by W. G. T. Shedd
"W. G. T. Shedd's small but immensely useful book, 'The Doctrine of Endless Punishment,' takes direct aim at the conditional immortality views that are currently disturbing evangelicals. Shedd presents convincing historical, biblical and rational argumentation. It is a well-designed pistol for the protective pastor to fend off error, and will result in more passionate evangelism as it works its way through his preaching. - Jim Elliff, Christian Communicators Worldwide
"The Doctrine of Endless Punishment is a well-reasoned, theologically accurate statement which treats fully yet concisely the date contained in the revelation of God to man. This treatise deseves careful study; and provides adequate coverage of a much neglected aspect of Biblical doctrine." - Cyril J. Barbe
The fall and eternal ruin of an immortal spirit is the most dreadful event conceivable. That some of God's rational and self-determined creatures will forever be in deadly enmity to him, cannot be thought of without sorrow and awe. But from the nature of finite free will, it is a possibility; and it is revealed to us as a fact, as clearly as the facts of incarnation and redemption. Neither the Christian ministry, nor the Christian church, are responsible for the doctrine of Eternal Perdition. It is given in charge to the ministry, and to the church, by the Lord Christ himself, in his last commission, as a truth to be preached to every creature. If they are false to this trust, his message to the church of Ephesus is for them: "Remember from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent" (Rev. 2:5). The question, How many are to be saved? the Son of God refused to answer—thereby implying that his mercy is unobligated and sovereign. "I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy" (Rom. 9:15). It becomes man the sinner, not to murmur at this. That incarnate God who has vicariously suffered more for man's sin, than any man has or will personally, surely has the right to determine the method and extent of his own self-immolating compassion. To the transgressor who says, "Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean," he answers, "I will, be thou clean" (Mark 1:40). But to the transgressor who looks upon redemption as something to which he is entitled, he replies, as in the parable, "Is it not lawful for me, to do what I will with mine own?" (Matt. 20:15).
The kindest way, therefore, for both the preacher and the hearer is, to follow the revealed word of God, and teach the plain and exact truth. Eternal perdition is like any other danger. In order to escape danger, one must believe in it. Disbelief of it is sure destruction. To be forewarned, is to be forearmed. They who foresee an evil, prepare for it and avoid it; but "the simple pass on and are punished." Speaking generally, those who believe that there is a hell, and intelligently fear it, as they are commanded to do by Christ himself, will escape it; and those who deny that there is a hell, and ridicule it, will fall into it. Hence the minister of Christ must be as plain as Christ, as solemn as Christ, and as tender as Christ, in the announcement of this fearful truth. "When he was come near, he beheld the city and wept over it, saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes" (Luke 19:41, 42).
Table of Contents
CHAPTER I.—THE HISTORY OF THE DOCTRINE
CHAPTER II.—THE BIBLICAL ARGUMENT
CHAPTER III.—THE RATIONAL ARGUMENT