Books for Hell Fire Preachers – John Boruff

UPDATED BIBLIOGRAPHY: 7/1/12

Puritan, Methodist, and Evangelical Books on Hell

Clearly the greatest Hell fire preacher in all of church history was, and still is, Jonathan Edwards (d. 1758); the man who preached the sermon “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.” Any evangelist, or Gospel preacher, should turn to Edwards’ writings if preaching on Hell is to be taken seriously. However, Edwards was not the first Hell fire preacher. He was the last preacher in the Puritan tradition: a tradition in which there were many other preachers, who graphically displayed Hell fire and brimstone:–the literal Biblical view of eternal damnation: the doctrine of eternal punishment. Christopher Love’s Hell’s Terror (1653), John Bunyan’s A Few Sighs from Hell (1658), and Thomas Vincent’s Fire and Brimstone (1670) were well known Puritan classics on the subject. Avoiding artistic license, and preaching strictly from the Bible, and dreams and visions, these preachers were not like the Puritan poet John Milton, who authored Paradise Lost (1674), an imaginary, fictional poem about Hell: what Dante’s Inferno was in the Middle Ages. The Puritans were serious Hell fire preachers. They took theology seriously, the Christian life seriously, and the doctrine of eternal punishment seriously. Their whole purpose in ministry was to ensure the salvation of themselves and their listeners from eternal damnation in Hell. The modern Fundamentalist and Evangelical establishment has descended from the Puritans; and we would be wise to remember these old paths (Jeremiah 6:16).

As noted previously, Edwards has been considered the “last Puritan,” and died in 1758. Coincidentally, that is exactly 100 years after Bunyan’s book on Hell was published; perhaps, then, it would be right to say that 1658-1758 was a Golden Age of Puritan Hell Fire Preaching. But the life and ministry of Jonathan Edwards gave rise to a new expression of Christianity called Evangelical Revival. Edwards was, at the same time the “last Puritan” and the “first Revivalist”; the others who continued the new Revivalist tradition were John Wesley (d. 1791) and George Whitefield (d. 1770), the founders of Methodism. Because Wesley was an Arminian “Puritan”, and Whitefield a Calvinist “Puritan”, they eventually parted ways, on polite terms. Wesley went on to lead the Methodist Church and Whitefield the Calvinistic Methodists; both of them were hard working evangelists; however, Wesley preached on free will, and Whitefield on predestination (adopting Edwards’ Calvinistic Puritan tradition). Wesley drew his inspiration from Arminian Puritans like John Goodwin and Richard Baxter; and other Anglican preachers. Nevertheless, both Wesley and Whitefield, pushing their own versions of Methodist Revivalism—were definitely Hell fire preachers, as well as preachers of righteousness.

Before liberal theology entered the Methodist Episcopal Church: their preachers were committed to preaching on Hell (eternal punishment), as well as Baptists, Presbyterians, and others who inherited the Puritan tradition. But, it seems, that during the early nineteenth century with Charles Finney (d. 1875) (though not necessarily because of him): Hell fire preaching declined; and morality and ethics became the main focus of the Christian life for Evangelicals. This seems to have given rise to Universalism and Humanism; and no doubt, because of the Enlightenment focus on science, skepticism, reason, and a general loss of faith in the existence of the spirit world.

Rare Puritan books on Hell can be found either on amazon.com or heritagebooks.org. Also, publishers worth noting, who are publishing Puritan books on Hell, and other classics, are: International Outreach (intoutreach.org), Soli Deo Gloria Publications, The Northampton Press, Old Paths Gospel Press, and Diggory Press. Hell fire preachers would do well to pay special attention to the following authors (in this order): George Whitefield, Jonathan Edwards, Thomas Vincent, Robert Peterson, John Bunyan, Isaac Watts, Thomas Boston, Christopher Love, Solomon Stoddard, A. W. Pink, William G. T. Shedd, Thomas Doolittle, and Harry Buis.

Probably the best old-time theologians who have written about Hell:
Jonathan Edwards, Thomas Vincent, John Bunyan, Thomas Boston, Christopher Love

Probably the best modern theologians who have written about Hell:
Edward Donnelly, Robert Peterson, William G. T. Shedd, R. L. Dabney, and John Walvoord

Allison, Gregg. Historical Theology: An Introduction to Christian Doctrine. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011. Chapter 32: “The Final Judgment and Eternal Punishment.” Heavy reliance on the church fathers.

Bartlett, Samuel. Life and Death Eternal: A Refutation of the Theory of Annihilation. Boston: American Tract Society, 1866. 390 pages.

Baxter, Mary K. A Divine Revelation of Hell. New Kensington, PA: Whitaker House, 1993. A Pentecostal prayer warrior explains her 40 day out-of-body experience in Hell; as she is guided by the Lord Jesus.

Blanchard, John. Whatever Happened to Hell? Darlington, UK: Evangelical Press, 2003. Foreword by J. I. Packer.

Boston, Thomas. Hell. London: Diggory Press, 2007. A Scottish Presbyterian with a Puritan leaning; died in 1732. 96 pages.

Buis, Harry. The Doctrine of Eternal Punishment. Philadelphia: Presbyterian and Reformed, 1957. 148 pages.

Bunyan, John. Sighs from Hell: The Groans of a Damned Soul. Edited by Don Kistler. Orlando, FL: The Northampton Press, 2011. 160 pages.

_________. Groans of a Lost Soul. Old Paths Gospel Press. 144 pages.

Byun, Seung Woo. Christians Going to Hell. Lake Mary, FL: Charisma House, 2006. A South Korean preacher lays out the Gospel in a hard-hitting attack on Hell-bound hypocrites and churchgoers.

Clarke, Adam. Clarke’s Christian Theology. Salem, OH: Schmul Publishing, 1990. Chapter 33: “Hell.” 438 pages.

Dabney, R. L. Systematic Theology. Edinburgh, UK: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1985. Chapter 46: “Nature and Duration of Hell Torments.” 903 pages.

Doolittle, Thomas. Rebukes for Sin by the Flames of Hell: A Terrifying Look at Eternity. Ames, IA: International Outreach, 2011. 105 pages.

Donnelly, Edward. Biblical Teaching on the Doctrines of Heaven and Hell. Edinburgh, UK: The Banner of Truth Trust, 2001. Chapters 1-4. 144 pages.

Edwards, Jonathan. The Torments of Hell: Jonathan Edwards on Eternal Damnation. Edited by William Nichols. Ames, IA: International Outreach, 2006. 18 fire and brimstone sermons by Jonathan Edwards. 334 pages.

Erickson, Millard. Christian Theology. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1998. Chapter 60: “Final States.”

Finney, Charles. “The Loss When a Soul is Lost.” The Oberlin Evangelist. July 2, 1851.

Geisler, Norman. Systematic Theology: In One Volume. Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House Publishers, 2011. Chapter 79: “The Final State of the Lost (Hell).”

Gerstner, John. Jonathan Edwards on Heaven and Hell. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1980. 93 pages.

_________. Repent or Perish. Morgan, PA: Soli Deo Gloria, 1990. A traditionalist’s response to Edward Fudge’s Annihilationism; Gerstner is like Robert Peterson and John Walvoord in this regard.

Grudem, Wayne. Systematic Theology. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1994. Chapter 56: “The Final Judgment and Eternal Punishment.”

Hodge, Charles. Systematic Theology. Vol. 3. Peabody, MS: Hendrickson Publishers, 1999. Part IV. Chapter 4.6: “Future Punishment.”

Ingebretsen, Edward. Maps of Heaven, Maps of Hell: Religious Terror as Memory from the Puritans to Stephen King. M E Sharpe, 1996.

Love, Christopher. Hell’s Terror, or, A Treatise of the Torments of the Damned as a Preservative Against Security. EEBO, 2011. Love (d. 1651) was one of Puritanism’s most renowned Hell fire preachers before Edwards. 140 pages.

Lutzer, Erwin. One Minute After You Die. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 1997. Chapters 2 and 6.

Merrill, S. M. The New Testament Idea of Hell. London: Richard D. Dickinson, 1879. Old-school Methodist bishop and preacher who had very strong views of Wesleyan soteriology; provides arguments against Universalism.

Morgan, Chris. Jonathan Edwards and Hell. Fearn, Scotland: Mentor, 2004. 176 pages.

_________, and Robert Peterson, eds. Hell Under Fire: Modern Scholarship Reinvents Eternal Punishment. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2007. 256 pages.

_________, and Robert Peterson. What is Hell? Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 2010. 40 pages.

_________, and Robert Peterson, eds. Is Hell for Real or Does Everyone Go to Heaven? Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011. 96 pages.

Peterson, Robert. Hell on Trial: The Case for Eternal Punishment. Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 1995. 258 pages.

_________. “Part Two: The Case for Traditionalism” in Two Views of Hell. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2000.

Pink, A. W. Eternal Punishment. Bottom of the Hill Publishing, 2011. Recommended by International Outreach.

Pusey, Edward. What is of Faith as to Everlasting Punishment? Nabu Press, 2012. Deals extensively with the writings of the pseudepigrapha, the Talmud, church fathers, martyrs of the early church, and the Desert Fathers, and their affirmation of Hell as a literal place of eternal punishment.

Shedd, William G. T. The Doctrine of Endless Punishment. Solid Ground Christian Books, 2008. 220 pages.

Stoddard, Solomon. The Fear of Hell Restrains Men from Sin. Morgan, PA: Soli Deo Gloria, 2003. Timeless Hell fire sermon by the grandfather of Jonathan Edwards. 20 Pages.

Strachan, Owen, and Doug Sweeney. Jonathan Edwards on Heaven and Hell. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2010.

Turner, Alice. The History of Hell. Orlando, FL: Harcourt Brace & Co., 1993. Although written by an unbeliever, this book can provide a historical resource for major works on Hell, particularly from the 1600s and on, from the Puritan and Evangelical traditions.

Vincent, Thomas. Fire and Brimstone. Morgan, PA: Soli Deo Gloria, 1999. 250 pages.

_________. Fire and Brimstone in Hell. Ames, IA: International Outreach, 1994.

Walls, Jerry. Hell: The Logic of Damnation. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1992.

Walvoord, John. “The Literal View” in Four Views on Hell. Edited by Williams Crockett. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1996.

Watts, Isaac. The World to Come. Morgan, PA: Soli Deo Gloria, 2003. 431 pages. A Great Awakening preacher argues convincingly for the Biblical view of Heaven and Hell.

Wesley, John. “Of Hell” in The Works of John Wesley, vol. 3, Sermon #73. Edited by Albert Outler. Nashville, TN: Abingdon, 1986.

Whitefield, George. The Eternity of Hell Torments. Gale ECCO, 2010. 36 pages.

Wiese, Bill. 23 Minutes in Hell. Lake Mary, FL: Charisma House, 2006. A conservative Christian shares his out-of-body experience in Hell; and backs it up with Biblical theology.

_________. Hell: Separate Truth from Fiction and Get Your Toughest Questions Answered. Lake Mary, FL: Charisma House, 2006. 368 pages.

OLD BIBLIOGRAPHY: 12/27/11

Arendzen, J. P. Eternal Punishment, 1928. (old Catholic)
Brine, John. A Vindication of Divine Justice, 1754. (TULIP Calvinist).
Donnelly, Edward. Heaven and Hell, 2002. (Reformed).
Edwards, Jonathan. “Of Endless Punishment” and “The Eternity of Hell Torments,” 1700s (Congregational).
Goulburn, Edward. Everlasting Punishment, 1880.
Gulliver, John. Law and Penalty Endless, 1873. (Congregational)
Lee, Luther. Universalism Examined and Refuted; And the Doctrine of Endless Punishment Established. (Puritan). 1700s.
Peterson, Robert. Hell on Trial: The Case for Eternal Punishment, 1995. (Reformed).
———- and Christopher Morgan, Hell Under Fire, 2004. (Reformed).
———- and Christopher Morgan, What is Hell?, 2010 (Reformed).
Pink, A. W. Eternal Punishment. (Calvinist).
Randles, Marshall. For Ever: An Essay on Eternal Punishment, 1878.
Shedd, William. The Doctrine of Endless Punishment, 1885. (Calvinist).
Skinner, Warren. Sermons on the Doctrine of Endless Punishment, 1835.
Stoddard, Solomon. The Fear of Hell Restrains Men from Sin, 1700s. (Puritan).
Walls, Jerry. Hell: The Logic of Damnation, 1992. (Wesleyan Arminian).
Walvoord, John. “Literal View” in Four Views on Hell, 1997. (Reformed).
Wesley, John. “Of Hell” (Sermon 73). (Wesleyan Arminian).
Wiese, Bill. 23 Minutes in Hell, 2006. (Reformed Charismatic).
——–. Hell: Separate Truth From Fiction, 2008.

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About John Boruff

John Boruff is the founder of WesleyGospel.com, a husband, father, and sometimes an open air preacher. He graduated from UNC Pembroke in 2008 with a B.A. in Philosophy and Religion and views himself as a Baptistic Pentecostal. As a Christian, he feels connected with all members of the body of Christ, but can identify the most with churches like the Assemblies of God and the Vineyard. In 2015, he released "The Gospel of Jesus Christ," which is meant to be a Bible study for open air preaching. For his other writings, search articles on this site or see the E-Books section.
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One Response to Books for Hell Fire Preachers – John Boruff

  1. Heavenisreal says:

    There is a Heaven to gain and a Hell to shun. Jesus is the only bona fide and true way to enter the kingdom of God. Every religion that rejects salvation through our Lord and Saviour Jesus christ is a false religion and will eventually lead their adherents to Hell fire. There is no salvation outside Jesus Christ.

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