In mid-2014 I will be speaking at the first ever conference of Rethinking Hell, which will be in Texas.
When: 11th and 12th of July, 2014
Where: Lanier Theological Library, Houston, Texas
Video of the conference will be available once it’s over.
The theme of the conference is the life and work of Edward Fudge, author of The Fire That Consumes, which is now in its third edition. Edward’s work is widely recognised as the most comprehensive treatment of Conditional Immortality in recent decades. Perhaps the most visible measure of its success is that most of those Evangelicals who set out to critique annihilationism will at some point target and critique Edward’s work (with very little success, in my view). It is the discovery of Edward’s lucid presentation of such a breadth of biblical evidence, along with a close examination of the supposed evidence for the traditional view, that has prompted innumerable Christians to rethink their belief in the eternal torments of hell, and gone some way to restoring the biblical portrayal of God to an incredulous crowd of non-believers.
I’m honoured that Edward suggested me as one of the plenary speakers at this conference, and sharing that role with the other plenary speaker Professor John Stackhouse (Sangwoo Youtong Chee Professor of Theology and Culture at Regent College, a role previously held by J. I. Packer) is somewhat humbling.
I appreciate, of course, that not everyone in Right Reason’s audience agrees with what I have to say about hell. Readers and listeners (both Christian and not) disagree with me on a whole range of issues, from this one to a biblical theology of human persons to whether or not the moral argument for theism is a good one to whether or not people should be pacifists, and plenty of other things besides. My defence of what I see as a biblical doctrine of judgement and my criticism of the traditional doctrine of hell, however, is just part of my wider approach encouraging independent, careful and critical thought about that which is handed down to us, something that I would hope my readers all appreciate regardless of their background.
Firstly: Although you might naturally expect that a group of Christians from around the world who have an interest in calling people to have a second look at the doctrine of hell would be an abundantly wealthy organisation (because talking about hell is where they money is at these days!), the reality is that Rethinking Hell depends on donations for its ability to run events like this (although there has never been an event “like this” before, given RH’s relative youth as an organisation). In addition to hiring the facilities, the largest expense is airfares for speakers – and given that I’m flying from New Zealand, guess who costs the most. If you’d like to financially assist in this venture, please feel free to contact me (if you’d like to help get me there) or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Secondly: Given that I’m rarely out of New Zealand, I’d like to make the most of being in the States. If you’d like to have me come and speak at other events while I’m there, please do let me know ASAP so we can talk about details and plan accordingly. Drop me a line using the contact button over on the right.
Thirdly and lastly: If you’re in that part of the world (or if you might be able to get there in July 2014), I’d love to meet you there! Head on over to the conference website and sign up to stay up to date with information about registering when it becomes available.