Scripture and the Church

The Landmark of the Eternal Conscious Punishment of the Unsaved

By Archibald G. Brown
This doctrine is at the heart of the reason why Christ had to suffer and die on behalf of sinners, and is our motive in seeking the conversion of lost souls.

From the TeachingtheWord Bible Knowledgebase

Part 6 of a series. Read Part 5.

Editor's Note: As Archibald Brown continued his sermon on the landmarks of authentic Christianity found in Scripture, he next turned to the foundational doctrine of the eternal conscious punishment of the unsaved. Atheists openly scoff at the doctrine of eternal punishment, but it is tragic that many in the church are also doing so. Archibald Brown's words from 150 years ago certainly resonate in this generation, when well-known men such as Harold Camping, Clark Pinnock, N. T. Wright and John Stott have openly denied this doctrine. Pope Francis has likewise denied it. We discuss these developments, and the Biblical answer to such heresy, in this article in our Bible Knowledgebase.

The doctrine of the eternal conscious punishment of the unsaved is not a mere side issue. It is at the heart of the reason why Christ had to suffer and die on behalf of sinners. It is likewise our motive in seeking the conversion of lost souls, as the Holy Spirit through Jude describes it, "pulling them out of the fire" (verse 23). - Paul Elliott


One other doctrinal landmark and I close this portion of our subject. It is the eternal ruin consequent upon rejection of Christ. With solemn hearts let us read the words of warning written:

"He that believeth not shall be damned" [Mark 16:16].

"They shall go away into everlasting punishment" [Matthew 25:46].

"Their worm dieth not and the fire is not quenched" [Mark 9:44].

This landmark has been assailed more fiercely than any other. Some are for doing away with it altogether, others for abolishing its eternity. Some argue that its fires refine and prepare for after-bliss, others that its fires destroy to annihilation. It is enough for me to know that Scripture reveals a Hell, but reveals no termination of its woe, nor even hints at restoration. The answer put by our Lord into the mouth of Abraham to the rich man in Hell shuts the door against such hope. "And beside all this between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot: neither can they pass to us that would come from thence" [Luke 16:26].

These are a few of the great doctrinal landmarks of Scripture; beware lest ye be tempted to remove them. There are many others we have no time to dwell upon, which if less momentous in their subjects, are equally of God. It is not for us to spurn the smallest boundary stone of doctrine, nor cross one step beyond the frontier line. All work for God must be done within the area He has marked.

"But" it is objected, "if you keep to these old-fashioned truths you will lose the ear of the public. Would it not be better to let a few landmarks go, and by meeting the popular taste, secure its sympathy and attendance?" Without for one moment believing in the danger hinted, I deliberately declare before God that I would rather preach in a half empty place - keeping within God's boundary marks - than draw the greatest crowd by the smallest compromise of truth. The preacher's mission is to declare what the Lord saith, let the consequences be what they may. Results are God's, obedience is ours.

Next: The Landmark of Christ-Like Living


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