The Fire That Consumes | Book Review


Edward William Fudge’s The Fire That Consumes (3rded.) makes an exhaustive—and occasionally exhausting—biblical and historical case for a conditionalist understanding of hell. Traditionalism teaches that “God will make the wicked immortal, to suffer unending conscious torment in hell.” By contrast, conditionalism teaches that “the wicked will finally and truly die, perish, and become extinct forever, through a destructive process that encompasses whatever degree and duration of conscious torment God might sovereign and just impose in each case.” According to Fudge, the duration of hell’s torments is the only issue that divides the two camps. The biblical component of Fudge’s case occupies … Continue reading The Fire That Consumes | Book Review

Two Views on Hell | Book Review


Two Views of Hell is a debate between Edward W. Fudge and Robert A. Peterson about how long hell lasts. Fudge is a leading evangelical advocate for conditionalism, which teaches that the wicked will be destroyed body and soul in hell. He is the author of The Fire That Consumes, now in its third edition, the best single-volume treatment of conditonalism. Peterson is a leading evangelical advocate of traditionalism, which teaches the eternal conscious torment of the wicked in hell. He is the author of Hell on Trial, probably the best single-author treatment of traditionalism from a Reformed or Calvinist perspective … Continue reading Two Views on Hell | Book Review

Four Views on Hell, 2nd ed. | Book Review


Four Views on Hell presents a point-counterpoint debate between advocates of the three main interpretations of the doctrine of hell among evangelical theologians. Denny Burk makes the case for “eternal conscious torment,” John G. Stackhouse Jr. for “terminal punishment,” and Robin A. Parry for “universal salvation.” Jerry L. Walls’ argument for a Protestant version of Purgatory rounds out the “four views,” but while interesting, it is out of place in this book, since Purgatory—whether in its Catholic or Protestant version—is heaven’s antechamber, not hell’s. In his argument for hell as eternal conscious torment, Burk begins by telling a “parable” about a … Continue reading Four Views on Hell, 2nd ed. | Book Review

The Nature of Hell | Book Review


The Nature of Hell is a report by the Evangelical Alliance Commission on Unity and Truth Among Evangelicals (ACUTE) published in 2000. It outlines points of agreement and disagreement among evangelical Christians in the United Kingdom about “whether hell is a realm of everlasting conscious punishment for each individual who goes there, or whether the suffering of the unredeemed in hell will eventually result in their extinction” (pp. xiii–xiv). The former position is named “traditionalism” and the latter “conditionalism.” Historically, traditionalism has been the majority position in Christianity generally and evangelicalism specifically. However, in the decade prior to the report, some … Continue reading The Nature of Hell | Book Review

Today’s Influence Magazine Articles


Today, over at InfluenceMagazine.com: Mark Hausfeld, president of Assemblies of Theological Seminary, explains “Why Hell Matters.” I offer several suggestions about “Preaching Hell.” And Christina Quick points your attention to research that “Archaeology Confirms 53 Bible Characters.” Please make sure to follow and like Influence Influence magazine on Facebook, Twitter, and iTunes! Continue reading Today’s Influence Magazine Articles

The World Wide Religious Web for Tuesday, January 3, 2012


LOVE WINS? “2011: The Year of the Hell Debate.” I AGREE WITH THIS LETTER: “All American Muslim: An Open Letter.” “In our view, it is fundamentally unjust to tar all or most Muslims with the brush of extremism; and, as Christians and Americans, we must never countenance injustice. Moreover, effectively countering the threats posed by genuine extremists requires us to welcome as friends and allies Muslims who share our opposition to radicalism and violence, who value their American citizenship and American freedom just as we do, and who contribute constructively to their communities and the larger society. When we treat … Continue reading The World Wide Religious Web for Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The World Wide (Religious) Web for Friday, May 6, 2011


CNN Poll: Majority in U.S. say bin Laden in hell. The rest have read Love Wins. Jackson Lears critiques atheism, specifically Sam Harris, from the port-side of the political spectrum. On Harris’s view of science: To define science as the source of absolute truth, Harris must first ignore the messy realities of power in the world of Big Science. In his books there is no discussion of the involvement of scientists in the military-industrial complex or in the pharmacological pursuit of profit. Nor is any attention paid to the ways that chance, careerism and intellectual fashion can shape research: how … Continue reading The World Wide (Religious) Web for Friday, May 6, 2011

Is Rob Bell a Hell-Believing Universalist?


Rob Bell, Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived (San Francisco: HarperOne, 2011). $22.99, 224 pages. There are two kinds of people in the world: those who love questions and those who love answers. Question-lovers focus on the ambiguity and uncertainty of belief. Reality is bigger and more complex than our theories about it. Consequently, we must be humble in the face of mystery, knowing how much we do not know. Answer-lovers focus on the clarity and certainty of belief. Reality may slip the grasp of theory at the margins, but … Continue reading Is Rob Bell a Hell-Believing Universalist?