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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).

For years, I have said that two things convinced me of conditional immortality and annihilationism (hereafter, “conditionalism”) more than anything else. First and foremost, I discovered that, with virtually no exception, every proof-text historically cited in support of eternal torment proves upon closer examination to be better support for conditionalism. Second, I was shocked at how poorly thought out traditionalist arguments against conditionalism typically are. Matthew 25:41-46 is a case study in both phenomena, for it is surprisingly powerful support for conditionalism, but when traditionalists dig their heels in, they often resort to highly dubious arguments they wouldn’t countenance in virtually any other context, such as by claiming the Greek preposition εἰς (eis), translated “into,” rules out the annihilation of the finally impenitent.

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Statement on Evangelical Conditionalism

Recent Podcasts

Episode 140: Date vs. Costa on Hell; Debate Review, Part 2

Rethinking Hell contributor Darren Clark and friend of the ministry Johnathan Pritchett (VP for Academics at Trinity College of the Bible and Theological Seminary) join Chris Date to review his debate versus Tony Costa on Chris Arnzen’s “Iron Sharpens Iron” radio program. In this episode, Darren, Johnathan, and Chris discuss part 2 of the debate, in which Date and Costa debate the question, “Is conscious torment of the damned eternal?”

Episode 139: Date vs. Costa on Hell; Debate Review, Part 1

Rethinking Hell contributor Darren Clark and friend of the ministry Johnathan Pritchett (VP for Academics at Trinity College of the Bible and Theological Seminary) join Chris Date to review his debate versus Tony Costa on Chris Arnzen’s “Iron Sharpens Iron” radio program. In this episode, Darren, Johnathan, and Chris discuss part 1 of the debate, in which Date and Costa debate the question, “Is immortality only given to the saved?”

Episode 138: The History of Hell–A Conversation With Bart Ehrman

Rethinking Hell contributor Chris Date is joined by Dr. Bart Ehrman to discuss Ehrman’s latest book, Heaven and Hell: A History of the Afterlife. Dr. Ehrman is an influential agnostic and critic of the Christian faith, especially in the area of the reliability of the biblical documents. Despite our significant differences, we decided that it was important to critically engage with Dr. Ehrman’s work on the subject of Hell. Obviously, this should not be seen as our endorsement of Dr. Ehrman’s critical work and perspectives, just as Dr. Ehrman isn’t endorsing our work or beliefs, even though we find some points of agreement in this conversation.

Recent Articles

Chris Date

Falling “Into” Error: Grasping at Straws in Matthew 25:46

For years, I have said that two things convinced me of conditional immortality and annihilationism (hereafter, “conditionalism”) more than anything else. First and foremost, I discovered that, with virtually no exception, every proof-text historically cited in support of eternal torment proves upon closer examination to be better support for conditionalism. Second, I was shocked at how poorly thought out traditionalist arguments against conditionalism typically are. Matthew 25:41-46 is a case study in both phenomena, for it is surprisingly powerful support for conditionalism, but when traditionalists dig their heels in, they often resort to highly dubious arguments they wouldn’t countenance in virtually any other context, such as by claiming the Greek preposition εἰς (eis), translated “into,” rules out the annihilation of the finally impenitent.

Joseph Dear

Evangelical Conditionalism and Degrees of Punishment In Hell – Part 2

Having examined the underwhelming biblical case for eternal torment over evangelical conditionalism based on degrees of punishment in Part 1, a number of philosophical questions about God’s justice remain. In Light of Eternity, Few Christians See Final Punishment As Truly Proportional The traditionalist case is that final punishment is really only just if a worse sinner has a worse fate than a less wicked sinner, and that worse fate continues to be worse throughout eternity. Annihilation, of course, does not meet that standard. However, this standard is not nearly as strong as it may sound at first. It is not a biblical view, so it does not have the firm, objective basis of scripture. Beyond that, eternal torment, within the framework of a Christian worldview, must concede more to the annihilationist view than many traditionalists realize. The effects of eternity and the concept of infinity take a lot of the force out of the traditionalist case here.

Joseph Dear

Evangelical Conditionalism and Degrees of Punishment In Hell – Part 1

A common argument against evangelical conditionalism, part biblical and part philosophical, is that the Bible and basic justice teach that not all sinners will be punished with the exact same severity. 1Harry Buis, The Doctrine of Eternal Punishment (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1957), 39. 2Robert Morey, Death and the Afterlife, (Bethany House, 1984), 154. 3John Walvoord, “The Literal View” in Four Views on Hell, eds. Stanley N. Gundry and William Crockett (Zondervan, 1996), 21. From both the biblical and philosophical standpoints, I will say that the argument for eternal torment and against annihilationism, based on degrees of punishment, would have a lot more weight if: Evangelical conditionalism entailed that all the wicked were instantly annihilated at death without any conscious awareness of anything leading up to their final end, and: The traditional view did not, for the most part, entail the belief that even a single sin of any sort warrants infinite punishment and infinite pain and suffering. 4Regarding the view that a single sin only warrants finite punishment but the damned sin continually in hell, Part 2. 5 Portions adapted from Joseph Dear. The Bible Teaches Annihilationism (n.d.), Section XXIV, found at 3-Ring Binder, n.d., https://www.3ringbinder.org/uploads/1/9/1/0/1910989/the_bible_teaches_annihilationism__1st_edition_pdf_version__final.pdf (accessed on April 24, 2020). 1. ↑ Harry Buis, The Doctrine of Eternal Punishment (Grand




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