Preachers should not shy away from teaching about the realities of Hell, a group of five evangelical theologians in the United Kingdom says. They concluded in a report this week that Hell is real, not just a state of annihilation.

..."Hell is a conscious experience of rejection and torment," a group representing the UK Evangelical Alliance said. Their definition contrasts with a 1996 Church of England report that described Hell not as a place of eternal suffering, but as complete annihilation of the human soul and eternal separation from God, London's Independent said.

...Scripture says that those who reject Christ will experience physical and psychological torment, the 140-page report says. The severity of a person's sins determines the degree of suffering and punishment, it says.

...Images of the damned being cast into a lake of fire, being eaten by worms, and weeping and gnashing their teeth may be more metaphorical than literal, but the symbols are meant to depict real suffering, the report said. Nevertheless, "fire and brimstone" sermons should be discouraged, the report said.