Monday, June 30, 2014

A word from F.F. Bruce

Taken from the foreword to the first edition of "The Fire That Consumes" by Edward W. Fudge

"While the subject of this study by Mr. Fudge 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 with one another.

If there is no unanimity here among people who are agreed in accepting the Bible as their rule of faith, it may be inferred that the biblical evidence is not unambiguous. In such a situation polemic should have no place. What is called for, rather, is the fellowship of patient Bible study. It is the fruit of such study that Mr. Fudge presents here.

All immortality except God's is derived. The Father, who has life in himself, has shared with the Son this privilege of having life in himself. All others receive life in the Son. This is true in a measure even of natural life. "In him was life, and the life was the light of mankind." But it is of spiritual and eternal life that we are now thinking.

Nor are biblical writers alone in insisting that God only has inherent immortality. Plato in the Timaeus points out that, if there is a morally good creator of the world, then all souls apart from himself exist by his will, even if his will decrees their immortality. It is a truism that Plato's teaching has profoundly influenced Christian anthropology."

"Christian theologians chiefly disagree over the destiny in the Age to Come of those who live and die without God. The New Testament answer to this question is much less explicit than is frequently supposed. Paul is reported in Acts as declaring before Felix that he looked for "a resurrection of both the just and the unjust." But the only resurrection on which he enlarges in his letters is the resurrection of believers viewed as their participation in the resurrection of Christ. "If we believe that Jesus died and rose again" provides a far more secure basis for the Christian hope than any theory of the innate immortality of the soul. but it throws little light on the destiny of unbelievers.

It gives me pleasure to commend Mr. Fudge's exposition of this subject. All that he has to say is worthy of careful consideration, but there is special value in those chapters where he examines the testimony of successive sections of the Holy Scriptures."

F.F. Bruce
Manchester, England, 1982

"Annihilation is certainly an acceptable interpretation of the relevant New Testament passages ... Eternal conscious torment is incompatible with the revealed character of God." - F.F. Bruce

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I understand this is a difficult subject and there are different views from folks who all value God's inspired word. I value your feedback, corrections and questions. Please leave a comment!