Based on the evidence currently available, we should view Pope Francis as an annihilationist, and attempts from within the Vatican to downplay this fact are unconvincing. The current Pope does not believe the doctrine of eternal torment, affirming instead the biblical doctrine of conditional immortality: That the saved will have eternal life, but the lost will not live forever – not in hell or anywhere else. Continue reading “Pope Francis is an annihilationist”
What would you think if I offered to reward you by killing you? Would you think I was mad? Suppose that I was a well-known preacher who had steadily grown in popularity, so that I now pastored a large church, wrote and sold many books, was keynote speaker at conservative conferences and so on. And then one day I told, not just you but the whole world, that for people who don’t know Jesus to be annihilated forever would actually be a reward, throwing in a claim that really, it’s what they want anyway? Of course it would be just as mad as the person who thought that killing you would be a reward, but you might look at my rise in popularity and influence and wonder at just what point I crossed the line where I would think that this was a healthy thing, not just to believe, but to tell the world.
Not long ago, John Piper tweeted thus: Continue reading “So long, John Piper”
Life is worth nothing. Having eternal life is worth nothing. Nothing at all. Enjoying eternity with God is not something to be prized, so if you lose it, you have lost nothing. No big deal. It has no value. If you lost your life, or you had the chance of eternal life taken from you (when it is actually a real possibility), then you have lost nothing at all. Zip.
If you tell anybody that this is not so, then you’re not a real Christian, but a phony. If you deny these things, then you’re accursed. You must tell people that these things are true, because if you tell them anything else, you’re not being loving. You’re just letting them die in their sins. If you want to be faithful to God, then you must tell people that their lives are worthless, and that there is no value in eternal life. This is an essential part of defending the Gospel.
Of course none of that is true. It is bizarre, false, and certainly not a view that I would ever call biblical or Christian. And yet, I have just read an article by the head of a major Evangelical apologetics organisation in which he claimed all of these things. Continue reading “Hell and broken thinking”
The traditional doctrine of hell is surely a major liability in the task of Christian apologetics. Isn’t it? At the very least, the significant tension between proclaiming the goodness and love of God should give you a reason to ask afresh whether or not he will cause the eternal suffering of human beings.
After much ado, the podcast is back. Enjoy!
Rethinking Hell: Readings in Evangelical Conditionalism was recently published by Cascade Books.
What did the early Church Fathers have to say about the doctrine of eternal punishment?
Every now and then I make a video for Rethinking Hell, and I’ll share some of those here as they are produced. The purpose of this one was to provide a succinct reply to the comment that is sometimes made that the doctrine of hell as a place of eternal torment is the view that all the Early Church Fathers held. I hope you find it interesting!
Here it is, Episode 18. Here I draw on the work of the fourth century bishop of Alexandria, Athanasius. His work called The Incarnation of the Word is my all-time favourite work from the Church Fathers, and I think it gives us excellent theological reasons for adopting annihilationism. Along the way, it invites a theological storm over what it meant for Christ to become subject to death as one of us.
As always, comments are more than welcome.
And here it is, episode 7, the final part in the three part series on hell. This is the longest episode that I have ever done, and it is the longest I ever plan on doing. Don’t worry, this isn’t going to become a pattern, but I wasn’t about to do a fourth part, so I had to fit everything into this one.
As always, your comments and questions are welcome. Drop me a line – You can even send your comment or question as an audio clip, and I’ll play it on the show.
As this episode ended up being longer than expected (there are plenty of bad arguments to cover!), I’ve decided to present a third episode in this series, where I will cover the remainder of the main arguments for the traditional view. But at least this time I managed to squeeze in my regular “This Week in History” segment.
The next episode will be a little shorter.
We’ve made it to five episodes! This one is part one of a biblical and theological (mostly biblical) discussion about hell, the doctrine of eternal punishment in Christian theology. It’s a two part presentation. In this part, I present my position on the subject, a view called annihilationism. In the next show I’ll be looking at argument against my view and in favour of a more traditional view of hell as a place of the eternal torment of the damned.
As I promised in the Episode, here’s a list of some prominent Christian thinkers who hold (or held – some of them are dead) to an annihilationist point of view:
- John Stott
- Michael Green
- Clark Pinnock
- Philip Edgecumbe Hughes
- John Wenham
- Dale Moody
- Edward Fudge
- Graham Scroggie
- Edward White
- Basil Atkinson
- E. Earle Ellis
- Homer Hailey
That’s what I came up with in 2 minutes. Now, come on in, the water’s lovely!