Those who do not believe in the doctrine of eternal torment are often accused of being 'liberals', or 'heretics'. In our day, evangelical and fundamental theology defends the doctrine of eternal torment as part of the 'faith once delivered to the saints'. Those who reject this teaching are often accused of 'twisting the scriptures'. The following questions are designed to show the utter fallacy of the contention that eternal torment is a scriptural doctrine. It is those who believe in eternal torment who must twist the scriptures, all the while accusing others of doing the same. We ask those who believe eternal torment to answer the following questions honestly and scripturally!
I. On what scriptural authority is the Greek word Gehenna, literally 'the valley of the sons of Hinnom' and the city garbage dump in the time of Christ, translated as 'hell'?
II. Are those you teach ever made aware of the fact that Gehenna is a proper noun and the title of a literal place which exists on earth to this day?
III. On the basis of what you believe concerning Gehenna, could you please explain Jesus' words in Matthew 5:22; that saying 'Raca' made one accountable to the council, but saying 'Thou fool' was punishable by torment in flames for all eternity? Why the drastic difference in punishment?
IV. Could you please explain why none of the twelve New Testament references to Gehenna mention physical torment of any kind? If Gehenna is the word which describes the place of eternal physical torment, isn't this a bit odd?
V. Do those who teach the doctrine of eternal torment make clear to their hearers that they really believe in two hells; one temporary (Hades) and one permanent (Gehenna)?
VI. When you teach the doctrine of eternal torment, are you honest in instructing your hearers that Hades and Gehenna are two very different things although both are translated as 'hell' in the King James Bible?
VII. Are you willing to admit that even if 'The rich man and Lazarus' (Luke 16) is not a parable, it still has no bearing on the doctrine of eternal torment? The Rich man clearly went to Hades which you teach is not the final abode of the wicked but a temporary condition. How is it that this temporary condition is preached as if it is an eternal one? Is this honest? Hades must be emptied so the dead may be judged (Rev 20). Are these facts made clear to your hearers when you attempt to use Luke 16 to teach the doctrine of eternal torment?
VIII. When you quote Jesus' words that 'the worm dieth not and the fire is not quenched' (Mark 9) in reference to hell, do you also make clear that Jesus was quoting Isaiah 66:24, where in that passage the fire and worms feed on dead bodies and not immortal souls for all eternity?
IX. If you insist that Mark 9 is referring to the torment of souls by 'fire' and 'worms' for all eternity, then can you please explain also how fire and worms torment a dead body in Isaiah 66:24? If you insist that the dead bodies of Isaiah 66:24 are also immortal souls then by what rule of interpretation is this determined or even allowable?
X. Scripturally speaking, is an 'unquenchable fire' one that never goes out? (Jer 7:20, 17:27, Ezek 20:47-48) When you preach that Hell is an 'unquenchable fire' do you also quote these verses to show the Biblical use of this phrase? Aren't we supposed to let the Bible define its own language?
XI. Please explain why 'everlasting punishment' (Matt 25:46) must refer to eternal torment? Please explain why eternal death could not also be an 'everlasting punishment'?
XII. Please explain on what basis you use the phrase 'in the day of judgment' (Matt10:14-15, 11:21-22, 11:23-24; Mark 6:11; Luke 10:10-12, 10:13-14) to teach that there are degrees of punishment in Hell? In what way does 'in the day of judgment' mean 'in hell'?
XIII. According to your logic on the above question, why then do you teach in Matthew 12:36 that 'in the day of Judgment' should be taken literally instead of meaning 'in hell'?
XIV. If the verses listed above concerning the day of judgment mean what they say ( 'IN the day of judgment' ), then do they have any bearing at all on events which follow the judgment?
XV If Hell is torment for all eternity, then please explain how Jesus' reference to 'many stripes' and 'few stripes' (Luke 12:46-48) teaches degrees of punishment. Do 'many' and 'few' have any meaning at all in eternity? Why didn't Jesus use the terms 'less severe stripes' and 'more severe stripes' if this is what he had meant?
XVI. In Revelation 14:10-11, does the warning 'and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name' apply to mankind in general or to a specific class of people ('if any man worship the beast and his image')? When you use this verse in support of eternal torment, do you make clear that the warning is directed toward a specific group of people at a specific time?
XVII. Does Revelation 14:10-11 say that the torment of these goes on forever, or that the 'smoke' of this torment arises forever? Wouldn't there be a difference? If not, why?
XVIII. Does the smoke from the destruction of mystical, symbolical Babylon (Rev 19:3) literally rise up forever and ever also?
XIX. The language in Revelation 14 is taken from the description of the destruction of Edom (Idumea) in Isaiah 34:10 where the smoke is also to arise 'forever'. In that passage it is the land which burns with fire and brimstone, and it is the burning of the land which 'shall not be quenched' and from which the smoke would arise 'forever and ever'. Why is it that when this language is quoted in Revelation 14, all these passages are applied to 'hell' when the passage and language they are taken from clearly refers to an earthly condition and earthly judgments?
XX. If the warning of Revelation 14:10-11 is a reference to torment in the 'Lake of Fire' then why in Revelation 19:20-21 when the lake of fire appears are those who were thus warned not cast there but simply killed?
XXI. If the warning of Revelation 14:10-11 is a reference to torment in the 'Lake of Fire' then why, according to popular evangelical theology, is the execution of this punishment separated from the warning contextually by six chapters and chronologically by over 1000 years?
XXII. In reference to the 'lake of fire', why is it that what is said of the Devil, the Beast, and the False Prophet, 'shall be tormented day and night forever and ever', is not said of mankind in general? Are you careful to not apply this language where the Bible does not?
XXIII. Throughout the book of Revelation symbols are explained in a consistent manner; fine linen IS the righteousness of the saints, the candlesticks ARE the churches, the ten horns ARE ten kings. Why is it that when we are told 'the lake of fire IS the second death' this logic is reversed to mean 'the second death IS the lake of fire'?
XXIV. How do you cast death and Hades literally into a literal lake of fire? (Rev 20:14) If this is symbolical then why is the next verse 'and whosoever was not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire' not also symbolical?
XXV. Can you please provide one verse of scripture which states that Hell is a lake of fire?
XXVI. Can you please provide one verse of scripture which states that Jesus died to save mankind from hell?
XXVII. Could you please provide one verse of scripture which states that 'weeping and gnashing of teeth' takes place in hell?
XXVIII. Can you please provide one verse of scripture which states that 'weeping and gnashing of teeth' is an eternal condition for the unsaved?
XXIX. Can you please provide one verse of scripture which states that there are degrees of punishment in hell?
XXX. If you cannot provide scripture for the five previous questions are you willing to stop preaching these things as though you're quoting the Bible directly? Are you at least willing to admit that these are based only upon your own assumptions and not on the Word of God?