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Hell Under Fire: Modern Scholarship Reinvents Eternal Punishment Paperback – November 29, 2004

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan (November 29, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310240417
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310240419
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #630,950 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Of all the teachings of Christianity, the doctrine of hell is easily the most troubling, so much so that in recent years the church has been quietly tucking it away. Rarely mentioned anymore in the pulpit, it has faded through disuse among evangelicals and been attacked by liberal theologians. Hell is no longer only the target of those outside the church. Today, a disturbing number of professing Christians question it as well. Perhaps more than at any other time in history, hell is under fire.

The implications of the historic view of hell make the popular alternatives, annihilationism and universalism, seem extremely appealing. But the bottom line is still God’s Word. What does the Old Testament reveal about hell? What does Paul the apostle have to say, or the book of Revelation? Most important, what does Jesus, the ultimate expression of God’s love, teach us about God’s wrath?

Upholding the authority of Scripture, the different authors in Hell Under Fire explore a complex topic from various angles. R. Albert Mohler Jr. provides a historical, theological, and cultural overview of "The Disappearance of Hell." Christopher Morgan draws on the New Testament to offer three pictures of hell as punishment, destruction, and banishment. J. I. Packer compares universalism with the traditional understanding of hell, Morgan does the same with annihilationism, and Sinclair Ferguson considers how the reality of hell ought to influence preaching. These examples offer some idea of this volume’s scope and thoroughness.

Hell may be under fire, but its own flames cannot be quenched by popular opinion. This book helps us gain a biblical perspective on what hell is and why we cannot afford to ignore it. And it offers us a better understanding of the One who longs for all people to escape judgment and obtain eternal life through Jesus Christ.

About the Author

Christopher W. Morgan is professor of theology and dean of the School of Christian Ministries at California Baptist University in Riverside, California. Author/editor of ten books and a teaching pastor of Helendale Community Church, he and and his wife, Shelley, have been married for twenty years and live in Helendale, California.

Robert A. Peterson is Professor of Systematic Theology at Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri. He is author or editor of twenty books, including Salvation Accomplished by the Son: The Work of Christ (Crossway, 2012), Our Secure Salvation: Preservation and Apostasy (P&R Publishing, 2009), and, co-edited with Christopher Morgan, Hell Under Fire (Zondervan, 2004).

Gregory K. Beale (PhD, University of Cambridge) is J. Gresham Machen Chair of New Testatment, Proferssor of New Testament and Bible Theology at Wheaton College Graduate School.

Daniel I. Block (D.Phil, University of Liverpool) is Gunther H. Knoedler Professor of Old Testament, Wheaton College.

Sinclair B. Ferguson (PhD, University of Aberdeen) is a professor of systematic theology at Westminster Theological Seminary.

R. Albert Mohler, Jr. (Ph.D., Southern Baptist Theological Seminary), is president and Joseph Emerson Brown Professor of Christian Theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is the author of several books, including Words from the Fire: Hearing the Voice of God in the 10 Commandments, and is a contributor to Is Hell for Real: Or Does Everyone Go to Heaven?


Douglas Moo (PhD, University of St. Andrews) is the Blanchard Professor of New Testament at Wheaton College. His work centers on understanding the text of the New Testament and its application today. He has written extensively in several commentary series, including the NIV Application Commentary, Pillar Commentary, Tyndale New Testament Commentary, and the New International Commentary on the New Testament.

J. I. Packer (DPhil, Oxford University) is a member of the board of governors and professor of theology at Regent College.

Robert W. Yarbrough (PhD, University of Aberdeen) is chair and professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.

Customer Reviews

R. Albert Mohler opens the book with his essay Modern Theology: The Disappearance of Hell.
A. Sauls
This book was written by top scholars from an Reformed, evangelical stance (intelligent folks that believe the Bible is the inerrant Word of God.
Sam Hettinger
Robert A. Peterson's book, "Hell on Trial: The Case for Eternal Punishment" is a very thorough examination of the doctrine of Hell.
Laura Lewis

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

44 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Murphy on September 13, 2007
Format: Paperback
The reason I ordered this book was because I thought I would get a book that provided exegetically-driven counter-arguments to the arguments for annihilationism / conditionalism, as I have recently gone through Fudge's "The Fire that Consumes," with presents some impressive arguments for this view. Here's the chapters:

1. Modern theology: the disappearance of Hell (Albert Mohler Jr)
2. The old Testament on Hell (Daniel I. Block)
3. Jesus on Hell (Robert W. Yarbrough)
4. Paul on Hell (Douglas J. Moo)
5. The Revelation on Hell (Gregory K. Beale)
6. Biblical Theology: Three Pictures of Hell (Christopher W. Morgan)
7. Systematic Theology: Three Vantage Points of Hell (Robert A. Peterson)
8. Universalism: Will Everyone Ultimately be saved? (J. I. Packer)
9. Annihilationism: Will the Unsaved Be Punished Forever? (Christopher W. Morgan)
10. Pastoral Theology: The Preacher and Hell (Sinclair. B. Ferguson)

As one may conjecture based on this (I couldn't see the table of contents when ordering), this book is diffuse, with repetition of material by different chapters. For someone seriously concerned (and not confident) about the truth of the matter on this issue, like me, there have been some irritating moments in reading, because certain Scripture and issues would be, in a given chapter, passed over very quickly, which would not happen if the book was more focused in is content / organization. Another aspect of the broad scope of the book is that it deals with history and philosophical and emotional objections to the traditional view, whereas I was looking mainly for biblical exegesis.
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68 of 80 people found the following review helpful By Angus Nicolson on January 19, 2005
Format: Paperback
Having already read the first book in what I hope is to be a continuing series, God Under Fire (Zondervan), and having read other works by most of the contributors to the present volume under review, I expected to gain from reading Hell Under Fire. I was not disappointed, and the essays contained in the book were all of a consistently high standard.

The first essay was by Albert Mohler, and outlined the modern demise of the doctrine of hell from the 17th century onwards. His article outlines how hell began to be questioned in mainline denominations, gradually moving to a doctrine repellent to many in the church by the Victorian Era, and eventually being regarded as nothing more than a myth in the 20th century. Mohler then outlines how these attitudes have recently been entering even evangelical circles, with annihilationist leanings in the writings of such prominent theologians as John Wenham, John Stott, and of course, Clark Pinnock.

Following Mohler's historical review are four essays on the teaching of certain parts of the Scripture: Daniel Block on the Old Testament, Robert Yarborough on the teaching of Jesus, Douglas Moo on Paul's teaching and Gregory Beale on Revelation. Block's essay is an interesting read for those who are unacquainted with the way in which the Old Testament lays the backdrop for the teaching of Christ and the apostles on hell in terms of imagery, and I especially appreciated his discussion of the Netherworld, in the OT, and Daniel 12:1-3. The essay's by Yarborough and Moo met the high expectations I had of them from reading some of their previous works.
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27 of 31 people found the following review helpful By One Big Happy on February 27, 2009
Format: Paperback
This and Peterson's Hell On Trial will feel affirming to those who already agree with him and the others whose articles are present. They will offend those of a clearly liberal mindset who find the doctrine of eternal conscious punishment/torment to be offensive. And they will be very little help to those who are looking for clarity with specific exegetical inquiries into the legitimate questions regarding the imagery and language the Bible uses in regard to Hell and how we are to understand these things systematically. There seems to be a kind of bias in that if you don't accept the traditional view it's because you've been improperly influenced by a culture that doesn't want to believe in Hell. I find this condescending. In fact, many who struggle with this issue struggle because of the language of the Bible and serious contemplation over the nature and attributes of God, which is given short shrift in these books. So much time is spent in these books on anti universalist treatements, which is, in my mind, the easy thing to dismantle with scripture. But there is a constant mixing of positions and illustrations that is not helpful. In Hell On Trial, for instance, we're told that Hell is like a hot stove that burns the hand and not like a hot furnace that destroys what you put in it. In fact, both of these descriptions fit what the Bible says about Hell, and this is why people like Stott, who is no idiot, are not as sure as others seem to be about these things. I am holding to the traditional doctrine at this point because I don't think that this issue has been conclusively dealt with by theologians at any time in history, and when it's not conclusive, I choose to hold to the accumulated concensus of the Church.Read more ›
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Most Recent Customer Reviews

More About the Author

Chris Morgan is associate professor of theology and associate dean of the School of Christian Ministries at California Baptist University in Riverside, California. He is also the senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Barstow, California. He is the author of Jonathan Edwards and Hell (Christian Focus Publications, 2004) and is currently writing a commentary on the book of James. Chris and his wife, Shelley, have been married for thirteen years and live in Hesperia, California.

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Hell Under Fire: Modern Scholarship Reinvents Eternal Punishment
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