What did Jesus suffer "for us and for our salvation"?

A podcast interview with me

Chris Date has begun a series of podcasts in which he will interview authors of chapters in A Consuming PassionI am the first person on deck, and Chris spent quite a long time talking with me about my journey to annihilationism. Whether or not you have read the series of blog posts I wrote, which were an early form of the material in my chapter for the festschrift for Edward Fudge, you may be interested in this interview.

Toward the end of the interview, Chris asked whether my becoming a conditionalist had affected any other areas of my theology. I said that this was not the case, outside of eschatology. In my experience to that point, I had seen no other dominoes fall as a result of my new understanding of the nature of hell. Chris was particularly interested in hearing whether my understanding of Christ’s atoning work had been affected by my coming to believe that God ultimately destroys the wicked rather than tormenting them endlessly. I answered in the negative. For good reason, this is a subject of great interest to Chris, and he noted that traditionalists tend to place a very heavy emphasis on Christ’s suffering, in order to demonstrate a coherence between what he experienced and what the unredeemed will experience.

Prior to that time, I had made comments on the issue a few times on this blog. While I was still a traditionalist, I had reached the conclusion that neither traditionalism nor annihilationism gains an apologetic advantage from the doctrine of Christ’s penal substitutionary atonement. It seemed to me that Jesus neither suffered endlessly nor was annihilated. So there is not an exact likeness between Christ’s experience in bearing the penalty of our sin and unrepentant people’s experience in bearing the penalty of their own sin. That was still my view at the time of my podcast conversation with Chris.

It has been a few months since that Skype call conversation and the wheels have kept turning in my mind. To my own surprise and delight, I have come to see the matter differently. So, by way of moving further onward from my written work to date and my recorded conversation with Chris, I want to lay out here what I now believe and why. Continue reading “What did Jesus suffer "for us and for our salvation"?”

Episode 92: A Consuming Passion Festschrift Special (Part 1)

Rethinking Hell contributor Chris Date kicks off a series of special episodes celebrating last year’s publication of the ministry’s second book, A Consuming Passion: Essays on Hell and Immortality in Honor of Edward Fudge, by interviewing its authors. In this first episode of the series, Chris interviews Terrance Tiessen, Rob McRay, David Cramer, and Ralph Bowles.
Continue reading “Episode 92: A Consuming Passion Festschrift Special (Part 1)”

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”