Yes, I see the logic of what he is saying, but it just doesn’t resonate with me from my own experience.
First of all, I was raised to be an annihilationist with the assumption that this was far far superior an idea to that of hell.
Second, my denomination was/is ultra Arminian whereby ALL of salvation is by “choice”. However, that choice is not consistently honest and “our part” (that is, the choice and cooperation and will etc) are fickle and weak and changeable. That all adds up to serious uncertainty and insecurity about salvation. Thus for me it wasn’t true (still isn’t) that “all Christians know they are going to heaven.”
It seems however that what we share with annihilationists, and with ECT believers, is the knowledge that there are serious consequences for rebellion against God. It’s just that we believe they are temporary, and purpose driven (ie not punitive).
But it’s always baffled me that such a fearful and negative motivation (avoid annihilation or ECT) is so readily employed since it seems a very poor way (from, say, a PR and marketing perspective…) to get the thing you really want. Which is adoration and true worship and loyalty and love.
Further, it’s hard for me to take seriously that a “choice” made under such dire threats (or call them warnings if one must) is a choice at all. For that sounds just as forceful as anything God might employ to save all people.
I liked his argument that
- belief in ECT isn’t necessary for salvation
- this doctrine repels more than it attracts
- therefore, Christians preach ECT because they want to be right, not because they want to attract people to God.
If this is God’s command “Love me, serve me, or I will torture you forever”, any person with a shred of courage and nobility would reject Him with contempt. Perhaps this explains why many churches are filled with mean-spirited people. They are there to escape punishment, not to escape sin. They don’t love God. They flatter him.