New online course on universal salvation and Christian theology. Starts April 1

NEWS FLASH: I will be teaching a seven-week online course on "Universal Salvation and Christian Theology" for the newly launched School of Peace Theology.

The course will run from 13:00 to 14:30 EST on the following dates
1 April
8 April
22 April
29 April
6 May
13 May
20 May
The sessions are as follows:

Session 1: Problems with traditional hell:
Exploring some theological, philosophical, pastoral, and biblical difficulties with belief in eternal hell.
Session 2: The hermeneutics of hell and universal salvation:
How do we think in an intelligent Christian way through all knotty issues about hell and universal restoration in Scripture and theology?
Session 3: The Bible and universal restoration:
Outlining a biblical case for universal restoration.
Session 4: But what about the hell texts?
Doesn’t the Bible teach the reality of hell? How might believers in universal redemption try to deal with this thorny problem?
Session 5: Universal restoration in early Christianity:
Rediscovering and assessing a forgotten tradition from the early church.
Session 6: Free Will and Universal Salvation:
Can God guarantee the salvation of all without violating their free will?
[Session 7: Universal restoration and the Christian life:
How might a belief in universal salvation affect our practical, lived, everyday Christian lives? This session may not be taught, but if not, lecture notes will be provided.]
So the ninety-minute sessions will be divided between a forty-five minute talk followed by forty-five minutes of Q&A.

You can find the course here and book online.

It starts soon, so if you are interested ...


NMadison said…
School / conference / mimetic peace contagion very intriguing. Jeepers creepers the book of James is basically mimetic theory laid out! Worthy is the Lamb #mindblown #betterthanwethink
Conor said…
This sounds very intriguing! In regards to the Q&A, will most course attendees be able to participate?
Robin Parry said…
Conor, you will need to ask the folk running the course. I think the system randomly selects fifteen each week for questions, but if only ten subscribe then that is everyone every week. However, I am not 100% sure about that, so you'll need to check with them.
Conor said…
Thank you for the insight! I checked out the website and I believe you are correct. If I may ask one more question . . . I noticed on the blog post that the course starts on April 1st, whereas the Website has April 8th listed as the start date. Is the 8th the correct start date for the course? I am very much interested in the course and look forward to dialoguing with you. Until then - take care!
Robin Parry said…
Thaks for spotting that Conor. My dates are correct. They will update their website later today.
Conor said…
Dr. Parry,

I hope you are doing well. I don't mean to nitpick, but I am curious as to whether notes will be provided for the upcoming class sessions? The reason I ask is because I noticed that the video/notes for session 1 were uploaded to the site, whereas only the video from session two was uploaded. I simply want to know just how prepared I ought to be to take copious amounts of notes . . .

Take care,

Robin Parry said…

I am sorry about that. It looks like the website folk forgot to upload the material. There will be notes for all the weeks. I hope that those for week 2 are now online. Please contact the website of the SPT if they are not and they'll add them.

All the best,

Unknown said…

Hi Robin, here is a link to the "River of Fire" view that I mentioned during the last session of your class @ School of Peace Theology. Get past some of the rhetoric & disdain for all "western theology" and there are some important things here IMO.

Thanks for all your work on the class.

Robin Parry said…
Thanks Mike

That is interesting—haven't come across that spin before, so this is helpful. (I see what you mean about the disdain for western theology. I always groan when I see that in Orthodox writings. There is a certain myopia when viewing anything western.)

Unknown said…
Just some quick thoughts.

The way that I read it, the disdain seems to relate primarily to the purely forensic/juridical or “legal fiction” construal of the gospel in which God is presented primarily as an adversary – it’s “eternal prosecutor vs. almighty physician”. And he associates THAT with the entirety of “western theology”. I certainly recognize his critique as being against the form of the gospel that I was raised with and is still dominant, but I think his polemic goes too far.

I like how he works to define loaded words like salvation, justice, faith, original sin, etc.

But in the end, it’s basically the “doors locked on the inside” at the moment of death argument. A matter of semantics IMO, because God is the one who has ordained things to work that way, permitting the possibility that we can harden ourselves beyond aid…that is the price of “freedom”. These are the rules. Essentially, God can save…but cannot save me from myself.

“Our salvation or our eternal death is not a question of God’s decision, but it is a question of our decision, it is a question of the decision of our free will which God respects absolutely. Let us not fool ourselves with confidence in God’s love. The danger does not come from God; it comes from our own self.”

“This deep self is eternal, with all the meaning of the word. This is why paradise and hell are also eternal. There is no changing what we really are…..It remains with us when we sleep in the grave, and will be our real face in the resurrection. It is eternal.”

I’m both haunted and comforted by that…. "there is no changing what we really are". I think I’d differ with him in what “we really are”.

But in the end, he wants to retain the usage of terms like divine “love” while completely disconnecting them from the experience of them as such by the objects of love. Eternally. The end. So for him, hell is not the experience of a wrath that’s not grounded in “love” or a geographic or metaphorical place “away” from God (since God will be “all in all” and is always perfectly loving). No, it’s the eternally unpleasant experience of God’s “love”. But if there is no hope of love being experienced as anything other than wrath, than it’s just wrath.

“He does not withdraw His grace and love, but the attitude of the logical creatures toward this unceasing grace and love is the difference between paradise and hell.”

Robin Parry said…
Thanks Mike

Helpful comment there. Thanks.

I too can appreciate the aspect of parts of western theology that he does not like. But even then I'd say that the problem is in part one of over-emphasis. I would like to hope that there is a glimpse of some real truth in this thread of western theology, even if I cannot swallow it whole.

As I said online in the class, I think that if God loves sinners then if they experienced his love as torment and if there was no chance they could ever experience it as anything else then he would annihilate them. Whatever one thinks about the immortality of the soul, God can still annihilate souls. But why think that one's fate is forever fixed at death? It is very hard to make a case for that which does not appeal to an arbitrary divine fiat that would then be very hard to link to divine love. I think we are on the same page here.

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