The Man Who Unlearned Hell

Shortly after Thanksgiving, Edward Fudge, a retired attorney who lived in Houston, Texas, passed away. His family announced his passing via social media.

His death at the age of 73 would be relatively unremarkable except for one thing: Fudge’s acceptance, decades earlier, of a $3,000 challenge to prove or disprove the notion that the unsaved end up in an ever-burning hell. What Fudge, at the time a young preacher, discovered would change the course of his life forever.

Fudge was a native of Athens, Alabama, and became a pastor in the Church of Christ. His father, William, led one of the church’s publishing houses. As with most people in that denomination, William believed that those who died unsaved would suffer eternal torment in the fires of hell. Edward held the same belief—until that challenge spurred him into a year of study.

When he completed his study, Fudge concluded that the mainstream teaching about hellfire was wrong. Those who do not choose to follow Jesus would suffer “eternal destruction,” as Paul notes in 2 Thessalonians 1:9, but not eternal punishing. The “fire” of hell destroys; it doesn’t torment eternally.

With that discovery, anchored in what the Bible actually says, Edward Fudge “unlearned” what he’d been taught for years, and he started sharing the truth he had learned.

As you might imagine, taking a stand for his beliefs came with a price. After publishing a book on the subject in 1982, it wasn’t long before Edward Fudge lost his job as a pastor, as well as work with the church-backed publishing house, because of his views.

Fudge and his family relocated to the Houston area, where he practiced law for nearly thirty years. He remained a member of his denomination but never recanted his belief about hell. In 2012, a biographical film, “Hell and Mr. Fudge,” produced by LLT Productions, won praise from viewers and critics alike.

What Edward Fudge learned surprised him and turned his life upside down. But taking a stand for truth is always the right thing to do—whether it was Daniel refusing to worship Nebuchadnezzar, or Peter continuing to preach the good news of Jesus when religious leaders of the day ordered him to desist.

The truth about hell is too important to ignore. Not only can it bring comfort to those worried about lost loved ones, but it also vindicates God’s character: God is love, and He will not allow the everlasting torment of those who rebelled against Him.

Believe it or not, there’s good news about hell! You can learn more at where our video, “A Tale about Hell” offers a clear explanation of this puzzling subject.


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