Last weekend’s Rethinking Hell conference at Fuller Seminary in Pasadena went extremely well. Greg Stump, Christopher Date, et al. did a superb job organizing and directing it. Those in attendance represented the spectrum of Christian views on the issue: traditionalists, universalists, and conditional immortalists. I was one of six plenary speakers, three of whom (including me) affirm conditional immortalism.
For those not aware, the three views are as follows. Traditionalists maintain that the damned suffer eternal conscious torment in hell. Universalists believe that, though some may suffer in hell for some indeterminate length of time, everyone is ultimately restored to fellowship
with God. And conditional immortalists maintain that the damned suffer for a finite period in hell and are ultimately annihilated (hence the term “annihilationism” that is sometimes applied to conditionalists).
For more information resources on conditionalism, check out the Rethinking Hell website.
The plenary speakers featured traditionalists Oliver Crisp and Jerry Walls, universalist Robin Parry, and conditionalists David Instone-Brewer, Christopher Date, and myself. All of their presentations were very good and generated substantive discussion with the audience. And I greatly enjoyed the discussion with them in between the sessions.
Jerry Walls is especially enjoyable to engage with, as he is a zealous Arminian and strong critic of Calvinists (like me) and anyone who shows sympathy with Roman Catholicism (like me). But we do agree on much more than we disagree about, especially when it comes to moral and social issues.
Future Rethinking Hell conferences are tentatively planned for the United Kingdom and Australia. And there is also talk of regional Rethinking Hell conferences. Stay tuned!