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Southern Baptists affirm Hell is not aionian but everlasting

Jun 18, 2011

It is amazing how Rob Bell's book, Love Wins, has stirred the pot.


By Adelle M. Banks
c. 2011 Religion News Service

(RNS) Southern Baptists on Wednesday (June 14) called hell an "eternal, conscious punishment" for those who do not accept Jesus, rebutting a controversial book from Michigan pastor Rob Bell that questions traditional views of hell.

Citing Bell's book "Love Wins," the resolution urges Southern Baptists "to proclaim faithfully the depth and gravity of sin against a holy God, the reality of hell, and the salvation of sinners by God's grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone, to the glory of God alone."

"The depth and gravity of sin against a holy God" . . . AMEN.
"the reality of hell" . . . AMEN.
"the salvation of sinners by God's grace alone" . . . AMEN.
"through faith alone" . . . AMEN.
"to the glory of God alone" . . . AMEN.

HMMM. I have no problem with any of these statements. Let's continue. . .

Southern Baptist Convention President Bryant Wright prayed that Southern Baptists would take to heart the statement they passed on hell.

"Father, because the reality of hell is so real, the permanent separation from you is so real, and our hours here on this earth are so limited, we pray that you will give us a fresh sense of conviction of preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ," he prayed right after the resolution was adopted.

HMMM. It sounds like their "fresh sense of conviction of preaching the gospel" is rooted in fear of hell, rather than in the love of God. Well, that is no surprise. I was raised on this myself. I suppose many of the Southern Baptists need such motivation, we should allow it. Personally, I would rather be motivated by the love of God, but if that is a problem with them, well, so be it. I have certainly met a lot of Christians who would prefer to live a life of sin. The only reason they follow Jesus is because He has threatened them with eternal torture if they stray from the Church.

Too bad they all seem to miss the essential point, which is that the word aioinian means an INDEFINITE period of time, not an INFINITE period of time. Their argument goes something like this:

The Bible speaks of ETERNAL PUNISHMENT. AIONIAN means ETERNAL. Why? Because that is what the translations read. Why is this a correct translation? Because that is how it is translated, so please don't question our beloved doctrine of eternal punishment. We all know someone that we think deserves to be punished forever.

Okay, okay. Sorry I bothered you with the Truth. But if anyone is interested, see:


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Category: News Commentary
Blog Author: Dr. Stephen Jones