March 29, 2016

I just finished James Atwood’s book America and Its Guns: A Theological Expose and I’m sitting here stunned. The statistics, the stories, the indifference, the political power plays in the face of innocent deaths, the role of money in the whole debate—even when lives are at stake. I know this is a messy topic and it defies simple answers. But this book has certainly blown the doors off my thinking on it. Let me start by saying, as I often… Read more

March 25, 2016

As mentioned in my previous post, I’ve been combing through some recent books on violence and nonviolence. One of the most fascinating ones I’ve read on the topic is Ron Sider’s Nonviolent Action: What Christian Ethics Demands but Most Christians Have Never Really Tried (Baker, 2015). Good. Night. This book is good! If you love history, if like reading about revolutions, if you love Jesus and beauty and courage and want to see how faith applies to the real world,… Read more

March 24, 2016

It’s been nearly three years since I published my book Fight: A Christian Case for Nonviolence. As a life-long student, I like to revisit topics I’ve written on, especially ones as volatile as nonviolence. I’ve been giving several talks on nonviolence this Spring, including the upcoming Q conference in Denver, where I’ll be dialoguing with fellow Idahoan (go Broncos!) Doug Wilson about gun control and enemy love. To dust off my thinking on the subject, I’ve been plowing through some… Read more

March 17, 2016

Every Christian is called to ministry. No, not vocational, churchy, preaching ministry. But every Christian has been gifted by God’s Spirit for ministry—for serving others and advancing God’s kingdom on earth. That’s our primary vocation. All of us. Whether you’re training to be a doctor, lawyer, teacher, garbage collector, bartender, business owner, or botanist, your primary vocation—if you’re a Christian—is to be a disciple of Jesus who makes disciples for Jesus. God didn’t put you on earth to spend most… Read more

March 16, 2016

The following post is written by my brother from another mother; my best friend, Joey Dodson. This dude totally rocks and has a really moving testimony. Check it out. It was 1970-something when, to her horror, a young girl in northern Louisiana learned that she was pregnant. Around nine months later, a couple of weeks before Easter, she gave birth to a son and gave him up for adoption. It wasn’t until years later, when my uncle told me I was… Read more

March 14, 2016

Well, okay, so maybe it’s not the last word on hell, but this post represents the final remarks by both Chris Date and Jerry Shepherd. I want to extend my thanks to both contributors for their tireless attention to the biblical text and, most of all, their devotion to the Author of the text. I’ve learned much from this dialogue and have appreciated the cordial, yet direct, tone in which it was handled.    Jerry Shepherd’s Concluding Remarks First, I again want to… Read more

March 11, 2016

This is Chris Date’s second rebuttal to Jerry Shepherd’s presentation of eternal conscious torment. Here are Jerry’s FIRST, SECOND, and THIRD posts. Chris’s first two posts can be found HERE and HERE. We’ll wrap things up next week with a short conclusion by both Chris and Jerry.  ABUSING THE ANALOGY OF FAITH Jerry leaves unaddressed the vast majority of the texts I’ve cited, merely dismissing my interpretation of them because two other texts allegedly teach otherwise. This is to abuse the analogy of faith… Read more

March 10, 2016

Jerry Shepherd offers his second rebuttal to Chris Date’s argument for the annihilation view of hell. Jerry focuses on the apocalyptic language of the book of Revelation and the statements that refer to the wicked being tormented forever.    This is my third post in this very enjoyable exchange. In the previous ones, I went beyond our agreed-upon word limits, so, in fairness to my brother Chris, I am going to curb the length of this rebuttal, and rather than responding to everything in… Read more

March 8, 2016

Today, Zondervan releases a new “Four Views on Hell” book, of which I served as the general editor. The four contributors are Denny Burk, John Stackhouse, Robin Parry, and Jerry Walls. All of the authors believe in hell; they are all committed Christians who cherish the authority of Scripture. And yet they disagree on the nature (not the existence) of hell.  As the editor, I wrote the introduction and conclusion to the book. Here’s the first part of the introduction:   The doctrine of hell has always been… Read more

March 7, 2016

We continue our discussion on the duration of hell. Here’s Jerry Shepherd’s response to Chris Date’s initial essay.   Introduction My thanks to Chris for his well-articulated initial essay. I will, however, now attempt to “destroy” his arguments, though, of course, those arguments will continue to exist! And by the way, Chris, please feel free to call me Jerry in our continued discussion. Before getting to Chris’s four main points, it is necessary for me to address some problems with… Read more

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