In his third essay on the topic, Engelder shows the falsehood of the Hades Gospel under 5 headings:
[Note: Here is the link to the first (and introductory) post in this series: Prof. Th. Engelder on The Hades Gospel Part I: "The Hades Gospel" And the second post: Part II, "The Argument in Support of the Hades Gospel,"]
1. To proclaim the "second chance" after death Hades Gospel contradicts the clear teaching of Scripture.
In this section, Engelder specifically meets the charge that a belief that the fate of a soul is fixed at death leaves no room for the final judgment. He also confronts the argument that since some of the Church Fathers accepted the possibility of conversion after death that we must as well.
2. Engelder's second major point is that the Hades Gospel's hope of a second chance rests upon human reason and speculation. He points out that the theologians who argue for such a teaching are following their own sense of justice and mercy in opposition to what the Scriptures actually say. Along the same lines, Engelder confronts the trick of many, which looks superficially like a concern for the analogy of faith, in which the teaching of "the whole Bible" (das Schriftganze) contradicts specific passages. Unlike the using the analogy of faith to explain apparent contradictions or seemingly difficult passages, hazy, and ill-defined broad principles (of course truly emanating from the interpreter himself) overwhelm or trump the clear words and teachings of the Scriptures.
"The Hades gospel, spawned by rationalistic thinking, is an evil thing. The Hades theology sets the verdict of reason and feeling above the declaration of God's Word. God wants His children to accept the teaching of Scripture in simple faith, to believe that God's ways are just and right even if they cannot understand them, but reason, "the archwhore and Satan's bride" (Luther, XX: 232), would seduce God's children from implicit faith and asks them to say to God: We cannot accept statements of Scripture which outrage our reason. The evil of the Hades gospel consists in this, that it weans the Christians away from the allegiance to their Lord."
3. In the third section of the critique, Engelder summarizes the idolatry and self righeousness that the purveyors of the Hades Gospel are engaged in.
"One particularly loathsome and wicked feature of rationalism is its arrogant assumption of the right to sit in judgment on God. Carnal reason considers itself as wise as God, does not hesitate to judge God's ethics by its own ethical concepts, and dares to condemn God as He has revealed Himself in Scripture. It wants a God of its own making."
4. Fourthly, Engelder shows how the Hades Gospel, despite their protestations and intentions to the contrary, logically and inevitably leads one to the Apocatastasis Gospel--that all will be eventually saved.
5. The last section shows how the Hades Gospel encourages carnal security. Near the end of the essay, Engelder powerfully shows how he is in continuity with his orthodox Lutheran forefathers:
"Dr. Pieper says: "The 'merciful theologians' (misericordes theologi) - Quenstedt gives that name to those who criticize and deny the Scripture of eternal damnation - are in reality the most merciless men. Instead of warning against hell and thus saving men from hell, they actually, as far as they are concerned, plunge mankind into eternal perdition." (Op. cit., III, p. 618.) Apply that to the Hades theologians. They claim that their teaching is based on considerations of mercy and kindness. But their theology is in effect one of cruelty. It lulls men into a false sense of security. It may cause men to be eternally lost."
[Here is a brief introduction to Engelder and his work.]
Below are all six essays, in order, linked to the online articles.
Part I: "The Hades Gospel"
CTM May 1945 (Vol. 16, No. 5)
Part II: "The Argument in Support of the Hades Gospel"
CTM June 1945 (Vol. 16, No. 6)
Part III: "The Evil of The Hades Gospel"
CTM September 1945 (Vol. 16, No. 9)
Part IV: "Some Remarks on the Question of the Salvation of the Heathen"
CTM December 1945 (Vol. 16, No. 12)
Part V: "The Protestant Purgatory"
CTM June 1946 (Vol. 17, No. 6)
Part VI: "The Hades Gospel and the Apocatastasis Gospel"
CTM September 1946 (Vol. 17, No. 9)
If you are a pastor who isn't comfortable speaking to this issue and the questions surrounding the life hereafter, then you probably need to, um, "supplement you knowledge" about basic Christianity. (Read: get it straight, fast. You should know this already!) There is a decent amount of German and other foreign language references in the article. However, the layman who is grounded in the Catechism and Scriptures and takes a plunge will indeed be rewarded with much good food for thought and reflection.