Remembering A Hero Of The Faith

What other-worldly level of strength, character, and faithfulness would it take for your spouse to write this about you after fifty (50!) years of marriage?

A brilliant thinker who could engage any scholar on that level, a consummate professional writer who could pack more into three paragraphs than anyone I ever knew, a tender-hearted lover of poetry who regaled us all with Thanatopsis and Gray’s Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard (all stanzas!), and a man with a sweet grin and sense of humor which sometimes veered into intricate puns and corny jokes which he delighted in telling and re-telling to any willing listener. He was nonjudgmental, humble in spirit, kind in manner and as Jesus described Nathanael, “a man in whom there is no guile.” He cherished me for over 50 years, since our first Florida College days, delighted in our two wonderful children, and loved his six precious grandchildren who gave him great joy and hope for the future.

— Sara Faye Fudge

Edward Fudge and Doug Smith
Edward Fudge with Doug  (2014)

This is the fruit of a life well lived—all-in—focused on what is most important in this world. This is what all men should aspire to become. Not necessarily a brilliant scholar, but one whom those closest to him could say “a man in whom there is no guile.” And every husband should live so that his wife could say of him “he cherished me for over 50 years.”

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An Open Letter to Dr. Albert Mohler

Dear Dr. Mohler,

As president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, you have exercised significant influence over the direction of the modern evangelical Christian landscape. Your leadership is also recognized outside the church, as attested in a 2003 Time magazine article which called you the “reigning intellectual of the evangelical movement in the U.S.”

Back in October, you responded to a New York Times article entitled “Tormented in the Afterlife but Not Forever: Conditionalism Gains Ground.” The article focuses on the life and work of Edward Fudge, the comparison of his views and the traditional of endless conscious torment in Hell for the finally impenitent, and the efforts of the Rethinking Hell ministry on behalf of conditional immortality. In your podcast, you dismissed conditional immortality as a modern invention of liberal theologians.

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A Tribute To Edward Fudge For His 70th Birthday

Photo of Edward FudgeCoinciding with the occasion of Edward Fudge’s 70th birthday, a historic theological conference is being inaugurated in Houston, TX on July 11-12, 2014. It’s called the Rethinking Hell Conference, and is organized by the outstanding group of Bible scholars who run the Rethinking Hell website and podcast. If you’re anywhere within driving distance of Houston and have a high regard for the Bible, I wholeheartedly recommend you considering attending this conference.

I wrote the following tribute to Edward for the conference. I’m sharing it here in the hope of exposing you to him and his work, and also to invite you to attend the conference and meet Edward yourself.

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One-night Screening of Hell and Mr. Fudge Coming to Nashville: March 21, 2013

Hell and Mr. Fudge Movie PosterHell and Mr. Fudge is coming to the Belcourt Theatre in Nashville. The screening will be held on Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 7:15pm.

A platinum award winner at the 2012 Worldfest-Houston International Film Festival, Hell and Mr. Fudge is the warm, thoughtful, and sometimes humorous story of the trials and tribulations of evangelical scholar Edward Fudge. His groundbreaking work on hell and the hereafter has aroused fierce controversy. He’s either a hero or a heretic, depending on who you ask. Both friend and foe can appreciate the movie’s authentic revelation of his character.

Readers of this site know how important we believe this movie is. If you are interested in Christianity at any level, from skeptic to devoted disciple, this movie is for you. The hell doctrine is almost secondary to the character of Edward and his tenacious spirit. His desire to follow the truth wherever it leads is a value anyone should desire to emulate.

Producers will also attend and will answer questions following the screening.

Tickets are $8.50, and are available through the Belcourt’s website. We’d love to see you there!

Visit the movie’s official website to find screenings in other cities.

Hell And Mr. Fudge: The Most Important Movie Of The Year?

Hell and Mr. Fudge Movie PosterMy family and I had the honor to attend the Athens, AL pre-release screening of Hell and Mr. Fudge on June 5th, 2012. The public response to the screenings was so great that they had to add a third screening to accommodate all of the interest!

The movie was outstanding in every way. It was authentic and thought-provoking, with rich characters who draw you into their lives. My wife and our two youngest daughters all thoroughly enjoyed the movie, revealing its wide appeal.

Hell and Mr. Fudge details the life of Edward Fudge, a devoted Bible scholar, pastor, and lawyer. It focuses on Fudge’s boyhood home life, his college days, his early-married life as a pastor, and especially his exhaustive study of the Bible’s teaching on final punishment.

The audience sees Fudge’s intense Bible study, one that moves him from the traditional teaching of a hell of endless conscious torment to the view that hell is a place of complete destruction. Fudge is a prodigious, honest, humble and gracious truth seeker, who nervously but courageously stands for the truth. Edward reaches out beyond his denomination as well, showing that God’s love and grace extends to all who believe Christ’s message regardless of their church affiliation.

The masterful cinematography keeps the story very visually interesting. We move back & forth in time—from a light documentary look to a real life movie feel. Each of these transitions flow naturally, opening layers of understanding into the lives of the characters.

Fudge’s family and friends are a huge part of who he is, and the film communicates its message through these relationships. It depicts his father is as a great example to him, and his wife falls in love with Edward after hearing him speak the first time. Banter with friends adds some humor and lightness to the movie.

Executive producer Pat Arrabito opened the screening by saying that they had made this film to the glory of God. I believe they have achieved that goal. The movie honors God’s character, being filled with His love and grace for all, while showing the ability to find His truth in the Bible if we are willing to allow it to interpret itself.

Edward Fudge recently wrote: “[The movie] has a message to communicate but not an ax to grind. It conveys that message gently and with grace.”

The movie was a first-class quality Hollywood production. The Platinum Award from the Worldfest Houston International Film Festival was very well deserved. Everyone involved should be proud of their accomplishment.

This may very well be the most important movie of the year. Given the love and prayer that has gone into its message, I think it has the potential to ignite a new reformation in our day. The message of God’s love and grace with a devotion to the Scriptures will touch believers and non-believers alike.

As soon as I hear more about movie distribution or other news, I’ll be sure to post it here.

Edward Fudge’s New Book: Hell: A Final Word

Hell: A Final WordThe discussion of the afterlife has become a very popular subject. Recent books like Rob Bell’s Love Wins followed by Francis Chan’s Erasing Hell have brought this topic to the “front burner.” Believers and non-believers alike are re-evaluating their understanding of heaven and hell.

“No doubt about it … HELL is a hot topic” (p. 11). With that opening line, Edward William Fudge joins the conversation with an unparalleled mastery of this subject. In Hell: A Final Word, Fudge steps onto the stage of this discussion as a maestro–a master director. In fact, if Fudge’s scholarly, 500 page work The Fire That Consumes was like Beethoven’s 5th symphony, his latest project is like “Ode to Joy.”

With a hopeful, good-natured, and sometimes playful tone, Fudge articulates the Bible’s message. It is this: God offers eternal life to everyone, but those who reject God’s offer will be completely destroyed in hell. The Bible does not teach a hell of endless conscious torment, nor a hell of purification where everyone ends up in heaven.

The voice of the author often sounds like he has a gracious smile, and a knowing twinkle in his eye. This especially comes through when he discusses the apostle’s message in the book of Acts. Some advocates of the traditional view think that the fear of an endless hell is needed for successful evangelism or missionary work. Fudge shows that the evangelists in Acts focus on the resurrection of Christ, and never mention hell. With that knowing smile, he says: “One begins to suspect that the apostles motivated people with something better than fear” (p. 120).

Thoughout the book, Fudge weaves the events of his personal life between chapters that teach the Scriptures. We see Fudge as a child, struggling with the death of a friend. We move through his early Christian education, his masters in Biblical languages, and two other seminary opportunities. He even humbly reveals how his thinking had changed as he studied, being refined as he embraced the clear message of the Bible. He says: “What a mess I made. But as my friend Jeff Walling says, if there were no mess, we would not need a Mess-iah!” (p. 38).

Fudge’s love for the Bible and his devotion to God is evident on every page of this book. His father taught him, “If the Bible says it, it’s true, no matter what any person may say” (p. 148). His writing shows that he is faithful to his father’s teaching, and is willing to challenge both tradition and popular culture when they fail to align with the plain teaching of Scripture.

I believe this book and the movie Hell and Mr. Fudge have the potential to ignite a new reformation in our day. We are not done being “reformed.” We do not have perfect knowledge. We have strayed from the clear teaching of Scripture on this important subject and in the process, are driving people away from the One who died and rose again to save everyone. It’s time to return to the Scriptures and ask God for the message He wants us to share with the world today.

I encourage everyone to buy this book and take it to your church, small group, Bible study, or Sunday School, and discuss it together. Bring “an open Bible, and open heart, and an open mind” (p. 11). Let’s see what God will do!