Monday, October 31, 2011

Theopologetics Debate: Conditionalism (Again)

Well I've moderated three debates, now it's time to participate in one myself. I've wanted to try my hand at it and get some practice, and have come in recent months to find the case for annihilationism quite compelling. Friends of the show,, have accepted my invitation to debate the topic.

Date: Tuesday, December 20th (or Thursday, December 22nd if unforeseen circumstances rule out Tuesday), to be published in the podcast feed shortly thereafter.

Resolution: The punishment of the damned will be actual torment forever and ever.

Participants: Hiram Diaz from Grassroots Apologetics affirms. Chris Date, host of the Theopologetics Podcast, denies.

Moderating: Michael Burgos, also from Grassroots Apologetics, will moderate. If he is unavailable, Mike Felker of The Apologetic Front will moderate.

Audience Questions: To submit a question to be posed to either participant, please email the moderators at and with your question and the participant to which you would like it posed.

Debate format:
  • 20 minutes opening affirmative
  • 20 minutes opening negative
  • 10 minutes rebuttal affirmative
  • 10 minutes rebuttal negative
  • 10 minutes cross-examination of affirmative
  • 10 minutes cross-examination of negative
  • 10 minutes cross-examination of affirmative
  • 10 minutes cross-examination of negative
  • 30 minutes "audience" Q&A, alternating
  • 10 minutes closing negative
  • 10 minutes closing affirmative


  1. I will update soon with instructions for submitting questions.

  2. Chris, just curious what books have you read that led you to embrace conditionalism? I have read Fudge's book but what others have you read and studied? Also, how have others viewed your embracing of this teaching?

  3. Just to be clear, I haven't yet "embraced" conditionalism. I am very close, and invited the debate to help me make up my mind, but there remains a sliver of doubt. If Diaz makes a good case, I might begin to travel back toward traditionalism.

    So perhaps I could answer your question after slightly rewording it: "What books have you read that led you to 'lean toward' conditionalism?" Well Fudge's book is the only book I've read arguing in favor of conditionalism. I've also read portions of Dixon's The Other Side of the Good News, Peterson's Hell on Trial, and of the collaborative work called Hell Under Fire, and have come to find their arguments against conditionalism to be so horribly vapid that far from causing me to doubt conditionalism, it suggests its truthfulness all the more. What's more, the interviews with Fudge and Dixon, and the debate I moderated between TFan and Ronnie, all cause me to lean toward conditionalism as well. And finally, the personal interaction I've had on blogs and over email reinforces my lean toward annihilationism.

    Does that help at all?

  4. I actually didn't think that Fudge's case was as compelling as I hoped it to be (but that may well be because I read it after already being familiar with most of the basic arguments). His interaction with the early church fathers seemed to read into those teachings what I'm just not sure what taught. (Tradition does matter for me because those to whom it was written would have been more aware of the context).

    However, I continue to research the topic and may submit a question along these lines *evil grin*

  5. Please do! But please don't further hint at the question; I don't want to have an unfair advantage :) After the debate, we can discuss this further if you like.

  6. I also suggest the book Two Views on Hell with Fudge and Peterson. Have you read Francis Chan's Erasing Hell?

  7. Both books have been suggested to me, but I haven't read them yet. Is there evidence you think they bring to the table that you think favors traditionalism, and which the other resources I'm looking at have neglected?