Episode 18: A Response to Chris Rosebrough, with Chris Date and Glenn Peoples

Dr. Glenn PeoplesChris DateDr. Glenn Peoples joins Chris Date for a special extra long episode of the podcast, to respond to Pirate Christian Radio’s Chris Rosebrough, who critiqued the conditionalist writing of Dr. David Reagan in his recent interview on Worldview Weekend Radio.

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  • Nathan Jones

    Excellent, Gentlemen, and discussed logically and in love. I hope you’ll let me transcribe and repurpose your interview of Dr. Reagan on The Christ in Prophecy Journal at http://www.lamblion.us?

    • Chris Date

      Hi, Nathan. Thanks so much for your kind words. We really tried to shoot for that, and I’m glad it came across. I’ll talk to the team about your request; I doubt anyone will object. But may I ask, 1) can we have a copy of the transcription, and 2) will the article in the journal include mention of our website, and where readers can find it?

      • Nathan Jones

        Absolutely! All credit and link back will go to this page. A pdf of the transcript would be made available. We’d promote it on all our social networks and re-podcast if you authorize it. That will also hopefully at to the exposure of your site with our global audience.

        • Chris Date

          Cool, yeah I’ll definitely talk to the team. By the way, I’m not certain I know whether you’re proposing doing this for the yet unpublished interview with Dr. Reagan, or this episode critiquing Rosebrough? Or both?

          • Nathan Jones

            I was writing a piece in response to Rosebrough (who was merely the mouthpiece for Brannon Howse), but your interview here is so excellent that what I thought I’d do is break it up into segments for our audience, then add my own comments. We’d then next include your interview with Dr. Reagan when available. Sound good?

          • Chris Date

            More than good :) I’ll get back to you ASAP.

          • Chris Date

            Nathan, your plan sounds great. Could you just also include some phrase indicating that you had our permission to republish any of our material? Other than that, I think we’re on board :)

          • Nathan Jones

            Certainly will, Chris, and thank you! Looking forward to your posted interview of Dr. Reagan.

  • lambtestimony

    Dr. David Reagan won the debate and he wasn’t even there because they never refuted his arguments. I hope that people who listen to the Chris Rosebrough interview actually go and
    take 10 minutes and read the article.

  • Trident343

    I really enjoyed this podcast. Unfortunately, this is a good example of the common way Conditional Immortality is being addressed. Proper diligence and a sensible amount of consideration is sorely lacking on the side of traditionalism.

  • Private

    I really enjoyed listening to this podcast. I especially enjoyed the format. Great stuff.

  • Anyone listening to this would think ‘Surely this is not the best defense traditionalists have to argue?’. I believe Dr. Peoples is correct. This IS the best they’ve got. What amazes me is how Rosebrough has the audacity to claim annihilationists do not follow proper hermeneutic when traditionalism:

    1. Relies on proof-texting such as Revelation 14 and 20 (and apocalyptic literature to boot) as their foundation.

    2. Ignores clear biblical evidence that contradicts its own views

    3. Translates strong Greek words like ‘destroy’, ‘death’, ‘destruction’, and ‘consume’ to mean ‘life’, ‘conscious ruin’, ‘burn without consumption’: their exact opposites

    4. Comes to texts such as Malachi 4:1,2, Psalms 37:20, and Isaiah 66 with the preconceived notion of man having an inherent immortal soul and say that such texts of utter destruction and eternal death are speaking about the body and not the soul. A convenient loop hole when their proof texts fail and the evidence against them is overwhelming.

    5. Ignore the direct parallel between the OT and NT language of destruction to make one say ‘The sky is blue’ and the other one using the same language to say, ‘The sky is red’. Because surely we can’t let the OT interpret our views on the nature of man now that we have the NT! The same words MUST mean the opposite now under the New Covenant!

    But it is the conditional immortality view that is ‘heresy’, ‘cultic’, and ‘violating hermenutic??

  • I remember hearing Rosebrough’s interaction with Doug Pagitt a couple of years ago debating hell and was mortified by his hermenuetic almost as much as I was by Pagitt’s lack thereof. Rosebrough didn’t seem to fair too well there either and I am no fan of Pagitt. He started out with the parable of the tares of the field and went downhill from there. You can view the debate over at Vimeo and see what I mean.

    • Chris Date

      Yeah, I started to watch that but quickly lost interest. I was, I’ll admit, shocked that Rosebrough started with the parable of the tares :)

  • Oh, and by the way, great job, Chris and Glenn! Nice, even handed interaction with his 5 hermeneutic rules.

  • Robert Fisher

    You guys need to be called to account for what you are doing:

    1) You resort to nit picky sophistry instead of refuting Chris. What difference does it make if Chris uses your approved terminology for the concept that is covered by the term ‘annihilationism’? Just because Chris didn’t mention the death of Christ on the cross doesn’t mean he believes it was irrelevant to the atonement. He could just as easily have said, we can’t work out how the “mathematics” of Christ’s suffering AND DEATH would equate to eternal conscious torment if people reject Christ. This could just have been a slip.

    2) I distrust your casual dismissal of Revelation just because it contains symbolism. It uses metaphors in its descriptions of things, but not in the actions that take place. Thus Christ may or may not be wearing 7 crowns, but he will certainly conquer and punish evildoers when he comes again. The people tormented forever in chapter 14:11 might have been using bar codes or have microchip implants (though I doubt that is what is meant by ‘mark’) but they will certainly be punished and we can take the description at face value. Else the text is completely meaningless.

    3) Annihilation cannot be “eternal punishment”, since after you are annihilated there is nothing that is being punished. This is so self evident that the attempt to evade it comes off as sophistry that redefines “punishment” which must have an existing conscious agent that is being punished.

    Chris is aware of your podcast on his facebook page. Hopefully he will deal with you people in an upcoming podcast. He has already promised to refute Peeples in his upcoming talk in Virginia. You’re on his radar.

    • Robert Fisher

      to add to #3:

      1) there might be cases where ‘eternal’ + another word may refer to eternal consequences, but this will not get you out of the difficulty where the context demands that what ‘eternal’ describes is the thing itself, not consequences. This is your own case of committing the “totatlity transfer fallacy”, ie. transferring the meaning of ‘eternal’ in one context to another where it cannot apply.

      2) Is ‘redemption’ really not eternal? Hebrews said that Christ eternally makes intercession for the saved. John says that Christ was crucified before the foundation of the world. In this sense his redemption is ongoing, not something that God merely remembers. So punishment, if it is eternal, must involve the existing conscious agent being punished.

      • lambtestimony

        I think after someone is annihilated their punishment can still be in effect since compared to someone living they are at the same time deprived of existence and the pleasures they could have had. Why do you think Matthew 25:46/”eternal punishment” so conclusively proves eternal torment? If eternal torment is what was meant by “eternal punishment” then why was the Greek word “basanizo” not used instead of “kolasis”? In 2 Maccabees 4:38 “kolasis” was to indicate the punishment of death; it does not have to mean torment
        (http://conditionalism.net/blog/2011/05/jim-warner-wallace-on-matthew-2546/)
        The wicked suffer the punishment of death for eternity while at the same time the righteous enjoy eternal life.

      • Givemhell
      • “this will not get you out of the difficulty where the context demands that what ‘eternal’ describes is the thing itself, not consequences”

        You still appear to be assuming that “the thing itself” is not death. If death is the punishment, then annihilationism is a model in which the thing itself is indeed eternal.

        • Robert Fisher

          How do you explain Isaiah 14:9-11? Is Isaiah just indulging in some weird metaphor? Or are those in Hell really conscious as Isaiah says they are?

          http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Isaiah%2014&version=KJV

          • I agree with Robert; Isaiah 14 is an actual, literal depiction of dead people having a conversation, and nothing suggests otherwise (except for the talking trees! :-D )

            And for the record, this passage says nothing about “Hell” Robert. I hope that my saying so doesn’t strike you at “nit picky.”

          • Chris Date

            Ronnie’s right. However literally this is intended to be taken, it regards the dead in Sheol, whereas final judgment and punishment comes after resurrection out of Sheol.

          • Well wait a second. You made an argument about what we should do where the context indicates that the “thing itself” is eternal. I offered my explanation. I’d at least like you to acknowledge that your concern was addressed – or that you see a problem with the answer, before you hop over to another issue.

    • lambtestimony

      I think you are being careless with what the Bible actually says. Revelation 14:11 does not say that people will be tormented forever; it says the smoke of their torment will go up forever. Given the language in Isaiah 34:10 is so strikingly similar it is only fitting that one examine this text also before jumping to an interpretion in Revelation.

    • Chris is aware of your podcast on his facebook page. Hopefully he will
      deal with you people in an upcoming podcast. He has already promised to
      refute Peeples in his upcoming talk in Virginia. You’re on his radar.

      I’m sorry, but this sort of fawning fanboyism is really embarrassing. The whole “my guy can beat up your guy” is probably best left on the playground and out of serious discussions about important topics.

      And it’s “Peoples”, not “Peeples”. The name is correctly spelled on this page several times, as well as in the Facebook thread you mentioned.

    • 1. “You guys need to be called to account for what you are doing.”

      Your concern is appreciated, thank you, but I doubt that I am the only one who is an active and serving member in good standing of a local church that practices discipline, under the authority of elders to whom I am accountable. My pastor and I do not always agree theologically—I am Reformed, he is not—but he is an attentive shepherd of his flock who understands that we must be united on essentials but can enjoy liberty on non-essentials. If he agreed with you that I needed to be called to account for what I am doing here, he knows I would come the moment he called. And again, I suspect this could be said of more than just me among the contributors here.

      2. “What difference does it make if Chris [Rosebrough] uses your approved terminology for the concept that is covered by the term ‘annihilationism’?”

      It is called intellectual charity, which is the opposite of strawman caricatures. If your description of my view—perhaps in your own words—is practically unrecognizable to me, then you have failed to honestly and charitably represent my views, much less engage them so. Nobody is well served when you argue against a view that is different from or weaker than your opponent’s actual view. (And when I say “you” I am using it in its generic sense.)

      3. “Just because Chris [Rosebrough] didn’t mention the death of Christ on the cross doesn’t mean he believes it was irrelevant to the atonement.”

      True. However, that misses the entire point being made. If the wages of sin is eternal conscious torment, then why didn’t the Father let this cup pass once his Son’s suffering was complete? If the wages of sin is eternal conscious torment, then why was Christ’s death and resurrection necessary or even relevant?

      “This could just have been a slip,” you said. Possible, but I doubt it because it is a question that is not confronted and engaged by traditionalists, including Rosebrough.

      4. “I distrust your casual dismissal of Revelation just because it contains symbolism.”

      And I distrust you willingness or ability to represent your opponent fairly or accurately, for neither Peoples nor Date have ever dismissed the Revelation, regardless of what it contains.

      5. “Annihilation cannot be ‘eternal punishment,’ since after you are annihilated there is nothing that is being punished.”

      That means it cannot be eternal punishing, but it is certainly eternal punishment—because there is no coming back from the second death.

      6. “[Punishment] must have an existing conscious agent that is being punished.”

      Unless the punishment is death, and one that nobody ever comes back from (eternal). Do try to not beg the very question.

      7. “Chris is aware of your podcast . . . Hopefully he will deal with you people in an upcoming podcast. . . . You’re on his radar.”

      We genuinely look forward to the challenge.

    • “I distrust your casual dismissal of Revelation just because it contains symbolism;”

      The distrust is not in Revelation itself but the desire to treat it so literally when figurative language is being used, and to make such ambiguous texts full of symbolic imagery as the bedrock foundation of
      one’s theology. Especially when

      a) the weight of other scriptural evidence contradicts that literal interpretation

      Let’s be honest here, Robert. Traditionalists pretty much have four yes that’s right FOUR, texts that they base the entire view of eternal torment from. Revelation 14:11, Revelation 20:10, Mark 9:48 and Matthew 25:46. I can’t speak for Chris or others but for myself alone, I’ve discovered well over 35 blatant and direct references that say the finalpunishment of the wicked will be to be ‘destroyed’, ‘burnt up’ and ‘consumed’.

      b) the language used in said passages is used elsewhere in the bible to denote their literal meaning.

      Revelation and Mark’s language is used elsewhere in passages such as Psalms 37:20, Isaiah 34:10, and 1 Samuel 1:22,28 to show that ‘smoke ascending’ means finality and ‘forever’ means ‘as long as life lasts’. ‘Forever’ is also qualitative depending on whom it is describing. The wicked do not have immortality or immortal souls. The bible is clear on this. Therefore ‘forever’ means ‘age lasting’ not ‘eternal’. ‘day and night’ is used in the bible to denote CONTINUITY, not DURATION. Revelation 20:10 should read ‘and they shall be tormented continually without rest until their life lasts’. Mark 9 is drawn from Isaiah 66:24 and ‘unquenchable fire’ is explained in Jeremiah 17:27. The bible makes it clear that the wicked will be ‘consumed’ and ‘burnt up’. When we look at Moses in front of the burning bush in Exodus 3 we read this:

      “And the angel of the Lord
      appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he
      looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not
      consumed.”

      That right there should be a show stopper but is virtually ignored by the traditionalist. The exact thing they say is going to happen, ‘people burning without consumption’ is a complete ignorance of how ‘consume’ means to utterly destroy and annihilation and it blatantly contradicts what the Bible clearly states is the final end of the wicked, that they will be CONSUMED by FIRE and not be burning without consumption.

      Isaiah 1:28 “And the destruction of the transgressors and of the sinners shall be together and they that forsake the Lord shall be consumed.”

      Psalm 37:20 “But the wicked shall perish, and the enemies of the Lord shall be as the fat of lambs. They shall consume; into smoke shall they consume away”

      Psalms 104:35a “Let the sinners be consumed out of the earth and let the wicked be no more”

      c) The language used clearly begs to render a symbolic interpretation
      Can you explain exactly how the ‘beast’, which represents a religio/political power, and ‘death’ and ‘hell’ itself actually be burned alive? Does that not tell you that the language is somewhat symbolic here? Revelation 69-10‘s ‘souls’ under the altar’ is used by traditionalists to denote that the righteous are in heaven and that we have immortal souls. So all the dead saints are crammed under the altar in the heavenly sanctuary? Must be pretty crowded. (I can explain this passage quite easily if anyone is interested)

      I could go on and on with the mound of evidence against traditionalism but this has been lengthy enough.

  • Pingback: Episode 19: Eternity: Heaven or Hell, with David Reagan | Rethinking Hell()

  • Roy

    Great episode!

  • Private

    I noticed that this page comes up on the first page of google after you type in the name Chris Rosebrough. I was looking for the lecture that he did recently that I think he said touched on this topic. I think it was called “How to Not Be Deceived, Bamboozled or Snookered by Religious Hucksters” I noticed that it didn’t pull up on the first page when you type in Fighting for the Faith or Pirate Christian Radio but I think it should.

  • Pingback: Fighting for the fire – The sinking of Pirate Christian Radio’s case against annihilationism | Rethinking Hell()

  • edwardfudge

    Outstanding response in every way. Thoroughly informed in content, edifying in apparent intent, irenic in tone, humble in spirit. And all that made more obvious by contrast with the opposite in each case by the person on the other side.

    • Chris Date

      Thanks, Edward!

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