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“Hell and Mr. Fudge” Movie to be Released in 20 Cities in January-February
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Submitted: Jan 7, 2013
By AT News Team


The new movie about the stir caused by Edward Fudge’s 1982 publication will be shown in theaters for the first time over the next few weeks, according to a news release from the producers. Fudge was a pastor in a Church of Christ when he wrote The Fire That Consumes which advocates a view like that taught by the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Despite the fact that his father was a well-known publisher of Sunday School materials among the Churches of Christ and Christian Churches, Fudge was fired.
 
LLT Productions has listed 14 cities where the movie will be shown in rented theaters and stated that more are being arranged. The largest cities in the list include Houston, Texas, where Fudge lives, and two cities in Tennessee (Nashville and Chattanooga) near Athens, Alabama, where he was a pastor at the time of the story. Denver and Oklahoma City are also on the list.
 
After the church fired Fudge because of his views on hell, he moved to Houston and entered law school at the University of Houston. For more than two decades “I have made a living as an attorney,” Fudge says. He is “of counsel” at the Lanier Law Firm in Houston and continues a ministry of Bible study, writing and speaking appointments. He is still an active member of the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS).
 
Mega church pastor Rob Bell revisited the same issues in a book entitled Love Wins published in 2011, drawing a response from another young Evangelical leader, Francis Chan, in Erasing Hell. The traditional Christian concept that God will miraculously keep sinners alive so that they can be tortured in endless fire continues to be championed by many preachers and writers despite the overwhelming Scriptural evidence against it.
 
Fudge has recently published another book on the topic. Hell: A Final Word has “a hopeful, good-natured and sometimes playful tone,” states the Web announcement of the volume’s release. “Fudge’s love for the Bible and his devotion to God is evident on every page.” Fudge’s resume lists 22 other books that he has authored or edited over the years. He was enrolled in doctoral studies in St. Louis at the time he was fired from pastoral ministry.
 
Other cities where the movie about Fudge’s confrontation with the Alabama congregation will be shown, in rented theaters, include Arroyo Grande, California; Bakersfield, California; Blacksburg, Virginia; Columbia, South Carolina; Grand Rapids, Michigan; Hilton Head, South Carolina; Monterey, California; Tulsa, Oklahoma; and Vancouver, Washington. The producers said that in each of these locations they have financial support from local individuals and congregations.
 
“Some websites have listed,” earlier dates, the news release stated. “This spurious information was not authorized” by the producers and the movie “has not yet been released anywhere either in theaters or on DVD” other than “a handful of private screenings.” LLT Productions has asked for help correcting the false information.
 
The producer has also asked for contacts from individuals and groups that may want to help arrange for a local showing in their community. Interested people should contact Jim Wood by email at jww@me.com to discuss possibilities.
 

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Elaine Nelson
2013-01-08 4:11 PM

I've read Rob Bell's book and it made immense resonance with me.  From Scripture he drew a picture of a loving God that was in total contradiction of a burning hell.  Adventists are now confronting their teaching with different answers:  hell is not really eternally burning; hell is a metaphor for non existence; hell is instant annihiliation.  None of these explain the picture given in Revelation of a god resurrecting dead sinners to be killed the second time. 

Hell is experiencing what Job lived; hell is here and now for millions living today; many commit suicide daily because they are living in hell.  Like heaven:  hell is what one makes of it. 

Serge Agafonoff
2013-01-08 5:59 PM

I haven't read any of the above-mentioned books.  But I am curious about this statement:
"Fudge was a pastor in a Church of Christ when he wrote The Fire That Consumes which advocates a view like that taught by the Seventh-day Adventist Church. "

What is the current view of hell in SDAthink?  Is it still the one where the God of love raises the intractably wicked through to the jsut a little bit naughty dead, extracts a confession of His greatness and then sets them alight one more time?  And just how long is the burn time? microseconds, a few hours, or does the smoke of their torment ascend for ever and ever?   Any takers? 

laffal
2013-01-11 4:11 PM

Serge,

Mr. Fudge proves from the Old Testament / Apocraypha / New Testament, that hell is the place where unrepentant sinners, the eventually lost, will be annihilated... as opposed to being in a state of eternal, never ending torment in the lake of fire.


Nathan Schilt
2013-01-08 7:53 PM

"What is the current view of hell in SDAthink"

Like most theological topics, it depends on where you go in the SDA world. Several years ago, a well-known and highly respected theologian at La Sierra offered our Sabbath School class a very tightly reasoned case for the doctrine of universal salvation, quoting extensively, albeit selectively, from both Ellen White and the Bible (Liberals don't proof-text; they employ the very respectable device known in scholarly circles as "selective retrieval"). Many recent graduates of the ministerial program at La Sierra also discretely champion universal salvation. So while I am not sure what the "current view" is, I think it is safe to say that Hell has become a mobile destination in Adventist thinking.

Serge Agafonoff
2013-01-08 8:36 PM

That is quite a turn-around from the generic SDA world I once knew, Nathan.  But I'm glad to see it is moving in a positive direction.  If I'm having trouble identifying a 'real SDA' after only 30 years absence, imagine what Ellen would think were she to return to inspect the troops.

What proportion of the current membership would you esitmate to be 'foundational,' historical,' or whatever word the 'authentic' SDA use to describe themselves?

Stephen Ferguson
2013-01-09 5:50 AM

I bet it would depend on whether one is talking about the West, which 'historic' Adventists are less prominant, and the Developing world, where 'historic' Adventists are more common.  Which has more members - just ask President Wilson.

Stephen Foster
2013-01-09 8:24 AM

Stephen Ferguson is probably on the right track as to where most of the historical Adventists reside; and from where many historical Adventists in North America emanate ancestrally.
 
My question: what does that tell us? I would be very interested to know. 

kelso fortner
2013-01-11 2:35 PM

Elaine,

I was first baptized about 1950 and I was always taught hell was non existence but not instantanous.

Serge,

The "confession" is that God's Law  and Character will have been vindicated.

Kelley Lorencin
2013-01-11 7:47 PM

Elaine,
Part of our problem with understanding the events of the end is that we still equate the first "death" (going to sleep) with the second "death" (which is true and total extinction).

Why does/can God resurrect from the first death, but not the second? Simply because He chooses not to? Or is it because He can't resurrect from the second?

These numbers—first and second—are not merely to denote sequence, for the Lake of Fire in Revelation 20 is the second death, and Satan is thrown into it. How will he experience a "second" death if he's never had a "first"?

Going to sleep (the "first death") is not a natural result of sin. God can resurrect the wicked because they are not yet truly dead (in terms of the death the Bible speaks of as the results of sin). For God to leave them in their sleep state for eternity would be for *Him* to have judged them and imposed sentence.

And God does not do that.

Serge Agafonoff
2013-01-12 7:53 PM

Kelley,  

Just wondering,...... which 'death' did Christ die?  First or second?

Kelley Lorencin
2013-01-12 8:46 PM

I believe His humanity died the "second" death. I see no other way for God to have answered the big question in the Great Controversy—"What happens when a created being separates from his Creator?"—without Jesus *actually* dying (as opposed to just going to sleep).

What is your view?

Elaine Nelson
2013-01-11 8:13 PM

Kelley,

It is truly confusing.  We all die.  Only those who will be saved will be resureccted, but what about those "sinners" who have also died, but are resurrected only to be killed in hell?  Isn't that the second death?  The few who are alive are the only ones who will not have experienced death. 

At least this is the SDA teaching as I was taught.

Kelley Lorencin
2013-01-11 10:51 PM

Yes, that is also the "SDA teaching" as I was taught, but we shouldn't be surprised when we discover new light! (Or, at least, a new understanding of old light.)

I think there is plenty of Biblical evidence to suggest that the sleep we all endure (what we would call the "first death") is not really death at all. In at least a couple of places, Jesus Himself says unequivocally that whoever believes in Him Will. Never. Die. (He's really THAT plain about it.)

So, why are "saints" resurrected at the Second Coming? Because they're not really dead! They are sleeping, unconscious, awaiting life. And why are "sinners" resurrected at the end? Because they're not really dead! They are sleeping, unconscious, awaiting death.

God has said through His Word that the wages of sin is death. If He left all His wicked children in their suspended sleep-state (if that were possible to do throughout eternity), then He would be knowingly circumventing the consequences of sin.

Should He do that? Why would He do that?

And, a further question to consider, if God is the one who is responsible for the "first death" (as Gen 3:22 so clearly indicates), wouldn't leaving the "sinners" asleep for the rest of eternity be God's imposition of sentence upon them? Is this the way we believe God treats those who reject Him?

Just thinking aloud, here.

Ella M
2013-01-11 10:45 PM

 Kelley,  I think you have given a good explanation of the two deaths.  If it were not for the first death, this sinful world would be grossly overpopulated.  However, I think without sin we would have never had the first death.  I don't think you are saying that it is unconnected to sin, are  you?

Elaine,  How a doctrine or biblical teaching comes out depends on the one describing it--they can make it sound ridiculous or reasonable; loving or vengeful.  That's especially true in teaching Bible to youth.  But then it was and is a reflection of the times we live in.

Concerning universalism, I don't ever remember hearing that taught as such when going to school in California.  However, the church overall seems much more broader in its interpretation.  I don't think it ever taught an unfair access (or formula on how to accept Christ) to God as most evangelical religions do.  I tend toward universalism but not entirely.  After all a third of the angels left heaven, why would it be more than that for humans? 

What some evangelists in our church have (are) taught, and I tend to agree with them, is a broad salvation that says Jesus died for all people whether they know Him or not (His "sheep not of this fold").  Wieland and Short, for example, taught that we are saved until Christ (or the Holy Spirit) is rejected in our lives.  They said "it is harder to be lost than to be saved."  A scholar named Neal Punt of the Christian Reformed Church teaches something similar and promotes it on-line.  See www.evangelicalinclusivism.com   Some of his supporters are (a couple are deceased) E F Bruce, Henry Stob, Lewis Smedes, Lester DeKoster, Edward Fudge, Robert Wieland, David N Ashton, and Steve Parker.
Accepting this wider salvation, I believe, would make more sense of the Revelation scenario.  The lake of fire, after all, was prepared only for the unholy trinity revealed in Revelation and not humans. 
 

Kelley Lorencin
2013-01-12 6:10 PM

Ella, let me say at the outset that many of these thoughts I'm having are new for me. So, please don't read into my comments here that I am "settled into" my view. In talking about it here, I'm hoping to have the opportunity to "turn it around a few times" and see what I make of it.

You asked if I was saying that the first death is unconnected to sin. And to that, I answer "yes and no." It was instituted because of sin, but not an inherent result of sin. I understand Gen 3:22 to be saying that the reason sinful human beings die (go to sleep) on this planet is not because we have eaten from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, but because God barred our access to the Tree of Life.

This, coupled with a fascinating lecture given by John Sanford at Loma Linda University (look it up on YouTube: "John Sanford genetic entropy" if you're interested) have made me wonder whether created material—even sinless, perfect created material can exist indefinitely without the constant intervention and life-sustaining power of God.

Thus, at this point, I would be inclined to say that while God instituted the first death (by barring us from the Tree of Life) because sin had entered this planet, it is not in and of itself an inherent consequence of sin. I am wondering if the decay of our bodies, our planet, and our environment is due to God's withholding His sustaining power and not sin. (If this decay *was* the natural, inherent result of sin, why are Satan and the demons still alive and well all these thousands of years later?)

Just some thoughts.

earl calahan
2013-01-12 1:21 AM

John 5:24, No condemnation; passes from death to everlasting life; who? All believers in God's sacrifice for them. 1 Cor 15:22-26, For as in Adam all die.This earthly body we inhabit is mortal, perishable. It maybe young and beautiful, old and diseased, but it will become dust, by cremation, buried at sea, closed in a coffin, no matter, it is of the past. But our spirits are immortal, they will never suffer death. In Christ shall all be made alive, all that are Christ's, at His coming. As the pastor intones at a funeral, "dust to dust", when we die, the physical body returns to it's original state, dust of the earth, however, the spirit returns to the Creator. Those in Christ should have no fear. We go to the grave. Our thoughts perish. We return to the earth's elements. We are not asleep, we are dead. The supernatural then occurs, Ps. 23:3, He restores my soul (spirit), when at God's command we are raised to newness of everlasting life, becoming a spiritual creature, as is Christ. We don't need to speculate about our being as we will be like His glorious eternal being. We will know as we are known. Christ is the Word, the Light of the world. The sole entrance to the everlasting life is in Christ. Those who do not have a relationship with the Godhead, by refusing the wooing of the Holy Spirit, by refusing the everlasting invitation, and all unrepentant sinner's, and all evil spirits, and the prince of darkness, the father of lies, and all worshippers of the beast, will be totally & utterly annihilated. 

Stephen Ferguson
2013-01-12 2:15 AM

Doesn't Universalism suggest we are puppets because we can't reject God, even if we want to?  Although it sounds nicer, doesn't that paint God in a very evil light, as much as Calvinistic doctrines of election and total depravity?  

Wayne Wilson
2013-01-30 1:56 AM

"Hell is what one makes of it." - This is not what the Bible teaches.  Granted, the idea of hell is an awful thing to consider, but since it is mentioned in the Bible we ought to take it seriously.  If we go on dismissing the concept of hell we end up in the same boat as the atheist, who is hoping and counting on the fact that there is no consciousness on the other side, and no God to answer to either. 
Just think for a moment about all those Adventist friends we grew up with, who no longer have any thought of God and have fallen out of the faith because they have no fear of dying, knowing that if they don’t make it to heaven they will be annihilated in a moment, - and that is really not a bad outcome to consider if it is true.   After all, when you are gone you are gone; you can’t miss anything like heaven and eternal life, you are just not there anymore.  What a great comfort for the sinner to have, knowing that you can live a life here on earth completely opposed to God and not have to worry about any real eternal separation from Him when you die.  Yup, that is the great and loving message of annihilation we find in this denial of hell.  And that is also the reason why we don’t see SDA street preachers (like many other denominations have), pleading with the lost and dying world to come out of the darkness and into the Kingdom of Heaven, because we know that if the world doesn’t to make it to heaven, they won’t suffer forever.  In fact God is so loving that He has lost His sense of justice for the wicked, as well as the devil and his angels.  All this talk in the Bible about hell, is really a reference for something other than what it says.  We know that the rest of Christianity has been wrong about this matter, so just ignore those painful passages about eternal torment and reinterpret to your liking and you’ll be fine.  After all, “hell is what one makes of it.”

Elaine Nelson
2013-01-30 1:10 PM

Even in the SDA theology, hell is something to be feared, regardless of its exact description, which no one knows.

Then there are those who have no fear at all and believe that the changing ideas of hell through the centuries prove it is a constantly changing belief depending on the time period.  Throughout most of the Christian history hell was a most fearful place (read Dante's Divine Comedy for descriptions of what people believed in the late middle ages). 

Today, religion has designed a different hell (it is always the religious teachers and leaders who make such changes), so it can be presented very differently.  But the fear of death is almost universal and the future afterlife so uncertain, that emotions overcome intelligent decisions.  I have no fear of death or what, if anything, may be next.  There is no reason to fear as death is part of the human condition for all mankind; beliefs are optional.

Wayne Wilson
2013-01-31 5:58 PM

"Today, religion has designed a different hell (it is always the religious teachers and leaders who make such changes), so it can be presented very differently." I’m not sure what you are saying here, but I don't believe that hell changes with the teachings of men (this sort of thinking is a postmodern perspective and is pure relativism). Hell is what it is and does not change according to our liking. For example, if we truly believe that hell is here on earth, then a person would be quite justified to escape hell by committing suicide, and clearly we don't endorse the taking of one's own life. We all know there is something far worse on the other side. A place of “weeping and gnashing of teeth” (and if you are instantly annihilated, you can do neither of these). Hell ought to be feared, and fear is not a bad thing in regard to God (Proverbs 9:10 “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom”). We should fear the righteous Judge who can cast men into the lake of fire. Hell is given a terrible description for a reason, so we might ask ourselves as to why we might want to minimalize it in some way. What purpose does that serve other than diminishing the fear of hell in the hearts of men? It can only give the unrepentant hope and confidence that hell is not that bad after all and thus it ought not be feared too much. It allows for men to avoid the fear the Lord and the submitted life that He asks of us.

Elaine Nelson
2013-01-31 8:49 PM

Religion has created hell, so they are free to change at will. Choose a period in history to find many different beliefs.

"Love casts out fear."  If good behavior requires belief in hell, it denies man with moral reasoning that was given by God.  

 

Why is hell necessary for people to live moral lives?  Is the Golden Rule insufficient?  Parents can create fear in their children and obtain obedience, but it does nothing to teach children to developing individual good behavior.
Just as harsh corporal punishments may gain obedience, when they are grown they become rebellion.  Psychologists report that there are no prisoners who did NOT receive corporal punishment.


Wayne Wilson
2013-02-01 3:00 AM

Hell is mentioned in the Bible in many places (In the Old Testament alone the word sheol appears 65 times). In the New Testament the Greek word hades is mentioned 10 times and Gehenna is mentioned 12 times, and each time they are translated as either "hell" or "hellfire.” So hell is definitely in the Bible whether we are comfortable with the concept or not. And there is a reason for it. It is true that God is love, but He has many other qualities as well. He is also holy, righteous, and just. And He is the Judge. Imagine if you were in a court room where every time a murderer, a rapist, or any other kind of sinner came before the Judge, he would simply say to the offender in question “You are free to go.” What would we make of that judge? What if all of our family members had been killed by the likes of Hitler or some such person and this judge said “That’s alright; you are free to avoid punishment for your crimes.” Wouldn’t we conclude that this judge is not only wrong, but that he is actually evil for not serving out the justice due to that reprobate? God is not just if he doesn’t administer justice, and hell is that prison where He administers justice.

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