A Discussion on the Subject of Hellfire
by Paul Stringini
Introduction - (May 11, 2015)

I believe and teach what is politely termed "Conditionalism"  and pejoratively termed "Annihilationism." That is the view that the ultimate fate of the wicked is a very real death, and not an eternal life in maximum pain.  It is called "conditionalism," because of our scripturally sound belief that immortality is conditional, and that death awaits those who do not inherit eternal life in Christ. This view occasionally manifests itself in my studies and is an essential aside to my view of predestination. Late in 2014 I received a message from a well-intentioned pastor who generally liked my studies but objected to some statements of mine on the subject of Hell.   This page is the record of that exchange.

Years ago, I had done a work called "Reconstructing Hell" which was more of a response than a comprehensive reconstruction of the concept of Hell. There were flaws in that work, because there were flaws in my thinking, and I do not doubt there are yet flaws in my thinking now. And that is part of what has caused me to be reluctant to put my hand a second time to clarify the biblical teachings in regards to Hell and Punishment.

Hell is a very sticky subject in my opinion because of the translators free use of that English word (hell) to translate different Hebrew and Greek words which may not all refer to a single concept, the place men call Hell.  In my forthcoming work on the subject I hope to make a very thorough survey of all the related scriptures.  This discussion has somewhat spurred me towards completing a study of hell and related subjects.

During this exchange I tried out, for the first time, some ideas which had been rolling around in my head. Principally, the idea that life must be superior to death. I had come to that conviction while reading a book sent to me by a friendly website observer and brother, it was the badly named "All You Want to Know About Hell" by Steve Gregg. While this was not part of Gregg's book, the debate over the nature of God's punishment was the catalyst moving my mind along those lines. 

Taking an idea out for the first time can leave one feeling a little off balance, as I began to feel, as my understanding was tested. In the end, I saw the limits of truth, because, in the light of the absurd, truth is distorted.  Life cannot be superior to death, if God is not good.  If that seems obscure, then I suggest you listen to this exchange.

Hellfire Part 1 - A Pastor's Objection - (00:05:13)
The original message was written, in order to publish the whole exchange in one form,  I recorded a reading of his message.

Hellfire Part 2 - Response - Persuade Me - (01:05:32)
My response to the objections.  This was originally sent in both written and audio format.

Hellfire Part 3 - Hell is Separation - (00:54:44)
Delighted to use audio as a medium of exchange, my pastor friend responds with his own audio recording.

Hellfire Part 4 - Life and Death - (04:20:53)
This is my final and lengthy response to my Pastor friend's audio.  I ultimately bring many scriptures to bear in defense of my positions and do my best to refute his statements.

I do not expect my pastor friend to respond to my final message.  I dropped a large volume of material on him which would take an extraordinary amount of time to reply to.  I did not intend to shut off discussion, but my earnestness required a full response to his assertions.