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The doctrine of the Harrowing of Hell has deep doctrinal controversies. These include:

1) The specific definition of Hades.

2) Did Jesus travel there in his body? Or Just in Soul and Spirit?

3) What are the righteous doing in Hades?

4) Did any of the people in Hades Jesus "preached to" get a second chance at salvation, contradicting Hebrew 9:27?

5) To Evangelicals who deny the doctrine, just how seriously heretical is the belief in "The Harrowing of Hell" dogma? The usual belief of Evangelicals is that the interpretation of 1 Peter 3: 19-21 is that Jesus, by the Holy Spirit, witnessed to the people Noah preached to, in the long period of time Noah's Ark was being made, and thus hopefully as the waters began to engulf the whole Earth some of them might have found repentance before they physically died, and thus all that spiritual witnessing by Christ convicting and convincing of sin was not in vain.

6) The Oxford English Dictionary defines this 

Harrowing of Hell:

(in medieval Christian theology) the defeat of the powers of evil and the release of its victims by the descent of Christ into hell after his death.

If this is the case. how were the powers of darkness specifically defeated by this journey and mission of Christ? Was his death on Calvary not enough? His resurrection is also absent from this time period. And "its victims" are "released" by this, how were they bound in order to be released?

7) In Luke 16 Lazarus is described as being next to Abraham, and the lost soul of his tormentor is looking up at Abraham who is far away. Do they say this is literal? And are they saying Hades has a lower point of torment, and a higher place were those to be saved dwell consciously?

*) also seldom believed little known heresies might be discussed, as the assertion that quote "The 6th-century Christolytes, as recorded by John of Damascus, believed that Jesus left his soul and body in hell, and only rose with his divinity to heaven" which is very heretical,

10) But by far the most serious doctrinal question is, "Is the doctrine of the Harrowing of Hell, part of the gospel, an to be specific "the gospel by which we are saved"? If so, along with there triple salvation by sacerdotalism and works, we see another controversy and complication added to what the bible  says is the simple gospel message of salvation.


The doctrine of The Harrowing of Hades is tempting to believe, as all questions surrounding the death of Jesus, when he was fully God and fully man, are immediately simplified and dispelled. If Christ immediately descended "on a mission to deliver the righteous" from some (as yet undefined in this article) part of the underworld, then when Jesus died, his body died, but his Soul and Spirit were conscious and on a spiritual mission. Thus the troubling question "'Tis mystery all, the immortal dies, who can explore his strange design" as Wesley put it, has no doctrinally troubling facets to it. But is this the only interpretation of 


"For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water."

1 Peter 3: 18-21

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