Today, hell is a front-burner topic, thanks to media attention stirred by mega-pastors Rob Bell, Francis Chan, and others. But, between the extremes of universal salvation and everlasting torment, there shines a third view, known as annihilationism or conditional immortality, claiming the most biblical support of all.
Now the man whose 500-page book, The Fire That Consumes, helped ignite the scholarly debate thirty years ago brings this exciting alternative viewpoint to the everyday reader in simple form. And--the story behind the book is now the subject of a feature film, "Hell and Mr. Fudge," due to release in theaters in 2012 (and starring Mackenzie Astin and Keri Lynn Pratt; see www.hellandmrfudge.com).
While relating his own personal journey in understanding the nature of hell, Fudge leads the reader through the whole Bible to see what we have missed, then through church history to understand the origin of the other two views.
Here are the basics: Life is short. Death is sure. Judgment is certain. Hell is real. And when John 3:16 says the options are eternal life or perish, we can take that at face value.
At the end of the world, the good and bad alike are raised to face judgment. The righteous enjoy eternal life with God; the lost are sentenced to hell. But the God who gave his Son to die for sinners does not keep them alive forever to torment them without end. Instead, those in hell suffer such precise pains as divine justice may require, in a process that ends in extinction. This is the second death, the wages of sin. Eternal punishment is eternal destruction.
About The Author:
Edward Fudge is a Bible teacher, preacher, and practicing attorney living in Houston, Texas. His internet publication, gracEmail, regularly encourages thousands of believers around the world. He has conducted retreats and special Bible studies for churches of many denominations in the U.S., Canada, and New Zealand. He is the author ofHebrews: Ancient Encouragement for Believers Today, The Fire That Consumes, and other books. Edward and his wife Sara Faye have been married 44 years and have two grown children.
During the last year the concept of Hell has been brought into the mainstream by authors like Rob Bell (Love Wins) and Francis Chan (Erasing Hell). Discussions have been had on blogs, television, small group studies, and churches all over the world in response. Hell, in an of itself, has been a topic of discussion for many years, but only in the last few have people seemed to be so vocal (or maybe its because of the available of social media that this seems the case). Views include Universalism, and Traditional ones, but recently I had the opportunity to review a book that embraces the annihilationism view of hell (where those sent to Hell are punished and destroyed).
The book itself is very well written, including many of the author's personal experiences, as well as theology (in very simple terms). The book is divided into 51 small chapters and also includes a section for Further Study and a quiz on Hell (with answers supported by scripture).
While I am more inclined to lean toward the traditional view of Hell, I definitely appreciated Fudge's writing, as well as the movie trailer (above). It has been a challenging read, and for that I am thankful. It has allowed me to test his thoughts to scripture, and helped me to begin to re-examine my thoughts on Hell. This is a book that I would like to dig deeper into, as I read it fairly quickly, for the sake of review. I have already marked certain areas that I will study more, in the near future.
I highly recommend this book and give it a huge thumbs up.
BUY IT: You can purchase Hell: A Final Word online through Leafwood Publishers
***I received a complimentary copy of this book, courtesy of Leafwood Publishers, for the purpose of review on this blog. All opinions expressed are my own, and I have not been compensated in any other manner***