Fudge - Fire that Consumes

Edward William Fudge - The Fire that Consumes. A Biblical and Historical Study of the Doctrine of Final Punishment
Since the publication of its first edition in 1982, Edward Fudge’s book. The Fire that Consumes has been the fullest and most thorough exposition and defense of the view that the fate of the unsaved will be final destruction, not (as in the traditional doctrine of hell) eternal torment. In the meantime the issue has been more widely discussed among Evangelical Christians than ever before and the view that Fudge advocates is undoubtedly now favored by more Evangelical Christians than ever before. Some prominent Evangelical leaders have endorsed it and there is a widespread sense that this is an issue on which discussion and disagreement among Evangelical Christians is entirely legitimate.
 
A new edition of the book is therefore amply justified, especially as Fudge’s work has been frequently cited and critiqued by those who have defended the traditional doctrine. He has taken the opportunity to engage with these critics and thereby to clarify and strengthen his case at many points. He also chronicles the main developments—the growing acceptability of conditional immortality and the controversies and discussions— that have occurred since 1982.
 
A major strength of Fudge’s work, in my view, is that he takes full account of the Old Testament and the continuity in concepts and images of divine judgment between the two testaments. It is all too easy to suppose that, because the Old Testament rarely speaks of judgment after death, it is largely irrelevant to the issue of hell. That view is too simplistic and ignores the New Testament’s pervasive allusions to the Old Testament in its treatment of this, as of every other, topic. Here, as in every respect, we need a truly biblical, not a purely New Testament theology. This is not to downplay the importance of Second Temple Judaism as the immediate context within which Jesus and the New Testament writers thought and taught, for the Jewish tradition was overwhelmingly one of exegesis and interpretation of the Hebrew Bible. When New Testament writers reflect the Judaism of their time, they are engaged with it in reading and understanding the Old Testament Scriptures.
 
Fudge’s work is very focused. He himself puts it thus: “One issue alone divides traditionalists and conditionalists: Does Scripture teach that God will make the wicked immortal, to suffer unending conscious torment in hell? Or does the Bible teach that the wicked will finally and truly die, perish, and become extinct forever, through a destructive process that encompasses whatever degree and duration of conscious torment God might sovereignly and justly impose in each individual case?” His consistent focus on this issue is what enables him to deal so fully and thoroughly with all the relevant texts and the discussions of their interpretation. In my view, we very much also need a fully theological study of the wider contexts and implications of this particular issue within biblical theology. Especially I find it impossible to ignore its relationship to the doctrine of God. But not everything can be done at once and we can be very grateful for what Fudge has achieved.
 
I commend this book warmly. it is likely to remain a standard work to which everyone engaged with this issue will constantly return.
Richard Bauckham 
Cambridge, England, 2011
 

Edward William Fudge - The Fire that Consumes. A Biblical and Historical Study of the Doctrine of Final Punishment

Third Edition
Cambridge : The Lutterworth Press, 2012 - 415 pp.
ISBN 978-0-7188-9270-8
 

Edward William Fudge - The Fire that Consumes. A Biblical and Historical Study of the Doctrine of Final Punishment - Contents

Foreword to Third Edition—Richard Bauckham 
Foreword to First Edition—F. F. Bruce 
Foreword to Second Edition—John W. Wenham 
Acknowledgments 
Abbreviations 
Introduction 
  • 1. Rethinking Hell: Apostasy or New Reformation? 
  • 2. Back to the Bible: The Protestant Principle 
  • 3. Souls: Immortal or Otherwise 
  • 4. Aionios: Duration, Quality, or Both? 
  • 5. Sheol/Hades: Gravedom? 
  • 6. Divine Justice: When? 
  • 7. Divine Justice: Historical Examples 
  • 8. Divine Justice: Messiah and the End 
  • 9. Diversity: Apocrypha and Dead Sea Scrolls 
  • 10. Diversity: Pseudepigrapha 
  • 11. Jesus: Fire (Gehenna) 
  • 12. Jesus: Fire (Gehenna Not Named) 
  • 13. Jesus: Fire (Parable of the Sheep and the Goats) 
  • 14. Jesus: Fire (Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus) 
  • 15. Jesus: Non-fire Images 
  • 16. Golgotha: Judgment Revealed (1) 
  • 17. Golgotha: Judgment Revealed (2) 
  • 18. Thessalonians 
  • 19. Galatians and Corinthians 
  • 20. Romans, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians 
  • 21. Hebrews, James, Acts 
  • 22. 1-2 Peter, 1-3 John, Jude 
  • 23. Revelation 
  • 24. Apostolic Fathers and Their Successors 
  • 25. The Apologists: A Fire That Torments 
  • 26. Apokatastasis: A Fire That Purifies 
  • 27. Arnobius to Augustine 
  • 28. Augustine’s Case for Unending Torment 
  • 29. Middle Ages to Reformation 
  • 30. John Calvin: Psychopannychia 
  • 31. An Old Tradition Questioned 
  • 32. Roots of the Current Recovery 
  • 33. The Evangelical Recovery Continues 
  • 34. A Kinder and Gentler Traditionalism 
  • 35. Refreshing the Memory 
  • 36. Afterword 
Bibliography 
Index of Authors 
Index of Scriptures and Other Ancient Documents 
 

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