The conditional view of Hell

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by evangelist6589, May 17, 2016.

  1. evangelist6589

    evangelist6589
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    Someone has challenged me to read a book by Fudge called the Fire that consumes and another called rethinking Hell. These iBooks are expensive ($20) each and probably too big for me to read so I got 4 Views on Hell (1996) for $7 instead and will read Pinnocks section. Do we have any advocates of the conditional view on Hell on this board and what are your arguments? I just started reading 4 Views on Hell.
     
  2. agedman

    agedman
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    As I showed in another thread, the current hades (KJV-hell) along with death is cast into the lake of fire in the Revelation.

    Some teach that hell is a temporary place of torment until the final judgement.

    Some teach the heresy of Papist view that because the hell is a temporary place of torment, it serves as a purgatory where humans abide paying for their sin.

    Some teach that a similar type of teaching in which certain believers do not enjoy the millennial reign because they didn't meet some standard or other - to discuss or propagate this on the BB is a topic that is banned called millennial exclusion. It is not founded upon scriptures and is heretical teaching.

    Some teach that hell and the lake of fire are one in the same. Personally, I do not have that thinking because of the revelation passages on the lake of fire.

    It matters not, because all who are in hell will be found in the lake of fire and there is no escape clause, no Santa Claus, and enough to cause folks to throw open the invitation, "Come, all who hunger and thirst after righteousness, come."
     
  3. Baptist Believer

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    I have heard that Fudge's book is the standard work on the subject. Rethinking Hell is a recent book with a number of authors. I hope to pick up both within the next six months and see what they have to say.

    I listen to the Rethinking Hell podcast on a regular basis and I generally agree with what is being said. In any case, it is interesting.

    I moved from an agnostic position on the question of hell (although I assumed a modern version of the Augustinian position was probably true, so my bias was in that direction) to a conditionalist position about 15 years ago. I didn't move to that position from reading a book (other than the Bible), nor from hearing a speaker advocate the position, or any other influence other than my own study.

    It began when I was reading through Revelation, taking note of the ways worship is presented in the book. I had heard someone comment that we need to be familiar with the worship songs presented in Revelation so that we will be "ready for heaven." While I didn't agree with much of what the speaker said, I thought it was an interesting premise, so I decided to read Revelation in one sitting instead of in sections. I was enjoying the fantastic symbols of God's triumph over evil and the choruses of worship when I came to the place where God judges those who oppose Him. They are cast into the lake of fire. What struck me was the plain words (in the middle of all kinds of symbolism) that the lake of fire was "the second death."

    I started thinking about what the first death was (obviously physical death) and how that related to the second death. Then I thought about the gospels and how Jesus most frequently contrasted eternal life with death/destruction/perishing - not eternal conscious torment.

    Certain that I was about to slide into a heresy unless I understood what the Bible said about the destiny of humankind, that initiated a careful study of the scriptures (which I looked at other things) to determine what each passage I encountered said about the fate of humankind.

    After about five years of paying specific attention to this issue, I realized that I believed the Bible teaches that those who opposed God will perish - just as Jesus describes.

    Since that time, I have asked theologians and other knowledgeable people who love and respect the scriptures to give me their best arguments for eternal conscious torment. I haven't found anything compelling that lines up with my understanding of the scriptures.

    That being said, I very well might be wrong, but I don't think so. I'm not interested in a debate, but if you want to get my take on a few things, I'm happy to give you my opinion.
     
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  4. kyredneck

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    Good post BB! Thanks for sharing.
     
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  5. evangelist6589

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    I need to read more up on the Conditional View of Hell and why I bought this Zondervan 4 Views on Hell iBook. I will be reading what Clark Pinnock has to say since he is the one who makes the defense of the conditional view.
     
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  6. Baptist Believer

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    I need to preface my comments by saying that I haven't read any of these works, so what I have heard about them is second-hand.

    I have been told that Pinnock did a poor job of articulating the position in the volume that you apparently possess. An updated version of that book was just released this year which is supposed to be much more focused and comprehensive.

    I wouldn't want for Clark Pinnock's presentation to be understood as the definitive expression of the viewpoint. I haven't read much of Pinnock's work, but I generally don't find him compelling.

    I suggest reading the book you have carefully and then posing any questions you might have. If you want to hear more on conditionalism, you may want to listen to the free Rethinking Hell podcast or investigating their website. They do a nice job of covering the issues from a multitude of theological stances, including the Reformed position.

    Again, I am happy to be a resource if you have questions.
     
  7. evangelist6589

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    I am not sure what Mac thinks of these authors but regardless I will read for myself. So far Pinnock seems to be trying to reason his way out of the Bibles teachings on everlasting torment. The same type of method used by the Universalist. Is this how Fudge also argues? Well I will read more.. He may change his approach.
     
  8. Baptist Believer

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    Again, I haven't read the book, but I looked at a few reviews of the arguments that Pinnock made and it sounds like he made an appeal to the character of God instead of what the scripture teaches.

    Now I don't think the Bible teaches everlasting torment for humankind, but that's the issue isn't it?

    Any arguments for or against that position must be made from the scriptural witness, not how we happen to understand the character of God.

    I haven't read Fudge's book, but I have heard recent interviews with him and it is definitely not how he argues. He is all about scripture.

    Fudge's book is a foundational text that explains the conditionalist understanding of the scriptures.
     
  9. wTanksley

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    I've been studying conditional immortality for a while, and have been convinced of it. The Zondervan 4 views are excellent resources, but have shortcomings. In my opinion the best part is the interactions, not so much the cases being made -- as the Bible says, the first to present his case seems right.
    Pinnock leans hard on the character of God, but that argument is very abstract and easy to get wrong. In the new edition (of the Zondervan 4 views on hell) Stackhouse starts with the character of God (again, not an emphasis I would recommend), but he spends much more time and emphasis on the Scriptural case.
    These books, however, are very short. It's a good introduction, but I hope anyone who reads one is stirred to curiosity, not persuasion.
    The magnum opus is Fudge's, and in his third edition he does an amazing job interacting with many modern critics -- if the cost is prohibitive, consider getting the Kindle edition for $10 (there's a free Kindle reader for your Apple device).
    A briefer, and freely available, presentation is available in Henry Constable's "The Duration and Nature of Future Punishment", a classic from the 1800s that's now downloadable, or purchasable appropriately inexpensively from Ichthus Publications (and in Kindle for a buck). Obviously, the catch is that this does not interact with the modern arguments; although sadly the modern arguments have not advanced much (and I hope that any believer in eternal conscious torment who reads this is stirred to research to advance the state of the arguments!).
     
    #9 wTanksley, May 19, 2016
    Last edited: May 19, 2016
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  10. Grasshopper

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    Here is a somewhat recent sermon series on the subject from Fudge's point of view. I read Fudge several years ago and lean to that view:

    http://emmanuelenid.org/media-overview/itemlist/category/60-eternal-reward-and-judgments
     
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