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Saturday, March 21, 2009

Edward Fudge's Hebrews: Ancient Encouragement for Believers Today

Lawyer-theologian Edward William Fudge is one of the Christian writers I greatly admire not only for his wisdom-packed writing  but also for his humility and his genuine love for people.  Although associated with the (Stone-Campbell) Churchfudge-hebrews of Christ, he has steered clear of the sectarian bent of many in his denomination and has served Christians in other church groups.  His website, www.EdwardFudge.com, is a rich resource for Christians seeking answers to various religious issues.


He has done another great service to Christianity with a soon to be released 262-page commentary entitled Hebrews: Ancient Encouragement for Believers Today (Abilene, TX: Leafwood Publishers, 2009 -- $ 19.95) -- a work which will surely bless those who read it, especially in these desperate, confused times.  For more details, go to his website.  (A Q & A guide will be placed in the next post.)


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Three of his books have a special place in my library:


1. The Great Rescue: The Story of God's Amazing Grace. Orange, CA: New Leaf Books, 2002. Consisting of 18 short chapters of simple yet powerful prose, it retells the Biblical narrative from Genesis to Revelation. My favorite section of the book is chapters 13-16 where he lucidly expounds on grace and faith and on how these work in the life of the church.


2. Beyond the Sacred Page: A Testimony to the Guidance of God in the Life of One Man. Houston, TX: Providential Press, 1995 (now revised, enlarged and republished as The Sound of His Voice). This is a touching autobiographical account which weaves both family and church history (especially that of the ultra-conservative wing of the Church of Christ in which Edward grew up) to come up with a tapestry that beautifully depicts a life that progressed from rule-keeping to Grace-consciousness, sectarianism to ecumenism,  and setbacks to success.  Edward's life of faith is partly expressed in these lines:




God answered my earlier requests for his guidance but he also gave me something far greater -- the experiential knowledge of God himself as the living, personal God who sees us, hears us, and who sometimes answers our prayers in immediate and dramatic ways. (88)



3. Two Views of Hell: A Biblical and Theological Dialogue. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2000. With Covenant Theological Seminary professor Robert A. Peterson as co-author, Edward passionately advances the  "Conditionalist" view as against Peterson's "Traditionalist" position on a hot issue in the Evangelical world -- the nature of eternal punishment-- arguing, among others, that the doctrine of  the soul as essentially immortal is a product of Greek philosophy and not of proper Biblical exegesis and that the biblical doctrine of "eternal punishment" does not actually mean "eternal torture" but a divine judgment which is of limited duration commensurate to the degree of one's wickedness and which ends with the wicked ceasing to exist (i.e., eternal separation).




Some of his works can be downloaded for free from  www.freedomsring.org.




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