I’m afraid this isn’t really a proper post, though disappointingly it’s not a very improper one either. I was hoping to do a brief write-up of the conference but as I ended up taking 23.5 A4 pages of barely-legible notes, summing it up may prove more challenging, time-consuming and error-ridden than I’d imagined. A brief look at my notes has me puzzling over intriguing sentences such as ‘In the ed God will camomile all pupils to lively through Chris’s atomic wok’. Quite an original line of thought there, I think you’ll agree.
For me it was a completely fascinating – even thrilling – conference (I’m odd like that), and has furnished me with enough material for blog posts from now till just short of kingdom come (so long as that’s not any time this week). It’s also added another book to my list, which means that I’m currently trying (and failing) to read four books at once (The Evangelical Universalist by ‘Gregory MacDonald’ aka Robin Parry; Colossians Remixed by Sylvia Keesmaat and Brian Walsh, Prayer by Philip Yancey and The Truce of God by Rowan Williams. Gaaah.)
I’m also off to Kenya with family and church friends for a couple of weeks very soon, which will both provide loads more blogging material and also probably prevent me from actually doing any writing for another few weeks. Double gaaah.
But in the meantime, on behalf of the esteemed Mr Parry I would like to say that the surprising answer to my (and his) title question is apparently ‘no’. At least, that’s what he argued very persuasively and I’m inclined to agree; the other speakers also broadly conceded the point, so long as ‘universalism’ and ‘evangelical’ are both defined in particular and nuanced ways. (Universalism, it was pointed out, is not the same as either Inclusivism or Pluralism, in case that makes things any clearer. Universalists simply believe that God will ultimately save all people; Christian Universalists that God will do this through Christ.)
Evangelical Universalists, I don’t know – whatever next, Evangelical Liberals? Ridiculous!