Full Text for The Evil of the Hades Gospel, part 3 (Text)

The Evil of the Hades Gospel 591 The Evil of the Hades Gospel Men are asking and imploring the Church to accept the teach­ing that some of those who have died in unbelief will get another opportunity to hear the Gospel in Hades. E. H. Plumptre tells us that it is our sacred duty to restore this "lost article," this "price­less, but forgotten truth," this "truth of wider, happier thoughts," and charges those who refuse to do it with having a "narrow, un­loving" mind. (The Spirits in Prison, pp. 4, 17, 25, 28.) J. Paterson­Smyth "regrets that the indignant Reformers, in sweeping away the falsehood and the absurdities connected with the Roman purgatory swept away also the underlying truth, and demands that the 'lost article of the Creed' be given back to the Church." (The Gospel of the Hereafter, p. 65.) Great evils will result, declares Archdeacon F. W. Farrar, if we fail to do so. "Nothing will more imperil in devout and tender souls the entire system of Reformed theology than this omission to state in its fullness the Gospel of Hope." (Eternal Hope, p.173.) But we cannot accept the Hades gospeL It is an evil and perilous doctrine. In our discussion of the twenty­one arguments advanced by the Hades theologians we have already noted that. Let us now discuss it more in detail, under five heads. 1. To accept the Hades gospel means to deny a clear teaching of Scripture. Scripture clearly teaches that man is judged not according to what his soul does after death but according to "the things done in the body," 2 Cor. 5: 10. Scripture clearly teaches that at death man is judged and that that judgment is final and irrevocable, Heb. 9: 27. In the moment of his death the rich man was consigned by the judgment of God to hell, Luke 16: 23; and when Lazarus died, his soul was received into heaven, Luke 16: 22. Man's death puts an end to the period of grace. "When the wicked man dieth, his expectation shall perish," Prov.11: 7. (Cp. May issue, p.300.) When the Hades theologians declare with Archdeacon Farrar: "The path of repentance may never be closed to us" (op. cit., p.153), they brush aside plain statements of Scripture. And when Luther states that "at death the Christian immediately enters into eternal bliss but the wicked is cast into the abyss of hell" {VII: 1629), he sticks to the clear meaning of Scripture. Is that indeed the clear teaching of Scripture? The Hades theologians deny this. When we set against their twenty-one arguments Heb. 9: 27; 2 Cor. 5: 10; Luke 16: 22,23; Provo 11: 7, and the related passages; when they, for instance, operate with 1 Pet. 3: 19 and we answer with Prof. J. P. Milton: "What forbids us to draw such an implication -that Christ's preaching (1 Pet. 3: 19) implies the possibility of salvation after death -is the clear teach­ing elsewhere that now is the day of grace and salvation. One 592 The Evil of the Hades Gospel passage of dubious interpretation cannot safely be used to contra­dict other passages whose teaching is unmistakable" (The Lu­theran Companion, May 14, 1932), they insist that these passages do not teach that death ends the period of grace, and charge us with misinterpreting Scripture. Their chief argument is that our interpretation of these pas­sages leaves no room for the Last Judgment. If at death men enter either into heaven or into hell, the Judgment of the Last Day would be superfluous. The Gospel of the HereafteT states: "With educated people it should not be necessary to combat the foolish popular notion that at death men pass into their final destiny -heaven or hell-and then perhaps thousands of years afterwards come back to be judged as to their final destiny! To state such a belief should be enough to refute it. Those who hold it 'do err not knowing the Scriptures.' For the Scriptures have no such teaching." (P.33.) S. Baring-Gould indulges in the same kind of ridicule: "The ordinary idea that Christian people form as to what is in store for them is something to this effect: That after death their souls pass into heaven, and that at the end of all things they are turned out of heaven to go back to earth and dress them­selves up in the old cast clothes of their bodies and, thus appareled, to stand up for judgment and hear their sentence. Whether on that occasion certain of these souls learn with infinite surprise and dis­may that during some thousand or thousands of years they have been where they had no right to be and have then to join the ranks of the lost, I cannot say; but this is obvious, that if their final lot were determined at the moment of death, a Last Judgment would be superfluous." (The Restitution of All Things, p. 9.) Plumptre: "The fact that the day of Judgment, when the books shall be opened and men shall be judged according to their works, is thought of as in the near or distant future (Matt. 25:31; 2 Cor. 5: 10; Rev. 20: 12) seems to preclude the thought that an irrevocable sentence is passed at the moment of death, leaving nothing for the Judge to do but to proclaim what had been already, as it were, registered in the book of God." (Op. cit., p.123.) Lange-Schaff Commentary: "Holy Scripture intimates in many passages that for­giveness may be possible beyond the grave and refers the final decision not to death, but to the day of Christ. Acts 17:31; 2 Tim. 1: 12; 4: 8; 1 John 4: 17. But in our passage (1 Pet. 4: 6) Peter by divine illumination clearly affirms that the ways of God's salvation do not terminate with the earthly life and that the Gospel is preached beyond the grave." Dorner: "'When the Epistle to the Hebrews says: 'It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment,' we must not with the old dogmatists take this to mean that the eternal salvation or woe of every one is decided The Evil of the Hades Gospel 593 immediately after death. It is. not called the judgment." (Quoted in Plumptre, op. cit., p. 253 f.) H. M. Luckock also operates with the fact that the "judgment" of Heb. 9: 27 is not called the judgment; he even attempts to make Heb. 9: 27 a locus classicus for the Hades gospel. "There is a passage which seems at first sight to support the view of those who deny the intermediate state: 'It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.' In the original Greek the definite article is wanting, and the absence of it is very significant, for it is invariably prefixed to the noun in all the pas­sages where that judgment is clearly spoken of which is to decide finally the eternal destiny. What the author of the Epistle teaches is that death is immediately followed by a judgment or crisis; but it can only be that by which ~he place of the scm). is determined in Hades" (our italics) "or the intermediate state." (The Inter­mediate State, p.22.)1) The argument that because the Lord will judge all men on the Last Day, Scripture cannot teach that an irrevocable judg­ment will be pronounced on man at his death has no weight. We cannot see why God should not pass judgment on the individual twice. We know, of course, that Scripture cannot teach that at death an irrevocable judgment is passed and that at the Last Judg­ment this judgment might be reversed. But what Scripture teaches is that the two judgments, the particular judgment and the general judgment, are identical as to their effect. But that does not, as 1) Of the additional argwnent offered by the Hades theologians we should like to list these: The believers do not at death enter paradise, heaven, ror, says The Gospel of the Hereafter, "It is clear that when Christ promised the dying thief, 'Today shalt thou be with Me in para­dise,' He did not mean the final heaven; for He says, 'No man hath ascended into heaven only the Son of Man who is in heaven.' Even He Himself did not go to heaven when He died, for this is His statement after the Resurrection: 'I have not yet ascended unto My Father.'''­St. Paul did not expect to go to heaven at his death, "for he says, 2 Tim. 4: 8, 'Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me eLt theLt day.' After death St. Paul desired to be with Christ, that is, to be in Christ's keeping. He did not expect to receive his reward ror his labors till the end of all things." (S. Baring-Gould, op. cit., pp.19, 119.) -"It is not said even of the foolish virgins or of the man that had not on a wedding garment that the door which was shut upon them would neVe1" ageLin be opened" (our italics) "and that they were to be left forever in the outer dark­ness. We may admit that the drift of the whole teaching is to lead men to contemplate the exclusion as something idinitely terrible, but the glimpses given elsewhere of the miracles of the divine mercy lead us to think it at least possible that the sentence may not be irrevocable." (Plumptre, op. cit., p. 62.) -We might also list Th. Traub's remark: "The Lutheran Confessions do not absolutely reject an intermediate state; see Augsburg Confession, Art. XVII, where the entrance into the eternal life or into hell for eternal punishment is made to depend on the decision of the Last Judgment after the general resurrection." (Von den letzten Dingen, p.37.) 38 594 The Evil of the Hades Gospel Plumptre and the others contend, make the second judgment super­fluous. The general judgment is the solemn and the public con­firmation of the particular judgment. It is, furthermore, a general judgment, including the bodies of the raised dead and those living at the Last Day. And, finally, it is the full revelation of the wickedness of the unbelievers and the glory of the believers.2) What of the fact that the judgment of Heb. 9: 27 "is not called the judgment"? The idea seems to be that since it is not called the judgment, the final Judgment, its sentence cannot be a decisive, final, irrevocable judgment.3) In the first place, we are agreed that Heb. 9: 27 does not directly speak of the Judgment of the Last Day. However, in the second place, the context shows that it speaks of a judgment which is final and irrevocable. "So Christ," v.28. Man's death and Christ's death are parallelized as to their finality in a certain respect. Christ's death settled the matter; with man's death the matter is settled. "Death at once places his soul either into heaven or into hell; the verdict is at once executed. To think of anything else ruins the correspondence with Christ's death; for He (Christ) does not wait until the Last Day to learn God's judgment on His sacrifice." (Lenski.) The judgment passed at man's death is final and irrevocable. The lack of the definite article ("After this cometh judgment," R. V.) has no bearing on the case. It is a judgment which is identical with that of the Last Day. "Fuer die Menschen gilt die durch vereinzelte Ausnahmen 2) This last point is brought out by John Gerhard thus: The in­fluence for good or for evil of a man's life does not end with his death. Many are still blessing humanity because of what they did during their lifetime. On the other hand, a wicked and godless life may still be corrupting men long after the instigator of that chain of evil influence has closed his eyes in death. With the end of the world the good and the evil deeds of each individual will also have come to an end; then it is proper that before angels and all humanity the ultimate sentence should be spoken. (See Lutheran Standard, Jan. 3, 1942.) -Joseph Stump: "The preliminary judgment which God passes upon men at death is absolutely accurate and infallible. When at death God admits the be­lievers to eternal life and condemns the unbeliever to eternal death, their destiny is fixed forever. The final judgment will be a public vindication of the righteousness of God as exh-.ibited in the preliminary judgment which assigned men to eternal life or to eternal death." (The Christian Faith, p.406.) The Living Church, Dec. 17, 1944: "There is a 'particular judgment,' that takes place at once following death. It marks the end of our probation and at that 'moment' the soul will learn its eternal destiny. There will be a 'general judgment' in which 'before Him shall be gathered all nations.' At this the verdict of the particular judgment upon the individual soul will be sealed. Mankind as a whole will be judged." 3) Just by the way: Luckock should not say that the definite article is invariably prefixed to the noun XQLOl<; in all the passages where the final Judgment is clearly spoken of. See Heb. 6: 2! Dorner is more care­ful. He says: "Commonly the definite article is used in the New Testa­ment when the Last Judgment is intended." (See Plumptre, op. cit., p.254.) The Evil of the Hades Gospel 595 (cf. Heb. 11: 5, 35) nicht in Frage gestellte Regel, dass nach ihrem einmaligen Ableben ihnen nichts anderes mehr bevorsteht als ein Gericht, das den Ertrag ihres nunmehr abgeschlossenen Lebens bewertet und die entsprechenden Konsequenzen daraus zieht." (Riggenbach, in Zahn's Commentary.)4) Plumptre remarks: "'There is no repentance in the grave' has been accepted as though it were an oracle from God." (Op'. cit., p.ll.) Yes indeed, we preach it as an oracle of God. We say with E. W. Klotsche: "Scripture leaves no room for an intermediate state of development in moral or spiritual progress." (Christian Symbolics, p.191.) It is not a "foolish popular notion that at death men pass into their final destiny," but "God's Word teaches that the period of grace absolutely ends fer all men at death" (W. Roh­nert, Die Dogmatik der Evangelisch-Lutherischen Kirche, p. 580). Because it is an oracle of God, we teach it even to our children, as the Senior Catechism of the American Lutheran Church does, p.129: "At death each individual is judged and assigned to one of two places: heaven or hell. On the last day those souls will be reunited with their resurrected body, and the general judgment will take place." It is an oracle of God; dare we suppress it? "No Christian teacher dare take it upon hunsel£ to arouse hopes of a conversion after death in his hearers." (F. Pieper, Christliche Dog­matik, III: 624.) It would be an evil day on which the Church decided to give tolerance to a doctrine which goes against a clear teaching of Scripture. It would be a disaster if she tolerated (a) such senti­ments as these: ".Among illustrious prelates of our own Church, Archbishop Tillotson saw reason to believe that God might re­store the lost by the superabundance of His mercy, though he considered that the letter of Scripture pointed the other way." (Our italics.) Farrar does not censure the Archbishop. (Op. cit., p.175.) But (b) also those Hades theologians who do not realize that they are in conflict with Scripture are bringing disaster upon the Church. They are, in reality, suppressing a truth which God has revealed and which He has given the Church for her profit. We have no right to preach the Hades gospel, and certainly the fact that a great number of the early Fathers preached it does not give us the right. The Hades theologians make much of that fact. Their books abound in quotations from the Fathers. And 4) Need we discuss Luckock's interpretation that the judgment pro­nounced at death determines man's place in Hades, determines whether the soul goes to the Hades paradise or the Hades phylake, where it will get another chance? Lenski disposes of such interpretations thus: "There is no probation after death, although some would insert it here: 'to die but once and (after a probation when necessary) after that judgment.' Such eisegesis and insertions are arbitrary expositions of the Scriptures." 596 The Evil of the Hades Gospel they are quoted as authorities. Luckock says that this "doctrine has come down from Catholic and primitive antiquity and may therefore be held with perfect loyalty to fundamental truth. . . . There is evidence that that act of our blessed Lord h"'l preaching 'to the spirits in prison' was so interpreted in the primitive Church, which is generally to be trusted as the best exponent of the teach­ing of Scripture. Clement of Alexandria asserted that 'the Apostles following the example of their Lord preached the Gospel to those in Hades.' The belief of these early Fathers lends distinct coun­tenance to the thought, etc." (Op. cit., pp. 86, 101.) And The Gospel of the Hereafter goes so far as to make the early Fathers author­itative sources of the Christian doctrine. "The knowledge of it [of Christ's prea<;hing the Gospel in HrldesJ WrlS so widespread in the early Church because Jesus told it in the 'forty days.' Some people seem to think that there are only some obscure verses of St. Peter and a few references of St. Paul in favor of such teaching. Not at all. St. Peter and St. Paul were only two in a crowd of teachers of early days who proclaimed triumphantly the visit of the Lord into the world of the dead. I read the writings of the ancient bishops and teachers of the Church, the very men to whom we refer for information as to Baptism and Holy Communion, and there I find prominently in their preaching the Gospel of our Lord's visit to the world of the departed. The earliest is known as Justin Martyr. Justin Martyr wrote: 'Those who hold that when men die their souls are at once taken to heaven are not to be accounted Christians or even Jews.' (Dialog with Trypho.) Etc., etc." (Op_ cit., pp. 36, 56 ff.) Submitting quotations from Gregory of Nyssa, Farrar states: "The writings of this great Father are most im­portant as proving the permissibility of these views. Let those, at least, who impugn the Gospel of Eternal Hope remember that it was openly preached by the 'Father of Fathers.''' (Op. cit., p. 160 f.) It is a fact that many Church Fathers taught the possibility of conversion after death. 5 1 But the Church would be in a bad way if she made the teachings of the Fathers authoritative. For the Fathers often erred.6) And it would be an evil day for the Church if she set up other authorities alongside of Scripture_ The Chris­tian conscience is bound by God's Word, not by the writings of the Fathers. It cannot bear the denial of the sola Scriptura. 5) Many Church Fathers denied it. See Wohlenberg, in Zahn's Commentary, on 1 Pet. 3: 19 f. 6) See the article on "Christ's Descent Into Hell and the Possibility of Conversion After Death," by Dr. Th. Graebner (Theological Quarterly, 1908, p. 28), on "the danger of attaching exaggerated importance to patristic opinion. Not all of the Fathers were sound dogmaticians, and they sometimes erred in exegesis. As everyone knows, the very earliest of the Fathers had not always the clearest conception of apostolic doc­trine." Some of them taught gross synergism, others rank chiliasm, etc. The Evil of the Hades Gospel 597 The Christian conscience is also outraged by the attempt to justify the Hades gospel by pointing to the great number of eminent theologians who have embraced it. Farrar has compiled a long list of such men. "Among those who in recent days have inclined to some form of the hope for which in these sermons I have been led to plead are many illustrious names, of which none is more illustrious than that of the great and saintly Bengel. Others who may be mentioned are Bishop Edmund Law, etc., etc., Rothe, the eminent Lutheran divine, Neander, Oberlin, Tholuck, and Bishop Martensen of Seeland. Were I at liberty to mention the names of those high dignitaries and eminent theologians whose view is iden­tical with my own, the position which I have defended would be infinitely strengthened." (Op. cit., pp.174, 178.) Since Farrar's days the list has grown considerably. In fact, "modern theology (with but a few exceptions) has swept away the limitations set by the old Protestant teaching which restricts the preaching of salvation to man's life on earth." (P. Althaus, Die Letzten Dinge, p.181.) But in settling doctrinal questions majorities do not count. We should not feel that "it strengthens our position" to have the majority on our side. May God give us grace to maintain, in spite of the mighty opposition, the important, solemn truth that there is no repentance after death. 2. The Hades gospel is of an evil parentage; it is the product of human speculation; it is engendered by rationalistic considerations. The twenty-first argument of the Hades theologians proves that. They rely on reason to prove that men have a second chance and to disprove that there is no conversion after death. Read again Plumptre's statement "Reason rose in rebellion against a dogma that clashed with men's sense of equity." (Op. cit., p.167.) Read Farrar's statement: The doctrine that "He who is the Lord both of the dead and living may save sinful souls even after the death of the body is not only in better accord with man:s instinctive belief in the j1£stice and mercy of God, but also far more Scriptural than these later and darker beliefs." Hear his further statements: "The voice of reason and conscience rose in revolt against a doctrine which they found irreconcilable with the love of God. Restore the ancient belief in an intermediate state; that a doom is passed ir­reversibly at the moment of death, at the very thought of that the heart faints and is sick with horror. No argument adduced on the other side wiil ever siience the remonstrance of outraged reason." ... (Op. cit., pp. XXXII ff., LXIII, 172.) Men are preaching the Hades gospel because their carnal reason insists that since God's mercy is universal and He is just and impartial, He must give men a second chance. Prof. A. Hoenecke says: "The doctrine of the intermediate state is a product of the endeavor to put the teach--598 The Evil of the Hades Gospel ings of Scripture into a logical system, to harmonize the statement that God would have all men to be saved with the fact that the saving Gospel did not reach all. If eternity immediately followed upon time, say the systematizers (SystemkuenstZer), there would be an intolerable gap. And they are happy to fill this gap by introducing between time and eternity an intermediate state which begins with the ending of temporal life, a state in which in the life beyond the grave the preaching of the Gospel is continued for the conversion of those who were not converted in this life." (Proceed­ings, Synodical Conference, 1894, p.52.) Does this correctly present the position of the Hades theologians? Dr. Pieper says: "In order to save universal grace before the forum of the human under­standing some have assumed that after this life an opportunity to hear the Gospel and to believe will be offered (Martensen, Kliefoth, etc.). But these are human speculations, without any basis in Scripture." (Op. cit., II:35.) Is this a correct presentation of the methods of the Hades theologians? They will hardly call these statements misrepresentations of their position. They clearly say there would be a contradiction in Scripture, which teaches that God would save all, if those passages of Scripture which declare that the period of grace ends at death would be permitted to stand in their full force; they must be modified. They explicitly say that reason has the right to charge God with being merciless and unjust if He did not provide for salvation in Hades. Read their twenty-first argument once more. Reason must not be outraged. They employ other rationalistic arguments. The Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia: "Christ appeared in Hades in His own special char­acter of Redeemer. The analogy of this world leads us to expect that He was there the savor of life unto life to some and of death unto death unto others." (S. v. Hades.) F. Mellows: "Will there be a second chance? Is the destiny of the heathen and of the wicked fixed at death, or will they have opportunities of hearing the Gospel and of responding to it? Scripture neither affirms nor denies. It tells us that 'now is the day of salvation,' but it also says that 'in Christ shall all be made alive.' . .. Bishop Talbot of Pretoria has said: 'That there will be beyond death further opportunities of being fully won by and given to God is a truth which accords with life as we know it' [our italics], affording, as it does, such imperfect chances to so many of God's children to achieve their true destiny. 'God forbid,' wrote Luther, 'that I should limit the time of acquiring faith to the present life. In the depths of Divine Mercy there may be opportunities to win it in the future state.' "7) (What Happens When I Die? p.13.) P. Althaus: "Wenn Gottes ErwaePlen den 7) We shall examine this alleged statement of Luther in a later article. The Evil of the Hades Gospel 599 Glauben wirkt, wie sollte unsere Demut uns nicht gewiss machen, dass Gott sich jedes andern ebenso annerunen wird wie unser!" And so he concludes that "we may well hope that beyond the limits of our history Christ will yet meet all whom He did not reach in time." (Die letzten Dinge, pp. 181, 186, 218. See CONCORDIA THEo­LOGICAL MONTHLY, 1940, p.659.) When the Hades theologians appeal to the Christian conscious­ness: "Such damnatory preaching of Jesus in the realms of the dead is derogatory to the character of the Redeemer; Christian consciousness revolts from the thought that the holy Jesus, etc." (Lange-Schaff Commentary), they are appealing to reason. The "Christian" consciousness which denies a clear teaching of Scrip­ture and demands a second probation is speaking the sentiments of carnal reason. When, therefore, Farrar says: "The voice of reason and conscience rose in revolt against a doctrine, etc.," he is really identifying reason and conscience, reason and Christian con­sciousness. And it is simply rationalism, pure rationalism, when these men make human thoughts and sentiments the source of doctrine. Farrar does not hesitate to say: "What the Bible teaches as a whole -what the Bibles also teach as a whole, for History, Conscience, and Natu're, and Experience, these, too, are sacred books [our italics] -that, and that only, is the immutable law of God." (Op. cit., p.206.) Conscience has equal authority with the Bible.S) "What the Bible teaches as a whole" -there we have another rationalistic device. Das Schriftganze! The Hades theologians construct the "whole of the Bible" out of their own notions and by authority of this "v.rhole of the Bible" cancel plain teachings of the Bible. Farrar amplifies his idea concerning the "Bible as a whole" when he states: "Though texts may be quoted which give prima­facie plausibility to such modes of teaching . . . these texts are alien to the broad unifying principles of Scripture. . .. Much of the popular teaching about the awful subject of retribution ... its irreversible finality at the instant of death . . . gives us an utterly false picture of the God of love, which finds no warrant either in the general tone of Scripture or in God's no less sacred teachings to our individual souls." (Op. cit., pp. 74, 93.) L. Dahle (Norway) 8) Theological Quarterly, 1919, p.207: "Many of the advocates of the theory of a probation after death confess that they find only too little support for their beliefs in the New Testament, and that they must base their teaching rather on general philosophical grounds or their own sub­jective feeling as to what the truth of the matter may be. Thus the great English preacher Farrar, in his eloquent sermons on 'Eternal Hope,' ap­peals in reality more to the Holy Spirit within his own heart than to the inspired Scriptures, and believes that his own divinely trained 'Christian consciousness' and feeling as to what is good and right is to be relied upon fully as much as the written Word." 600 The Evil of the Hades Gospel operates in this way: He does not aver that the doctrine of a pos­sible conversion after death is a clear doctrine of Scripture. Yet he maintains that if we "go. back to the fundamental principles of Scriptural teachings," we are forced to some such conclusion. (See Theological Quarterly, 1908, p.25.) The Hades gospel, spawned by rationalistic thinking, is an evil thing. The Hades theology sets the verdict of reason and feeling above the declaration of God's Word. God wants His children to accept the teaching of Scripture in simple faith, to believe that God's ways are just and right even if they cannot understand them, but reason, "the archwhore and Satan's bride" (Luther, XX:232), would seduce God's children from implicit faith and asks them to say to God: We cannot accept statements of Scripture which out­rage our reason. The evil of the Hades gospel consists in this, that it weans the Christians away from the allegiance to their Lord. Another evil is that it deals not in divine certainties, but in vague speculations. Reason and feeling have no certain knowledge of the divine mysteries; consequently the Hades theology offers nothing but surmises, guesses, dreams. Augustus H. Strong says: "Dorner deals in speculation rather than in Scripture." (Systematic Theology, p. 566.) Pieper says: "But these are human speculations, without any basis in Scripture." And the Hades theologian Luckock himself declares that his book, The Intennediate State, "is in part speculative." He is glad to print what Canon Liddon wrote to him: "We are clearly of one mind about the intermediate state; as I can­not deprecate very natural speculations so long as they profess themselves speculations resting on whatever basis of theological probability; and you are opposed to making anything de fide which is not clearly revealed as being so." (Op. cit., IX, XIII.) And on page 161 he says of a certain point in the Hades gospel: "It can only be a matter of conjecture." However, since it "rests on the almost continuous teaching of all the Christian centuries, we accept it in confidence." Plumptre speaks in the same manner: "That larger hope -call it, if you will, that glorious dream -has never been without its witnesses" (Op. cit., p. 13.) So also The Gospel of the Hereafter: "Is it allowable here to make a venture of faith and speculate on a matter of which we cannot give definite proof?" The answer is yes. It tells of a man who "believed he was going through the veil to preach to men" (in Hades). "I believe it too, though I cannot prove it." Again: "If I draw some conclusions which I cannot definitely prove from Scripture, they are only such as seem to me reasonable and probable." (Pp.52, 149, 154.) The Hades gospel has no place in the Christian Church. God's children corne to church to hear what God has to say to them, and here they are forced to listen to what puny men have to say to The Evil of the Hades Gospel 601 them. God's children want to hear the oracles of God, not the speculations, dreams, and oracles of men. And these speculations are not worth listening to because they are speculations, unsubstantial dreams, unreliable uncertainties. It is remarkable how often the Hades theologians are compelled to make use of the terms "perhaps," "if," "probably." Specimens already quoted in the preceding articles: "The Gospel was preached to the dead, perhaps to all the vast population of the underworld." "May we not dare to hope?" "Conjecture is vain." (Pulpit Com­mentary.) "Almost certain reference." (Luckock.) "The ancient Church supposed." (Dorner.) "Lead us to think it at least possible that the sentence may not be irrevocable." (Plumptre.) "Prob­ability. . .. This probability is strengthened. . .. Provided that .... " (Timothy Dwight.) "May save sinful souls even after death." (Farrar.) "What we surmise is .... " (Edwin Lewis.) Some additional confessions of uncertainty. From a letter of Plu"1ptre to Farrar: "Are there no prison doors to open, no lambs to ga·her in the fold? We know not; but if .... " (Farrar, op. cit., p.189.) The Gospe.!. oj the Hereafter, p. 64: "I am not laying down this as a <"+--"~""_"-'dt of S,~ripture, but I think it is a fair conjecture." Luckock: "There is certJ.inly nothi.l'lg to forbid us from supposing that the antediluvians were brought to repentance when the Flood actualIy came .. '. There-is a strong presumption that they had bEen pardoned (before their death)." (Op, cit., p.143.) "Grundtvig: 'l\othing preV~-nts us from SUPP05ing that tJ·o Tnartyrs continue the prealhing o~ Christ in Hades' for t;~ p ... l :>se of converting those who were not witnesses of Christ's localitie::" ..:._ u6her and the lower." (Op. cit., pp.24, 32, 140.) According to ot.1-J.ers, however, Hades contains only one compartment, the t(!mporary abode of the un­believers. For, savs Traub, "Those who die, in the faith, at once enter heaven." (Op. c.t., p. 31.) The Luthardt-Jelke Kvmpendium, p. 431: "Since Ch.:!St's descent to Hades the bE'.!"leVel'S n(> ltlnger go to Had~s but to heaven." Accord;"'g to the Br'!r,klumer SonntligSt>latt Had~s hes only one compartment, wli;~,. how'"-!ver, contains only thObe unbel:ev~rs who did n?t hear the Gospe·.lIn +lleir earthly life, the other 1Jnbe~~vers being consIgned at once to he~. (See Lutheraner, 1882, p.10!:!.) Or It may be that Hades has three compartments. Dr. P. Madsen: "First -the dwel:1mg place of th~ b~ievers prior to the final bliss called 'Paradise,' that is, ~Hades-Para1':;-e.' Second -the dwelling place of the unbelievers, which in Lwl:e ..?J:23 is described as a suffering; however so that not yet every human feeling in them has been destroyed (v. 27). Third -the state of those whose condition is not yet determined, having had no choice extended them here on earth." (See M. O. Wee, Shall I Live For­ever? p.34.) Just what does Kahnis teach on this point? He says: "So­nach wuerden in jener Welt drei Orte und mit ihnen drei Z'.lstaende z:u unterscheiden sein: del' Strafort (qJUAUX-.1), der 'mittlere Ort der Entschel­dung und Laeuterung, und der Freudenort (JtuQuIlEL