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Glenn Peoples

Glenn Peoples

Dr. Glenn Peoples runs the popular blog Right Reason and podcast Say Hello to my Little Friend. There and elsewhere Glenn writes and speaks on theology and biblical studies, moral and social philosophy and philosophy of religion. He completed undergraduate studies in theology at the Bible College of New Zealand (now Laidlaw College), followed by an MTheol and a PhD in philosophy at the University of Otago. Glenn's desire is to equip Christians to critically engage their culture and their critics, but he insists, "the first thing we need to engage is the person we see in the mirror. Criticising and challenging our own belief, our own faith, testing it, probing it, getting it right. Why do we believe what we believe? Does it make sense? Is it true? Are we repeating what out own church culture expects us to say, or have we seriously asked for ourselves whether or not this is what Scripture teaches? Challenging outsiders can be a sport, but challenging ourselves has got to come first, and the way that so many Christians think about hell is an area where they simply haven't done that." He and his wife Ruth have four children and they live in Wellington, New Zealand.

Author: Glenn Peoples

Glenn Peoples

Infinity, Divine Value, and Hell: A Rejoinder to Jacob Brunton

Sin plus God does not equal eternal torment, in spite of traditionalists frequently telling us otherwise. Jacob Brunton of For The New Christian Intellectual lives in the Dallas–Fort Worth area, which happens to be where we recently held our annual Rethinking Hell Conference. Mr. Brunton heard of the upcoming conference and marked the occasion by writing an article arguing against conditional immortality (or annihilationism as he prefers to call it), however we wish that he had been able to join us in person. At our conference we received critical engagement from scholars such as Dr. Gregg Allison, demonstrating how we strive to uphold the standards of Christian intellectual inquiry by fostering dialogue between different positions on hell. Mr. Brunton could have helped to sharpen our views by engaging in conversation there, and hopefully benefited from finding his own views sharpened by the experience (although as you’ll see below, in my view his argument may not have fared very well when exposed to other able minds!). In any case, prior to publishing this response to his argument, we followed standard practice by reaching out to a representative of the organization, letting them know that we’d seen Mr. Brunton’s critical argument, and offering to share a link to our pending response. Surprisingly, we were told, “I’m not interested in your article, thanks.” Although others do have

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Glenn Peoples

Sure as Hell: Is Scripture really clear about final punishment?

In a recent discussion with Chris Date on the Rethinking Hell podcast, Professor Jerry Walls of Houston Baptist University expressed his incredulity that we could think the Bible is really so clear on the subject of hell. But I don’t think his reasons for giving up that certainty are particularly compelling.

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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?

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Answering Answers in Genesis: An Infinitely Bad Argument

RETHINKING Hell doesn’t take a stance on many issues other than final punishment, including questions about the age of the earth or the right way to interpret the creation narratives in the book of Genesis. Some of our team members are sympathetic to Answers In Genesis’s points of view on these matters, others less so. If you want to hear two fine fellows who share AIG’s stance, you can listen to Chris Date interviewing Chuck McKnight, whom AIG forced to resign (i.e. fired) when they learned that he held to (what we consider to be) a biblical view of judgment. Speaking of Answers in Genesis and fire, while Rethinking Hell does not take a stance on such secondary matters as the right way to read early Genesis, Answers in Genesis does take a strong view on the doctrine of hell. This was brought to the forefront again recently when AIG published an article by Tim Challies called “What Kind of God Would Condemn People to Eternal Torment?”

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Glenn Peoples

What the Qal? Revisiting the Unquenched Fire

Does “their fire shall not be quenched” in Isaiah 66:24 really allow for a fire that consumes and then goes out? Or is there a serious challenge to this claim that we have not seen before? Adam Blauser, a blogger over at Old Testament Studies Blog has been giving us some free rent in his mind of late and has invested a bit of time responding to blog entries here at Rethinking Hell. In his first response Blauser takes issue with my article about the meaning of apollumi in the synoptic gospels. He grants the fact that the term means literally kill and destroy in the examples I discuss but insists that this does not literally inform the word’s meaning when it is used to describe final punishment, for it is wrong to assume that the word there carries the meaning that it universally carries in grammatically similar instances. This is because hell is an eternal matter and we can’t assume that words carry their normal meaning, the meaning they have in normal speech discussing natural matters, when we are speaking about the affairs of the age to come. I responded in the comments section over there and while the argument isn’t substantial enough to warrant lengthy comment here I shall describe it very briefly: Scripture speaks literally about eternal matters with

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Glenn Peoples

Fighting for the Fire: The Sinking of Pirate Christian Radio’s Case Against Annihilationism

Someone recently brought my attention to the fact that Chris Rosebrough of Pirate Christian Radio and “Fighting for the Faith” recently offered some criticisms of my summary of the positive biblical case for annihilationism in episode 4. Here are my thoughts on the criticisms, which, so it seems to me, go the way of many scurvy criticisms that came before – straight to Davy Jones’ locker.

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Glenn Peoples

Hellbound – a Review

I know of two movies going by the name Hellbound. One that I’m sure everyone knows—right?—is Clive Barker’s sequel to his Hellraiser classic horror. The other is a new documentary called Hellbound, written and directed by Kevin Miller. I almost added “in which he explores the doctrine of hell” because I believe that is how Miller wants the public to see the movie, but after having watched the movie carefully I don’t think I would naturally describe it that way. None of the important issues of hell—its biblical basis, its historical development, its critics and the evidence they cite—are really broached in what I would call much depth. While I genuinely appreciated aspects of what Miller was trying to say, I came away with real reservations about much of what was presented here, and certainly about the way that it was presented.

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