July 8, 1992
Thank you for the courage in responding to my letter regarding the matter of eternal punishment. Many have not the courage to answer such an inquiry.
I know that you do not want to get into a dialogue with me on this subject (no doubt you have had plenty with others), but let me set forth the reasons for my position (your “parrot preacher” warning is valid) if somehow they might be of benefit.
- First, if conscious eternal punishment is not true, then ultimately one can sin against God and get by with it.
- Second, if there is not the danger of men being “tormented forever in the presence of the Lamb”, then why the press, why the drive, why the tears for the souls of men? Why evangelize? The consequences are not that great if what you say is true. Rather, Paul says, “knowing the terror of the Lord, we persuade men”, and John says, “flee from the wrath to come”.
- Third, you say you are “glorying in the cross”. You have robbed it of much glory.
- Fourth, infinite punishment is no problem to me; it is only right that an infinitely holy and good God should put those who have sinned without excuse, against such a Perfect One, in a hell forever. The amazement is rather that God should have made a way of escape.
- Fifth, “everlasting destruction” refers not to- their existence but their welfare just like when we say that a car was totaled in a wreck. The phrase “away from the presence” (2 Thes. 1:9) must refer to God’s special presence and glory – “the glory of His power”.
- Sixth, in Matthew 25:46, both phrases occur in the same verse. Why take “eternal life” one way and “eternal destruction” another?
- Seventh, this place called hell is so bad that it would “be better to not have been born” (Mark 14:21).
- Eighth, you don’t have the convenience of putting this doctrine in the category of inconsequentials. It is foundational (Heb. 6:1-2 – eternal judgment).
My dear man, I wonder how a true Christian could miss it.