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Robin Parry is the husband of but one wife (Carol) and the father of the two most beautiful girls in the universe (Hannah and Jessica). He also has a lovely cat called Monty (who has only three legs). Living in the city of Worcester, UK, he works as an Editor for Wipf and Stock — a US-based theological publisher. Robin was a Sixth Form College teacher for 11 years and has worked in publishing since 2001 (2001–2010 for Paternoster and 2010– for W&S).

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Books I am working on (or may work on)

It seems that I have been consumed with various universalism-related projects of late:
  • the annotated edition of Thoma Allin's Christ Triumphant
  • a longish chapter for a Zondervan Four Views on Hell book, edited by Preston Sprinkle. This is simply an attempt to defend a universalist understanding of hell and to interact with those who have different understandings. The other authors are Denny Burke (eternal conscious torment), John Stackhouse (annihilation), Jerry Walls (Purgatory). We are just about to write the responses to each other. Should be fun.
  • a longish chapter for a Baker book on different types of Christian universalism, edited by David Congdon. Here I am looking at evangelical universalism in particular (as distinct, say, from patristic or Barthian universalisms). I think that the other authors are George Hunsinger, Morwenna Ludlow, Tom Greggs, and Fred Sanders, but my memory may be faulty here.
  • working on a co-authored semi-pop book with Ilaria Ramelli on Christian universalism from the Reformation to the present day. Currently I am in the eighteenth century. This one will take a while, even though it is not an academic texts for specialists. Still—I love history, so it is fascinating research.
I feel like my brain is a tad universalism-focused at the moment. My plan is that once these are done I will move on to other stuff. Perhaps:
  • a book on what I call arboreal theology: theology told through different trees in the biblical story
  • a book on Jesus' baptism
  • A book on Edom in Scripture—a biblical and theological reading. (It is a lot more interesting than you may suspect.) I am just itching to get stuck in to texts again.
  • a book on atonement. (I know everyone is at it, but I feel that one day I need to sit down and work out exactly what my atonement theology looks like.) 
  • A simple hermeneutical guide for appropriating biblical law today if one is a Jewish or gentile Christ-believer. (This has been at the back of my mind for many years.)
Those are the two things that are drawing me—especially the trees to start with, then perhaps Edom. (But who would read a book on Edom?)

However, looking into so much universalist history I keep thinking of new projects there
  • more annotated editons of classic texts (Stonehouse? Relly? Winchester? Jukes?)
  • a biography of John Murray—he's an interesting chap and ought to have one (even if he was a bit quirky)
  • a sequel to "All Shall Be Well" covering another batch of folk (alternatively, covering different traditions: Catholicism, Orthodoxy, Lutheranism, Pietism, etc., etc.)
I guess that will keep me going for a few more years—probably long after I'm dead. Hmmm, I detect a problem there!

Robin

Friday, 10 July 2015

Thomas Allin universalist book now available in print and kindle

I popped into Weston-super-Mare this morning (on the way home from Glastonbury) to see the house in which Rev. Thomas Allin lived from 1877 until about 1901. It is, as you can see, a pretty snazzy pad.


But who is Thomas Allin and why should I care about his house?

Thomas Allin (1838–1909) was an Irish Anglican priest, a botanist, and a patristics scholar. But he is best known for his staunch defence of universal salvation, entitled Universalism Asserted (first published in 1885 and then going through nine editions by 1905). It is regarded by many Christian universalists as a classic.

In my opinion it is a very Anglican book. What Allin seeks to demonstrate is that reason, tradition, and Scripture —the famous three-legged stool — all converge in support of the claim that none will be forever lost. What is perhaps most distinctive about Allin's book is the detailed attention it pays to patristic literature. It was not the first study of universalism in the early church, but it is possibly the first detailed study of that topic.

In spite of being 130 years old, it remains of continuing value. That's why the guy interests me—a fellow Anglican universalist is a soul I share something with.

I decided that it would be worth giving Allin's classic text a new lease of life, so I have created a new edition, all beautifully typeset and with a snazzy cover (and based on the ninth and final edition by Allin). In addition, this new version of the book contains:
  • an introduction to the life of Thomas Allin and the context in which he worked (including nineteenth-century debates on hell in the Church of England). Allin is a very elusive figure and I am unaware of any other attempts to start gathering together what we know about him. 
  • copious annotations throughout to explain references in the main text and clarify the sources Allin was using.
  • a bibliography of the texts Allin used—at least, the ones that can be positively identified.
  • lots of subtitles to break the argument down into its sections and help readers follow the train of thought (the original chapters were solid blocks of text and losing the forest for the trees was very easy)
  • updated certain features (e.g., converted all Roman numerals into Arabic numerals)
So it is, I think, the most useful edition of Allin's work available—and certainly the nicest to read.

Well, the good news is that the book is now available (under the title Christ Triumphant). 
It is 406 pages long and is published by Wipf & Stock (2015). 

The retail price is $49, but it is available on the publisher website here at 20% discount at $39.20. 

Amazon.com are selling it at full price here. They do not yet have the kindle version, but should do soon.

Amazon.co.uk seem to have the kindle edition, though not yet a print edition. (Weird—the exact opposite of Amazon.com) This is a mere £6.42 and can be found here. However, be warned that with the kindle version the annotations in the footnotes will be a bit of a pain to access. Still, you'll get the introduction (and Thomas Talbott's foreword).

My advice is that the print edition is the best—because of the easy to access annotations—but I appreciate that if it is the main text that you are after then the kindle is just the job.

For those who are interested, the image on the front cover is a section of a painting entitled "The Great Day of His Wrath," which was painted by John Martin (1789–1854) in 1851–53. It caused something of a sensation when it was displayed. It's a massive beast of a painting. I saw it in the Tate Gallery in London when I was seventeen and it blew me away. So I am very pleased with Mike Surber's excellent cover design.

Anyway—spread the word. 


Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Could we with ink the ocean fill . . .

Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade;
To write the love of God above
Would drain the ocean dry;
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky.
This is verse 3 of Frederick Lehman's hymn "The Love of God" (1917). This verse is apparently an adapted translation of a Jewish poem by Meir Ben Isaac Nehorai (1050). It seems that the hymn-writer found it scribbled on the walls of a patient's room in an insane asylum after the death of its occupant. Whatever its origins, it is a wonderful and unusually striking piece of devotional writing. Thanks to Brad Jersak for using it in his great new book A More Christlike God: A More Beautiful Gospel (CWR Press, 2015).

Rethinking Hell —for those who missed it

Those of you who missed the rethinking hell conference can catch up with different parts of it in different ways.

There is audio for ten of the breakout sessions on the Rethinking Hell website here.

Then there is video of some of the sessions on YouTube on the Rethinking Hell channel here.

The plenary sessions (Oliver Crisp, Chris Date, David Instone-Brewer, Robin Parry, Jim Spiegel, Jerry Walls) and key breakout sessions (Eric Reitan, Jordan Wessling, William Tanksley Jr./Chris Date, and Brad Jersak) are available on DVD only. The 4 DVDs cost $35 (inc. p&p) and can be bought here.

So there you have it. You can attend every sessions of the conference for a mere $35. Bargain buckets!