Edward Fudge shared the following in his latest GracEmail:
MOSES LARD’S FORETELLING — Moses Lard was an influential 19th-century leader within the Stone-Campbell Restoration Movement, which is my own faith tradition. In 1879, Lard published a 50-page book titled “Do the Holy Scriptures Teach the Endlessness of Future Punishment?” in which he foretold the future in these words:
“Belief in endless future punishment is destined to wane. With it, moreover, is doomed the present tyrannous orthodox sentiment which denies to dissent freedom of speech. Men dare not now utter aloud their conviction on the subject. But the day is at hand when they will be free. Manly independence will, at last, assert itself; and intolerance will grow gentle. Mark the course of coming events, and remember this foretelling.”
One hundred years later, in 1979, with no knowledge of Lard’s foretelling, I was hired by Australian Robert Brinsmead to thoroughly research the origin and evolution of the doctrine of final punishment through the Bible, intertestamental literature, and through church history. The research project led to my writing The Fire That Consumes, first published in 1982. The year 2011 saw the publication of the revised and enlarged third edition by Cascade Books, a division of Wipf and Stock, with foreword by Richard Bauckham of Cambridge University. The feature film Hell and Mr. Fudge now showing in selected cities across the USA, is based on the “people-story” behind the book The Fire That Consumes.