He did not spend as much time with minutiae, but touched on all aspects of the metaphorical view. Particularly helpful, I think, is the way Hayes distinguishes between a Catholic understanding of salvation as process and the Reformation understanding of salvation as a one-time justifying event. In considering possibilities about punishment or accountability for moral decisions, these thinkers likewise do not simply toss around simplistic rule-breaking concepts of sin and punishment. This volume really opened my eyes and made me dive back into the Bible to see what it had to say. Pinnock took time to delve in theological methods but left out important objections to the annihilationist view.
William Crockett is a retired Anglican minister and is Professor Emeritus of Vancouver School of Theology. While Hell-ologists to coin an understandable term may be dogmatic and sometimes arrogant in their views, the book allows the reader to see what their views are about and to fairly weigh the views. Let me give an example on how this book affects one like myself. Crockett spends most of his time arguing for the legitimacy of non-literal reading of Scripture and passes-over the harder moral and theological questions. Lewis when you need him? Since he is so well known and qualified, I find it curious that he didn't build a stronger case. My only critique would be with some of the critiques. He believes in a Hell of eternal conscious torment.
Out of all the authors, Crockett alone considers the important issue of what Christ's contemporaries would have thought of the verses, given cultural factors. Two views not advanced by any of the contributors were Universalism and reincarnation from a christian perspective. His treatment of the Roman Catholic doctrine is historical, fair, and unapologetic. For anyone wanting a good overview of four doctrines of hell, I strongly recommend this book. I found Pinnock's defense of annihilationism to be particularly compelling which brought a solution to the problems created by the traditional view without compromising the authority scripture or human reason. Bookfi is one of the most popular Multi-lingual online libraries in the world. Weaknesses: He devotes a big portion of his section to refuting annihilationism, but does so in a manner that seems convincing on the surface but is very weak upon examination.
Bookfi is a non-profit project and exists due your support. William Crockett's metaphorical view is an improvement, but there's the worrying hint that the reality of hell - of which the symbols point to - may be even more sadistic than Walvoord's version. I believe that Crockett gives us much food for thought and I, for one, am grateful for the book. Moreover, Crockett argues that it is almost impossible to take the descriptions of hell completely literally in the first place, since it seems contradictory that Hell should simultaneously be a place of fire and of darkness, and since Satan and other demons are said to suffer the fire in Hell, even though they lack material bodies which give physical pain significance. For a couple of years, I became a Presbyterian and hell was hardly preached. I would try Restitution of All Things by Jukes to get a basic argument for people who believe in apokatastasis.
The Conditional View is the viewpoint of Annihilationism from an Evangelical stance. Walvoord begins with a simplistic, fundamentalist position of literal, eternal fire. Probably out of ignorance of what annihilationists believe, he poo-poos the idea that annihilationists could believe in any finite conscious torment of the damned at all which some do; I'm ambivalent but lean more towards that idea - at the very least, at the resurrection they'll be tormented by their consciences proportionally to their sin if nothing else. The authors of Four Views on Hell meet this subject head-on with different views on what the Scriptures say. Both Crockett and Pinnock seem to understand this. The interactive Counterpoints forum allows the reader to see the four views on hell—literal, metaphorical, conditional, and purgatorial—in interaction with each other. For the record, I am a conditionalist, so I agree with Clark Pinnock that the wicked will not always exist but will one day be destroyed.
He claims that Greek influences permeated Jewish thought before Jesus, thus they believed in eternal torment. Christ's sayings should be interpreted within the framework of the Biblical world, not simply viewed through the glasses of modern Western culture. As I believe other reviews have noted, the section was a little out of place. He then ignores passages like 1 Corinthians 15:24-28 and Ephesians 1:10, which override whatever some uninspired Pharisee thought, and argues only against the philosophical idea. Despite this minor issue, I found Four Views on Hell to be one of the better books on this theology and would recommend it very highly.
Once, I even watched a film on hell. John Walvoord was the president of Dallas Theological Seminary for 34 years and is a prolific dispensational writer. The book is broken down as follows: 1. I got this book on a trip to Euless, Texas, Dallas area in 2007, while there for an international conference related to my cultural research work. I found Hayes' essay very helpful in understanding the Catholic concept of Purgatory. Pinnock is not as convincing as Crockett, but gives some substantial Scriptural evidence and theological reasoning to support his position.
The Counterpoints series provides a forum for comparison and critique of different views on issues important to Christians. Walvoord was thorough and exegetical but somber in his delivery and did not address some of the major oppositions to the literal view. Pinnock takes quite a bit of heat for some of his views including this one. Moreover, the book would have benefitted greatly if the individual authors were given a chance to respond to their critics. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he just is unaware of them. Maybe if Clark Pinnock had devoted less time to talking about how God is so loving and merciful, he might have had room to deal with this issue. In their rebuttals they pick and choose their attack points often missing the very solutions to the problems they point out.
Zachary Hayes writes about purgatory rather than hell from a Roman Catholic perspective - and Pinnock is right to comment positively on his essay, embracing the possibility of purgatory as an opportunity for maturation and growth. For example, he deals with the claim that there will be no sin or evil in eternity. The contributors get right to the point and state their claims concisely. In format, each writer is given a portion of the book to present their defense, most giving the historical development of their thesis, as well as a modern day look and support of their beliefs. Hence, while he concedes purgatory has no real Scriptural support, that it is the rational outcropping based on theological development. It was published by Zondervan and has a total of 192 pages in the book. Weaknesses: Like I said above, no matter what you believe, this book is weak.