Book Reviews


An Exhaustive Look at a Burning Issue

Eldon Woodcock Bloomington, IN 2012-07-09

Woodcock is professor of Bible emeritus at Nyack College. In this book, he attempts to present a biblical and historical defense of the traditional view of hell as a place of “endless, conscious, physical and spiritual torment” (p. 5). He interacts with modifications of this view, as well as annihilationism, or conditional immortality, and universalism.

The book is divided into five sections. In the first, the author examines the language used in the Old Testament for the destiny of the wicked as well as the testimonies of ancient Jewish literature.  Section two studies the words used in the New Testament for the place of punishment. Then the third section treats the New Testament rationale for judgment. In section four, Woodcook surveys the Christian tradition, arguing that the traditional view is the dominant, majority view in history. A concluding section examines major arguments against the traditional view of hell and deals with several key practical, ministerial implications. An entire chapter responds to Brian McLaren.

The author rejects universalism, postmortem salvation, religious pluralism, and purgatory based upon the teachings of Scripture and the Christian tradition. He dismisses any significance to the possibility of degrees of punishment and asserts that soul sleep is not relevant. He does not take a position on the salvation of infants who die nor those who have never heard. Of the former he believes the Scripture is silent (p. 586). Of the latter he “considers it wise for us not to speculate over the situation concerning which we can do nothing after a person has died” (p. 591). Annihilationism, on the other hand, is rejected: “If the Word of God teaches eternal punishment, then all other considerations are irrelevant” (p. 598).

This book is a helpful resource for the arguments in favor of hell as a place of eternal, conscious, embodied torment. It presents the biblical language, historical arguments, and major challenges in clear and readable style. The major drawback to the book is the price. An ebook version is available from the publisher for $3.99.

Book reviews are published online and in print every quarter in Bibliotheca Sacra. Subcribe Today

Glenn R. Kreider
Dr. Kreider is professor of theological studies at Dallas Theological Seminary. He identifies his motivations as his passion for the triune God and his desire to help others respond to divine revelation in spirit and truth. Prior to coming to DTS he served as director of Christian education and pastored a church in Cedar Hill, Texas. Dr. Kreider’s research interests include Jonathan Edwards, theological method, and our eschatological hope. He is married to his best friend, Janice, and they have two grown children, a son-in-law, and one granddaughter, Marlo Grace. He and Janice enjoy live music, good stories, bold coffee, and their four rescue dogs—two pugs, a chihuahua, and an adorable black lab named Chloe.
Sep 20, 2017
Rodney H. OrrRodney H. Orr
A Wind in the House of Islam: How God Is Drawing Muslims around the World to Faith in Jesus Christ In this day, every pastor and Christian worker should have knowledge of the religion of Islam. This will help them minister to people from this background, including...
Sep 20, 2017
Glenn R. KreiderGlenn R. Kreider
American Exceptionalism and Civil Religion: Reassessing the History of an Idea Wilsey is assistant professor of history and Christian apologetics at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. In addition to teaching graduate students at the J. Dalton Havard...