The Fire That Consumes by Edward Fudge
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A Biblical and Historical Study of
the Doctrine of Final Punishment

Third Edition

"The standard reference on annihilationism." (Christianity Today)

"I commend this book warmly . . . to which everyone engaged with this issue will constantly return."
(Richard Bauckham, Professor Emeritus of New Testament Studies, The University of St. Andrews, Scotland;
now at The University of Cambridge, U.K.)

"A definitive work for years to come." (John Franke, D.Phil - Oxford)

"A tour de force . . . The book to deal with now"
(Louis McBride, Baker Book House Church Connection").

* Updates original edition after three decades.

* Interacts throughout with 17 traditionalist authors.

* The view between extremes.


September 2011
Lanier Theological Library Lecture Series
To view, click here .



TOM ROBINSON - Senior Minister
Manhattan Church of Christ, New York
(MA - ACU; MDiv - Princeton; PhD - Harvard).
Taught at Union Theological Seminary, NY.

Edward Fudge writes as a person who deeply trusts the Bible as his authority but who believes that Christian theology and teaching has distorted the biblical teaching about hell as the fate of those who reject God. The traditional view has been one of unending conscious torment often elaborated with colorful punishments for the damned.

Fudge argues that the scriptures' dominant picture of hell/gehenna is captured in words such as "perish," "death," "destruction," "consuming fire." As Jesus emphasized, the one to fear is he "who can destroy both soul and body in hell" (Mt 10:28).

Fudge argues simply that these words mean what they say. They should not be turned upside down to mean that in hell the human soul is not destroyed but has an indestructible existence suffering conscious torment through an infinity of time in which the one thing that can never happen is for it to perish.

Throughout the book Fudge interacts graciously with other views in order to encourage debate. The book is especially focused on study of practically every biblical text that is relevant to the nature of hell. It is quite a journey that he takes the reader on including Dead Sea Scrolls and many church authors, especially Augustine and Calvin.

The book will be a valuable resource for anyone interested in understanding the biblical teaching of the afterlife whether they ultimately agree with Fudge's presentation or not. This is a great contribution to the debate.

Reviews of books written in response to The Fire That Consumes . . .

Robert Morey, Death and the Afterlife
Larry Dixon, The Other Side of the Good News: confronting the contemporary challenges to Jesus' teaching on hell

ORDER new (2011) third edition of this groundbreaking book (442 pages) here.

ORDER the original (1982) edition. here.

READ a brief summary of the biblical material discussed in The Fire That Consumes here.

BROWSE in this book here.

LISTEN to a three-hour seminar by Edward on this topic, as recorded at Christian Gospel Temple in Cross Plains, Tennessee in August 2008,
      Part 1, click here.
      Part 2, click here.
      Part 3, click here.

WATCH the same three-hour seminar by Edward on this topic. (Not suited to Firefox.)
      Part 1, click here.
      Part 2, click here.
      Part 3, click here.

TEST your Bible knowledge on the subject of final punishment, but be warned that you might be surprised by what you find here.

LEARN from these cross-current presentations by Prof. Jonn McKinley (for eternal torment) and by Edward Fudge (for conditional immortality), at Biola University in Los Angeles in May 2011.
Video      Audio.

ENJOY an interview with Edward on this topic in Modern Reformation magazine here.

UNDERSTAND the influence of this book in stimulating a rethinking of the nature of hell by evangelicals around the world. In an article published in Vox Evangelica 24 (1994), p. 63-76, British scholar Alan M. Linfield summarizes the controversy and provides international perspective here.

DELIGHT in a multimedia presentation on this subject from New Zealand (including reviews of this book) here.

POST your own review of this book here. 

READ (below) what reviewers say about this book.

Bible scholars and theologians

JOHN STOTT, London, England, U.K.: Tentatively holds to the view set forth in this book.

GREGORY A. BOYD, Bethel College, St. Paul, Minnesota: "The most thorough and compelling exposition of the biblical basis of annihilationism." Satan and the Power of Evil,IVP.

CLAUDE MARIOTTINI, Professor of Old Testament, Northern Seminary, Lombard (Chicago), Illinois. "Although I had never made an extensive study of the biblical doctrine of hell, Fudge’s book forced me to study and evaluate my own views on this issue. . . After comparing the teachings of the New Testament with what I knew about what the Old Testament teaches, it is obvious to me that what The Fire That Consumes teaches reflects the true Biblical teaching about the eternal destiny of the wicked."

COLIN BROWN, Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, Calif.: "A very strong case for rethinking the notion of the eternal torment of all the lost."

F.F. BRUCE (Deceased), University of Manchester, England: "While this subject is one on which there is no unanimity among evangelical Christians, it is at the same time one on which they have often engaged in fierce polemic. What is called for, rather, is the fellowship of patient Bible study, the fruit of which Mr. Fudge presents here."

JASON GORONCY, Knox Center for Ministry and Leadership, Dunedin, Otago, New Zealand: "Regardless of whether one is persuaded by Fudge's thesis or not, the patient tone and methodology employed in The Fire That Consumes provides an all-too rare positive example of how such theological conversation might occur. Would that more debates about eschatological matters were conducted with such care and reverence."

JOHN W. WENHAM (Deceased), Oxford, England: "The author is biblical, reverent and fair, showing soundness and independence of judgment. He makes his main points with force and persuasiveness."

CLARK H. PINNOCK, (Retired), McMaster Divinity College, Hamilton, Ontario: "I know of no book which answers this powerful case."

W. WARD GASQUE, Eastern College, Philadelphia: "An important and thought-provoking book that gives careful attention to the actual words of Scripture."

DALE MOODY (Deceased), The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Ky: "I know of no biblical passage which, interpreted rightly and in context, conflicts with the conclusions of this book."

THOMAS H. OLBRICHT (Retired), Pepperdine University, Malibu, Calif: "Evidence for the common assumption that the wicked will suffer eternal conscious torment may not be as conclusive as assumed."

SAMUELE BACCHIOCCHE (Deceased), Andrews University, Berrien Springs, Mich: "A comprehensive response to all the texts and arguments used to defend the traditional view of the eternal punishment of the wicked."

JOHN F. WALVOORD (Retired), Dallas Theological Seminary: "The most extensive study [of the subject] in recent years . . . commendably brings into the discussion many items that are often overlooked." (Dr. Walvoord expressly disagrees with the conclusions of this book.)

GEORGE LEONARD GOSS, former editor, Evangelical Book Club: "A thorough and convincing exposition."


world press

NEW OXFORD REVIEW: "Exceptionally evenhanded, forceful and to the point."

MISSION JOURNAL: "A formidable scriptural argument which defenders of the popular view will be hard pressed to meet."

EVANGELICAL BOOK CLUB: "A thoughtful case for an opinion that deserves a hearing."

RESURRECTION MAGAZINE: "The definitive work on conditional immortality."

ADVENT CHRISTIAN WITNESS: "A work of impeccable scholarship and pleasing readability."

CHURCH OF ENGLAND NEWSPAPER: "Essential reading for anyone interested in the subject."


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The Sound of His Voice (God's guidance)
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