I like a lot of Kenneth Gentry’s work on preterism and on the book of Revelation, its dating and the way that it refers to first century events in a way that some people miss.
I didn’t know he had said anything about the doctrine of eternal punishment, and the annihilationist viewpoint in particular, until tonight. I’ll never know exactly what he has to say, except that he thinks annihilationism is bad. Apparently he once gave a one hour lecture on the subject and you can listen to it for nine bucks. He’s pretty sure that he did a good job, because the lecture is called “Annihilationism Annihilated.” Here’s the description:
In this two hour lecture given at Christ College, Gentry sets out the annihilationist objections to eternal hell, then analyzes the annihilationist argument exposing its superficial nature.
Given that, as far as I know (and yes this could just be my ignorance at work), the man has no reputation as an expert on the subject (and I say that as someone who makes a habit of trying to stay on top of “who’s who” in the field), I am somewhat surprised to see this – for sale at least – and I was surprised to see it called “Important critique of the resurging annihilationist view.” I had never even heard of the critique until now. I think it’s a tactical mistake, but one that works in my favour, both because of the way the confidence is presented in a form that closely resembles flippancy, and also because it is very obviously marketed to those who share Dr Gentry’s view. Annihilationism would be helped if all of its critics worked this way: preaching over-confident sermons to the choir.
No serious, fair assessment of annihilationism will yield the conclusion that the arguments in its favour are “superficial.” And unlike Dr Gentry, I have self consciously titled and marketed (for free) my materials on the subject in a way that is genuine about not merely impressing those who share my view, but reaching out and explaining the reasons for that view to those who are hostile to it.
So here’s a reminder to those who haven’t encountered it before: For not a single penny, you can listen to my three part series on the doctrine of eternal punishment where I outline and defend the claim that annihilationism is biblical and then one by one address the arguments against annihilationism in an effort to show that those who use them have engaged in either fallacious reasoning or poor hermeneutics of Scripture.
Also over in the Theology Articles at my site, you can check out my published response to the work of Robert Peterson, the most vocal evangelical opponent of annihilationism. You can see his reply to that article, and my follow up, where I explain why his response is ineffective.
Whether or not it’s an “important” critique is something that you can decide that for yourself, but it won’t cost you a bean.