Bible Echo and Signs of the Times, vol. 2

Bible Echo and Signs of the Times, Vol. 2


November 1887

“‘Conditional Immortality‘—What Is It?” Bible Echo and Signs of the Times 2, 11.

E. J. Waggoner

At the Baptist Convention recently held in Oakland, Californian, one of the essays, written and read by a prominent clergyman, contained the following:- BEST November 1887, page 2.1

“Two of the foremost nations of the world stand face to face with two great problems. Conditional immortality is leavening the Church of England, and probation after death is sapping the foundation of Congregationalism.” BEST November 1887, page 2.2

From the fact that the essayist connected conditional immortality with probation after death, which he regards as a dangerous heresy, we conclude that he regards conditional immortality in the same light. We know, indeed, that many people do regard that doctrine as a pernicious one, and we are forced to conclude that, if they are honest, their aversion is due to ignorance of what conditional immortality is. BEST November 1887, page 2.3

What is meant by conditional immortality? Simply this, that immortality, or eternal life, which is the same thing, is conditioned upon the individual’s belief in Christ. It means that “the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23. It is the doctrine which our Saviour himself taught, when he said: “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life; and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” John 3:36. Or, as expressed by the apostle: “And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.” 1 John 5:11. BEST November 1887, page 3.1

It is the doctrine which Christ taught to Nicodemus in these words: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16. It is the doctrine which gives Christ his rightful title of Life-giver, which he himself claimed, when he said: “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” John 10:10. BEST November 1887, page 3.2

To hear the same men talk, one would get the idea that the doctrine of conditional immortality is rank infidelity, and utterly opposed to all true Christianity. As a matter of fact, it is based on the reception of the fact that in all things Christ has the preeminence; that man can have nothing except as he gets it through Christ. BEST November 1887, page 3.3

As a matter of fact, a denial of the doctrine of conditional immortality is to that extent a denial of Christ. Indeed, we may truly say that it is wholly a denial of Christ, since it denies the very thing for which Christ came. He himself declares that his only object, by believing on him, have life. Now the man who says that eternal life is not conditioned upon his believing in Christ, virtually says that man has no need of Christ. This was just what so many of the ancient Jews did, to whom Christ sadly said, “Ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.” They did not profess to be Christians; they rejected Christ unreservedly. Is it not strange that in these days Christ is rejected in exactly the same way by those who profess to love and honor him? Why should people refuse to acknowledge their indebtedness to Christ for all that they have or hope to have? BEST November 1887, page 3.4