Vimeo Videos

Now you can enjoy Edward’s teachings in video at no cost to you. The venue is Vimeo, the growing favorite of professional quality videos by many of America’s leading groups.

This aspect of our ministry is the contribution of Mike McHenry, who generously edits, produces, uploads, and maintains the videos of Edward’s teaching ministry as they become available. The following presentations were originally given at New Life Fellowship in Cross Plains, Tennessee (2008, Steve Farmer – Pastor), and at the Biblical Literacy Class at Champion Forest Baptist Church in Houston, Texas (2009-10, Mark Lanier – Teacher).

Lanier Lecture.

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The “Lanier Lecture” was given to a live audience in the Lanier Chapel in September 2011 in the Lanier Theological Library Lecture Series. In it, Edward summarized his book The Fire That Consumes.

Edward Fudge: My Story (Psalm 71)
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My Story, Postscript
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Hebrews (introduction)
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Hebrews (1)
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Hebrews (2)
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The Fire That Consumes (1)
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The Fire That Consumes (2)
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The Fire That Consumes (3)
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The Fire That Consumes (Q&A)
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Restoration Movements: Truths to Remember (Skype)
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A MAN NOT A PLAN

The original founders of the Stone-Campbell Restoration Movement (RM) had known, understood, and preached Jesus Christ. However, from the second generation forward, Jesus Christ himself gradually faded from view as the primary subject discussed week after week from the pulpits of Churches of Christ, to be replaced by “the Lord’s church” (or “The New Testament church”) and “the plan of salvation.” In his book titled The Core Gospel: On Restoring the Crux of the Matter (ACU Press, 1992), the late Dr. Bill Love, a Jesus-man and Bible preacher of uncommon giftedness, painstakingly documented, generation by generation, this gradual but undeniable change in the message preached by the most influential preachers within the RM during its first century.

In his mercy and from time to time, God raised up various men to call the Churches of Christ back to their proper subject–Jesus Christ. One such messenger was a man named K. C. Moser (1893-1976), who led out with an article entitled “Preaching Jesus,” published in the December 1, 1932 issue of the Gospel Advocate, the major Church of Christ publication of influence east of the Mississippi River. Moser’s title came from Acts 8:35 which, in the older versions, says that when Philip encountered the Ethiopian eunuch, he “preached to him Jesus.” Philip did not preach a system of religion, or conditions of salvation disconnected from the atonement. He proclaimed Jesus as the Son of God who bears the sins of the world.

K. C. Moser simply pointed out that to do otherwise is to make grace void and to turn conditions of salvation into pure law. When Philip encountered the eunuch, Moser argued, he “preached not a plan, but a man.” That phrase, and its counterpart “the man, not the plan,” quickly caught on throughout the Churches of Christ among parties of both persuasions. “The Man, Not the Plan” remains the shorthand way of referring to this controversy among the Churches of Christ even today.

During the following year, 1933, Texas preacher R. L. Whiteside began a response to Moser’s teaching on Romans. Both men actively advanced their respective views in sermons, classes, and by every means at their disposal. Moser set out his Jesus-centered teaching on salvation in two influential books. The Gist of Romans was first printed in 1957 with a second edition in 1958. The Way of Salvation was issued some time later, and it was the catalyst that provoked publication of Whiteside’s commentary on Romans. Unfortunately, at almost every important point throughout Paul’s grand epistle, rather than explaining the text of Romans, Whiteside comes dangerously close to merely explaining it away.

Approximately a decade after that, my own first religious article to be published in a major brotherhood journal was a piece called “Emphasis: Christ,” Firm Foundation, LXXIV:45 (November 7, 1967). It was immediately attacked and denounced by articles in four or five other smaller journals. My crime, according to these critics? I was preaching the Man, they said, and not placing proper emphasis on the Plan. I thanked God that he had put me in the right place, and prayed that I would always occupy it. A few years later, I published a little book titled THE GRACE OF GOD, which was all about Jesus and salvation through trusting in him. I sent a copy to K. C. Moser, then still alive. To my enormous delight, he wrote back a hand-written note expressing appreciation for the gift, and stating that I was teaching precisely what he believed the Bible to teach.

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InJesus

vital Christian message long muted

Based on the little attention it receives in teaching and preaching today, one might suppose that the future return of our Lord is a fringe doctrine invented by extremists, a second thought hastily tacked on to resolve some alleged difficulty in the original Christian message. Instead, it is a foundational teaching of the faith, rooted in the promise solemnly given by angels immediately after Jesus’ ascension.

This “blessed hope” is part of the earliest Christian narrative as reported by Luke: “Repent therefore . . . that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the time for establishing all that God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old” (Acts 3:18-21).

Jesus’ future appearance is anticipated in the most primitive of Christian communities–including those pastored by James (5:7-8), Jude (24-25), and the author of Hebrews (9:28). It is mentioned in every chapter of First Thessalonians, probably the earliest canonical New Testament book (1:7 -10; 2:17-19; 3:12-13; 4:16-18; 5:23-24). Truly a universal teaching, it is documented as taught in Philippi (Phil. 3:20-21), Corinth (1 Cor. 15:23), Colossae (Col 3:1-4), Thessalonica (1 Thes 1:7- 10), in Asia Minor (1 Peter 5:1-4), Crete (Titus 2:11-13), Palestine (Jude 24-25), Rome (Acts 1:9- 11), Ephesus (1 Tim. 6:14), and wherever Christians are found.

The esteem accorded to this teaching is demonstrated by its inclusion in both the most ancient and also the most prestigious post-apostolic statements of faith. In the section of the Eucharistic Liturgy known as The Great Thanksgiving, we “proclaim the mystery of our faith,” that “Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again.”

And in the Nicene Creed we affirm: “For us and for our salvation, he came down from heaven . . . He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end.” Let us recover this vital Christian doctrine, muted too often and for too long, and once more proclaim it from the roof-tops–“Jesus is coming again!”

Walking through a strange land home

Do you ever feel a longing for home, but a home not of this world? If so, there is a very good reason, and First Peter just might be what you need to see you through this day. Written originally to Christians in five Roman provinces, it is clearly a legacy for the church at large, consisting of individuals Peter describes as God’s chosen ones but strangers in this world. That double (and paradoxical) identity will follow us through the whole epistle. This world is not our home, as anyone who takes seriously God’s calling and assignment quickly learns.

What is this mission to which we are called? It is to serve as God’s showpiece, his model community, his sampler of the new humankind. As our lives come to demonstrate hope and joy and peace, that whets the appetite of others who have a hunger to know their Creator. When they inquire regarding what they have observed, we are here to explain our hope (3:15-16) and to declare God’s wonderful saving deeds that moved us from darkness to light (2:9-10). Confirming our words are our actions–giving no basis for scandal or justifiable complaint.

When God raised Jesus from the dead, hope came alive, God showed himself deserving of our trust, and Jesus ascended to the Father who gave him a rank second only to God himself (1:3, 21; 3:17-22). Jesus’ mission unfolds in two stages–“suffering” and “glory”–and our mission takes place between his two. Whoever follows Jesus will also experience both suffering and glory–and in that same order (4:12-14). Our response to abuse, false accusations, even physical harm (2:12, 15; 3:14-16; 4:4-5, 19; 5:8-9) is simple–to keep on doing good, and to entrust ourselves to God the righteous judge who in the end will vindicate and reward his own (2:20-23; 4:19).

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Those who take up God’s assignment to walk through this strange land home are none other than his newly-begotten children. They are made such objectively by Christ’s resurrection (1 Peter 1:3) and subjectively by the living, spoken (rhema) gospel message (logos) of God (1:22). The written manifestation of God’s word also plays an important part. As milk is vital to the growth of a newborn infant, so the scriptures are to the growth of the spiritually newborn (2:1-3). Peter’s Bible” we know as the Old Testament (probably in Greek). He quotes or paraphrases language from Exodus, Leviticus, Psalms, Isaiah and Hosea in 1 Peter alone.

As objective reality, Christ’s resurrection is an event that occupied a specific place in space and time, a “happening” to be believed and trusted (1:3). We must vigilently resist every effort to reduce it to anything less–whether impersonal archetypes, theoretical principles, or simple narrative. As subjective reality, our personal conversion embodied our deepest feelings and emotions, and it is intended to be experienced and enjoyed.

At the end of our mission is an inheritance, which Peter describes in negative terms–it will never perish, fade, or spoil–it is too good to describe in positive words. And it is reserved in heaven for us (1:4). Meanwhile, God’s power guards us until we reach our inheritance (1:4-5). The Greek verb here has many possible translations: guard, keep, fortress, shield, garrison. The point is that in trusting God we are absolutely secure, and of that we may enjoy full assurance (1:3-5).We need this kind of assurance. The assignment for which God has called us includes grievous trials, sorrows, and suffering (1:6-9). Such is life for foreigners found walking through a land not theirs, strangers on divine assignment as they make their own way home.

Ask God about Jesus-man in Kenya and you

ASK GOD ABOUT JESUS-MAN IN KENYA AND YOU

I do not normally use gracEmail for this purpose (to do so could quickly consume every issue), but I come today urging you to consider a special need in Africa and to ask God if you are to be a part of the solution.

George Odhiambo is a Jesus-man in Kenya in East Africa, with whom Sara Faye and I have had contact for several years. He and his wife Lilian have three children (full disclosure: one of whom is named “Edward Fudge Odhiambo”) but like many of their fellow-Christians there, they also support his father, other relatives and some village orphans.

George is a graduate of Great Commission Evangelism School of Nairobi, and he is looked to as a leader in the church and in a struggling Christian school in their village. This is how George described the situation and the urgent need to me:

“Brother, join me in prayer that God can provide me with a small house to live in after my mud house was washed away by floody rainfall that has been raining day and night since September. Thank you for your prayer that so my father, sisters and my family will be uplifted by our Saviour. We are staying in a nearby centre, church members donated to us beddings and utensils. Our God is not like the deaf gods of Baal’s prophets, and He will answer our prayer.”

I have consulted with other American and Kenyan Christians very knowledgeable about the situation and how best to meet the need. The maximum total cost to replace the Odhiambo’s mud hut with a bare-bones but well-built house of concrete blocks and bricks with some wood and steel framing is 660,640 Kenyan shillings, or $7,336.00. This number might be reduced some through further negotiation.

If you feel led to assist, make checks payable to “Poplar Avenue Church of Christ, Duane Earles,” and mail to: Attn: Duane Earles, Poplar Avenue Church of Christ, 600 South Poplar, Wichita, KS 67211.

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WORDS TO LIVE BY

It seems that some Corinthian Christians were quoting a saying of questionable value. “Let us eat and drink,” the slogan invited, “for tomorrow we die!” (1 Cor. 15:32). If there is no resurrection, Paul observed, that advice is as good as any other. The old canard had been around for centuries. Unbelievers had recited it in Isaiah’s day (Isa. 22:13). It showed up again in a parable of Jesus–spoken by a man whom God called a fool (Lk. 12:19). Being old and popular do not guarantee that a slogan is either true or wise.

Whether Paul or the Corinthians cited this old saying first, the apostle clearly intended to caution them against its repeated, mindless use. He did so with a light hand, quoting a motto from the Greek poet Menander who warned that evil “companionships” corrupt good morals, but the same word can also mean “communications” (1 Cor. 15:33). Menander’s slogan about the power of slogans is saying both those things. And Paul is telling his readers to use caution in choosing their companions — and also the sayings by which they will guide their lives.

If the Corinthian Christians needed a motto to live by, Paul would create one of his own for them to use. It goes like this: “Come to your right mind and sin no more” (1 Cor.15:34). Now there’s a saying with substance, some words to live by to enjoy a good life. Especially for people who know that resurrection is coming.