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!



Terry Wright said…
Richard Bauckham presented a paper on trees at SST 2010. I don't know if it's ever been published.
Bob Wilson said…
Thanks for the heads up on a lot of exciting reading to which I can look forward at least until I'm dead :-) !
Tom Nicholson said…
Robin, don't apologise for the work you're doing on the wider hope -- I've just been reading the new IVP Revelation commentary (J. Ramsey Michaels) and he quite openly affirms that the nations and kings of the earth coming into the New Jerusalem are indeed the former enemies of Christ. That's quite a step forward!
Rick Hixon said…
Robin, as an appreciative reader of your work for some time now, I just wanted to say a long overdue "thanks".

Andrew Jukes was (and still is) a huge influence in my universalist thinking. I had already read Law of the Offerings, Names of God, and Types in Genesis as a young evangelical believer in the 1970s, when I obtained what can only be described as a "bootleg" copy of Restitution of All Things (it probably arrived in a brown paper bag!). Although I later drank deeply (and still do) from George MacDonald's Unspoken Sermons, I think it was the work of Jukes who kept me tethered to an evangelical reading of scripture that was universalist, or to the hope that there in fact could be such a reading that was credible. (Over the years, of course, there have been other influential writers; and more recently there is this guy named Gregory MacDonald. . .) I don't know if I can ever go back to the typological explorations of Jukes, but I still very much admire the way he sets up his argument--which I think anticipates T. Talbott in some ways. Anyway, thanks again for all of your work.

Rick Hixon
Robin Parry said…
Thanks Rick,

I am wondering if I should do an annotated edition of Jukes' "Second Death" book.
Graeme Schultz said…
Hello Robin,
My name is Graeme from way down under (south coast of Australia) - I've just come across your words and am very relieved to read such a well reasoned, non aggressive, dialogue about universalist thinking. I've been praying about this for some time, that God would fill in the blanks... the work of Christ and his amazing union with us has filled me with joy (after too many years of weighed down Christianity) - but the matter of those who couldn't know God for whatever reason troubled me. I feel like the fog is lifting, thanks so much.

cheers, Graeme
Anonymous said…
I love Andrew Jukes ("Restitution of All Things") - his short chapter on the nature of Scripture is worth spending a lot of time meditating on.

Robin, I'm thrilled to hear of these possible projects. Please go ahead with them, and live long and prosper! The subject of Edom would be fascinating from a Universalist perspective.
Robin, what's the difference between evangelical, patristic, and Barthian universalism?
Robin Parry said…

That is a big question. In the first instance, they designate three different, but related, species of Christian universalism. Evangelical universalism is pretty diverse, but tends to be fairly typically evangelical in most respects save that they think Christ's universal atonement will ultimately be effective for all. So they do not see death as a point of no return, and think that deliverance from hell is both possible and will eventually occur. Patristic universalism has a different flavour, though it too sees the fires of the afterlife as something from which all will eventually be delievered. In patristic universalism these fire are purifying and corrective (in EU this is sometimes the case, but not always). There is a focus on theosis/deification and the purpose of God over many aeons of forming humans as images of God. There is a focus on the necessity of universalism to remove the evil that sin is from creation (for in hell, sin is perpetuated forever, which is not a victory over sin). Barthians focus on Christ as the elect one and the condemned one in whom all men die and are elect to eternal life. They tend not to see hell as some purificatory place. It is all a lot more messy and complicated than that, but this is a first thought.

Popular Posts