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Evangelical Christians affirm together that a dreadful destiny awaits those who reject God's grace throughout life. According to the traditional view, that destiny will involve unending conscious torment in hell. However, believers are increasingly questioning that understanding, as both unbiblical and inconsistent with the character of God revealed in the Scriptures and i Evangelical Christians affirm together that a dreadful destiny awaits those who reject God's grace throughout life. According to the traditional view, that destiny will involve unending conscious torment in hell. However, believers are increasingly questioning that understanding, as both unbiblical and inconsistent with the character of God revealed in the Scriptures and in the man Jesus Christ. This internationally acclaimed book--now fully updated, revised, and expanded--carefully examines the complete teaching of Scripture on the subject of final punishment. It concludes that hell is a place of total annihilation, everlasting destruction, although the destructive process encompasses conscious torment of whatever sort, intensity, and duration God might require in each individual case. "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 Emeritus Professor of New Testament Studies University of Saint Andrews, Scotland "The Fire That Consumes has long been recognized as one of the most thorough and compelling statements available of the view that the destiny of the unsaved will be final destruction rather than eternal torment. In this new edition, Edward Fudge provides extended engagement with traditionalist critics and an overview of developments in the last thirty years ensuring that it will remain a definitive work on the issue for years to come." -John R. Franke Theologian in Residence First Presbyterian Church of Allentown Edward William Fudge is a Christian theologian, Bible teacher, author, and, for more than twenty years, a practicing attorney.


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Evangelical Christians affirm together that a dreadful destiny awaits those who reject God's grace throughout life. According to the traditional view, that destiny will involve unending conscious torment in hell. However, believers are increasingly questioning that understanding, as both unbiblical and inconsistent with the character of God revealed in the Scriptures and i Evangelical Christians affirm together that a dreadful destiny awaits those who reject God's grace throughout life. According to the traditional view, that destiny will involve unending conscious torment in hell. However, believers are increasingly questioning that understanding, as both unbiblical and inconsistent with the character of God revealed in the Scriptures and in the man Jesus Christ. This internationally acclaimed book--now fully updated, revised, and expanded--carefully examines the complete teaching of Scripture on the subject of final punishment. It concludes that hell is a place of total annihilation, everlasting destruction, although the destructive process encompasses conscious torment of whatever sort, intensity, and duration God might require in each individual case. "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 Emeritus Professor of New Testament Studies University of Saint Andrews, Scotland "The Fire That Consumes has long been recognized as one of the most thorough and compelling statements available of the view that the destiny of the unsaved will be final destruction rather than eternal torment. In this new edition, Edward Fudge provides extended engagement with traditionalist critics and an overview of developments in the last thirty years ensuring that it will remain a definitive work on the issue for years to come." -John R. Franke Theologian in Residence First Presbyterian Church of Allentown Edward William Fudge is a Christian theologian, Bible teacher, author, and, for more than twenty years, a practicing attorney.

30 review for The Fire That Consumes: A Biblical and Historical Study of the Doctrine of Final Punishment, Third Edition

  1. 4 out of 5

    George P.

    Edward William Fudge’s The Fire That Consumes (3rded.) makes an exhaustive—and occasionally exhausting—biblical and historical case for a conditionalist understanding of hell. Traditionalism teaches that “God will make the wicked immortal, to suffer unending conscious torment in hell.” By contrast, conditionalism teaches 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 Edward William Fudge’s The Fire That Consumes (3rded.) makes an exhaustive—and occasionally exhausting—biblical and historical case for a conditionalist understanding of hell. Traditionalism teaches that “God will make the wicked immortal, to suffer unending conscious torment in hell.” By contrast, conditionalism teaches 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 sovereign and just impose in each case.” According to Fudge, the duration of hell’s torments is the only issue that divides the two camps. The biblical component of Fudge’s case occupies the first 23 chapters of the book, in which Fudge surveys passages from the Old Testament, intertestamental literature, and New Testament that bear on his argument. The historical component occupies the next 11 chapters, starting with the Apostolic Fathers and ending with late-twentieth century conditionalists. Chapter 35 summarizes the argument of the entire book, and chapter 36 offers several brief thoughts about how the debate should be conducted going forward. Though summarizing a nearly 400-page book is a hazardous endeavor, it seems to me that Fudge’s cumulative case makes the following basic points: 1. The Bible is the final authority to settle theological debates about hell. 2. The Bible promises “eternal life” and “immortality” to those who put their faith in Jesus Christ for salvation. 3. By contrast, the Bible portrays the fate of the wicked as “destruction” and “death.” Since the Bible does not teach that the wicked have “eternal life,” the images of destruction and death are best understood as “extinction forever.” This coheres with the image of “fire” often used to describe hell, for fire consumes what it burns. 4. Applied to the fate of the wicked, the adjective “eternal” points not to an everlasting process of being punished, as traditionalists argue, but to the everlasting result of a terminal process of punishment. 5. Though church history is not the final authority in the debate over hell, it does indicate that conditionalism was a widespread view among church fathers prior to Augustine. Since Augustine, traditionalism has been the majority position. 6. At the present time, conditionalism is gaining adherents among evangelical theologians. Even traditionalists argue that many of the conditionalists—Fudge himself, John Stott, John Wenham, Philip Edgcumbe Hughes, and the like—are otherwise evangelicals in good standing. In other words, the issue at stake in the debate is not biblical inerrancy, the Trinity, Incarnation, Atonement, or other first-level Christian doctrine, but rather a second-level doctrine, namely, how long hell endures. The bulk of Fudge’s book centers on points 2 and 3 above, which can be summarized quickly but takes a long time to document. Whether or not one agrees with Fudge, The Fire That Consumes is essential reading for anyone interested in a biblical doctrine of hell. This is admitted by traditionalists themselves, who often take Fudge’s writings as the point of departure in their critiques of conditionalism. For the traditionalist view, I would recommend the multi-author Hell Under Fire, edited by Christopher W. Morgan and Robert A. Peterson. It interacts with an earlier edition of Fudge’s book, and Fudge’s third edition replies in turn to its critiques. Book Reviewed Edward William Fudge, The Fire That Consumes: A Biblical and Historical Study of the Doctrine of Final Punishment, 3rd ed. (Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, 2011). P.S. If you found this review helpful, please click “Helpful” on my Amazon review page.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Paul Sansing

    Overall, I think this book is a good and helpful resource for anyone who wants to enter the discussion of the various Christian views on hell. If you are interested in understanding different views on hell, specifically Conditional Immortality (sometimes called Annihilationism), you should probably read it. It gives a solid defense of the Conditional Immortality view over and against the more traditional Eternal Conscious Punishment view. In this book Fudge addresses a great deal of material, bo Overall, I think this book is a good and helpful resource for anyone who wants to enter the discussion of the various Christian views on hell. If you are interested in understanding different views on hell, specifically Conditional Immortality (sometimes called Annihilationism), you should probably read it. It gives a solid defense of the Conditional Immortality view over and against the more traditional Eternal Conscious Punishment view. In this book Fudge addresses a great deal of material, both in Scripture and outside of it. Contemporaneous with Scripture and after. He addresses many (if not all) the objections of Traditionalism and engages with specific examples of these objections. I think Fudge does a great job (for the most apart) addressing the objections leveled against Conditional Immortality and often times showing how such (often times, popular) objections hold very little weight. Furthermore, he provides a great deal of other resources and it is clear that a lot of hard work and research went into this project. Fudge, very helpfully, provides examples of Conditionalists (of one flavor or another) from Biblical times onwards and traces the discussion on final punishment from both Conditionalist and Traditionalist sides. I found the many examples of modern theologians who accept this view particularly helpful and encouraging. The tone of this work is exemplary. Fudge does a great job modeling what our attitude should be towards those we disagree with on this issue. Though he stumbles in a few instances, by and large he does his best to truly understand his opponents, give them the benefit of the doubt, attempts to understand how their surrounding context may influence them and doesn't fault them for their conclusions, and constantly reaffirms brotherhood in Christ with them. It is so easy to get fired up about this discussion, to get so emotionally invested that we forget the warnings and admonitions in Scripture of disagreeing with grace and love. Brother Fudge does a phenomenal job of reminding us to take care how we talk about this important topic. That said, the book is not without its faults. I struggled in deciding whether to give this book 4 stars or 3. Were there an option to give half stars I would've gone 3 1/2, but as it is, I'm going with 3. One star is removed for general organize, form, and flow, another one for content. IN TERMS OF ORGANIZATION, FORM, AND FLOW this book just doesn't make sense to me. It seems like he is going for like four different methods of organization, making it difficult to follow and repetitious in certain places. Fudge begins with a couple chapters discussing the importance of revisiting the doctrine of hell. Then he goes into the over-arching topic of souls, afterwards devoting 2 chapters to specific words (Aionios and Sheol/Hades). From there he spends 3 chapters on the over-arching topic of Divine Justice (focusing on the Old Testament). Then he spends 2 chapters on diversity in opinions of literature pre-NT and contemporaneous with the NT. After this he spends 5 chapters specifically devoting attention to Jesus' words (4 on 'fire' images and 1 on 'non-fire' images). Fudge then goes on with 2 chapters dealing with the cross. From there he moves to 5 chapters devoted to the Epistles (in a somewhat confusing order: 1&2 Thessalonians-Galatians-1&2 Corinthians-Romans-Ephesians-Philippians-Colossians-Hebrews-James-Acts [obviously not an Epistle, but included in this portion which adds to the confusion]-1&2 Peter-1-3 John-Jude-Revelation. I think he was going Pauline -> Non-Pauline, but still certain aspects of this order don't really make sense). Fudge does indicate what order he will go in for some of it on page 187, I'm just unconvinced that it is the most helpful method. He then spends 7 chapters devoted to diversity of opinion post-NT before finally going through 5 chapters of miscellaneous aspects of the discussion. To me, this flow is incoherent. It has traces of several organizational methods that WOULD HAVE worked, but in combining them altogether and placing them in the order he did just makes it difficult to follow and appreciate. For example, there is no need for Fudge to have made an entire chapter devoted to the word Aionios if he was going to cover the parable of the Sheep and the Goats anyway (which he does chapter 13). Not only does the chapter organization make little sense, but even within chapters, the flow is choppy and unhelpfully organized. The chapter entitled The Evangelical Recovery Continues is the worst offender of this, in my opinion. But it does not stand alone. Even within chapters such as these we see unnecessary repetition of material. This edition also has several responses/rebuttals to Fudge's opponents. While I'm sure this is a good and helpful addition to the previous editions, the way it was executed made it seem even more choppy. I have not read the other two editions, so they may be better in terms of organization, but I cannot really speak to that. I'm glad that he is so set on engagement of opposing views, I just wish he had done it more smoothly. IN TERMS OF CONTENT, I thought the book was very good. It certainly serves to be a helpful resource on the topic of the nature and duration of hell. I found the chapter on Revelation, the chapters focusing on Jesus' teaching, and the chapter on Aionios (despite my belief that it would have been better served as a part of chapter 13), Divine Justice: Historical Examples particularly helpful. Another thing that I found helpful were the footnotes or statements that indicated where a Traditionalist opponent did not engage. The silence on the Traditionalist side for certain passages spoke volumes to me (assuming of course that Fudge is correct and that they have not discussed those passages). Some examples are 2 Peter 2:1-22 or the way the Biblical authors use the Flood There are several items content-wise that I don't think were nearly as helpful or relevant. First and foremost was his discussion on the soul. He spends a couple of chapters defending or at least noting his non-belief in an immaterial soul or a conscious intermediate state. On page 322 he says: "I do not take a hard stand in the present work on the intermediate state for several reasons. Although it seems to me that the bulk of scriptural teaching weighs against conscious awareness between death and resurrection, I do not find the Bible so unambiguous on the topic as to permit absolute dogmatism on this point. More important here, is that this is a secondary issue for the purposes of this book. Finally, one can consistently hold that the believer is either awake or asleep between temporal death and the resurrection, while insisting on the final extinction of the perpetually unrepentant as the Biblical view" If Fudge had said this and no more, I would have been satisfied. If Fudge had devoted a great deal of material towards the topic, defending it Scripturally and against opposition, I would have been satisfied (even if I ultimately came away in disagreement as I do now). Unfortunately, he offers just enough material on the topic to be distracting without enough to give a solid defense. The main point of the book is the FINAL end of the unsaved, so it is completely understandable why he would not devote a lot of time in the section of the epistles and others discussing the intermediate state. HOWEVER, if that is to be the case, then he should have devoted NO time to it. As it is, it seems to me that he gave a half-hearted defense on how the soul does not exist apart from the body but does not engage much where rebuttal would be present. If he is not going to engage in that capacity then it would have been better for him to completely forego the discussion of the intermediate state and simply focus on hell, the final punishment. While I agree with his conclusions in that respect, I remain unconvinced of Monism. The discussion of the intermediate state is scattered and unformed, but is mostly present in the chapters 3. Souls: Immortal or Otherwise, 5. Sheol/Hades: Gravedom?, and 30. John Calvin: Psychopannychia. The first two bear at least some relevance on the discussion. It is important for the discussion of final punishment to evaluate whether or not the soul is immortal. It is also important to evaluate what each word concerning the after life means, of which Sheol and Hades are a part. However, chapter 30 bears no weight on the discussion of final punishment AT ALL. It is a summarization of a book that John Calvin wrote against the Anabaptists specifically regarding the INTERMEDIATE STATE. This chapter is almost completely useless and unnecessary if we are attempting to have a discussion primarily on the final state of the lost. Beyond this, in previous chapters as Fudge evaluates arguments made by Church Fathers, Reformers, Modern Theologians who hold a Traditionalist view, he constantly rebukes them for lack of Scriptural argumentation and reliance on philosophical argumentation. However, in this instance, Fudge briefly notes that Calvin brings up several passages of Scripture that indicate a conscious intermediate state: Ps 31:5, Matt 10:28, Luke 23:46, John 2:19, John 19:30, and Acts 7:59. But then just leaves it. He addresses argumentation that Calvin makes on primarily philosophical grounds, but completely ignores his Scriptural arguments used for a conscious intermediate state, deviating a great deal from his approach to arguments about the final state. Second is his insistence that the doctrine of Eternal Conscious Torment spread AS A RESULT OF Platonic thought. I think he does a good job at showing how Augustine was likely influence by Plato, However, he is less convincing elsewhere. Case-in-point is his discussion on Tertullian. In a section entitled "No Platonic Influence?" Fudge quotes Tertullian as saying something that (out of context) seems like he is relying on Plato. But in context, Tertullian is just conceding where he finds common ground with unbelievers. He believes that he can find common ground with Plato in regards to his belief in the immortality of the soul. This does not equal influence. I can find common ground and agreement with someone like Christopher Hitchens or Sam Harris, that doesn't mean that I am influenced by them. Could it be that Tertullian and others were influenced by Plato and other pagan philosophers? Sure, absolutely. But Fudge does not do a very good job demonstrating that that is the case and so, by and large, I remain unconvinced. Fudge and other Conditionalists constantly lament the guilt-by-association of Evangelical Conditionalists with groups like the Socinians or Jehovah's Witnesses, we should not then turn around and do it to Traditionalists with Plato. Third, would be his random and unnecessary mini-rants. Fudge is not always able to stay on-focus and attempts to address or sometimes even attack items that are of little relevance. The thing that stood out to me most (as a Calvinist) were his short and irrelevant arguments targeting Calvinism. If Fudge wants to argue against Reformed Theology then that is all well and good, however, the places he decided to do so had (seemingly to me) no bearing on the discussion of final punishment. Calvinism was not the only issue that this happened with, but it did happen a couple times with it. Lastly, some of his sub (and sub-sub) sections left much to be desired. There were many places where I thought much more could have and should have been said, especially in places where Fudge offers only one or two sentences on a topic, word, verse, or rebuttal that I felt deserved greater attention. Sometimes the section would be a simple sentence or short paragraph, and often times these were unsatisfactory and even ambiguous. By and large this was not the case, but it happened enough for me to count it against him. Again, I think this is a good and important book. In my opinion, the pros far outweigh the cons and Fudge is able to both put forward a positive case for Conditionalism as well as defend it against objectors. ------------------------------------------- As an aside, were an Universal Reconciliationist, I would be very disappointed in this book. I understand that Fudge's focus is on Conditionalism vs. Traditionalism, however, I could see the Universalist feeling completely left out of the discussion (with the exception of one chapter). This is not something I fault Fudge for and was not a consideration for the rating, simply an observation.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Graham

    Wasn't all I had hoped for, but excellent nevertheless. I felt some sections were unnecessary or repetitive and wish other sections had gone into more detail, especially the Church Fathers section. But this is still a (or perhaps the) key work on final punishment from a conditionalist perspective. Wasn't all I had hoped for, but excellent nevertheless. I felt some sections were unnecessary or repetitive and wish other sections had gone into more detail, especially the Church Fathers section. But this is still a (or perhaps the) key work on final punishment from a conditionalist perspective.

  4. 5 out of 5

    W Tyler

    Whew! This book was a chore to get through, but well worth the effort. Edward Fudge contends that the Bible consistently speaks of hell not in terms of unending conscious torment but in terms of final annihilation, a view that he calls conditional immortality. He exegetes the vast majority of the relevant Scriptures, supplementing this by examining the diversity of thought on the issue in the intertestamental apocrypha and pseudoepigrapha (where the idea of hell as eternal conscious torment seem Whew! This book was a chore to get through, but well worth the effort. Edward Fudge contends that the Bible consistently speaks of hell not in terms of unending conscious torment but in terms of final annihilation, a view that he calls conditional immortality. He exegetes the vast majority of the relevant Scriptures, supplementing this by examining the diversity of thought on the issue in the intertestamental apocrypha and pseudoepigrapha (where the idea of hell as eternal conscious torment seems to have first appeared within Judaism). Along the way he attempts to show the relative weakness of the exegetical case for the traditional view of hell. Then he traces the development of thought on hell in Western Christianity, arguing that the traditional view became inevitable once Western theologians (especially Augustine and, much later, Calvin) imported the idea of the inherent immortality of the human soul from Platonism. In all of this he is focused and thorough, and his exegesis is perfectly straightforward and reasonable. It is also relatively convincing - if I was not a universalist, I have no doubt that Fudge's account of conditional immortality would be persuasive. I was pleased to see that he devoted a chapter to the topic of Christian universalism, tracing its presence in Christian thought from Origen to today's developing evangelical universalism. Though he fairly summarizes the ideas of recent Christian universalist authors such as Thomas Talbott and Robin Parry (personal heroes of mine), he makes no attempt to offer alternative interpretations of key universalist passages such as Romans 5 and 1 Cor. 15; he thinks that the positive evidence for conditional immortality makes this unnecessary. I disagree with him on this, as do Robin Parry and Jerry Walls (see Zondervan's Four Views on Hell and Parry's The Evangelical Universalist). Fudge does not consider Talbott's allegorical reading of the hell passages, which identifies the destruction of the sinful self with the creation of the new self; he does not consider Parry's universal identification of Jesus with every person in both death and resurrection; and he does not address J.A.T. Robinson's brilliant reading of the final judgment passages, which says that from the perspective of the unsaved there are two possible trajectories (life and death) but from the perspective of the saved there is only one possible trajectory for all (life). Because Fudge's emphasis is on exegesis, he also does not address important theological and philosophical questions about his view; he especially does not sufficiently address the question of God's character (can God's love and justice be reconciled, or must one ultimately defer to the other?), which is a driving concern for Christian universalists. That being said, his primary aim is a defense of conditional immortality and not a critique of Christian universalism; so despite the limits of his focus, his work here is solid.

  5. 5 out of 5

    J.R. Coltaine

    Edward Fudge's immensely impressive magnum opus is the most lauded defense of conditionalism or annihilationism, and deservedly so. It is nothing if not exhaustive. Fudge leaves no stone unturned, and I wish a book of this nature existed for other positions on Hell, and for many other Christian doctrines. I remain unconvinced of conditionalism, though Fudge has convinced me that his view is not easily dismissed and respectable on exegetical grounds. If one presupposes that "death" and "destroy/d Edward Fudge's immensely impressive magnum opus is the most lauded defense of conditionalism or annihilationism, and deservedly so. It is nothing if not exhaustive. Fudge leaves no stone unturned, and I wish a book of this nature existed for other positions on Hell, and for many other Christian doctrines. I remain unconvinced of conditionalism, though Fudge has convinced me that his view is not easily dismissed and respectable on exegetical grounds. If one presupposes that "death" and "destroy/destruction" mean the ceasing of existence then one is sure to be persuaded that conditionalism is the Bible's teaching. If one presupposes that "death" and "destroy/destruction" means the passing from one state to another then one is sure to be persuaded that traditionalism (eternal torment) is the Bible's teaching. We have to go to the Bible to discover what these words and concepts mean, and different hermeneutical methods and choices will result in different conclusions. I hope Fudge is right, but I do see him presupposing his definition of "death/destroy/destruction" and reading it into the text in several places (his understanding of the OT informs this), and I cannot agree with his exegesis of Revelation 14:9-10, Revelation 20:10-13 and to a lesser extent many other verses (Matt 8:29, Matt 10:28/Luke 12:5, Matt 13:41-42, Matt 25:46, Matt 26:24, Mark 9:47-48/Luke 12:5/Matt 5, Luke 12:47-48, Luke 16, John 3:36, 2 Thess 1:7-9 (Mcknight), Rev 22:15, Heb 9:17, Jude 6-7/Matt 8:12/Matt 22:13/Matt 25:30). Perhaps larger than any other obstacle is the problem that conditionalism creates for understanding the atonement and the death of Christ. Christ certainly did not cease to exist and certainly did pass from one state to another. I have yet to see a presentation of conditionalism that does not do violence to orthodox views of the atonement, the trinity, or christology. This is a major issue and Fudge's work on the subject is lacking. Fudge's treatment of other texts is less admirable than his biblical exegesis. He reads conditionalism into intertestamental literature and early church sources without warrant. Most of the texts he sees supporting his view are ambiguous at best as they use the same biblical language that needs to be interpreted and understood. Fudge admits this in some places, and I find him to be an honest scholar whose work I admire. Perhaps in time I will be persuaded. Until that time I remain unconvinced but respectful of the conditionalist view.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Chris Huff

    I can't say that I loved this book, but I did like it. The author certainly did his homework, and yet sometimes dismissed alternative viewpoints with just a few sentences or paragraphs. But I also see why this was necessary; if the author had attempted to engage every alternative viewpoint on every Scripture text that he referenced, his work may easily have been thousands upon thousands of pages. So I did appreciate his relative brevity, while being as thorough as he was. This book makes many ver I can't say that I loved this book, but I did like it. The author certainly did his homework, and yet sometimes dismissed alternative viewpoints with just a few sentences or paragraphs. But I also see why this was necessary; if the author had attempted to engage every alternative viewpoint on every Scripture text that he referenced, his work may easily have been thousands upon thousands of pages. So I did appreciate his relative brevity, while being as thorough as he was. This book makes many very excellent points which are difficult to refute. It is, quite often, dry and repetitive, but generally its repetitiveness only further illustrates the author's point that Scripture teaches what he believes it teaches about hell and final punishment. I greatly appreciated one of the author's final points concerning future things expressed in the Bible. He wrote, "We will do well to remember that while all God's prophecies are true, so that what they say really comes to pass, their fulfillment is often a matter of correspondence rather than mechanical literalism." In other words, because of the symbolic nature of much of prophecy, even when a text seems to be straightforward when taken literally, we ought to leave room for the possibility that we've taken it too literally. Prophecy is much easier to see when looking back rather than looking forward. So we ought not be so dogmatic about our particulars that we miss the point of all prophecy: that we be encouraged to be faithful, and have the sure hope that in Christ, we are victorious.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jean-françois Virey

    I got my first conditionalist suspicions from reading the Gospels, but I didn't even know the term "conditionalism" (or its synonym, "annihilationism") existed until I encountered it in Anthony Buzzard's writings. I am not in full agreement with Fudge's epistemology (especially his distrust of philosophy and science- he says on his website that he is "not persuaded that evolutionary theory is correct") or theology (mine is increasingly Socinian, which he considers highly disreputable), but on the I got my first conditionalist suspicions from reading the Gospels, but I didn't even know the term "conditionalism" (or its synonym, "annihilationism") existed until I encountered it in Anthony Buzzard's writings. I am not in full agreement with Fudge's epistemology (especially his distrust of philosophy and science- he says on his website that he is "not persuaded that evolutionary theory is correct") or theology (mine is increasingly Socinian, which he considers highly disreputable), but on the issue of eternal punishment, I think he has closed the case.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Philip

    A must read for any Christian An in depth and scriptural look at the fundamental but most ignored doctrine of the Christian faith. The bible offers an answer that brings out the mercy and justice of God as opposed to a tyrant and torturer of the majority of humanity.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jamin Bradley

    Pure gold in exegetical debate and conviction. I’ve long waited a balanced debate that didn’t do away with Hell, but could present God’s judgment in a light that made both Biblical and moral sense. The author’s humility and research really helps his argument shine through.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Evan Minton

    My review can be read here --> https://cerebralfaith.net/review-of-t... My review can be read here --> https://cerebralfaith.net/review-of-t...

  11. 5 out of 5

    John Kight

    Edward W. Fudge (J.D., University of Houston College of Law) is a well-known Christian thinker and Bible teacher. Fudge has authored a number of books, including, Two Views of Hell: A Biblical and Theological Dialog (with Robert A Peterson; IVP Academic, 2000), Hell A Final Word: The Surprising Truths I Found in the Bible (Leafwood, 2013), and the focus of the present review, The Fire that Consumes: A Biblical and Historical Study of the Doctrine of Final Punishment (third edition; Wipf & Stock, Edward W. Fudge (J.D., University of Houston College of Law) is a well-known Christian thinker and Bible teacher. Fudge has authored a number of books, including, Two Views of Hell: A Biblical and Theological Dialog (with Robert A Peterson; IVP Academic, 2000), Hell A Final Word: The Surprising Truths I Found in the Bible (Leafwood, 2013), and the focus of the present review, The Fire that Consumes: A Biblical and Historical Study of the Doctrine of Final Punishment (third edition; Wipf & Stock, 2011). The Fire that Consumes was a considered by many as a watershed book when it was initially released in 1982. Now, fully revised and expanded, this third edition of Fudge’s work has been received with open arms—at least by some. For Fudge, the traditional understanding of Hell (eternal conscious torment upon the death for all unsaved) needs to be reconsidered in light of the biblical and historical data. Fudge offers an alternative approach to be embraced by the reader, namely Annihilationism (everlasting destruction and total annihilation after a period of conscious torment upon the death for all unsaved). The Fire that Consumes continues to be one of the most comprehensive positive presentations of the Annihilationist position on the market today. Fudge leaves nearly no stone unturned in his interaction with the biblical and historical sources, though some will find his exegesis and interaction more convincing than others. The length of each chapter averages roughly 10 pages and the content therein seems intentionally focused. In other words, while Fudge could have easily condensed several chapters into one, he has sought to focus more narrowly and in smaller sections. This really functions for the benefit of the reader as they seek to analyze the overall effectiveness of Fudge’s arguments. On a more personal note, I greatly appreciate the work that Fudge has put into this volume. It is scholarly, readable, well-documented and persuasively presented. Still, if I am completely honest, I found myself largely unconvinced by Fudge’s exegesis and biblical arguments against the traditionalist position. In all truthfulness, Fudge has caused me to seriously rethink my position on Hell. However, in doing so, while I am now more sensitive to the Annihilationist position in my understanding, I am more convinced that the traditional position is biblically represented. The Annihilationist position is certainly more emotionally appealing, and I honestly hope that such is the case for the sake of those witnessing such a destiny, but I can’t shake the overarching witness of Scripture—despite Fudge’s attempt to say otherwise. With that said, this book is worth serious engagement and comes highly recommended! I received a review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Clint Walker

    In the last few years, there has been a lot of discussion trying to sort out Biblical truth from medieval myth and historic church dogma when it comes to the afterlife. Books like Rob Bell's Love Wins and Sprinkle and Chan's Erasing Hell have hit the bookshelves, both discussing how the preaching of the kingdom of God and eternity with Jesus has to do with the eternal torment in hell for unrepentant unbelievers. Long before these men were debating the issue, Edward Fudge was quietly making the c In the last few years, there has been a lot of discussion trying to sort out Biblical truth from medieval myth and historic church dogma when it comes to the afterlife. Books like Rob Bell's Love Wins and Sprinkle and Chan's Erasing Hell have hit the bookshelves, both discussing how the preaching of the kingdom of God and eternity with Jesus has to do with the eternal torment in hell for unrepentant unbelievers. Long before these men were debating the issue, Edward Fudge was quietly making the case for conditionalism, or annihilationism, depending on what you would like to label it. In either case, Fudge first entered the debate on the nature of hell in 1982 with The Fire that Consumes. Now, more than thirty years later, the book is as relevant as ever, revised and expanded in many places in order to speak to contemporary thought and scholarship on the issue. Fudge's professional training, primarily, is as an attorney, although he has some theological education as well. As an attorney, he makes his argument for the ultimate death of unbelievers, instead of their eternal conscious punishment. He does so by making a careful exposition of pertinent Scriptures, a detailed study of extra-biblical sources that informed New Testament thinking, as well as a clear discussion of the church fathers, and how the doctrine of hell evolved. Fudge's arguments against a traditional view of hell are quite compelling. I am still considering them myself. Especially since the weight of his arguments come not from tradition or sentiment, as some of the arguments for even some of the best theologians do, but clearly they come directly from Scripture. Whether or not you agree with Fudge, his arguments are worth listening to. And I am not the only one who says so. With scholars writing forwards for the book like Richard Bauckham and F.F. Bruce, as well as kind words from Max Lucado on his web page, a lot of people, even if they do not agree with Fudge, are sympathetic to his compassionate hard, his argumentation, and his ability to pay attention to the details of what the Scripture is saying.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Wes Durrwachter

    An excellent and thorough exegetical treatment of conditional immortality. Fudge goes through the whole canon of Scripture and analyzes relevant texts and attempts to demonstrate the case for conditionalism. Fudge also includes an overview of church history and surveys relevant material from the church fathers, the reformers, and more modern theologians to show how the traditional view of hell gained popularity throughout the years. My only criticisms of this work are: (1) I would have appreciat An excellent and thorough exegetical treatment of conditional immortality. Fudge goes through the whole canon of Scripture and analyzes relevant texts and attempts to demonstrate the case for conditionalism. Fudge also includes an overview of church history and surveys relevant material from the church fathers, the reformers, and more modern theologians to show how the traditional view of hell gained popularity throughout the years. My only criticisms of this work are: (1) I would have appreciated some exegetical treatment on common universalist proof texts. Fudge brings up universalism passingly (one chapter is devoted to the introduction of universalism in the patristic era, but from what I can remember, he doesn't devote any time to exegeting common universalist-sounding passages). It seems as though Fudge's main target is the traditional view of hell, and thus universalism doesn't get much treatment. (2) Fudge surveys relevant material from major figures throughout church history, but he only makes a passing comment regarding Athanasius (where Athanasius praises Origen). In my mind, Athanasius' On the Incarnation is quite relevant to Fudge's topic. Granted, Athanasius doesn't ever articulate his theology of hell, but he makes frequent comments throughout the book about humans being by nature mortal and susceptible to corruption without the benefits of Christ's resurrection. Some modern interpreters have concluded from such statements that Athanasius may have been what would now be called a "conditionalist" (if that's not the case, then he has me--and others--fooled). If Fudge can use some of the vague writings from the Apostolic Fathers to argue that they *may* have held his view on hell, then surely Athanasius could have received several pages of treatment as well. All in all, I think this is a great, great book, and I would heartily recommend it to anyone wanting an in-depth study on the nature of hell.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Janelle Zeeb

    This is the most thorough and detailed analysis of hell that I have ever read. Although hell is not a pleasant topic, and is rarely discussed in church, I believe it is an important part of the Christian faith to understand what the Bible teaches on this subject. Edward Fudge's analysis in The Fire That Consumes has convinced me that annihilation is the best and most Biblical view of hell. It is a relief to know that those who ultimately reject God will not suffer forever in hell, but will inste This is the most thorough and detailed analysis of hell that I have ever read. Although hell is not a pleasant topic, and is rarely discussed in church, I believe it is an important part of the Christian faith to understand what the Bible teaches on this subject. Edward Fudge's analysis in The Fire That Consumes has convinced me that annihilation is the best and most Biblical view of hell. It is a relief to know that those who ultimately reject God will not suffer forever in hell, but will instead be completely destroyed and will no longer exist. This is still a serious and sad fate to befall anyone, but it balances God's love and mercy with his justice in a much better way than the traditional view of hell. In this book Fudge carefully analyzes both the Old Testament and the New Testament say about hell, and shows that the most straightforward interpretation is annihilation. His historical analysis of the church fathers and Christian theologians shows that the earliest view of hell was annihilation, and that it was only later under the influence of Greek philosophy that the mistake of seeing hell as eternal torture crept into church doctrine. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is troubled over the traditional views of hell, as it is very encouraging to know that God is far more loving, merciful, and just than to torture the unsaved forever.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Tanwin

    In the last 2 months I have been on a doctrinal journey (I still am). You see, I stumbled upon the doctrine of Annihilationism (or what I prefer Conditional Mortality). Well, I've heard Annihilationism before and my knee-jerk reaction was to label it as a heresy and did not study further. Until recently. So I was intrigued by the arguments people have for Annihilationism so I was looking for a good source to study. Apparently there is not many books written on the subject. However I stumbled upon In the last 2 months I have been on a doctrinal journey (I still am). You see, I stumbled upon the doctrine of Annihilationism (or what I prefer Conditional Mortality). Well, I've heard Annihilationism before and my knee-jerk reaction was to label it as a heresy and did not study further. Until recently. So I was intrigued by the arguments people have for Annihilationism so I was looking for a good source to study. Apparently there is not many books written on the subject. However I stumbled upon this one. In short, this is a "go to" book if you want to know more about Annihilationism. Fudge covers both biblical and historical aspects of the argument. He also shows how the traditional view of hell came about and how it was excepted as orthodoxy. This is just one excellent book on Annihilationism. It has everything you need to learn about the doctrine. The book is heavily reseached and well written. As for my journey, I'm still on that road. I haven't made any decision yet. But what I can do is quote scholar Ben Witherington III about Annihilationism that mirrors my current state. He said that Annihilationism is "exegetically defensible" and "theologically coherent". So this is worthy of a serious consideration. The journey continues... 5 out of 5

  16. 5 out of 5

    Danny

    I read a lot of books both for pleasure and for intellectual stimulation. This book will go down as one of the most influential to my systematic theology. Edward Fudge has a funny name and a quick paced southern drawl but is obviously a very dedicated student of theology and biblical exegesis. He carefully goes through each verse in scripture that relate to the final state of the wicked and works in a very strong thought out manner in his exegesis to interpret the meaning of the scriptures as op I read a lot of books both for pleasure and for intellectual stimulation. This book will go down as one of the most influential to my systematic theology. Edward Fudge has a funny name and a quick paced southern drawl but is obviously a very dedicated student of theology and biblical exegesis. He carefully goes through each verse in scripture that relate to the final state of the wicked and works in a very strong thought out manner in his exegesis to interpret the meaning of the scriptures as opposed to mere traditional understanding. I admire his resolve deeply. I still have questions. I still have troubles turning off the paradigm. I still have to figure out how to talk about this with people in a way that doesn't sound like I've got this all figured out, but I feel as though Fudge has enlightened not only my mind but has awakened my soul to the implications to the rest of my theology and friendship with God It has taken me a looooooong time to get through his rather dry text book and I often read at night, but the earlier in the morning the harder it is to comprehend anything much less a theologically dense project such as this.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Stuart

    A very persuasive case for annihilation I've grown up being taught and believing only a traditional view of eternal conscience torment in hell. The only other view I heard about was a characterization of universalism only believed by "people who don't take the bible seriously." I can't believe that conditionalism isn't something held by more evangelicals! This book did a really great job building a persuasive case for the annihilation of the wicked. Yes, this view is different the the Jehovah's W A very persuasive case for annihilation I've grown up being taught and believing only a traditional view of eternal conscience torment in hell. The only other view I heard about was a characterization of universalism only believed by "people who don't take the bible seriously." I can't believe that conditionalism isn't something held by more evangelicals! This book did a really great job building a persuasive case for the annihilation of the wicked. Yes, this view is different the the Jehovah's Witnesses view of annihilation (which doesn't affirm a resurrection of both the wicked and the just). I highly recommend this book to any believer who wants to study an alternative to the traditional view.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Josh

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This

  19. 4 out of 5

    Roland Clark

    Read carefully, Fudge says, the Bible does not teach that souls are immortal and will spend eternity either in heaven or hell. Rather, it offers the choice between “life and death” – eternal life in Christ or total destruction in hell. See my detailed review here: http://andthewordsbecamebooks.wordpre... Read carefully, Fudge says, the Bible does not teach that souls are immortal and will spend eternity either in heaven or hell. Rather, it offers the choice between “life and death” – eternal life in Christ or total destruction in hell. See my detailed review here: http://andthewordsbecamebooks.wordpre...

  20. 4 out of 5

    Sam Lonberg

    Fantastic book. Absolutely essential reading on conditional immortality. Has detailed exegesis and theological concepts, but is very readable at the same time. Covers Old Testament, inter-testament writings, New Testament, Church history and current evangelical climate.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Bruce Harris

    A clearly written book on a subject that needs to discussed openly in the church. Fudge shows why the Bible teaches this view but treats those with the non-biblical view of man having an immortal soul with love.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Chris Roath

    Alternate views of "eternal damnation". Alternate views of "eternal damnation".

  23. 5 out of 5

    Brandon Boone

  24. 4 out of 5

    David Allsopp

  25. 4 out of 5

    Joshua Duncan

  26. 5 out of 5

    Doug Alcorn

  27. 5 out of 5

    Ben Gresik

  28. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Johnson

  29. 5 out of 5

    Erik Manning

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jerry Johnson

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