Unpersuasive but Irenic: A (Thankful) Response to Terrance Tiessen

I was recently told that Dr. Terrance Tiessen, professor emeritus of Systematic Theology and Ethics at Providence Theological Seminary, once indicated that he was nearly convinced of conditional immortality, but not quite. Two years having passed since then, I wondered if perhaps Dr. Tiessen had become fully persuaded, and so I emailed him. Although he responded saying he remains persuaded of the traditional view of hell, his response was gracious and respectful, and what he wrote in a blog post shortly thereafter is deserving of not only a response but equally our thanks.

Continue reading “Unpersuasive but Irenic: A (Thankful) Response to Terrance Tiessen”

Merry Christmas and Happy Judgment Day!

The church that I grew up in didn’t celebrate the season of Advent.  For most of my life, I only understood the term “advent” in terms of some sort of countdown calendar to Christmas Day that involved a small sweet treat that would tide me over until the deluge of presents and candy began.  It was not until I became part of a more liturgical church which celebrated the Christian year that I finally discovered that the season of Advent focused on celebrating our anticipation of Christ’s coming.  But the strangest part of all was that we were celebrating not only his first coming, as little baby Jesus/God incarnate who would be the savior of humankind, but also his SECOND coming, as the righteous judge and rightful ruler over all humanity.

I remember being shocked and almost appalled at this eschatological intrusion into the time of year when we were supposed to be recounting the timeless details of the classic Christmas story and singing carols about mangers and wise men.  So it was even more disconcerting when our Director of Worship pointed out to me that the song, “Joy to the World” was actually a carol celebrating the second coming of Jesus to reign on earth!  I thought, what has Bethlehem to do with Armageddon?  Where does the judgment day fit in to the nativity scene? Continue reading “Merry Christmas and Happy Judgment Day!”

The Fire Is Not Quenched: Annihilation and Mark 9:48 (Part 2)

A few months ago we took a look at Mark 9:48, in which Jesus quotes Isaiah 66:24 and refers to gehenna as the place where “their worm does not die.” Critics of conditionalism often misquote or misunderstand the idiom as depicting a consuming maggot that eternally feeds upon but never fully consumes its host, and I had explained that quite the opposite is true. Similar to the scavengers of Deuteronomy 28:26 and Jeremiah 7:33 which will not be frightened away and prevented from fully consuming carrion, the worm “will not be prevented by death from fully consuming dead [bodies] … their shame is made permanent and everlasting by being fully consumed.”1Date, C. (2012, July 17). “Their worm does not die: Annihilation and Mark 9:48.” Rethinking Hell [blog]. Retrieved 16 July 2012. http://www.rethinkinghell.com/2012/07/their-worm-does-not-die-annihilation-and-mark-948/
Continue reading “The Fire Is Not Quenched: Annihilation and Mark 9:48 (Part 2)”

1. Date, C. (2012, July 17). “Their worm does not die: Annihilation and Mark 9:48.” Rethinking Hell [blog]. Retrieved 16 July 2012. http://www.rethinkinghell.com/2012/07/their-worm-does-not-die-annihilation-and-mark-948/

The Bible doesn't teach universalism: A response to Jason Pratt

A bit of context

As mentioned by Chris Date in his response to T. Kurt Jaros, Nick Ahern’s blog Split Frame of Reference recently hosted three essays, each representing one of the three main views of final punishment in Christian theology: the traditionalist, universalist, and annihilationist views of hell. This post is my response to the essay “Three views on hell: Universalism” by Jason Pratt of The Evangelical Universalist.
Continue reading “The Bible doesn't teach universalism: A response to Jason Pratt”