Hell and #thedress

I want to apologize straightaway for capitalizing on the baffling, yet wearisome global conversation happening around the color of a dress that was buzzing on the web last night (and if you’re reading this months later, I apologize for referencing something that has long been relegated to the dustbin of internet disinterest), but I think that the experience of cognitive dissonance (and indeed questioning of objective reality!) between those people who perceive a white & gold dress and those who obviously see the fabric as blue and black is analogous to what many of us at the Rethinking Hell project have experienced.
I tried (and may have failed) to explain this in my Preface to our book, Rethinking Hell: Readings in Evangelical Conditionalism, but my own obsessive interest in studying the topic of hell (which, I mean, why would ANYONE make this an object of 20 years of study??) comes from a very similar experience to those who see different colors in the dress.  How can we be looking at the same thing, but see something completely different? Continue reading “Hell and #thedress”

What I would have to deny in order to teach eternal torment

For some people, the concept of hell as a state of eternal torment is so central to their faith and their portrait of God that giving it up would mean giving up the faith altogether: giving up the authority of Jesus; giving up, in principle, the authority of Scripture; discarding the testimony of the church; and ultimately denying the gospel. This is the stance Tim Challies takes, somberly telling his readers that “If I am going to give up hell, I am going to give up the gospel and replace it with a new one.” Of course, by “hell,” he means eternal torment, not the biblical picture of final judgement and the loss of life and being forever.

Setting aside more popularist visions of hell like that of Challies and turning to the biblical account of life, death, judgment, and eternity, we could ask a similar question: If we were to give up the biblical position of immortality and eternal life found in Christ alone and to instead embrace the doctrine of eternal torment, what would we have to give up? What would be the cost of embracing the traditional view instead of the biblical one?

Continue reading “What I would have to deny in order to teach eternal torment”

Episode 66: A Response to the Mohler-Date Debate, Part 2

On the January 3, 2015 episode of the Unbelievable? radio show with Justin Brierley, our very own Chris Date debated Dr. Albert Mohler on the topic of conditionalism. In episode #65 of the Rethinking Hell podcast, Chris was joined by Rethinking Hell contributors Daniel Sinclair and Peter Grice for a debate debrief. Here’s the fascinating remainder of their discussion.
Continue reading “Episode 66: A Response to the Mohler-Date Debate, Part 2”