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By Christopher W. Morgan / Christian Focus / 2004
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There are many who find the doctrine of Hell disturbing and uncomfortable. It sits uneasily with many Christians, and is a doctrine that for many preachers, gathers dust, filed away somewhere quiet. For those who find Hell a problem, a far more comfortable option has been redeveloped, and has gathered support in recent years. It is annihilationism, an idea that proposes that rather than the lost suffering an endless punishment in Hell they are destroyed. It is not a new idea.
Evangelical authors have penned critiques highlighting the weakness of annihilationism but Chris Morgan goes further, summarizing the strengths and weaknesses of the major protagonists on both sides. He also points to America’s most influential theologian, Jonathan Edwards, as an example of how to best answer annihilationism’s claims.
Edwards used all the weapons he had at his disposal to present a convincing and effective response to those proposing the doctrine in his day, one that those who seek to respond to annihilationists today will benefit from.
Chris Morgan is Associate Dean and Professor of Theology at California Baptist University. He has taught at Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary and at Golden Gate Theological Seminary and is Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church of Barstow, California.