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Welcome to Rethinking Hell!
Our position in the Evangelical debate on Hell is that of Conditional Immortality, which holds that believers will receive the reward of immortality, while others will finally be destroyed (annihilated).

Does annihilationism mean that people cease to exist? The fact is, there are often two different meanings of existence and the ceasing thereof at play when this question arises. For that reason, it is important that we define our terms and not equivocate. The First Definition The first idea involves a sort of brute, cosmic obliteration that destroys even the atoms a person was made of. Annihilationism does not necessarily deny this sort of ceasing to exist per se, but at the very least, this sense of complete annihilation is not necessary for evangelical conditionalism or annihilationism to be true.

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Statement on Evangelical Conditionalism

Recent Podcasts

Recent Articles

Darren J. Clark

Perish the Thought, Part 2: More Challenges to the Traditionalist Reading of John 3:16

In my article Perish the Thought: How John 6 and 11 Challenge the Traditionalist Reading of John 3:16, I demonstrate that John 3:16’s phraseology of “eternal life” and “perish” teaches that only believers will live forever, while all others will die. I examine John 6 and 11 to strengthen my exegesis of John 3:16 because those are two sections in the narrative where Jesus explains further what he meant to convey in that famous verse. In those chapters Jesus speaks about the kind of life believers will be given, and simply employs the same language he uses in surrounding contexts to refer to ordinary life and death (John 6:49-51, 58; 11:25-26). For John 3 and John 6 I show that Jesus drew from historical and tangible examples from the Israelite experience of being protected from death (John 3:14-16 cf. Num 21:4-9; John 6:22-59 cf. Exod 16:16-21). I also explain how Jesus’ terms “eternal life” and “perish” relate to the death and resurrection of Lazarus in John 11. The purpose of this current article is to provide a supplementary argument to fortify my previous argument about what Jesus meant in John 6:49-51 and 11:25-26, where he taught that believers will not die. In particular, I have in mind the use of the verb ἀποθνήσκω (“to die”) as it is used in John 6:50 and 11:26. I will then demonstrate how this impacts our reading of two similar statements made by Jesus, in similar contexts in John’s narrative.

Peter Grice

Charles Fox Parham: “Father of Modern Pentecostalism”–and Annihilationist!

At Rethinking Hell we’re not exactly Pentecostal. Then again, we’re not exactly not Pentecostal! Evangelical is exactly what we are, and that covers both bases. But among Pentecostals in particular, the name Charles Fox Parham commands a degree of respect. He is known as “The father of modern Pentecostalism,” having been the main initiator of the movement and its first real influencer. It was his student, William Seymour, who established the famous Azusa Street Mission. Parham would soon become critical of what he saw as emotional excesses at Azusa Street, which led to a growing rift between the two. Seymour’s influence kept rising, while Parham’s dwindled.

Darren J. Clark

Perish the Thought: How John 6 and 11 Challenge the Traditionalist Reading of John 3:16

John 3:16 is one of the clearest texts supporting the conditional immortality view. This is because Jesus contrasts the eternal life received by believers with the death they would otherwise receive if they reject him. After all, to die is just what “perish” normally means whenever we use that word of humans. As John Stott noted, when the Greek verb apollymi is used in the middle voice and without a direct object it means to be destroyed in a way that causes someone to perish or die (Stott points to Luke 15:17; 1 Cor 10:9 for physical perishing, and John 10:28; 17:12; Rom 2:12; 1 Cor 15:18; 2 Pet 3:9 for perishing in hell). Traditionalists often respond by arguing that this term in John 3:16 need not refer to the death or annihilation of unbelievers. But beyond a generalized word study of apollymi, most traditionalists do not give a rationale for their interpretation of the phrase “shall not perish.” A few have offered reasons to read it as referring to an unending “perishing” in hell.




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