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Emotionally charged and scripturally weak.For the purpose of full disclosure, I am an annihiltionist, one of the people Peterson says need to repent and submit to Gods glory by submitting their minds to the truth (pg. 89). I obviously disagree Petersons ultimate conclusions, and seldom give good reviews to books that try to prove the bible really does teach eternal torment (since I obviously think they fail). However, this is among the worst I have come across.For starters, like my title indicates, it is packed with emotional appeals and personal attacks, the kind of things my side is usually accused of. Hardly a single chapter goes by without a mini-sermon on the importance of adhering to the traditional doctrine out of compassion for the lost. He brands universalism as evil and literally says it is a sin to hold that belief (pg. 156). While I dont agree with universalists, not all universalists believe the doctrine because they refuse to submit to God - some actually do base it on exegesis (although I ultimately think they fail, as does Peterson). He argues against annihilationism because it will lead unbelievers to underestimate their fate, that they wont repent if they dont think they will be tortured forever. Call me crazy, but if they arent going to repent when told of Jesus and the prospect of eternal life, then I might dare say they dont believe in Jesus! The cross is foolishness to those who perish (1 Cor. 1:18). Not everyone believes, and I hardly would think a lot of people believe but willfully choose against God because they believe in annihilation instead of eternal torment. We dont scare people into heaven - someone who, not knowing any better, converts out of fear and not genuine faith is going to the same Hell either way (whatever its nature).Along those lines, in the conclusion of the book, he looks at two hypothetical pastors. The one who does not preach about Hell is not only seen as a bad pastor (which I could understand - if eternal torment were true), but Peterson actually implies that he is damned, reasoning that failing to preach to his parishioners about Hell is lullabying them to Hell and is tantamount to leading in children to sin (cf Matt. 18:5-6). I kid you not (pg. 236-237).And though not an important point, he several times appeals directly to unbelievers. What unbeliever would read this book in the first place?EXEGESIS:Peterson does address the scriptures at times, but not successfully. Many of his points revolve around Revelation 20:10. How do we know that eternal fire of Matthew 25:41 refers to eternal torment? Because the Devil is eternally tormented in Revelation 20;10. How do we know that God being all-in-all and putting all things in heaven and on earth under one head, even Christ (1 Cor. 15:28 and Eph. 1:10, NIV) doesnt indicate eradication of evil? Because the end of Revelation teaches eternal torment.He makes unwarranted assumptions. Any claim of separation requires eternal existence. Why? I dont know. He just says that it presupposes it. Obviously one needs to be alive at the moment of separation, but what if separation is the cause of the eternal extinction? That isnt even touched upon.Many solid annihilationist arguments are completely ignored or misunderstood. Regarding Revelation 20:10, he barely addresses any of them, for as he admits 12 years later, he didnt understand them (in Fallacies in the Annihilationism Debate? A Response to Glenn Peoples in the Journal of the Evangelical Theological society, 2007, free online).He argues that proper theological methodology involves allowing New Testament writers to move beyond their Old testament background in keeping with the progress of revelation (pg 63). In other words, in verses where the Old Testament is either quoted or clearly alluded to, it is actually improper to take into account what the Old Testament said! This explains a lot when reading his take Mark 9:48, as well as Revelation 14:9-11 (where he makes no mention of the Old testament use of almost identical language in Isaiah 34:9-10).He uses weeping and gnashing of teeth as proof of torment and pain, despite the fact that, despite the way that phrase is used today, it suggests sadness and anger, not pain. Look up the descriptions of gnashing of teeth in the Old Testament - they speak of anger, not pain. And weeping can mean all kinds of things.He uses the NIV almost exclusively. Generally, I like the NIV. However, it is not the most literal version, and they do take some big interpretational liberties, especially when dealing with eternal punishment. Compare Jude 7, Mark 9:43, Luke 16:23, and 2 Thessalonians 1:9 in NIV with any more literal version (NASB, ESV, KJV, NKJV, RSV. NRSV, etc). Petersons arguments on these passages rely on the unique, traditionalist-friendly interpretations (not literal Greek translations) of the NIV.One chapter is devoted to the view of the church throughout history. Interestingly, he starts in the third century with Tertullian. Never mind that some of the earliest and most influential Christian leaders from the 1st and 2nd century (such as Ignatius of Antioch and Ireneus of Lyons) were explicitly conditionalists (which might give some background on the early churchs view on the meaning of eternal fire and eternal punishment, which the conditionalist fathers speak of).Regarding the language of destruction seen throughout the New Testament (i.e Matt 10:28), he basically argues to the effect of well, the rest of the bible teaches eternal torment, so it must not be literal destruction. At least other such traditionalist writings have attempted to make a serious case regarding the actual texts in question, usually by pointing to the ambiguity of the Greek words involved. As is the case in much of the book, he relies on systematic theology and the idea that what the bible says on the whole interprets passages. A legitimate practice on its face, but he takes it too far.In general, there are just simply lots of emotional arguments, the occasional non sequitur, and exegesis of prooftexts that offers nothing new. The study is shallow; seldom are any serious or strong arguments against traditionalism dealt with. Its easy to argue against universalism when you devote 2/3 of the chapter against the teaching of an individual theologian who essentially denies the deity of Christ and the authority of scripture...If you believe in eternal torment and just want to feel good about yourself and get a pat on the back from a respected theologian, then buy this book. If you, whatever your view, are looking for a serious study of scripture, run.

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