Page 2 of 3





A New Light Dawns!







Charles Fox Parham

& the Annihilation of the Wicked

 Posted on the Internet 1 September, 2010

The author of this unsigned post to the "Old Waymarks" Pentecostal web site did not agree with Parham's teaching of "no hell" but he or she does give his reasoning and some of his 27 texts that Pastor Charles Parham used -- Dr. Bob Holt,MD

 "Stone's Folly" --Parham's Bible school in Topeka, Kansas

Charles Fox Parham

Agnes Osman   1st  to speak in tongues

    Charles Fox Parham was theologically eclectic and possessed a sincere, if sometimes misguided, desire to cast tradition to the wind and rediscover an apostolic model for Christianity. Though he was intimately involved in the rediscovery of the Pentecostal experience, evidenced by speaking in other tongues, Parham’s personal tendency toward ecclesiastical eccentricity did much to remove him from the center of influence in the fledgling Pentecostal movement. One of his most controversial doctrines was the annihilation of the wicked, or the idea that the eternal punishment of sinners was simply death. Pentecostals broadly rejected this doctrine, and some boldly anathematized Parham as a heretic.

    As a child, Parham was familiar with the Bible but had no strong religious influence in his life and claimed not to have heard “but one or two preachers before reaching the age of thirteen years . . . “ He was proud of this lack of spiritual training, believing that it provided him with a mind open to scriptural truth: “Thus with no preconceived ideas, with no knowledge of what creeds and doctrines meant, not having any traditional spectacles upon the eyes to see through, I scarcely knew anything about church and Sunday School. These facts are stated to show that any early Scriptures were entirely unbiased.” It certainly may account for some of his religious impressionability but hardly recommends him as theologically competent.

     Parham’s ideas about the annihilation of the wicked were adopted from his wife’s grandfather, a disfellowshipped Quaker named David Baker. While working under the auspices of the Methodist Episcopal Church, young Charles Fox Parham held a revival at the Pleasant-Valley School House near Tonganoxie, Kansas and was an invited guest in the home of Mr. Baker. Through his own reading of the Bible, David Baker arrived at the conclusion that “eternal torment for the wicked” was not biblical. During the evangelist’s sojourn in Tonganoxie, the pair spent many hours studying the Scriptures, and Parham became convinced of Baker’s perspective. Thereafter, Parham also taught “the destruction of the wicked, though his teaching was rejected by many, and brought much opposition and bitter persecution.”

    In the inaugural issue of his paper The Apostolic Faith, Parham propagated the doctrine in an article entitled

“Questions on Immortality.”

 In catechetical style, Parham presented 37 questions on the topic, answered by a simple Bible verse. Following his line of reasoning, Parham teaches that

 1) immortality belongs to God alone (I Tm. 1.17);

2) immortality is imparted only to the righteous (Rom. 2.7);

3) Sin brings death (Rom. 6.23); and

4) both the body and soul are destructible (Mt. 10.28).

The audience is left to conclude that the sinner is damned only to death. Interestingly, Parham never uses the word “hell” in the article and does not address the many biblical references to eternal punishment.

   William Joseph Seymour, who received training in the rudiments of the Pentecostal baptism under Parham in Houston, Texas, strongly denounced his mentor’s perspective in the January 1907 issue of his own paper published in Los Angeles, also named, The Apostolic Faith.

   Seymour appeals to the Lukan parable of Lazarus and the rich man to establish the premise that “ . . . there is no annihilation in God’s Word for the wicked, but there is a blazing and burning hell awaiting them.”

    Seymour says that if the destruction of the wicked were true, “then this rich man would have been burned into ashes, and there would be no more of him.” Seymour worries after those taken in the doctrinal error: “Many who have preached a no-hell Gospel will find out better when they die and come to judgment . . . May God help us to turn from sin and wickedness and not try to wrest the Scriptures, but take them just as they are written.” The entire article is a clear renunciation of the heresy of “no-hellism” and an impassioned plea to those who may have a false security about such a finite afterlife to come to repentance, paying heed to “God’s Holy Ghost preachers that are testifying to the Blood that cleanses from sin and warning of an everlasting hell.”

    Ultimately, Charles Fox Parham’s errors isolated him from the greater Pentecostal movement. His meager remnant following based in Baxter Springs, Kansas continue to teach the annihilation of the wicked, but the doctrine is not espoused by any major Pentecostal body. In fact, “hellfire and brimstone” has become a cultural euphemism for pulpit-thumping Pentecostal preachers determined to spare sinners the awful torments of eternal damnation. Today, we still agree with that old-time maxim: “There is a heaven to gain, and a hell to shun” and continue our mission to see souls filled with the fires of Pentecost that they may escape the fires of Hell.


Un-Biblical and Un-Christian as it may seem to casual Bible-readers - a disbelief in Hell has been shared by many important people, including Martin Luther!

(At least in an immediate "Hell" that one enters into immediately at death, if not "Saved" by Christian belief.  Even if one is indeed "Saved" one must wait!)


The best known advocate of soul sleep was Martin Luther (1483–1546). In writing on Ecclesiastes, Luther says

Salomon judgeth that the dead are a sleepe, and feele nothing at all. For the dead lye there accompting neyther dayes nor yeares, but when they are awoken, they shall seeme to have slept scarce one minute.

Elsewhere Luther states that

As soon as thy eyes have closed shalt thou be woken, a thousand years shall be as if thou hadst slept but a little half hour. Just as at night we hear the clock strike and know not how long we have slept, so too, and how much more, are in death a thousand years soon past. Before a man should turn round, he is already a fair angel."


is one of several theological terms for what Martin Luther is here describing.  "Soul sleep" is an often pejorative term so the more neutral term "materialism" was also used in the nineteenth century,and "Christian mortalism" since the 1970s

"Historically the term psychopannychism was also used, despite problems with the etymology and application. The term thnetopsychism has also been used, for example Gordon Campbell (2008) identified Milton as believing in the latter though in fact both De doctrina Christiana and Paradise Lost refers to death as "sleep" and the dead as being "raised from sleep" The difference is difficult to identify in practice."

     Mortalism emerged in Christianity when it was promoted by some Reformation leaders, and it survives today mostly among Restorationist sects, such as Jehovah's Witnesses. Conti has argued that during the Reformation both psychosomnolence (the belief that the soul sleeps until the resurrection) and thnetopsychism (the belief that the body and soul both die and then both rise again) were quite common.

William Tyndale (1494–1536) argued against Thomas More in favour of soul sleep:

And ye, in putting them [the departed souls] in heaven, hell and purgatory, destroy the arguments wherewith Christ and Paull prove the resurrection... And again, if the souls be in heaven, tell me why they be not in as good a case as the angels be? And then what cause is there of the resurrection?"

Morey suggests that John Wycliffe (1320–84) and Tyndale taught the doctrine of soul sleep "as the answer to the Catholic teachings of purgatory and masses for the dead."

Many Anabaptists in this period, such as Michael Sattler (1490–1527), were Christian mortalists."  WIKIPEDIA


Roman Catholic Church

The Roman Catholic Church has called "soul mortality" a serious heresy..

Whereas some have dared to assert concerning the nature of the reasonable soul that it is mortal, we, with the approbation of the sacred council do condemn and reprobate all those who assert that the intellectual soul is mortal, seeing, according to the canon of Pope Clement V, that the soul is [...] immortal [...] and we decree that all who adhere to like erroneous assertions shall be shunned and punished as heretics.

Fifth Council of the Lateran (1513)

has been declared an abominable HERESY by the Catholic Church since 1513 and it's clear that at death THREE different possible FATES await you :

1) If Protestant, Jewish, or "Pagan" you'll arrive in HELL within moments!

2) If a Good Catholic, with all your dues paid to the Priest, you'll arrive in HEAVEN within moments of death!

3) If a Bad Catholic, who seldom attends Confession and MASS, you'll have to spend some years or centuries in PURGATORY!



The title on the picture above is "The Particular Judgment" and it illustrates a problem for those who believe in a moral God who treats all human beings ethically and fairly.  On your left as you look at this picture is a person who has not paid any mind to religion and God with black demons hardly waiting to snatch his soul away to HELL -- while the picture on your right shows a contented Christian (of your denomination, of course) falling asleep with the assurance that an angel will fly gently with his soul to heaven to live with Jesus forever and ever.

The problem is -- Who makes this Judgment, and When?  Seventh-day Adventists have an answer!

The followers of William Miller expected Jesus Christ to come back to earth on October 22, 1844 to "cleanse the sanctuary" (meaning Earth). They soon explained His failure to appear as that He was now part of an ongoing "Judgment" in a "heavenly sanctuary".

     Adventists then and now believe in "soul sleep" as part of this on-going Judgment.

     Who gets to go to heaven (or be destroyed) is decided while we're sleeping in our graves!



For Dr. Bob Holt's explanation ---

Click Here!

Quit and Return to Main Index