Edward Fudge lost his long fight with Parkinson's on November 25. He died quietly, with his dearest loved ones present. That battle is over. He rests from his labors, having left an indelible mark on our world.

I was privileged to have a small part in Edward's memorial service in Houston on December 2. I have been asked to share my brief comments that were based on a text selected by Edward himself prior to his passing.

“Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation.

“Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:18-21).

I must restrain my enthusiasm for the profound theology contained in these verses, and limit my commentary to two complementary concepts that become one in the life of my dear friend Edward. Consider my choices: ministry of reconciliation and ambassador for Christ. Edward personified both.

As an ambassador Edward represented his Savior in word and deed, in both his personal and his public life. Through his lectures and his literature he challenged traditional views of an eternally vengeful God and introduced readers and listeners to a just and merciful heavenly Father. Thus, he was also a minister of reconciliation.

The personal legacy of Edward Fudge can be seen in the life and character of his children and grandchildren and others who have been influenced by him. But Edward has another legacy: he has put his indelible mark on evangelical theology.

Edward’s research on the doctrine of hell as found in the Bible and other ancient literature led him to reject Traditional teachings about the nature of man and the character of God.
He became a proponent of Conditional Immortality – the concept that man is not inherently immortal. He upheld Jesus Christ as the only way to eternal life. He denied the doctrine of eternal torment for the lost. He became an Annihilationist, insisting that the ultimate punishment for the lost will be eternal death – oblivion.
Edward’s landmark book, The Fire That Consumes, is now in its third edition. It was first published 35 years ago. Since then Edward has stood in the vanguard of a growing international movement away from Traditionalism. He will long remain a hero for those who try to fill his shoes as a champion of truth.

We are all caught up in a great controversy between good and evil. It’s a war between God and Satan that will rage on until Jesus comes again and puts an end to it. We live in dangerous territory. All of us get hurt in one way or another –– collateral damage. Edward was the target of enemy fire. His years of physical suffering and emotional anguish could have made him bitter. It happens. But not Edward.

He believed and trusted God with a resilient faith that bounced back again and again regardless of depression and discouragement. He was buoyed up by gratitude for the assurance of salvation in Jesus. His insistent prayers, even in the darkest of times, rose up to the throne of God as highest praise.

Edward’s life is now a matter of record. It’s like the first sentence in a book with an infinite number of pages. Subject and predicate. Nouns all named and verbs now nailed in place. Action stopped. A period at the end.

We wait. We count the days, the years. We’re prisoners of time. Not Edward. Not anymore. For him, a flash of timelessness –– and a bright awakening on Resurrection Day.

There is ever so much more to be told, in a never-ending story...

--Jim Wood
Pat's Paragraphs

December 2017

Dear Friends,

I cherish this season when all eyes are upon Jesus, when I’m surrounded with reminders that He was born here on planet Earth, God with us.

That He was born reminds me that He died. And horrible, grievous, awful, terrible as it was, I cherish that. I thank God that heaven is secure for us because Jesus was born as a baby, like our babies; because He grew up here, like our children; because He died in this place, like you and I should, and maybe will. Only you and I aren’t likely to die as convicted criminals; we most likely won’t be despised and rejected; we won’t hang on a cross. That was His death. For us. In our place. We deserved it. But He did it.

Dear Edward Fudge shed tears every time he talked about Jesus and the cross. Now his tears are dried and Edward sleeps, awaiting the resurrection when death is conquered and he will see Jesus face to face. I’m quite certain he will cry again - tears of joy!

Jesus’ birth was a wonderful thing. His death was, maybe, even more wonderful. Because he died, we live. Because He slept in the tomb, we wake up to a new day. Because He broke the bread and His body, we eat our daily bread. Because He came out of that tomb, the power of death was destroyed for every man, woman and child who believes. That is good news!

That is a story we want to tell. Way too many of the eight (or so) billion people on this planet haven’t heard it. Misunderstandings, deceptions and lies about God, death and the hereafter have largely eclipsed Truth that is so beautiful, comforting and rational.

We have a work to do! I thank you so very much for joining us. In this time of almost constant crises and disasters, divine truth is needed more than ever before by more people than ever before. And time is shorter than ever before. Would you prayerfully consider supporting LLT’s part in this grand work with an end-of-the year donation or a monthly contribution? Thank you!

Wishing you an abundance of God’s peace and a part in His work in 2018.

In Christ,

Pat Arrabito
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