Introduction to Evangelical Conditionalism: 5 Surprising Things That the Bible Says About Hell

Some people have spent a lot of time studying the issue of hell. A small group of such people got together, and now we have RethinkingHell.com. But for many, this isn’t a top priority. So let me give an overview of some key things that the Bible says about hell, things that I think will surprise a lot of you who haven’t looked into this issue that much before now. Continue reading “Introduction to Evangelical Conditionalism: 5 Surprising Things That the Bible Says About Hell”

Strange Fire: Distorting a Biblical Symbol

Experience teaches us that fire is a destructive, devouring agent. Scripture teaches us that, short of miraculous intervention (the burning bush, Shadrach and friends), a fire that remains unquenched will consume that which it burns, leaving nothing behind but ashes (, ).
Scripture also teaches that the fire which issues from God’s holy presence—sometimes called the eternal fire—is no different in this regard. God’s wrathful fire came down from heaven and annihilated Sodom and Gomorrah (, cf. , ). It consumed Nadab and Abihu (). Twice did Elijah call down fire from heaven to devour the king’s fifty men and their captain (). Continue reading “Strange Fire: Distorting a Biblical Symbol”

27 But if you do not listen to me, to keep the Sabbath day holy, and not to bear a burden and enter by the gates of Jerusalem on the Sabbath day, then I will kindle a fire in its gates, and it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem and shall not be quenched.’”

47 Say to the forest of the Negeb, Hear the word of the Lord: Thus says the Lord God, Behold, I will kindle a fire in you, and it shall devour every green tree in you and every dry tree. The blazing flame shall not be quenched, and all faces from south to north shall be scorched by it.

14 So Lot went out and said to his sons-in-law, who were to marry his daughters, “Up! Get out of this place, for the Lord is about to destroy the city.” But he seemed to his sons-in-law to be jesting.

15 As morning dawned, the angels urged Lot, saying, “Up! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, lest you be swept away in the punishment of the city.” 16 But he lingered. So the men seized him and his wife and his two daughters by the hand, the Lord being merciful to him, and they brought him out and set him outside the city. 17 And as they brought them out, one said, “Escape for your life. Do not look back or stop anywhere in the valley. Escape to the hills, lest you be swept away.” 18 And Lot said to them, “Oh, no, my lords. 19 Behold, your servant has found favor in your sight, and you have shown me great kindness in saving my life. But I cannot escape to the hills, lest the disaster overtake me and I die.

if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them to extinction, making them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly;

just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.

And fire came out from before the Lord and consumed them, and they died before the Lord.

Then the king sent to him a captain of fifty men with his fifty. He went up to Elijah, who was sitting on the top of a hill, and said to him, “O man of God, the king says, ‘Come down.’” 10 But Elijah answered the captain of fifty, “If I am a man of God, let fire come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty.” Then fire came down from heaven and consumed him and his fifty.

11 Again the king sent to him another captain of fifty men with his fifty. And he answered and said to him, “O man of God, this is the king’s order, ‘Come down quickly!’”

Obfuscating Traditionalism: No Eternal Life in Hell?

Historically, traditionalists have not shied away from affirming their belief that the lost will rise from the dead immortal in the sense that they will live forever in hell. While some contemporary traditionalists are comfortable speaking this way, others are not. They appeal on the one hand to the longstanding dominance of their view of hell within the Church as a reason to be skeptical of alternatives, but on the other hand they claim that their predecessors were using biblically imprecise language. Their claim, however, does not hold up under scrutiny. Whether intentional or not, it only obfuscates the truth that their view is one in which the lost will, in fact, live forever—biblically speaking—thus failing to truly rescue it from the answer to the biblical question of immortality. Continue reading “Obfuscating Traditionalism: No Eternal Life in Hell?”

Episode 39: Is Hell Forever? Chris Date and Phil Fernandes Debate Hell

On Saturday, September 28th, 2013, Dr. Phil Fernandes and Rethinking Hell contributor, Chris Date, debated the proposition, “The punishment of hell will be annihilation: the everlasting loss of life and conscious existence.” Date affirmed, articulating and defending conditional immortality and annihilationism. Dr. Fernandes denied, articulating and defending the traditional view of hell as eternal torment.
Both presenters’ opening statements, first rebuttals and notes are available in a book available at Amazon here.