July 20th
A case for Universal Salvation
July 27th
Implications of a belief in Universal Salvation
Rev Dr Robin Parry
author of The Evangelical Universalist
Wesley Conference Centre, 220 Pitt St, Sydney
Do we need to rethink the traditional ‘eternal torment’ concept of hell? Rev Dr Robin Parry is prominent among a growing number of theologians around the world who are convinced the answer is ‘Yes’—and who claim furthermore that far from being heretical, this move will only lead us to a more coherent orthodoxy. This is not a new idea. Many significant Christian leaders in the early church embraced the belief in a final, universal restoration (an apokatastasis), believing it to be the teaching of the Bible. Robin argues that there are good reasons to agree with them.
At Gospel Conversations we believe that we need to get this hot topic of the ‘heresy’ list and back onto the discussion table. There is arguably no part of the modern Christian gospel that provides as great a stumbling block to faith as the ‘eternal torment’ version of ‘hell’. No Christian really likes this doctrine, yet we often feel compelled to believe it as an article of faith. But should we?  

Robin asked himself this question as an evangelical some years ago and began to uncover a vast stream of evidence—in the biblical narrative, the writings of the early church fathers, and the very logic of Christian doctrine—that strongly suggests that all humanity will be saved. Robin wrote a considered argument supporting the possibility of universal salvation in his book The Evangelical Universalist (originally published in 2006 under the pseudonym Gregory McDonald). He subsequently researched the more recent history of the idea for his book A Larger Hope? Universal Salvation from the Reformation to the Nineteenth Century (2019).  

Robin argues that what we think about hell and the expanse of salvation has implications for how we think about God, creation, sin, justice, love, providence, freedom, atonement, church, and the value and future of the non-human creation, for the biblical vision of ultimate restoration is truly cosmic, revealing a far wider and richer picture of the massive endgame that God has in mind. So no matter what a person comes to finally believe about this topic, studying it will enlarge our souls and our faith.  

Robin will speak to us over two Saturdays. The first Saturday he will lay out a biblical case for universal salvation and explain how it widens our picture of the great project of the Lord God. On the second Saturday, he and others will look ahead and address the important ‘so what?’ question. How does apokatastasis affect the way Christians interact with the world—their message, their stance, their contribution to public life. We will conclude with a panel discussion to respond to questions and thoughts.
$50 for one day or $90 for both days. (If you have genuine difficulty affording the fee, just send us an email and we will help out).
Day 1
The case for Universal Salvation
9am for 9:30am start
Finish by 3:30pm   

Session one: 9:30am
Robin Parry's first talk
Session two: 11am
Robin Parry's second talk
Lunch: 12:30pm—1:30pm
Session three: 1:30pm
Robin Parry's third talk

Q & A: 3pm—3:30pm
Q & A with Robin Parry
Day 2
The implications of Universal Salvation
9am for 9:30am start
Finish by 3:30pm    

Session one
: 9:30am
Implications for the Christian voice in three fields of human endeavour. (Three 15 min provocations)
Rev Dr Robin ParryThe Christian Landscape: Where is the debate going today and what are its consequences?
Dr Tony Golsby-Smith The Public Space:  How universal salvation liberates the Christian voice in the public space? The case of the 18th century Scottish Enlightenment.
Prof Paul Oslington (Dean of Economics and Business Alpha Crucis college) – Economics: How does universal salvation shape economics? 

Session two: 11am
How universal salvation affects Christian experience:  

Panel discussion facilitated by Tony
Discipleship – the Christian psychology
Evangelism – the Christian message
Advocacy/social critique – how the Christian message advocates and critiques the modern mind/worldview?

Lunch: 12:30pm—1:30pm

Session three: 1:30pm
General Q & A discussion with a panel of three or four, including Robin Parry
Themes We Have explored

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to take God out of the religious box

In a real sense there is no end to this exploration as we are pursuing what the great theologian Jonathan Edwards called ‘the infinite enlargement’.

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