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.