Staff's ROD

Staff's ROD #08, Doctrine of Hell

Our 9th point of 11 doctrinal statements reads: "The everlasting bliss of the saved, and the everlasting torment of the wicked in hell."  (The blue portion originally read, "the everlasting suffering of the lost.") As you know, we used the American Council of Christian Churches' doctrinal statement and amended it slightly.  Why fix that language?

 

Most believe they're good people on their way to heaven.  For those who don't, they have some wild notions of reincarnation, hoping to come back as an animal of some reputation and not a lowly slug.  Many think the worst that happens is >poof<, you die, and there's nothing else.

 

Jesus presents hell as more than just suffering, and taught that hell is a real place with real fire, when He warned if thy {hand, foot, eye} offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. Jesus also said, Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear Him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.  The demons answered Jesus upon their encounter, art thou come hither to torment us before the time? The Apostle John captures the fearful doom of the unsaved, who shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night. To merely call such "suffering" is a gross understatement. Notice Who metes out the wrath.

 

The WCF ch.32.1 expands on both elements of our 9th point: "The bodies of men, after death, return to dust, and see corruption: but their souls, which neither die nor sleep, having an immortal subsistence, immediately return to God who gave them: the souls of the righteous, being then made perfect in holiness, are received into the highest heavens, where they behold the face of God, in light and glory, waiting for the full redemption of their bodies. And the souls of the wicked are cast into hell, where they remain in torments and utter darkness, reserved to the judgment of the great day. Beside these two places, for souls separated from their bodies, the Scripture acknowledges none."