| || |An Alphabetical Analysis Volume 6 - Doctrinal Truth - Page 183 of 270 INDEX | |
Hell. When the apostle Paul knew that his course was finished and that
Timothy, as his successor, must 'do the work of an evangelist', he gave to
him and to all who would follow, two guiding principles in the ministry of
'Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth
not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of truth' (2 Tim.
'Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me'
(2 Tim. 1:13).
It is not, therefore, possible to obey the command of 2 Timothy 4:2
which says, 'Preach the Word' if that Word is not divided aright, and it is
evident that the 'sound doctrine' of 4:3 will adhere closely to the 'pattern
(form) of sound words' of 1:13. Moreover, those who 'turned away their ears
from the truth' (4:4), were but following those who had previously 'turned
away from' the apostle Paul (1:15). True orthodoxy will teach all that the
apostle was commissioned to teach, and will not use language entirely
contrary to that used by him.
The word 'form' in 2 Timothy 1:13 means 'a rough sketch before the
finished design', and however much subsequent ministry may fill out the
Divine teaching given through Paul, it is not warranted to depart from the
pattern, or to impart into it ideas belonging to another dispensation. It is
clear that the question of the punishment of the wicked can be no exception
to this rule, and true orthodoxy will not depart in the smallest degree from
the form of sound words that are found on this subject in the recorded
teaching of the apostle to the Gentiles.
It is not as though Paul's testimony is meagre, or that he has not
actually dealt with the subject, for he has, giving us a complete statement
concerning sin, its consequences, and its divine remedy, and has, moreover,
added to this his own personal testimony that nothing had been omitted that
was essential, and that his conscience was clear:
'I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all
men. For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of
God' (Acts 20:26,27).
If we turn to Ezekiel, chapter 33, we shall see that whatever doctrine
might be omitted by the apostle and still leave him pure from the blood of
all men, it was incumbent upon him faithfully to warn his hearers of the
judgment to come. Paul would not be pure from the blood of all men if the
wages of sin were eternal conscious punishment, and he did not say so. It
would not save his reputation that he went so far as to teach 'everlasting
destruction', or that 'the wages of sin is death', or that 'God is a
consuming fire'; all this falls so far short of the traditional 'hell' as to
leave him convicted of trifling with the souls of men. He speaks of 'wrath
to come', of 'tribulation and anguish', of 'judgment to come', of
'condemnation', of 'death', of being 'consumed', 'punished', but none of
these terms are terrible enough to satisfy orthodoxy.
There are twelve different addresses given by Paul recorded in the
Acts, and (including Hebrews) there are fourteen epistles from his pen
covering the whole range of gospel, doctrine and practice for the present
time. If the subject of hell is half as important as orthodoxy would have it
to be, surely we shall expect to find at least fourteen references to it in