by Doug Smith
Republished with permission from Doug Smith at EndlessHellEnded.com. Copyright 2011, all rights reserved. Please visit EndlessHellEnded.com for more information or to request a free copy of the e-book “Endless Hell Ended.”
Dear Unbelieving Friend,
I’m writing to apologize to you. My fellow Christians and I have misrepresented the Bible to you and shared a false message. In so doing, we have kept you from knowing the God who made you.
Our most serious failure is our traditional doctrine that after death, people who don’t follow Christ will suffer endless conscious torment in hell. Our message has been: “God loves you and sent his Son to die for your sins so you can live with him forever. However, if you don’t accept his gift, you will burn in hell for an endless eternity.” The endless hell part is not actually the Bible’s message. Our tradition has blinded us to the true message of the Bible. In many ways we have held our orthodoxy as more important than the God of the Scriptures himself. Rightly, you have rejected this message. Unfortunately, but understandably, you’ve thrown the baby out with the bathwater.
Years ago, I was among those who held tightly to the church’s teaching on the subject of an endless hell. Even though it was unfathomable to me, I was a new believer so I just accepted the traditional view. I think most of my brothers and sisters in Christ are like I was.
After a few years as a Christian, I began an intense study of the Scriptures for myself and found that the Bible doesn’t actually teach that hell will last for an endless eternity. It teaches that God is loving and just, and his justice is measured, merciful and fits the crime. Those who reject him will be punished for their sins, then will cease to exist in literal, endless death.
I also very much regret that I have kept silent for so long on the truth from the Bible. I have been cowardly, afraid to displease fellow believers who sometimes question the faith of those who question traditional doctrines like this one. My sincere hope is that you would forgive us and reconsider your own views. If your foundation for rejecting Christ’s message is that his followers have condemned you to an eternal hell for rejecting him, then you no longer have that excuse.
The God who made you really does love you. He really did send his Son to die for your sins and mine, and raised him from a literal death to credibly offer a real, eternal life to everyone who would follow him. This gift is available to everyone.
Now that you have read this, please give God and the Bible another chance. Study it for yourself and see what it really says. Don’t be like I was, clinging to your unbelieving tradition so intensely that you don’t think for yourself anymore. What’s the risk in requesting our free e-book and learning to read the Bible for what it actually says?
I would love to have a dialog with anyone who is interested in finding out more, whether, privately through email or in person.
Written by Doug Smith at EndlessHellEnded.com. Copyright 2011, all rights reserved. Please visit EndlessHellEnded.com for more information or to request a free copy of the e-book “Endless Hell Ended.”