The legacy of Millerism

In this article, Jefferson Vann highlights some historians’ evaluations of the 19th century Millerite movement, and draws some possible implications for present day adherents to conditional immortality. There is no direct theological connection between the Millerite movement of the mid nineteenth century with conditional immortality. Yet, many of us who hold to conditionalism have connections […]

A Brief tour of Reformation Conditionalism (Part 2)

{ A Brief Tour of Reformation Conditionalism  (Part 1) click here } The Zurich radicals didn’t elaborate, expound or theologically analyze the afterlife, but instead their views on personal eschatology were seen as bleeding through the pages of their letters and tracts because of their ecclesiastical eschatology. Their community mindedness formed their end-times view. A global, […]

A Brief tour of Reformation Conditionalism (Part 1)

When John Calvin wrote the Orléans draft of his first book, Psychopannychia, in 1534, one wonders how much direct exposure he had, if any, with the radical reformation wing of the Anabaptists.1  Calvin says that “pious persons invited and even urged” him to pick up his pen to refute “that absurd dogma” that he dearly […]

Soul Sleep of the Swiss Brethren (Part 3)

{ Soul Sleep of the Swiss Brethren (Part 1) click here } { Soul Sleep of the Swiss Brethren (Part 2) click here } Calvin’s harsh pen was the mildest form of opposition the Anabaptists faced. Another Anabaptist rose to prominence; Menno Simons in the Netherlands. Under Menno the Anabaptists circled the wagons and unified […]

Soul Sleep of the Swiss Brethren (Part 2)

By Lerman D’Eon { Soul Sleep of the Swiss Brethren (Part 1) click here } Grebel didn’t live to see the Refutation, nor his character referred to as “a shade, in mocking allusion to the doctrine of psychopannychism”1 having recently died of plague. Manz however, was undaunted. Imprisoned, he penned a hymn still in use […]

Soul Sleep of the Swiss Brethren (Part 1)

During the period of Martin Luther’s challenges to the church, a somewhat parallel yet independent course of reform was taking place in Zurich. This Swiss Reformation led by Ulrich Zwingli was just as convinced as Luther that Scripture should take precedence over traditions, but how that worked itself out was very different. Both were strongly […]

Classical theology and conditional immortality

In Christian discussions about human nature and destiny, conditional immortality is still regarded by some people as a view without a home in historic Christian thought. They might expect us to appeal to emotion or to our sense of fairness and love, but they might not expect us to provide a robust biblical case, and […]

History of Hell | Hell before Augustine

Imagine if somebody said, “No Christian leaders taught the doctrine of eternal torment prior to Augustine.” That sounds like a pretty bold statement, right? No teachers taught what is now the traditional view of hell back then? None? And yet, it’s no more bold or over-the-top than many of the claims some theologians make in […]

History of Hell | Justin Martyr, God’s Philosopher – Part 3

What the early church really believed about the immortality of the soul, “hellfire” and its relevance to today, from the life of Justin Martyr — An address delivered to the CIANZ Annual Conference, May 2009. Loose Lips? Justin speaks in various ways of the evildoers’ “punishment in eternal fire” and of “eternal punishment”.1  He says […]

“Why Don’t You Believe The Traditional View of hell ?” (Part Two)

In discussing Conditional Immortality among Conservative Protestants I am often told, “That’s not the traditional view of hell, it’s the traditional view of the church!” I believe Scripture alone binds my conscience, but I also believe that those who say this often misunderstand what the “tradition” of the church is and would be surprised to find that the view they support is generally not that held by the majority in the early […]