A friend of mine Edward Fudge is hosting a conference this summer, July 11-12, at the Lanier Theological Library. The title is “Rethinking Hell.” Edward Fudge, as you may know, has written the definitive book on hell as annihilation. Here is an announcement I received recently on it. If you are in or near Houston this summer, you should plan on attending. Go to the site http://www.rethinkinghell.com for more details.
Eleven weeks from now, registrants from countries on three or four continents arrive in Houston for the first ever Rethinking Hell Conference. Awaiting them will be a schedule that includes high academic prowess and ground-level practice, historical exhibits, a live podcast interview with audience involvement, screening of a feature movie, and never-before-seen excerpts from an international documentary film now in progress.
All this happens in a world-renowned venue, the Lanier Theological Library and Chapel, whose professional staff is accustomed to tourist buses, even on ordinary days with nothing special on the calendar. The calendar for this conference is brief, though packed, beginning on Friday evening, July 11, and ending Saturday night, July 12. In keeping with the sponsor’s mission and vision, and unlike many conferences, this one is open to anyone who wishes to register (for a very modest fee) and attend.
The sponsor and its mission
Less than two years ago, God wondrously brought together a small group of disparate individuals scattered halfway around the world, by inspiring in them the uniting vision of a joint mission. They differed in age, location, occupation, and theology–but in truth they shared very much indeed. They all were Christian believers and all held to evangelical convictions. Additionally, driving this conference on July 11-12 in Houston, the sponsors all held the understanding of final judgment known as conditionalism or conditional immortality.
The group named their mission the Rethinking Hell Project, and took as their first assignment the creation of a powerful website called RethinkingHell.com . Next, they organized an international conference on the subject that brought them together.
What is conditionalism?
The term “conditionalism” reflects the biblical teaching that human beings are not inherently immortal, and that human immortality is “conditional” as God’s gift to the redeemed. At the time he has appointed, God will raise all the dead, both righteous and unrighteous, for judgment and their final reward.
However, while the redeemed are raised immortal, the unrighteous are not. Instead, they are banished into hell, also called Gehenna, and the Lake of Fire. There they finally “perish” (John 3:16), are “destroyed” both soul and body (Matt.10:28), and experience the “second death” (Rev. 21:8)–from which there will be no restoration, return, or recovery forever. This is the view set out in my 1982 book, The Fire That Consumes, which was something of a leader in its field.
Conference speakers and presenters
The conference will feature two plenary speakers–Dr. John Stackhouse of Vancouver, Canada, and Dr. Glenn Peoples of Wellington, New Zealand. Dr. Stackhouse holds the Sangwoo Youtong Chee Chair of Theology and Culture at Regent College, an international graduate school of Christian studies. Dr. Peoples blogs (Right Reason) on issues of philosophy, theology, biblical studies and social issues. His is the most widely listened to podcast on philosophy or theology in the southern hemisphere.
Presenters at breakout sessions and panelists include philosophers, theologians, authors and clergy; but also an evangelist/apologist in more than 100 countries; an appellate judge, a filmmaker and a psychiatrist, each bringing a unique perspective. Dr. Stackhouse is also slated to preach on Sunday, July 13 at Bering Drive Church of Christ in Houston, and those attending the conference are specially invited to attend.
Will you join me there?
Click here for links to the conference schedule, cost, and hotel and other information. With only eleven weeks to go, why not register now and plan to join me there!
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