Episode 2: A Final Word With Edward Fudge (Part 2)

Hell: A Final WordPart two of Chris Date’s discussion with Edward Fudge, author of The Fire That Consumes, who shares his story and talks about the recent movie that tells it, and about his latest and final book on the topic of final punishment, Hell: A Final Word. Also, we share the first installment of a segment telling the story of formerly convinced traditionalists who are now rethinking hell. Continue reading “Episode 2: A Final Word With Edward Fudge (Part 2)”

No Penitent in Hell: A [Reformed] Response to D. A. Carson

On June 22, 2012, well-known and respected theologian and scholar D. A. Carson told his audience that, as far as he could see, in Scripture “there is no hint anywhere that people in hell genuinely repent.”1Carson, D. A. “Home at last: The spectacular God at the center (Revelation 21-22).” http://thegospelcoalition.org/resources/a/home_at_last_the_spectacular_god_at_the_center_revelation_21-22. As part of an exposition of Revelation chapters 21 and 22 he cited both Revelation 21:8 and Jesus’ parable of Lazarus and the rich man in Luke 16 as evidence that “hell is not filled with people who are deeply sorry for their sins.” To the contrary, Carson said, it is “filled with people who for all eternity still shake their puny fists in the face of God Almighty, in an endless existence of evil.”
Although he didn’t include it as part of that presentation, in the past he has also pointed to Revelation 22:11 (“Let the one who does wrong, still do wrong”), writing of “the vileness they will live and practice throughout all eternity.”2Carson, D. A. (2009). The Gagging of God: Christianity Confronts Pluralism. (Zondervan, Kindle Edition) p. 533. He has also elsewhere suggested the possibility that this perpetual lack of repentance on the part of the wicked, and their ongoing sinfulness, is part of the ground and justification for their eternally ongoing punishing.
Carson’s view raises several questions. How legitimate is his application of the parable of Lazarus and the rich man? Will those consigned to final punishment fail to repent and continue to sin following their judgment and sentencing? Does the Bible indicate that they will go on sinning forever, implying that they have been raised immortal? Even if it does not, if they continue to sin after judgment at all, wouldn’t they accrue additional retributive debt, requiring further punishment, during which their continued rebellion would earn them still further punishment, and so on ad infinitum throughout eternity?
Continue reading “No Penitent in Hell: A [Reformed] Response to D. A. Carson”

1. Carson, D. A. “Home at last: The spectacular God at the center (Revelation 21-22).” http://thegospelcoalition.org/resources/a/home_at_last_the_spectacular_god_at_the_center_revelation_21-22.
2. Carson, D. A. (2009). The Gagging of God: Christianity Confronts Pluralism. (Zondervan, Kindle Edition) p. 533.

Salted with Fire: Annihilation and Mark 9:49

Conditionalists frequently respond to the traditionalist argument from Mark 9:48’s undying worm and unquenchable fire. What doesn’t appear to come up as often, however, are Jesus’ words which immediately follow verse 48: “For everyone will be salted with fire.” Occasionally this verse is pointed to in defense of the traditional view of hell. As John Gill writes,1Gill, J. (1999). “Commentary on Mark 9:49.” New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible.

that fire shall be to them, what salt is to flesh; as that keeps flesh from putrefaction and corruption, so the fire of hell, as it will burn, torture, and distress rebellious sinners, it will preserve them in their beings; they shall not be consumed by it, but continued in it: so that these words are a reason of the former, showing and proving, that the soul in torment shall never die, or lose any of its powers and faculties;

Leading up to my recent debate, when my opponent asked me how I understand this verse I did not yet have an answer. But with the help of some friends and fellow conditionalists I developed a confident response—and I’m glad I did because it came up briefly during cross-examination. Here I’ll explain in further detail the answer I gave.
Continue reading “Salted with Fire: Annihilation and Mark 9:49”

1. Gill, J. (1999). “Commentary on Mark 9:49.” New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible.

Upcoming Podcast Interviews: Conditionalist Authors

It will not be long before the launch of the Rethinking Hell podcast, and I am excited and honored to host several upcoming episodes interviewing conditionalist/annihilationist authors of recent books.

Hell: A Final Word

Edward Fudge, author of The Fire That Consumes, 3rd edition (Cascade Books, 2011), has recently published a popular-level book, Hell: A Final Word (ACU Press, 2012). Since Fudge has been so influential within the annihilationist movement, and was personally so instrumental in my ‘conversion’ to what I now believe is the biblical view of final punishment, I will kick the podcast off interviewing him first to discuss both his latest book and the upcoming feature film telling his story, “Hell and Mr. Fudge.” I originally interviewed him on the Theopologetics podcast back in August of 2011, and as a result of preparing for and conducting that interview I moved to the fence between annihilationism and the traditional view of hell.

The Lie of Hell

Roger Harper was recently on the Unbelievable? radio show with Justin Brierley on Premier Christian Radio UK discussing the topic of immortality with skeptic Stephen Cave. In that discussion Harper briefly articulated the conditionalist/annihilationist position concerning final punishment, which he discusses at length in his recent book, The Lie of Hell. When I reached out to him asking if he would be interested in letting me interview him for the Rethinking Hell podcast, he graciously (and enthusiastically, it seemed to me!) agreed. He also expressed interest in my recent formal debate and volunteered to submit a question for my opponent to answer during the Q&A period with the public.

The Lie of Hell

David Instone-Brewer was also recently on Unbelievable?—in his case opposite Dr. James White of Alpha & Omega Ministries discussing the question, “Was Jesus a Calvinist?” (Being Reformed, I disagree with Dr. Instone-Brewer’s answer to that question.) In his recent book, The Jesus Scandals (Ladder Media, 2012), he discusses a variety of so-called scandals in Jesus’ life, among his friends, and in his teaching; and in one chapter he argues that Jesus taught conditionalism/annihilationism, which came up very briefly in the discussion on Unbelievable?. After that episode I emailed Dr. Instone-Brewer and we had a fruitful email exchange, iron sharpening iron, and he accepted my invitation to be interviewed on the new podcast.

Stay tuned for these first exciting episodes of the Rethinking Hell podcast!

Reformed and Rethinking: Introducing Chris Date

Chris DateIt is my tremendous honor to be invited to contribute to the RethinkingHell.com blog and podcast, and I would like to thank Peter Grice for inviting me.
Allow me to introduce myself and let you know a little bit about me. My name is Chris Date and I host the Theopologetics podcast, as well as contribute to my friend Dee Dee Warren’s The Preterist Blog and podcast. I am also a software engineer by trade.
I do not have any formal, higher education and lack any official ministry experience. That said, I believe theology and apologetics are nevertheless for every average Joe in the pews, and not just for pastors, philosophers, PhDs and the erudite in ivory towers (which some of my co-contributors are). And I am perhaps somewhat of an enigma, for while I am “rethinking hell”—by which I mean to say that I am a conditionalist or annihilationist (and I will refer to myself as the latter henceforth)—I’m also Reformed.
Continue reading “Reformed and Rethinking: Introducing Chris Date”