Wow, that’s too cool!
Wow, it sounds as if the British participants, organizers, and reactions to the Spurgeon Conference are more welcoming of universalism as a possible and acceptable evangelical option than I’ve ever seen in an American evangical setting. What evangelical institutions here in the U.S. would even welcome a presentation of a case for universalism?
The US will catch on eventually, hopefully well before Judgement Day!
Spurgeon’s College is an institution happy to explore the boundaries of evangelicalism. All the speakers and delegates were open to considering universalism (though I was the only speaker that affirmed it). Derek Tidball, my main “opponent”, argued that universalism is wrong but he was very gracious and warm—he understood the nuances of my version of universalism and he even agreed with most of my presentation.
And the delegates were also mostly very open to consider.
Not all UK evangelicals would be so open but, on the whole, I suspect we would be more open than some big chunks of US evangelicals.
Found your book very helpful. It is one of the best out there expounding the universalist hope from an evangelical perspective.
I wonder if you ever looked into preterest eschatology, such as that found in J.S. Russel’s book, The Parousia of Christ, or Milton Terry’s book on Hermeneutics ?
It seems to me that preterism strengthens the universalist position as it places many of the so called “eternal torment” texts like Matt 25:41 in the past instead of reading them as prophecies of future judgment.
I have considered preterism and I am open to it. It does make universalism easier in some respects. My stratergy is to take the harder route to see if universalism works without preterism (with the hope of persuading non-preterists). If it does than it will certainly work with it.
I am not a preterist although I am inclined to see a fair number of “hell” texts as, in fact, referring to historical punishments.
On the issue if British audiences being more open than US audiences . . . I guess that is true. But I think that the whole issue is just about to get big in the US with the forthcoming publication of Rob Bell’s book Love Wins.
Check it out when it is published as I am sure it will raise the profile of the issue.
I really hope Rob Bell’s book, Love Wins, will open the way for more dialogue. However, most people I know think he is a heretic and would never consider reading one of his books.
That’s my thought too. Actually, I’d never even heard of him until he was mentioned here on the forum recently. But looking around the internet, he seems to be generally considered dangerously liberal and heretical by the standards of the Christian types that I’ve usually been surrounded by.
Then again, Bell has a huge following, so there’s obviously a lot of Christians–of a kind I don’t get much exposure to–who think differently.
We use Rob Bell’s resources a lot, especially his book (with Don Golden) “Jesus wants to save Christians” and the “Nooma” dvds. I’ll be interested to see how firm and clear his conclusions are in the new book. Both he and Brian McLaren have generally been careful to avoid the “Universalist” stigma, even though that is obviously the direction their work points in. I pray for Rob that he can ride out the inevitable criticism and name calling and keep on seeking and teaching the truth. It must be hard when you are so high profile. What I think the USA needs is a high profile convert to EU, someone like John Piper to come out and say “I was wrong, Love does win after all!” I was really disappointed that “Gregory MacDonald” didn’t turn out to be JP. Sorry Robin!
I agree, although I’d also settle with Packer or Driscoll
Glad to hear Bell’s resources are being used. I hope they continue to be!
Billy Graham came awfully close in his final years. Too bad he didn’t live a bit longer.
I have a strong suspicion that Beth Moore is one–but if so, she’s keeping quiet so as not to jeopardize her hard-won ministry efforts among Southern Baptists (much as she’s very careful not to be officially ‘teaching’ to men. Some SBs wouldn’t have any problem with that, but many of them would.)
A good review of the conference: Evangelicals toy with the concept of a heavenly reward for all
I can’t see why universalism wouldn’t works with any eschatology including dispensationalism. I wonder if you’ve ever read James Stuart Russel’s Parousia of Christ? R.C. Sproul references it in his the Last Days According to Christ.