I’m glad to learn that Edward Fudge is now following this blog. I heard of Edward Fudge many years ago from my Doctor Father, Dr. Earle Ellis. Ellis was impressed and persuaded by a book Fudge had written entitled The Fire That Consumes: A Biblical and Historical Study of the Doctrine of Final Punishment now its third edition. My friend, Richard Bauckham, has written the forward. Fudge makes the case that, according to the Christian Scriptures, the fate of the wicked is not conscious, eternal suffering but annihilation. He moves carefully through the biblical texts and, like the good lawyer that he is, makes his case. Fudge has convinced a lot of scholars and evangelicals that his reading is the best reading of a lot of controversial texts.
Over the last few years I am pleased to say that Edward and I have become friends. He lives in Houston and is a frequent participant in lectures and symposia at the Lanier Theological Library. He has written other books which I’ve had the privilege to read and even endorse. We talked the other day and he was busy researching another question: rabbinic stories which appear to parallel Jesus’ parable of the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31).
Edward has lived a remarkable life. The story of how he came to write such an influential book is the subject of a movie produced by Jeff Wood, Hell and Mr. Fudge (2012; DVD released in 2012). The movie shows how Fudge, played by Mackenzie Astin, comes under attack from members of his denomination because he dedicated a year of his life to prove whether or not hell really exists. People who take the Bible seriously have a hard time ignoring Fudge’s work.
Recently, a group of scholars have gotten together and produced a Festschrift honoring Edward for his work. It is entitled A Consuming Passion: Essays on Hell and Immortality in Honor of Edward Fudge (Wipf & Stock, 2015). Christopher M. Date and Ron Highfield were the editors. Stephen Travis wrote the forward.
If you are curious or puzzled by the biblical teaching on hell, you can do no better than pick up Edward’s book and spend some time with it. Like I said, he’s convinced some heavyweight scholars. Maybe he will convince you too.
Two recent articles appeared in The Atlantic which appear to put the nail in the coffin of the badly named Gospel of Jesus’ Wife.
The first article shows the dodgy provenance (chain of custody) of the piece. It is a bit long but worth the read. You can read it here or here’s the URL to that article:
The second article may be the most important, because in it Karen King, the Harvard scholar who brought the fragment too light and has defended its authenticity, now concedes it is probably a fake. You can read it here or here is the URL:
As Simon Gathercole said to me, now we don’t have to worry about that text. The forged text and our response to it tell us more about ourselves than about the ancient church.
I had the great fortune yesterday (6/12/2016) of teaching Mark Lanier’s Sunday School class at Champions Forest Baptist Church. Mark is one of the best communicators and Bible teachers you will ever hear so I am grateful and humbled for the opportunity. He and his wife Becky are currently in Oxford awaiting the birth of their first grand baby.
Brent Johnson and his staff at Champions Forest were excellent to work with. They have already made the video available.
I taught on 2 & 3 John because Mark has been working his way through the New Testament for nearly 49 weeks now. I’m grateful to have the opportunity to talk about these little, neglected books.
To see the video click here.
Or here is the URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wJXNu1ncN0
I am fortunate to be associated with an SBL Consultation unit called “The Extent of Theological Diversity in Earliest Christianity.” The unit explores the variety of ways people could be “Christian” in the first two centuries (AD or CE).
I found out recently that the steering committee, headed by Jeff Peterson of Austin Graduate School of Theology, set up a website a few years ago. It gives links to various, good papers by leading scholars.
If you are interested take a look here.