to suffer torment forever?”
Let us be crystal clear what is not being considered here: The claim that it would be immoral for God to subject a person to eternal torment. Other than appearing here in my introductory remarks, that claim will not get so much as a mention in this talk. I take the view that God has no moral obligations. Whether he does or not is a topic for another talk. But virtually all philosophers of religion and theologians would acknowledge a distinction between moral goodness and non-moral goodness. Some things are good quite apart from any question of moral obligation, and that, so say I, is the kind of goodness God has. Some acts promote goodness and so God commands them and then they become moral obligations. It’s this goodness that interests me. We say that God is not just good, but he is the good, the exemplar of goodness or the ground of all other good. That’s what his nature is.
God commands us to be compassionate, even to those who deserve punishment. Even in cases where, in the law of Israel, an offender was to be punished with a beating, those handing out the punishment had constraints placed on them as to how many times they could beat him (Deuteronomy 25:3). Notice that this is not just a health and safety concern, although there is an obvious health benefit in not being continually beaten. The hard limit imposed was so that the act did not become denigrating, as the text says, “lest your brother be degraded in your sight.” Regardless of how particularly ugly the offence, and certainly regardless of the status of the victim of the crime, it would not have been good to punish a person in a way that robbed them of dignity altogether. Notice that this principle did not rule out the death penalty – execution was not a drawn out and degrading affair, or at least should not have been.
It is a testimony to the remarkable power of our commitments to shape our view of goodness that a scholar like J I Packer can look at John Stott’s rejection of the doctrine of eternal torment, and suggest that it might really be driven, not by Scripture, but by “secular sentimentality.”1 Is there something secular about the view that the infliction of torment forever is less than good? Is it really “sentimental”? Really? A similar approach, albeit with a slightly different spin, is taken by Mark Driscoll. On learning that his interviewer, Justin Brierly on the “Unbelievable” radio show out of London, believed that women can legitimately be pastors, immediately asked him whether he held to traditional view of hell as a place of eternal torment. Pointing out that he held to the same view as John Stott, a man up to whom Driscoll looks, Driscoll explained his reason for asking: There exists a liberal tendency to feminise God, and because Brierly thought that women could be pastors, he was probably more effeminate in his faith, believing in a more effeminate version of hell – as though affirming the eternal torment of the lost is more manly. That’s what a man, as opposed to a woman, would do: See his enemies suffer forever. Apart from the fact that I think this is just false and reflects a woefully distorted picture of manhood – what I think we can see is that here Driscoll, like Packer, essentially measures the godliness and even to some extent the truth of the doctrine by how awful it is. The more gruesome it is, the more mental toughness it requires to believe it, the more likely it is to be the truth about God. I have lost count of the times that I have heard proponents of the traditional view say “You know I really wish that you were right Glenn, I really do.” Why? If annihilationism is some sort of sinful concession to weak or effeminate or secular and sentimental visions of God and justice, why do you wish that it were true, I find myself asking. Surely what you should wish is that you had the spine or the manliness to accept the hard truth.
To any Christians who talk this way, I think I know why you wish you didn’t have to affirm this doctrine – and the good news is that it may have nothing to do with you being cowardly or effeminate (not that women who feel this way are going to care about being called effeminate anyway). Instead, it’s because the action of subjecting people to eternal torment does not seem good, and yet you affirm that God is perfectly good and loving.
As an example of a prominent Evangelical who was willing to grapple with the problem, I’ll draw on a patron of InterVarsity Fellowship, the late John Stott:
Emotionally, I find the concept intolerable and do not understand how people can live with it without either cauterizing their feelings or cracking under the strain. But our emotions are a fluctuating, unreliable guide to truth and must not be exalted to the place of supreme authority in determining it. As a committed Evangelical, my question must be—and is—not what my heart tells me, but what does God’s word say? And in order to answer this question, we need to survey the Biblical material afresh and to open our minds (not just our hearts) to the possibility that Scripture points in the direction of annihilationism, and that ‘eternal conscious torment’ is a tradition which has to yield to the supreme authority of Scripture.2
Notice how Stott recalls the manner in which he proceeded: He did not jump straight from the problem to a solution of his own making. Instead, the fact that there was a problem is what motivated him to turn again to his source of authority, namely the Bible. It’s important not to misunderstand that, and people do misunderstand and misrepresent what is happening here. Randy Alcorn gives us an example:
Note that Pinnock admits he reached his conclusions about annihilation “not first of all on scriptural grounds.” John Stott wrote about eternal conscious torment, “Emotionally, I find the concept intolerable and do not understand how people can live with it without either cauterizing their feelings or cracking under the strain…. Scripture points in the direction of annihilation.”3
A few dots can cover a multitude of sins. What Alcorn chopped out was Stott’s warning about precisely what Alcorn accused him of!
It’s almost worthy of a study in psychology – and I say this seriously and with no suggestion of derision – to look at the way that people’s normal intuitions about goodness and love are turned on their head when they are talking about hell. For example, look at what apologist Norman Geisler said about annihilationism:
Annihilation would demean both the love of God and the nature of human beings as free moral creatures. It would be as if God said to them, “I will allow you to be free only if you do what I say. If you don’t, then I will snuff out your very freedom and existence!” This would be like a father telling his son he wanted him to be a doctor, but when the son chose instead to be a park ranger the father shot him.4
It looks like Dr Geisler here is assuming that if annihilationism is true, then annihilation is a punishment directly inflicted by God. That’s clearly how he thinks about hell. But I hope you can see what this implies, if the doctrine of eternal torment is true. God is compared, not to somebody who ends the life of his son, but instead to somebody who locks him in the basement and tortures him forever because of his decisions.
Of course, the traditionalist might want to modify his view and abandon tradition at this point, saying that the Father would not be inflicting torture upon his son, but instead just kicking him out and letting the natural consequences fall. And if this is the case then you’ve got to give up the analogy that has the father shooting his son, because that’s positive infliction. Instead, we’d have to ask what happens if the son is kicked out with absolutely no ability to provide for himself (because there are no other sources of food or warmth, if we want an analogy that compares appropriately to us and God), and the answer ends being conditional immortality: Life only in Christ.
But the psychological toll of believing in the traditional hell is surely a heavy one, if Dr Geisler can let himself think of a comparison to a father positively punishing his son as an example that we are all supposed to sympathise with – as though he expects that of course we will have no problem with a man who tortures his son for the rest of his life – let alone forever.
I am reminded of a book (the title of which is lost in the vaults of my memory) of a man who was once in the US military, rescuing people from a prisoner of war camp and who is now an evangelist. His current ministry, he says, is far more significant than what he once did for soldiers. After all, he remarked, being temporarily imprisoned and tortured in a POW camp is nothing compared to being imprisoned and tortured forever in hell. Think for a moment about the comparison being drawn here. On the one hand, this man see easily that being imprisoned and tormented is the sort of thing that these evil tyrants do to their enemies, and he wants to see it come to an end. But on the other, he recognises that this is just the sort of thing that he believes will happen to those in hell forever, without pausing to think that in this case the tyrant is God.
The interests of time suggest that I not recite further examples.
People who aren’t Christians are not idiots. If you tell them that a person who rejects God will not have eternal life because they have rejected God and God won’t give it to them, they can understand that in terms of what seems like natural justice: You cut yourself off from God and you don’t get what God provides, including life and being. It’s like switching off life support. But describing God’s response to those who don’t love him in terms that they can only compare to the people in this world that groups like Amnesty International exist to warn us about because of their abject cruelty – these people are made well enough and their faculties work well enough to say: “Wait a minute. That is what a perfectly good and loving being does, according to you?”
The truth is that the majority of serious, conservative Christians, but sadly not all – can look at historical examples of teaching about hell – the view that really deserves to be called “the traditional view,” and realise that something went wrong.
Tertullian said that just as Christians were tortured and burned in this life to the delight of the audience, we will be the audience in the world to come and delight at the burning and screaming of the lost, and we can comfort ourselves in this life by imagining those torments now. Isaac Watts the hymn writer is quoted as penning the catchy lyrics, “What bliss will fill the ransomed souls as they in heaven dwell, to watch the sinner as he rolls in quenchless flames of hell.” Some Christians still do think that way – But most of them, including those who have a high view of the authority of Scripture – realise that they cannot coherently think about a God who is love in this way. Unfortunately, I think, many are too attached to the tradition of eternal torment to rethink it, so they simply tone it down, remove some of the more lurid details and say less about it, or continue to hold to a view that exists because of a woodenly literal interpretation of, say, the book of Revelation, but simply stop taking it literally in every detail, rather than re-think the meaning of the imagery altogether.
Caving in to secular pressure
What of this concern that embracing annihilationism – and especially in presenting hell as an apologetics issue – may simply be a case of trying to make Christianity appealing to the secular culture? As J. I. Packer claimed, perhaps we are just caving in to “secular sentimentality.”
In the first place, this is a concern that reflects a profound ignorance of the context in which conditional immortality tends to find its strongest support. The doctrine has always found its strongest support among conservative Christians, not liberals. You might think them heretics for their view of hell, but it makes no sense to say that they are caving in to secularism.
Secondly, it is a concern that invites a rather unflattering tu quoque response (where we point out the one is guilty of just what they accuse others of). If you get to assess whether or not a belief is more sentimentally appealing and then claim that those who promote the belief must be motivated by that sentimental appeal, then doesn’t that mean that opponents of the traditional view of hell can decide that it’s cruel torture and then make the judgement that you are motivated by cruelty because you like the idea of suffering? Or perhaps we could just stay out of one another’s motives altogether. Ad hominem attacks (attacks against the person rather than the idea) are generally not the best way to debunk somebody’s argument. Annihilationists could be the most misty eyed sentimentalists in the world, and yet the claim that eternal torment is incompatible with a perfectly good and loving God might still be true.
Thirdly, of course we can agree that goodness and love are not identical with niceness. But that should not scare us away from ever trying to say that a truth about God really is more appealing or nice than a popular misconception. We do this all the time. When people point to the conquest in the Old Testament as an example of mass murder and genocide, if we know that they are misunderstanding that text and the reality is not as grizzly as they think, then it’s perfectly appropriate to say so. The same goes for the way that they might understand the Torah in general, or the commands of Jesus or the New Testament authors, or the issue of hell. It’s actually OK to acknowledge that we are made in God’s image, God is perfectly good and perfectly loving, and that as a result, we do naturally find goodness and love to be more agreeable, more “nice.” But it’s not true because it’s nice.
And lastly, if there are people who are rejecting the Gospel and turning others away from it because of a belief that isn’t even true – namely the traditional doctrine of hell – then how could we possibly, in good conscience, sit by and let this happen. You might think “but there’s probably a deeper issue of sin or rebellion or hurt for that person” and maybe there is! Or maybe not. But even if there is, it is right to strip away the objections one by one, even if only for the sake of those onlookers who may be influenced. If the traditional view of hell is wrong then by saying so we are doing a service for the Gospel and for a world that needs fewer excuses to close their ears.
But we don’t get to define goodness and love, right?
Another concern that people might have is that maybe we’re trying to take our human conception of goodness and love and then project that onto God. Really, you might think, we can’t use our concept of love to say what God is like, so if we find the idea of hell unloving and so we decide that it can’t be what God would do, then we’re being humanists in the negative sense, making “man the measure of all things” and judging God by our criteria. Maybe divine goodness and love is nothing like our goodness and love, so while it would be unloving for us to keep people alive in suffering forever, it’s not unloving for God.
This is perhaps the most important thing I’ll say today: The problem here is that the concept of divine goodness and love is now uninformative.
Imagine if I told you that my car is green, but when you arrive at my house you see that it’s red. “I thought you said your car was green!” you say. “Oh, it is green, but you have to understand that what I mean by green is not at all what anybody else means by green. You don’t get to define what I mean by “green.” When I say green, I mean the thing that most of you call “red.” ”
Or imagine if my wife told you that I was an affectionate husband and father. And yet, when you came around to our home for dinner, I swore at her, I beat my children, and at one point I dragged her out of the room and all you could hear was her screaming in pain. For you see, when my wife said that I was affectionate, what she meant was that I have the characteristic that other people call being “abusive.” And imagine if I defended what my wife said, by saying: You don’t get to define what my wife means when she says “affectionate,” right?
I’m sure you’ve heard the line used by humpty Dumpty in Alice: Through the Looking Glass: “When I use a word, it means exactly what I intend it to mean. No more, no less.”
When we hear biblical declarations like “the Lord is good and his mercy endures forever,” or “God is love,” the writer actually intends to convey something – indeed I think the most plausible theory of meaning is that of authorial intent – these passages mean what the author intended to convey. But how does the author convey anything? By taking a concept that we already understand, and then telling us that God exemplifies that concept. We already have a concept of goodness, mercy and love, and in these two passages of Scripture (as well as others) we’re being told that that is what God is like.
It is one thing to say that God’s ways are higher than our ways. Of course they are because God is absolutely perfect. Out own love pales in comparison to his. He loves much better than we do. And yes, there may be times when our own finitude or perhaps our own sinfulness makes it hard for us to see how God’s words and deeds quite fit with other things that we know about him. But it is another thing altogether to say that God is so completely disanalogous to us that when we say anything at all with human language about God, it is incomprehensible to us and may even mean the opposite of what we expect. We shouldn’t use the mysteriousness of God to shield indefensible beliefs about God.
Put another way: Our declaration that God is love should actually make a difference to what we are willing to attribute to God. If, every time we are confronted with a claim about God that, on the face of it, is incompatible with a perfectly loving person, we brush the concern aside by saying that “it makes no sense to me, but I have to trust that God is perfectly loving and so whatever God does is compatible with perfect love,” then we are automatically privileging every characteristic that we attribute to God apart from love. That’s because we are determining what God’s love is like just by describing everything else we believe about God, and we are not allowing our wider view of God to be informed at all by our claim that God is perfectly loving. In practice, even if not in theory, our view of what it means for God to be loving just ends up being the view that God does what he does, and since God is love, the stuff that we think God does, no matter what it is, must be loving.
To the outsider, this is manifestly absurd – and that’s not because of some sort of sinful bias against God. It really is absurd. Is it sometimes hard to figure out why God does what he does? Is God sometimes – often – mysterious? Yes of course. Are our own intuitions affected by our own limitations and failings? Of course, so epistemic humility is required. It could be that on any given instance our inability to see how an action is compatible with perfect goodness and love is just a result of the fact that we are not perfectly good and loving. But nonetheless, God’s character or nature places constraints on what he will do, and if God is perfectly good and loving, then that counts as a defeater for the claim that he will do something that as far as we can tell is irreconcilable with perfect goodness or love. A defeater from a fallible point of view, of course, but that is the only point of view we have and it is from that point of view that we must form all of our judgements.
Consequently, if there is a concept of hell that flies in the face of our conception of goodness and love, especially given the way love is described for us in Scripture itself (I say that because I’m speaking specifically to a Christian audience), then we have a reason to doubt that it is true, and that reason is this: The belief that God is good and loving.
So: Evangelical conditionalists hold to the view they do because they take it to be biblical. I’ve defended that position numerous times and responded to the critics, and am happy to do so again. But it is quite appropriate for us to look at the question of hell from an apologetics point of view, and ask whether or not we may be asking people to accept something that is incoherent: A God who is perfectly loving but who acts in a way that is incompatible with love.
You can certainly have a coherent concept of a deity who makes people suffer forever. They exist in non-Christian religions.
I don’t think that any of those scenarios is true. But neither are they necessarily contradictory, for the simple reason that the deities that inflict these ghoulish torments are not thought to perfectly loving. Indeed, these are worldviews that don’t have a concept of the devil. That role is played at times by the gods themselves, when they are having a bad day.
I would not want you to adopt our way of understanding hell just because it resolves an apologetics problem. The fact that a point of view does not create a problem of divine goodness and love is not proof that it’s true. If it were, then here’s another way to resolve this problem: Become an atheist. Now there’s no problem of divine goodness! But you shouldn’t accept atheism because there are no good reasons to think that it’s true and there are good reasons to think that it’s false.
No, you should only accept this way of thinking about hell if there are good reasons to think that it’s true. I happen to think there are very clear biblical grounds for this view and no compelling reasons to the contrary, and I also think that at a philosophical level it makes sense too. It is God who gives us life and being, as well as redemption from death and the life everlasting. To reject the gift of God and ultimately to reject the very source of our own life and being is to reject life and being itself, leaving us with no grounds on which to exist. God certainly cannot be required to sustain the lives of those who have rejected him. Moreover, the biblical teaching about immortality being found in fellowship with God alone, about a vision of eternity in which all that exists is redeemed, about the death of Christ as a substitute for those who are saved through him, and most emphatically and repeatedly about the final destruction of the lost, means that we certainly do not have to worry that in entertaining annihilationism we are talking about something that is out of place in a biblical worldview. It’s not even the end of the world on historical grounds, when we start digging and realise that prior to Augustine of Hippo, the view that the lost will one day come to an end and be no more was taught by a number of important Church Fathers in the late first, second and third centuries.
That short plug for the truth of annihilationism may not convince anyone. The point is, the fact that it may solve an apologetic problem is not why we should think it’s true. But there is an apologetics problem, and annihilationism, if true, explains how we can coherently maintain belief in a God who is good and loving without giving up on divine justice. That fact shouldn’t convince you that the traditional view of hell is false. But it should at the very least give evangelicals the motivation to go back to the biblical evidence and rethink hell, even if they ultimately do not change their mind.
- J. I. Packer, “Evangelicals and the Way of Salvation: New Challenges to the Gospel—Universalism and Justification by Faith,” in Evangelical Affirmations, ed. K. S. Kantzer and Carl F. H. Henry (Grand Rapids, 1990), 26.
- David L. Edwards and John R. W. Stott, <em>Evangelical Essentials: A Liberal-Evangelical Dialogue</em> (Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 1988), 314-315.
- Norman L. Geisler, Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics (Baker Books, 1998), 24.