Wednesday, June 06, 2012

The Surprising Truths I Found In The Bible
By Edward William Fudge

OVERVIEW: Edward Fudge believes that a careful study of the Bible from cover to cover shows the traditional view of hell to be wrong. Between the two extremes of everlasting torment and universal salvation, he sets out a third view more biblical, he argues, than either. Thirty years ago, Fudge wrote a 500 page scholarly book, The Fire That Consumes which began a widespread rethinking of the biblical view of hell. Christianity Today calls it the "standard reference" on the topic. Now, in this small book, Fudge makes his surprising research easily accessible to all readers.

AUTHOR: Edward William Fudge is a Bible teacher, preacher, and licensed attorney living in Houston, Texas. His internet publication, gracEmail, regularly encourages thousands of believers around the world. He has ministered with churches of many denominations in the U.S, Canada, and New Zealand. He is the author of several books. Edward and his wife Sara Faye have been married 45 years and have two children and five grandchildren.

MY REVIEW: Hell, you say? Yes, I  know, I know. Why an interest in this topic? Who cares? Evidently many people care. Hell seems to be a "hot" topic right now. Many are asking, "What does the Bible actually say about Hell?" They want to know, will God finally keep millions of men, women and children alive forever in a place resembling a fiery furnace? Will God torment them endlessly throughout all eternity?

The traditional view of hell says, "Yes" to these questions―and insists that the subject is closed. But millions of people have recoiled in horror at such a thought. Is this the God by whose own character "holiness," "mercy," and "justice" are defined?

Today, Christians in increasing numbers are rejecting the traditional view. Among them are some of the best-known and most highly-respected Bible scholars in the world. Is it possible that the view of hell as conscious everlasting torment is not the teaching of the Bible after all?

Edward Fudge answers "yes" and I agree. I am recommending this book and it may be that you think my endorsement comes from the fact that I'm in agreement with Fudge. This is not true! Of course, I am happier to recommend a book I agree with. I think this is only natural. Regardless, this is a good book. As good as it is, it is not as important a read as The Fire That Consumes. I want you to read Hell, A Final Word, but if you are really interested in this topic, then please also read The Fire That Consumes. Another helpful book is Two Views of Hell: A Biblical and Theological Dialogue, in which Fudge presented the case for conditional immortality or annihilationism and Robert A. Peterson presented the case for everlasting torment (traditionalism), and each responded to the other.

I recently encouraged an interest in Hell A Final Word on my Facebook page. A friend responded that she was ready Randy Acorn's book on heaven, which I have also read, and said she thought that it was more fun than reading about hell. I encourage serious students of the Bible to read both! As Henry Fonda said to a young boy in the movie On Golden Pond when handing him a book, "Take this upstairs and read it. Maybe you'll learn something!"

(Thanks to Leafwood Publications for giving me this book without any promise of a positive review.)