Rethinking Hell is a welcome contribution to the question of how Christians should think biblically about death, salvation and hell. This is honest scholarship seeking to both honour scripture and the fundamental tenets of Christian orthodoxy.
The Bible warns that those who exclude God from their lives throughout this life will finally die, perish, and be destroyed. Taken at face value, these words clearly point to a time when the unrepentant wicked will become extinct and be no more. This is in clear contrast with the traditional idea that the lost will suffer unending conscious torment, something the Bible never explicitly says. Only God is inherently immortal, and only those humans to whom God gives immortality, will exist forever. I highly commend this website as an informed source of faithful, articulate and cogent Bible teaching on this subject.
The question of what kind of God we worship comes down, in large measure, to that of what kind of punishment He has prepared for His enemies. There have always been Christians who have felt the tension between the traditional doctrine of hell and the image of God revealed in Jesus Christ. We are fortunate to be living in a time when Rethinking Hell is an available option.
Rethinking Hell is a great resource for decent detailed distinguished debate about hell.
When Scripture is clear we can celebrate it. When it is ambiguous, we are invited to explore and debate about it, not to dogmatize and divide over it. Rethinking Hell allows for detailed and respectful discussions on a difficult issue. It is a model which I hope will inspire others.
Something breathtaking is taking place on the theological stage. Certainly not everything in our medieval past was off-base. Yet, as believers of all stripes agree, some aspects of the tradition are morbidly unsound. Fortunately, we now hear a noisy and wholesome dialogue among first-rate scholars and Bible readers worldwide. This is a vital discussion, since whatever our conclusion about eternal punishment, it reflects on the God we serve. I heartily commend Rethinking Hell as a superb resource and forum to guide us through this vital discussion.
I'm what the Rethinking Hell guys call a “Traditionalist,” so I think their view of hell is wrong in some significant ways. But disagreements among Christians are inevitable, so it's important to approach them in the right way: thoughtfully, graciously, and with open Bibles. In my experience the Rethinking Hell team model this approach well, and I pray that through their work the church will grow in understanding and maturity.
Differences concerning the nature of hell are about matters of biblical interpretation, and evangelicals should seek to explore and discuss them irenically and respectfully without accusing one another of heresy or rejecting members of the evangelical family who are questioning whether traditional interpretations of Scripture are really true to Scripture.
Evangelicals pride themselves on following the principle called semper reformanda. The contributors at Rethinking Hell take that heritage seriously and have engaged in discussions regarding the nature of hell with a unique frankness and depth that is both surprising and reveals a passion for commitment to biblical truths. This is exciting and stimulating work that, while at times provocative, is never boring. Be prepared to be amazed at what you will discover. This website is helpful for heightening comprehension and encouraging dialogue as it is thoughtfully tied to the whole of biblical truth.
Does Scripture really teach that the God of everlasting love and goodness torments the unsaved forever? God rescues believers from death—the penalty established in Eden (Gen. 2:17), declared throughout the OT (Ps. 37; Ezek. 18:20), warned of by John the Baptist (Mt. 3:12), taught by Jesus (Mt. 10:28; 13:40-42) and affirmed by the apostles (Rom. 1:32; 2 Pet. 3:9). Rethinking Hell calls us back to the Bible to recover a lost truth and correct a terrible error which has long cast a shadow over the Gospel.
The Christian doctrine of hell is a very important matter for Christians, particularly because it arises so frequently in discussions of God’s goodness. Among the four main answers to the question of how long hell persists (universalism, immediate annihilationism, ultimate annihilationism or conditionalism, and eternal conscious punishment), I believe that the last two are supported by the strongest biblical evidence. Although I remain a believer in the fourth and most traditional of the key options, I think that ongoing study of Scripture on this important topic is very healthy for the church, so I am happy to see it encouraged by Rethinking Hell.
Hell is a crucial topic, especially for Evangelicals. And it needs to be revisited. For too many years—thousands, actually—believers have thought about Hell with closed Bibles. It's time to reopen them. It's time to think biblically, not confessionally or traditionally, about this misunderstood and debated doctrine. Rethinking Hell is doing the church a great service by stirring discussion and forcing us to read what the Bible says about Hell.
I'm glad there is the Rethinking Hell project, because I think we are overdue for gathering resources together.