The Evangelical Universalist Forum

What books are our members reading? Post updates freely! {g}


#101

Dear All,

Though these are no theological tomes, for the record I have in the last couple of months, I have read in this order:

Paul. A Novel written by Walter Wangerin

The Apostle - a Life of Paul, written by John Pollock

and simultaneously with Acts, and Paul’s Epistles.

FOLLOWED BY:

The Heavenly Man , the remarkable story of Chinese Christian Brother Yun, together with Paul Hattaway.

The account of the experiences and faith of Brother Yun are so similar to those of Paul, as also the spreading of the Gospel by Paul in the Easter Mediterranean 2000 years ago and Brother Yun in China.

Worth mentioning is Brother Yun’s one of a number of recommendations to the Churches in the Western world in one of his final chapters, years after escaping to the West, “Reflecting on Four Years in the West”, is for Revival and Sharing of the Word of the Lord, quoting,

Jeremiah 20.9 and Philemon v 6.

Let’s go!

Michael in Barcelona


#102

I have now finished Bryan’s book on Jesus and the Roman Empire–which reminded me there’s a book on my shelves I’ve been meaning to read for a while, or perhaps I’ve forgotten I already read! (Wilkens’ The Christians as the Romans Saw Them. Edited to add: huh. Looking at the table of contents, I am entirely sure I’ve read Wilkens’ book already once or even twice. I remember really liking it, but I remember almost nothing of its actual contents. Oh well.)

Fun trivia note: although along with many people I regard myself as a student of Lewis, CB actually was a student of Lewis (and Tolkien) back in the late 50s!

Anyway, next up (or maybe not, if I feel itchy about reading Wilkens again) will be God’s Final Victory by John Kronen and Eric Reitan. As someone who originally came to Christian universalism as a deductive logical corollary to trinitarian theism, I’ve been looking forward to seeing how much of their argument independently covers the same ground.

(I suspect they won’t cover nearly the same amount of theological ground as I did, though, if the Trinity only rates three mentions in the index, two of which are footnotes and one of which is in the introduction on page 2. :unamused: But their references to recent and classical theological arguments on universalism pro and con should still be worth chewing over. I’m already indebted to them for relating, in a footnote to chapter 9 that I happened to glance past on the way to the index, the anecdote of Jonathan Edwards working out a complex philosophical criteria for distinguishing the elect from the non-elect and then excommunicating his whole congregation for several years as a result!–an excom that, for a Calvinist, must be permanent as the non-elect cannot ever become the elect.)


#103

Update: while K&R’s GFV may only reference the Trinity (per se) three times, they indicate in their introduction that they will be proceeding with their argument from bases of theology generally agreed to by conservative Christians, with distinction from a similar argument they will also provide from bases of theology generally agreed to by other supernaturalistic theists. From the details of their introduction, this would seem to include the distinction of Christ’s deity.

I like the book’s outlay as reported in the introduction, and I generally approve of the introduction overall (so far). I may create a thread later to comment on the book, as it’s rather expensive right now.


#104

Yesterday I finished Jukes’ 1867 monograph on The Restitution of All Things, which catches me up on the pre-20th-century English universalism apologetic texts that I’ve procured. (No doubt I’m missing some, partly as a personal preference, as I would rather stay as close to ortho-trin exponents as possible, and partly because the texts just flat out aren’t available anywhere at the moment. I’m thinking specifically of Stonehouse’ continuing dialogues with other theologians of his day, which he printed as sequels to his mammoth 1761 Universal Restitution.)

I’ve started the biography of Elhanan Winchester, but he himself had already printed a good spiritual biography as preface to a later edition of The Universal Restoration–which this work quotes liberally from (as well it should)–so I’m doubtful I’ll pick up much new here.

(As an incidental reminder, I and several of the other ad/mods regard Winchester’s book of dialogues to be, by proportion to its size, the best apologetic for universalism currently available. Stonehouse’ work is much more detailed in some regards, although I find some of his concepts extremely shaky, such as his attempts at precisely calculating how many years each “eon” phrase indicates. Jukes, for whatever it may be worth, is much shorter than even Winchester, and packs a lot of material, but I still prefer Winchester’s scope.)

I’m at least 2/3 of the way through J&K’s God’s Victory, and I’ve finally run into a chapter I largely disagree with (the one on penal sub), although I don’t think fixing (what I perceive as) the logical problems there will hurt their overall argument. I may have to write a thread on it elsewhere later, though.

Still occasionally moving through both translations of The Heliand for fun. :slight_smile:


#105

Funnily enough I’ve just finished reading it too (though not for the first time).


#106

The Shack by Paul Young

An encounter with Papa! Reconciliation, God’s all embracing love, the Trinity. Meet all 3 in 1! Forgiveness, love our enemies. It all happens in and around The Shack!

Many of you will already have read this book; those who have not will have an unforgettable encounter!

Michael in Barcelona


#107

Taking a break from the penal substitution study as it’s raising more questions than answering. Not convinced that penal substitution is false. pretty convinced that it is true in some sense, just not sure in what way. Still keeping an open mind though. Penal substitution opponents just seem to have to stretch a little too far in addressing the many many verses in support if PS. But then I thought the same about UR at one time.

Reading James Goetz book “conditional futurism” and “all shall be well”.

So far CF first two chapters are real good as introductory chapters. Brief but helpful.

All shall be well… I am reading the chapter on Winchester (or whatever his name was lol) excellent chapter! His arguements are some of the best i have seen. He also does a good job explaining the illogical argument that an infinite God would require infinite punishment.


#108

Awesome :smiley:


#109

Speaking of Winchester (I’m still going through his biography), does anyone know where to find a free pdf (or other decent format) of his 3rd and maybe 4th volumes on prophecies yet to be completed?

I’ve seen varying things about how many volumes exist. His biographer thought two. (His excerpt from them was what led me to hunt for them.) The two volumes I found over at the Princeton Theological Seminary Library (I’ve picked up other scanned books for free there) indicate there are at least three volumes. (The first book itself says there are three, and the second book ends with the discussion of the end of Christ’s millennial kingdom with clear indications that the material from the final chapters of RevJohn and related scriptures are up next.) Someone on Amazon has self-published four volumes, but there are no descriptions (and no searching inside the book. And I’m not very happy with the idea of paying someone $25 for what may be a piss-poor copy-paste of a pdf text with format codes, which unfortunately is what some of these self-published archival books amount to!)

My tentative guess is that the guy on Amazon has collected two sermons called “The three woes”, preached at about the same time as the other lectures and in the same place, along with related sermons, and called that the fourth volume. Which would be okay, although I’ve already got pdfs of that. I just want to know if anyone else knows. :slight_smile:

Update: Dr. Benjamin Rush thanked EW for the fourth volume in a contemporary letter, so I suppose it must really exist.


#110

Just to clarify my view on PS at this point in my initial study of the subject…I find the arguements opposing PS to be
Very strong from a logic standpoint. As George Macdonald points out… How does punishing a righteous man for the forgiveness of sins for the unrighteous make sense. Even stronger arguments are made in that vain.

My struggle in dismissing all forms of PS has to do with understanding how to deal with many scriptures that at least on the surface, seem to support PS. So far I haven’t seen to many good arguments addressing these scriptures after reading two books opposing PS.

It’s very possible I’ve just been indoctrinated and need a fresh start to reading scriptures ! :frowning:


#111

Just started Tom Wright’s “Surprised by Hope”. This is the first new book I’ve read since starting the move towards Universalism, and it feels like I’m seeing every verse he quotes in a new light, even though he isn’t writing in support of UR. Really makes my heart sing! :smiley:


#112

Finished the biography on Winchester. Still haven’t found a reliable source for his third and fourth books of lectures on the biblical prophecies. (The only ones I can find are still print-on-demand books from Amazon, and I’m loathe to spend $20+ on something that may be poorly formatted.) I did figure out (thanks to the biography) that his two Sermons on the Three Woes were not part of his Lecture volumes, although I strongly suspect they are still drawn from material of that series.

(I also somewhat sadly suspect they will be inadvertently humorous, as Winchester’s theme for those sermons was to set up the coming Great European War, featuring Napoleon as the fulfillment of the last four woes, the first three having already been fulfilled by his reckoning. Final Tribulation theology was the first theology I ever studied, and I retain a taste for it, but long experience makes it a very cautiously retained taste. :laughing: )

Since my previous post I have also started, plowed through, and completed Philip Sugden’s Complete History of Jack the Ripper: the hyperlink there goes to the paperback 2nd edition released in 2002, which is less expensive than even the used library hardback I found (itself not 2nd edition. I didn’t even realize there had been an update: I should sell it to someone for the price of updating here…) Mr. Sugden has gone very far out of his way to research and report every scrap of primary-source data (i.e. from contemporary records) and living memories still existent on the murders, in order to archive them handily in one place for the reference of future inquirers. He also features some brisk but carefully balanced historical analysis, and I can’t say I found many places where his reasoning overstepped or forgot or invalidly assessed the evidence. (He also has no particularly final conclusions to draw, or at least he had no pet theory to promote in the first edition.) Fine practice for someone in my (unofficially amateur) profession, sifting through surviving data to present the best understandings possible of the Gospels and related early Christian data.

(I’m not sure if I mentioned it, but somewhere back there I rampaged through David Kalat’s Critical History And Filmography Of Toho’s Godzilla Series (2nd edition). Godzilla movies, along with old kung-fu films and similar genre flicks, were literally the first movies I ever watched, because my Dad loves those things and took the opportunity to watch them late at night when it was his turn feeding me the bottle. :laughing: Godzilla vs. Megalon was also the first movie I ever saw at a drive-in theater, and Godzilla vs. Gigan was easily one of the first two or three I ever saw at an indoor theater.)

Currently I’m making a Norse-Heroic-Epic effort http://www.wargamer.com/forums/smiley/axeman1.gifto finish reading the two different versions of The Heliand that I’ve previously mentioned–I would have finished long ago but I just had too many other books in the way.


#113

Since these don’t really merit individual posts:

St. Francis of Assis – GK Chesterton

Orlando Furioso – Ludovico Ariosto (translated by David R. Slavitt)

For anyone into epic poetry, Slavitt’s version is tremendously fun. I love burning through a canto or two at night before bed. Chesterton is just terribly charming, though unreliable. I more like reading to meet him than to learn about what he’s writing about. It’s an outrage he isn’t classed with the official saints.


#114

The Christians as the Romans Saw Them

now theres an interesting looking book . thank you Jason :slight_smile:

so does your above one ‘‘jack the ripper…’’ the thing I find interesting about serial killers is the fact that more often than not they are highly intelligent. ok its the only thing about them thats appealing !


#115

Been reading “The Parousia” by Russell and “Paradise Restored” by Chilton.

So much good stuff on the olivet discourse and book of revelations. Been on a quest to make sense of Jesus words in the gospels and Escatology in general, from an EU perspective.


#116

Hi I sit in Awe,

Did you get through my chapters on the Olivet discourse and Revelation?

If yes, did the chapters help you?


#117

James,

Not yet, but I’ll be reading it along with these others as I work my way through a study of escatology. I’ll give you some feedback when I get there! The study is going to take a while as my free time is limited by my work demands.


#118

Wow, been a while since I updated here…!

Okay, first picking up spares: I still haven’t finished reading one of the Heliand translations (the prose version), although I’m pretty sure I’ll get back to it someday. (At this rate near Christmas.) I did outright give up reading the other Heliand translation when I got tired of the liberties taken by the author regarding the Saxon text. (The precise moment I gave up was when one of his poetic strophes read, across both parts, “AAAAIIIEEEEEE” or some yell like that. Okay man I could tell you were having a tough time keeping up with your poetic scheme over the long haul, but clearly you aren’t even trying anymore. :laughing: :unamused: )

I have finished reading the first two of the four volumes of Elhanan Winchester’s Lectures on the Prophecies That Remain to be Fulfilled. Those I read as pdf scans imported to my Kindle, which didn’t work so well on the first volume due to technical reasons I won’t go into here. I am pleased to say that the 25ish dollars I risked on ECCO’s print edition of Volume 3 was well worth the effort, and I will be promptly ordering volume 4 from them to finish the collection. Anyone who wants a handheld version of books originally printed in the 18th or 19th century (I think their scope stretches into the 19th…?) would be well advised to try an ECCO print-on-demand edition from Amazon. They simply print and bind a pdf scan of the original pages, although they may be working from their own scans not ones necessarily available already online.

As to the material itself, I can only cautiously recommend it. Winchester should be well-known to Christian universalists as an influential Baptist universalist author, evangelist and preacher from the period of the Revolutionary War onward, and I do strongly recommend his collected series of pseudo-epistles recounting conversations he has had defending his beliefs in universal salvation of sinners from sin, The Universal Restoration. These lectures, presented in London during his years in England working as an evangelist near the end of his life in 1789, do feature some points of interest for the Christian universalist (and opponents) here and there, including a portion originally included with his TUR but omitted in later prints to make room for some other things. (I don’t know if this is in vol 3 or 4 yet.) His analyses of OT and NT prophecies (mostly OT) still to be fulfilled are somewhat less competent in my estimation (and demonstrably wrong in regard to what he thought would be fulfillment, on some points). But I’ve learned a wad of new things from his efforts, even when I don’t always agree with him. The fact that I’m going ahead to spend real live money :mrgreen: on collecting the remaining two volumes ought to show my appreciation for his work. I’m just saying–unless you’re a hermit like me with a good job and not much else you care to spend money on, there are plenty of other books (including some by Winchester himself) worth your time and (for print versions) money on.

I’m currently in the middle of reading several other books, one of which is The Barbarian Conversions, an in-depth history of Christian evangelism by the Western Church (mostly) from the first Christian centuries until the late Renaissance or thereabouts. (I’m halfway done and the author is taking a chapter to sum up where things stand around AD 800.) It’s dry enough reading that I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone but hardcore history geeks, but for those of us who know who we are (i.e. those of us who spend stupid amounts of money on monographs about particular elements of medieval history, i.e. me :mrgreen: :stuck_out_tongue: ) I’d be surprised if there’s any better book available on the topic. Thanks muchly to fellow apologist David Marshall for mentioning it in one of his recent articles!

In case anyone is wondering, I still have several large (in two cases VERY VERY VERY large) research and apologetic projects on the way, although in recent weeks I’ve added two more such projects to my list of things to do; the one I’m working on today is a multi-part article addressing fellow Christian apologist James Patrick Holding’s arguments against Christian universalism at his Tektonics site. (JPH is also an adminstrator and maybe co-owner, I forget, of Theologyweb.com. We don’t know each other directly but we share some mutual friends. :slight_smile: ) I just finished page 24 and have a lonnnng way to go. :sunglasses: But I’ve already inadvertently run across a very strong exegetical argument for Christian universalism that I myself had never heard about until today! (JPH doesn’t quite mention the argument, but only one part of it–I found the rest of it while doing contextual research. I’ll be mentioning it in my forthcoming series here on the forum, of course. :wink: )


#119

" Quiet " , By Susan Cain. " The power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking "…

“A species in which everyone was General Patton would not succeed, any more than would a race in which everyone was Vincent van Gogh. I prefer to think that the planet needs athletes, philosophers, sex symbols, painters, scientists; it needs the warmhearted, the hardhearted, the coldhearted, and the weakhearted. It needs those who can devote their lives to studying how many droplets of water are secreted by the salivary glands of dogs under which circumstances, and it needs those who can capture the passing impression of cherry blossoms in a fourteen-syllable poem or devote twenty-five pages to the dissection of a small boy’s feelings as he lies in bed in the dark waiting for his mother to kiss him goodnight . . . Indeed the presence of outstanding strengths presupposes that energy needed in other areas has been channeled away from them.” - Allen Shawn


#120

I just finished “The Jesus Crisis - The Inroads of Historical Criticism into Evangelical Scholarship” by Thomas and Farnell and I loved every page. In an age when everyone seems to be telling us we have to believe Matthew and Luke copied from Mark and Q, it’s nice to find scholars who uphold literary independence regarding the origin of the gospels.