In his discussion of Christian beliefs, the celebrated astronomer, Fred Hoyle, expresses his exasperation over the way Christians approach life after death:
In their anxiety to avoid the notion that death is the complete end of our existence, they suggest what is to me an equally horrible alternative. If I were given the choice of how long I should like to live with my present physical and mental equipment, I should decide on a good deal more than seventy years. But I doubt whether I should be wise to decide on more than 300 years. Already I am very aware of my own limitations, and I think that 300 years is as long as I should like to put up with them. Now what Christians offer me is an eternity of frustration.
This ‘horrible alternative' of heavenly frustration is a far cry from the terrible possibility of hellish torment, which has been the more usual cause for concern of those contemplating the next world. And when such a prospect is proclaimed by the Church, with the alleged support of Scripture and tradition, as an eternally conscious experience, the sense of outrage or hopelessness is unbearable for those lacking the assurance of God's love. Certainly, the Calvinistic doctrine of reprobation would consolidate such a reaction. However, acquiescence in despair for oneself or others has not been an option for a growing number over the last one hundred and fifty years or so, who have challenged the dogma of eternal torment, and who have sought alternatives more in accord with divine justice and human worth. The object of this study will be to consider such attempts of a growing body of Christians in this period to mitigate the horrors of eternal punishment, while seeking more humane ways of understanding the final judgement and while acknowledging the authority and full inspiration of Scripture.
Granted the steady and powerful progress of the liberal and critical approach to Scripture and theology during the period under consideration, it has to be admitted that the growth of the challenge to the traditional doctrine of eternal punishment has virtually paralleled this less constrained attitude to the Bible and its teaching. As Leslie Houlden has observed:
In the matter of the integrity of doctrine, the effect of liberal thought has seemed to involve a gradual attenuation of the orthodox doctrinal ‘package'. First one, then another element has been challenged and apparently abandoned: the inspiration and authority of Scripture, the magisterium of the church, the incarnation, the Trinity, hell, life after death.
However, the misgivings of various evangelicals over this harsh dogma are hardly likely to have been the result of an erosion of their confidence in the Bible (including its teaching on the existence of hell), if the essential definition of evangelicalism is to mean anything. It cannot, then, be gratuitously assumed that denial of eternal punishment as traditionally taught goes hand in hand with a weak view of the inspiration of Scripture. Even so, the attempts of some evangelical Christians to mitigate the horrors of the traditional view of hell by promoting ideas such as conditional immortality (or annihilationism), have not met with the approval of fellow evangelicals or from others of a conservative doctrinal stance.
The object, then, of this study or quest is to review and evaluate the progress of this doctrine from Victorian times to the present, particularly, but not exclusively, noting the interest and reaction of the evangelical fraternity. This will be done, then, in as broad a context as possible. Since the rapid growth of the tenet of conditional immortality in the nineteenth century and its consolidation in the second half of the twentieth century have proved to be of major significance in the history of modern evangelicals, this view will have to occupy a large part of this enquiry.
The emergence of the Evangelical Alliance in 1846 promised a new stage in the promotion of unity among evangelicals. However, this aim was threatened by the unfortunate over-reaction to the views of T. R. Birks, general secretary of that body, almost a quarter of a century later. Our study will focus on this for good reasons. Because of the row over Birks' apparent mitigation of the unproductive horrors of hell, his views do not appear to have been adequately considered at the time as another serious interpretation of the dogma. His theory seems to have resurfaced at the Fourth Edinburgh Conference on Christian Dogmatics in 1991, in the form of Henri Blocher's lecture, indicating perhaps that its appeal is not exhausted. One has given extended consideration to the ideas of Birks, then, because his contribution to the debate has not received sufficient recognition or appreciation, in my opinion. No doubt the reason for this is due largely to the fact that his books, relevant to the topic, are virtually unknown even in evangelical circles. Again, it may be assumed that the notoriety attached to his name has not encouraged those who have heard of him to explore his teaching further. Hopefully, this exercise will go some of the way in remedying this gap in knowledge when it comes to the history of the doctrine under review. The boldness and originality alone of his views deserve some acknowledgement; but when they are seen to encourage a greater awareness of the problem facing theodicy in the traditional dogma of eternal torment they merit more than passing attention. The proportion of the thesis devoted to Birks should not be seen as an attempt to promote his approach to the problem, despite a certain empathy I have had with his thinking. Such objectivity, I hope, will be evident if only through my sympathies for the conditionalist stance.
The main scope of this study
Several of the significant contributors [to this debate] reviewed could not be described, properly speaking, as evangelicals as such; but, as already intimated, this enquiry is not intended to be exclusive or narrow. However, it ought to be made clear that the focus will be chiefly on the way evangelical Christians have been involved in questioning the traditional expression of the doctrine of eternal punishment. Although, from a historical perspective, the word evangelical is associated largely in many minds with a particular party in the Anglican church, the term cuts across denominational boundaries. Geoffrey Best, for example, pictures the "Evangelical impulse" as a stream flowing towards the nineteenth century along the three channels of Methodism, Nonconformity and Anglicanism.
Briefly surveying the history of evangelicalism, John Stott, the elder-statesman of British evangelicals, sees the tradition soundly rooted in the New Testament evangel. Furthermore, while he recognises that the label, ‘evangelical', did not come into widespread use until the early eighteenth century in connection with the so-called ‘Evangelical Revival' associated with John Wesley and George Whitefield, he acknowledges the significance here of the fifteenth-century doctor evangelicus, John Wycliffe, and the sixteenth-century Reformers, who were also known as evangelicals [which was particularly the case before the Second Diet of Speyer in 1529, after which the term gave way to the label, Protestant - albeit, evangelical/evangelisch is still used in Germany to distinguish Protestants from Roman Catholics]. Of the many celebrated eighteenth/nineteenth-century evangelical stalwarts, Charles Simeon is worth noting in connection with the main subject of this dissertation, for he was vicar at Holy Trinity Cambridge from 1782-1833, the church where T.R. Birks ministered from 1866. Further, concerning this period David Bebbington claims that the hundred years or so before the First World War deserve to be known as the "Evangelical Century", albeit by the early 1870s evangelicalism was "on the ebb".
Again, Stott is anxious to distinguish between evangelicalism and fundamentalism, which sometimes seem to be identified in popular thought. Although he accepts that originally in the early twentieth century fundamentalism was an acceptable synonym for evangelicalism, he asserts that now the great majority of evangelicals (at least in Europe) repudiate the fundamentalist label because of its somewhat obscurantist tendencies.
Of the various types of evangelical that have been identified, conservative evangelical perhaps best describes the principal type of evangelicalism, which will be focused upon in this work - particularly British conservative evangelicalism. However, this description is not used in an overly strict away, as conservative evangelical sometimes appears to be used by non-evangelicals virtually in the sense of evangelical in the broad sense; and also some of those evangelicals, whose views will be examined, are more properly speaking liberal evangelical in their position. Yet, whatever the differences between the different kinds of evangelical might be, there is essential agreement; and such differences are not so fundamental [pace I. Murray, whose views we will note presently] as to disqualify a basic common definition. Owen Chadwick observes that the evangelical Anglicans of the Victorian age were numerous and did "contain a wide range of opinion" and "were as various as the Tractarians". Yet, he notes also that "they held certain broad principles": they preached the cross, the depravity of man and justification by faith; they were conscientious students of the Bible, and while they feared Rome as the antichrist they were friendly to "orthodox and Protestant dissenters". The redoubtable nineteenth-century evangelical Anglican, J.C. Ryle, lists five doctrinal features characteristic of evangelical conviction: the absolute supremacy of Scripture, human sinfulness, the work of Christ, the inward work of the Holy Spirit, and His outward work. Again, more recently, David Bebbington has isolated in his book, "Evangelicalism in Modern Britain", what he considers to be the four basic characteristics of the evangelical stance: conversionism, activism, biblicism and crucicentrism. Bebbington maintains that despite the variations in the statements made by evangelicals, these four characteristics are "a common core that has remained constant down the centuries." Such an analysis is shared by John Stott, who describes Bebbington's book as a "magisterial survey", and by other leading evangelical scholars, for example Derek Tidball, principal of the London Bible College, who comments that Bebbington's basis "has quickly established itself as near to a consensus as we might ever expect to reach." According to this view, then, evangelicalism is chiefly characterised by an emphasis on the necessity of conversion; on subsequent strenuous effort for God and others particularly in evangelism; on the atoning work of Christ on the Cross; and on the centrality of the Bible as the infallible - if not inerrant - revealed word of God. Of these primary characteristics of evangelical conviction, conversionism is of especial interest in the context of this thesis, for, as Bebbington notes, traditional evangelicalism has insisted on preaching on the "terrors" and "reality" of hell to secure conversions. Likewise, writing about the decline in the belief in hell in the latter part of the nineteenth-century, Jeffrey Cox comments: "When Hell was abolished, conversion became less urgent."
According to Bebbington the unity of evangelicalism was broken in the 1920s because of various pressures and differences particularly in connection with the question of the inerrancy of Scripture; and from this time conservative and liberal evangelicals were "walking apart", as something of a battle raged within evangelicalism between liberalism and conservatism or "Fundamentalism" and "Modernism", concurrently in Britain and America. Iain Murray, a staunch defender of historic evangelicalism, gives a more up-to-date assessment of the way this division has developed. In his recently published, Evangelicalism Divided, he gives a detailed and penetrating account of the "crucial change" in evangelicalism in the years 1950-2000. Substantially, he claims, this unfortunate trend [as he views it] can be traced back to the appearance mid-century of the "new evangelicalism" in Fuller Theological Seminary in the United States. This reaction to stifling fundamentalism was popularised in America by Billy Graham, who in turn, through his evangelistic crusades, influenced evangelicals in Britain to adopt a more ecumenical approach in the task of reaching the unconverted. This development had the support of many evangelical Anglicans, particularly John Stott, who encouraged Graham to pursue this more flexible stance in ecclesiology and evangelism. Indeed, Murray sees Stott as one of the chief architects of the new evangelicalism in Britain; and he notes particularly the lead given by him in this direction at the first National Evangelical Anglican Congress at Keele in 1967 and subsequently. Bebbington interprets this particular development more positively, and he sees the Keele congress as "the chief landmark in a postwar Evangelical renaissance". For many Anglican evangelicals such a broader policy was pursued to ensure that the evangelical party had a significant voice in the Anglican communion; and instead of coming out from an institution which had become vague in its convictions (for example no longer requiring its clergy to assent to the Thirty-Nine Articles) they became involved both in its ecumenical and liberal developments. In fact such a bold departure from the narrower historic evangelicalism seems to have resulted in an actual increase in the numbers of evangelicals in the Anglican church, at least in the late 1960s. (Incidentally, despite his more liberal ecclesiology, Stott would certainly be considered a champion of conservative evangelicalism in his general doctrinal stance, as any reading of his Evangelical Truth, for example, would make clear.) This trend continued steadily, and by the time of the second National Evangelical Anglican Congress at Nottingham in 1977, it became clear that many younger evangelicals especially were keen to take this wider view even further. The increasing sympathy towards Rome was illustrated in the way one up-and-coming leader, David Watson, "deplored the division of the church at the Reformation".
Also in the realm of biblical scholarship, a greater readiness to listen to liberal theologians and critics was being manifested increasingly at this time; and again, younger evangelical scholars were in the vanguard, Free Church as well as Anglican. Clearly, it was increasingly felt necessary by many evangelical intellectuals that a less rigid approach to biblical scholarship and interpretation should replace the older view, which included biblical inerrancy and verbal inspiration. This was considered unavoidable if evangelicals were not to be marginalised and seen to be irrelevant in the academic world. Murray notes how one of the more conservative evangelical Anglican scholars, Jim Packer, was becoming disenchanted with the way matters were developing, particularly with respect to increasing compromise with theologically liberal ideas; even so, he regrets the participation of Packer in the recent American phenomenon of ‘Evangelicals and Catholics Together'.
In short, then, Murray is clearly concerned at the way things have been going with evangelicals, with the slide towards a broader (ecumenical and Rome-bound) ecclesiology and towards an understanding of Scripture, which has led many of them to abandon the doctrine of the verbal inspiration of the Bible. Significantly, while Murray is deeply disturbed at the way this has led to the undermining of traditional biblical doctrine, nowhere does he directly refer in this book to the conditionalist-traditionalist debate on eternal punishment, which has been so active among evangelicals.
Before moving on from Murray's assessment of the situation, and assuming its accuracy and impartiality, one wonders how longer some - if not many - evangelicals will feel able to be described by that name in its full traditional sense. Certainly, if liberal evangelical is not too much of a misnomer, it may be that such a title best describes those, whom Murray judges to have departed from historic evangelicalism.
Nevertheless, Bebbington's ‘quadrilateral' is generally useful and apparently becoming widely acceptable to evangelicals, albeit Stott notes how others have added to it. In his analysis of conversionism, Bebbington deals with the related issues of timing (gradual or sudden), means (the part played by the Holy Spirit and the human will), baptism (the dilemma of Anglican evangelicals over baptismal regeneration) and assurance. Certainly, this last feature, assurance, has been a significant aspect of Christian doctrine especially since the Protestant Reformation, and has become a dogma firmly resisted by the Roman Catholic Church, as it made clear in the Council of Trent. In the context of this present study, an observer could be excused for seeing a link between the insistence of many evangelicals on the doctrine of assurance of personal salvation and on that of eternal conscious punishment; for if one is confident of one's own heavenly destiny, it becomes easier to believe in the everlasting punishment of those finally rejected. Such assurance is not the only area where evangelical Christians exhibit an attitude of certainty. The biblicism noted by Bebbington is often illustrated in a simple and general acceptance of and confidence in what the Bible teaches.
However, despite this focus on evangelical scholars and leaders, I have benefitted greatly from the study of others, particularly F. D. Maurice, F. W. Farrar and William Temple, who have demonstrated that there is no shame in being unable to pontificate with ‘systematic' certainty in an area of doctrine, where we should move with reluctance, compassion and sensitivity.
The literature of this period is vast and one does not pretend to have examined most of what has been written. Indeed, to have attempted to use more works than I have would have made this exercise unwieldy and would have turned it into a book catalogue or omnibus review! However, I feel reasonably confident that sufficient has been studied to present an accurate picture of the way the argument has gone in the church generally and with respect to evangelical Christians.
In addition to the doctrine of eternal punishment itself, the associated issues of the ‘wider hope', the final number of the saved and the prospects of those who have never had a proper chance to respond to the Gospel challenge will be addressed. As I hope to demonstrate, it is easier to stick with a traditional harsh view of hell, if one is confident that, in the end, it is the destination of the minority.
Shortly after embarking on this research, I discovered that the Evangelical Alliance had already initiated a study of their own on the doctrine of hell, which should be published early in 2000 [by Paternoster Press].
Note : the term evangelical will be used in the lower case.
 Fred Hoyle , The Nature of the Universe, Harmondsworth, Penguin, 1963, p. 123.
 Leslie Houlden, Liberalism: Britain, Modern Christian Thought, Ed. Alister McGrath, Oxford, Blackwell, 1997 reprint, p. 322.
 This can be seen again, e.g., in the doctrinal stance of the Christadelphians (originating in the middle of the nineteenth century) who have always held to the infallibility of Scripture despite rejecting eternal punishment (as well as other doctrines, such as the Trinity). Further, of particular note here is T.R. Birks, whose independent ideas on the future of the unsaved were considered unscriptural by some of his contemporaries in the Evangelical Alliance. Yet, far from abandoning the orthodox view of the Bible, he demonstrated [in his The Bible and Modern Thought, 1861] his allegiance to scriptural authority by mounting an assault on the notorious Essays and Reviews soon after its appearance. Published in 1860 Essays and Reviews was perhaps the earliest major and classical case of the liberal attempt to accommodate traditional belief to various aspects of ‘modern' knowledge.
 Early in the debate about eternal punishment, F.W. Grant assumed conditional immortality to be identical with annihilationism. See his Facts and Theories as to a Future State, London, Alfred Holness (or New York, Martin Cathcart), 1879, p. 5. This thesis virtually follows this view. Incidentally, Grant, a staunch evangelical traditionalist, cites the example of the unorthodox Christadelphians, to warn against entertaining ideas such as annihilationism (p. 8f).
 G. Best on Evangelicalism and the Victorians, in A. Symondson (ed.), The Victorian Crisis of Faith, London, S.P.C.K., 1970, pp. 40-42.
 John Stott, Evangelical Truth, Leicester, IVP, 1999, p. 18.
 In his examination of the origins of evangelicalism, David Bebbington traces this "popular Protestant movement" back to the 1730s in his Evangelicalism in Modern Britain, London, Routledge, 1989, p. 1.
 Evangelical Truth, op. cit. p. 17f.
 See, e.g., Alister E. McGrath, Reformation Thought: an Introduction, Oxford, Blackwell, 1993, pp. 238 & 240.
 For the considerable influence amongst evangelicals of Charles Simeon see G. Kitson Clark, Churchmen and the Condition of England 1832-1885, London, Methuen, 1973, p. 47.
 Birks was ‘perpetual curate' there until ill-health forced his resignation in 1877. See article on Birks in The Blackwell Dictionary of Evangelical Biography Vol. 1, Oxford, Blackwell, 1995, which, curiously, makes no reference to Birks' controversial book, The Victory of Divine Goodness.
 D. Bebbington, Evangelicalism in Modern Britain, op. cit. pp. 149 & 152.
 Evangelical Truth, pp. 18-24. Iain Murray, Evangelicalism Divided, Edinburgh, Banner of Truth, 2000, pp. 17 & 178 also notes how non-evangelicals tend to consider all evangelicals to be fundamentalists. Interestingly, one of the celebrated fundamentalists of the early twentieth century, Robert Anderson, seems to echo Birks, when he suggests, "It may be that the recognition of the perfect justice and goodness of God will lead the lost to accept their doom." R. Anderson, Human Destiny: After Death - What?,London, Pickering and Inglis, 1913; quoted by Vernon C. Grounds in his article, "The Final State of the Wicked", Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, 24, 1981, p. 219.
 Nigel Wright notes the six "sub-communities" proposed by Gabriel Fackre [ in ‘Evangelical, Evangelicalism' in A. Richardson & J. Bowden (eds.), A New Dictionary of Christian Theology,London, SCM, 1983, pp. 191-92]. See N. Wright, The Radical Evangelical, London, S.P.C.K., 1996, pp. 5-9. Stott also refers to Fackre's classification: Evangelical Truth, op. cit.p. 25f. One wonders, however, if there is too much overlap to make too much demarcation.
 Owen Chadwick, The Victorian Church (Part One), London, SCM Press, 1971, p. 440f. Chadwick goes on to note that in practical matters evangelicals of this period were characterised by an austere lifestyle and a severe discipline, and that there was a tendency on the part of others to despise and caricature them. See pp. 444-46. In Part Two of his Victorian Church, SCM Press, 1972, p. 336f Chadwick notes how little regard Queen Victoria had for evangelicals and Tractarians alike,even instructing her adviser, Davidson, not to promote them in the church. Both groups she considered to be extreme and damaging to the fabric of the established church.
 E. Jay, Faith and Doubt in Victorian Britain, London, Macmillan, 1986, pp. 13-15 (where reference is made to Ryle's, Evangelical Religion: what it is, and what it is not, 1867).
 D.W. Bebbington, Evangelicalism in Modern Britain, op. cit., pp. 2-19.
 Ibid., p. 4. See also p. 19. Stott also notes J.I. Packer's ‘anatomy of evangelicalism', which has six fundamental principles[ in his The Evangelical Anglican Identity Problem, Oxford, Latimer House, 1978, pp.15-23], Evangelical Truth, op. cit. p. 26f.
 Evangelical Truth, op. cit. p. 27.
 D.J. Tidball, Who Are the Evangelicals?, London, Marshall Pickering, 1994, p. 14. (Tidball's book also has a short but useful account of evangelicals and the problem of hell, making a brief [but potentially misleading, when he speaks of Birks as having "universalist tendencies"] reference to T.R. Birks p. 151; and it would appear that he needs to be a little more explicit or accurate when he affirms that John Stott and Peter Travis hold the view of conditional immortality, p. 153; for while both may be strongly sympathetic to this position, they are tentative or agnostic in the final analysis. See S. Travis, Christian Hope and the Future of Man, Leicester, IVP, 1980, pp. 133-36; and D.L. Edwards & J. Stott, Essentials, London, Hodder & Stoughton, 1988, p. 302. ) Stott notes others, who have adopted Bebbington's ‘quadrilateral': see Evangelical Truth, p. 154n.
 The ‘popular' evangelism (in domestic or city mission work) of adventurous Anglican evangelicals came under censure from the 1820s onwards, for its "irregularity" and its "proximity to Nonconformity". See Geoffrey Best, Mid-Victorian Britain 1851-75, London, Fontana, 1985, p. 210. Again, "the subjective experience of conversion" is considered "the key validation of evangelical Christian faith" in R.J. Helmstadter & B. Lightman (eds.), Victorian Faith in Crisis, London, Macmillan, 1990, p.15.
 This high view of Scripture makes evangelicals confident, when studying biblical doctrines such as God's judgement, that their effort is meaningful, because the Bible is seen to be consistent with itself; and this enables the pursuit of ‘systematic theology'. See M.J. Erickson, "Principles, Permanence, and Future Divine Judgement: A Case Study In Theological Method", Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, 28 (3), 1985, p. 319; and also R.J. Bauckham, "Universalism: a historical survey", Themelios, 4 (2), 1979, p. 52.
 Evangelicalism in Modern Britain, op. cit., p. 5f.
 Jeffrey Cox, The English Churches in a Secular Society, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1982, p. 146.
 One feature [relevant to our enquiry] of this division is the differing opinions of evangelicals on the question of the fate of those who have never heard the Gospel. See M.J. McVeigh, "The fate of those who've never heard? It depends", Evangelical Missions Quarterly, 21.4, 1985.
 Evangelicalism, op. cit., ch. 6, 181f.
 I. Murray, Evangelicalism Divided, op. cit. pp. 20f, 70.
 Ibid., 24-31, 58f.
 Ibid., p. 49f.
 Ibid., pp. 44, 132-41, etc.
 Evangelicalism, op. cit., p. 249.
 The appeal of Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones at the 1966 Evangelical Alliance's ‘National Assembly for Evangelicals' for a more separatist approach did not receive any support from the ‘new evangelicals' such as Stott. Later Jim Packer also distanced himself from his friend Lloyd-Jones on this issue. See Evangelicalism Divided pp. 44-47 and 93-99.
 Ibid., pp. 126-7.
 Ibid., p. 100f.
 Ibid., pp. 174-76.
 Ibid., p. 179f.
 Ibid., p. 132f, p. 230-34. In Evangelicals & Catholics Together, C. Colson and R. Neuhaus (eds.), London, Hodder & Stoughton, 1996, p. 167, Packer defends his integrity and consistency by arguing that, while he still holds to the Reformed theology, he has been a long-time supporter of "informal grass-roots collaboration with Roman Catholics in ministry".
 Murray is concerned about another dimension of this trend, which may be seen in the evangelical Alpha outreach phenomenon. See Evangelicalism Divided, p. 244. Significantly, in Alpha News, April-July 2000, it is reported by Mark de Leyritz on p.12 that 500 French Roman Catholic priests have been trained to run the Alpha course. Incidentally, one of the paradoxes facing some evangelicals whose broad ecclesiology would allow them to be sympathetic to Rome is that they would not want to embrace Roman Catholic conservative teaching on certain dogmas, such as hell and purgatory; and some might have more sympathy with Alan Richardson's view that the "whole medieval mumbo-jumbo of hell and purgatory and limbo must go . . ."(An Introduction to the Theology of the New Testament, 1958, London, SCM, p. 363.)
 Evangelicalism Divided, op. cit., ch. 7 (with the telling title, " ‘Intellectual Respectability' and Scripture"), especially p. 193f, where Murray dismisses David Bebbington's attempt to substitute ‘infallible' for ‘inerrant'.
 This omission is all the more noticeable in that on pp. 145-6 he makes a detailed doctrinal assessment of the 1995 report of the Doctrine Commission of the Church of England, The Mystery of Salvation, which adopts a conditionalist/annihilationist stance.
 Stott, Evangelical Truth, op. cit. 154n.
 Evangelicalism in Modern Britain, op. cit., pp. 6-10; and pp. 42-50, which deal more fully with assurance.
 See e.g. McGrath's Reformation Thought, op. cit. p. 117f and Joel Beeke's doctoral thesis The Quest for Full Assurance - the legacy of Calvin and his successors, Edinburgh, The Banner of Truth Trust, 1999, pp. 19-53, where we note the Reformers' teaching that assurance is the birthright of every believer, albeit some may lack the consciousness of it. Again, Chadwick The Victorian Church (Part Two), op. cit., p. 471 notes how evangelical piety "encouraged men to find the assurance of salvation in the belief that the converted man could never be allowed to fall from grace."
 I was sent (25.8.99), for my comments, a copy of the draft report of ‘The Nature of Hell', which has been produced by the ACUTE working group. As this first draft is not for quotation etc., I can only note at this time that the study has been quite comprehensive, broadly from a traditionalist stance albeit sympathetic to the conditionalist view. Reference to T.R. Birks is rather brief, and in my opinion too inclined to understand his teaching as ‘restorationist'. This has strengthened my feeling of justification in ‘majoring' on Birks as I have done.