Edward Fudge

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Edward William Fudge
Born(1944-07-13)July 13, 1944
DiedNovember 25, 2017(2017-11-25) (aged 73)
Alma materFlorida College
Abilene Christian University
University of Houston College of Law
EmployerThe Lanier Law Firm, LLP
Known forAnnihilationism

Edward William Fudge (July 13, 1944 – November 25, 2017) was an American Christian theologian and lawyer, best known for his book The Fire that Consumes, in which he argues against traditionalist Christian interpretations of Hell. He has been called "one of the foremost scholars on hell" by The Christian Post.[2] He is the subject of the 2012 independent film Hell and Mr. Fudge.

Personal life[edit]

Fudge was raised by devout parents. His mother was the child of missionaries to southern Africa, and his father was a Christian publisher and a minister in Churches of Christ.[3] He received bachelor's and master's degrees at Abilene Christian University and completed law school at the University of Houston College of Law.[4] Fudge was raised in non-institutional Churches of Christ, attending Florida College before transferring to Abilene Christian. After completing his master's in Biblical languages from Abilene, Fudge ministered for non-institutional Churches of Christ in St. Louis and Athens, Alabama.[5] Fudge then moved to Houston, Texas, where he lived until His death on November 25, 2017, which was announced via his GracEmail newsletter and later reported in The Christian Chronicle.[6]

The Fire That Consumes[edit]

Although Fudge published several books, only The Fire That Consumes has been through multiple editions. The first printing of the first edition, subtitled A Biblical and Historical Study of Final Punishment, was published in early 1982 (ISBN 0-89890-018-2) by Verdict Publications (Australia), with a foreword by F. F. Bruce of Manchester, U.K.

The book examined the doctrine of the final punishment of the unredeemed from throughout the whole Bible, non-biblical literature of Second Temple Judaism (Apocrypha, Pseudepigrapha, Dead Sea Scrolls), as well as the historical development of the doctrine of final punishment through the Apostolic Fathers, Ante-Nicene, Nicene, and Post-Nicene Fathers, medieval and later theologians, Reformers and later theologians. Special attention is given to Augustine ("City of God") and to John Calvin ("Psychopannychia"). Fudge argues that the doctrine of hell as eternal, conscious torment was not a necessary corollary of the doctrine of the immortality of the soul, brought into the Christian church by apologists such as Athenagoras and especially Tertullian.

When the first printing sold out in five months, Verdict gave all rights to the author, who for 29 years self-published the book through multiple printings under the name Providential Press. The second printing was an Alternate Selection of the Evangelical Book Club. The only change was enlarging the subtitle to say: "A Biblical and Historical Study of the Doctrine of Final Punishment."

Twelve years later in 1994, a second, condensed, British edition (ISBN 0-85364-587-6), subtitled The Biblical Case for Conditional Immortality was published by Paternoster Press in England, with a second foreword by John W. Wenham of Oxford. Paternoster was later bought by Authentic Media, who let the second edition go out of print.

Seventeen years later, after a year of Fudge's rigorous updating, revising, and enlarging the first edition, Cascade Books, the academic division of Wipf & Stock published the definitive third edition (ISBN 1-60899-930-0), subtitled A Biblical and Historical Study of the Doctrine of Final Punishment, with an original third foreword by Richard Bauckham of Cambridge University, formerly of St. Andrews University, Scotland. Throughout the third edition, Fudge also interacts with seventeen authors of eleven traditionalist books, bringing the dialogue forward by three decades.

Christianity Today has called The Fire That Consumes "the standard reference on the subject." Since its first publication, The Fire That Consumes has been cited with increasing frequency by scholars and other serious authors writing on the topic. Among these are articles in Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society,[7] Evangelical Quarterly,[8] Christian Research Institute Journal,[9][10] Reformation & Revival,[11] and Themelios.[12] Christianity Today picked it as one of four volumes representing the "annihilationist" viewpoint on Hell in a 2000 topical bibliography.[13]

In addition to The Fire That Consumes, Fudge's discussions regarding Hell include Two Views of Hell: A Biblical & Theological Dialogue,[14] with Robert A. Peterson defending a traditional interpretation of Hell. And in Hell--A Final Word: The Surprising Truths I Found in the Bible (978-089112-149-7), he makes the data accessible to a popular audience.

Hell and Mr. Fudge[edit]

Fudge is the subject of a biopic, entitled Hell and Mr. Fudge, produced by Pat Arrabito and directed by Jeff Wood, with Mackenzie Astin starring as Fudge. The film was released at the 2012 Worldfest-Houston International Film Festival. Fudge cooperated in the film's development.[15]




  1. ^ "Remembering the life of Edward Fudge 1944 - 2017".
  2. ^ Vu, Michelle A. (June 23, 2011). "Interview: Scholar Edward Fudge on Alternative Third View of Hell". The Christian Post. Retrieved December 23, 2011.
  3. ^ "The Personal Pages". Edward Fudge Ministries. Archived from the original on February 22, 2012. Retrieved December 23, 2011.
  4. ^ "The Personal Pages: my professional life". Edward Fudge Ministries. Archived from the original on November 11, 2011. Retrieved December 23, 2011.
  5. ^ "A Conversation With Edward Fudge". New Wineskins. Archived from the original on May 24, 2012. Retrieved December 26, 2011.
  6. ^ Eric Tryggestad (November 29, 2017). "Edward Fudge, controversial scholar on topic of hell, dies at 73". The Christian Chronicle. Retrieved November 30, 2017.
  7. ^ Crockett, William V. (June 1991). "Wrath That Endures Forever" (PDF). Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society. 34 (2): 195–202. Retrieved December 23, 2011.
  8. ^ Bowles, Ralph G. (2001). "Does Revelation 14:11 Teach Eternal Torment? Examining a Proof-text on Hell" (PDF). Evangelical Quarterly. 73 (1): 21–36.
  9. ^ Gomes, Alan W. (Spring 1991). "Evangelicals and the Annihilation of Hell (Part One)" (PDF). Christian Research Institute Journal: 14ff. Retrieved December 23, 2011.
  10. ^ Gomes, Alan W. (Summer 1991). "Evangelicals and the Annihilation of Hell (Part Two)" (PDF). Christian Research Institute Journal: 8ff. Retrieved December 23, 2011.
  11. ^ Packer, James I. (Spring 1997). "Evangelical Annihilationism in Review" (PDF). Reformation & Revival. 6 (2): 37–52. Retrieved December 23, 2011.
  12. ^ Gray, Tony (January 1996). "Destroyed For Ever: An Examination of the Debates Concerning Annihilation and Conditional Immortality". Themelios. 21 (2): 14–18. Retrieved December 23, 2011.
  13. ^ "Rightly Dividing the Hell Debate: Key Advocates and Writings". Christianity Today. 44 (12). October 23, 2000. Retrieved December 24, 2011.
  14. ^ Fudge, Edward William; Peterson, Robert A. (2000). Two Views of Hell: A Biblical & Theological Dialogue. InterVarsity Press. ISBN 978-0-8308-2255-3. Retrieved December 25, 2011.
  15. ^ "2011 speaking/travel schedule". Edward Fudge Ministries. Archived from the original on September 30, 2011. Retrieved December 23, 2011.

External links[edit]