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On The Reality Of Hell

WHEREAS, Rob Bell, in his 2011 book, Love Wins, has called into question the church’s historical teaching on the doctrine of eternal punishment of the unregenerate; and

WHEREAS, The church has addressed this issue throughout her history, yet orthodox Christians have affirmed consistently and resoundingly the reality of a literal Hell; and

WHEREAS, The Bible clearly teaches that God will judge the lost at the end of the age (Matthew 25:41-46; 2 Peter 2:9; Revelation 20:11-15); and

WHEREAS, God must judge the unregenerate because He is a holy God whose judgments are altogether righteous (Psalm 96:10; Romans 2:1-5; Revelation 15:3); and

WHEREAS, The Scriptures affirm that this judgment of the unconverted is a judgment unto conscious, eternal suffering apart from the steadfast love and grace of God (Matthew 7:23; 25:46; Luke 16:22-25; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10); and

WHEREAS, The Bible precludes the possibility of any opportunity for salvation after death (Hebrews 9:27), urging sinners instead to embrace the glorious gospel today (2 Corinthians 6:2; Hebrews 2:3; 3:13); and

WHEREAS, Jesus Christ and the apostles, out of their love for lost people, affirmed the reality of Hell in their own preaching to urge sinners to receive the grace of God, to repent of their sins, and to believe the gospel, and thereby to enter into abundance of eternal life (Matthew 10:28; John 10:10; Acts 17:30-31); and

WHEREAS, The prospect of fellow human beings, created in the image of God, spending eternity in Hell grieves us deeply; and

WHEREAS, The Scriptures exhort the church to hold fast to and proclaim the “faith once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3) and to “guard the good deposit” of truth the Lord has entrusted to us in His Word (1 Timothy 6:20; 2 Timothy 1:14), including difficult truths; and

WHEREAS, The Baptist Faith & Message affirms the biblical teaching that “Christ will judge all men in righteousness. The unrighteous will be consigned to Hell, the place of everlasting punishment” (Article X. Last Things); now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention, meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, June 14-15, 2011, do hereby affirm our belief in the biblical teaching on eternal, conscious punishment of the unregenerate in Hell; and be it finally

RESOLVED, That out of our love for Christ and for His glory, and our love for lost people and our deep desire that they not suffer eternally in Hell, we implore 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.