Sarah will extend our series on Poetry and Faith by taking us into the world of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, the great philosopher and poet of Romanticism, who lived at the tumultuous time of the French Revolution abroad and the Industrial Revolution at home. In the face of this tumult, Coleridge and the Romantics championed humanity, the imagination and the mystery of Nature as the source of all meaning. Coleridge, a troubled Anglican spirit, found the origin of humanity’s imagination in the great ‘I AM’ of God.
Robin's final talk in our series explores perhaps the most significant question of all: "How does a belief in universal salvation influence my life and service in the world—including things like evangelism, counselling, and taking funerals?" Robin is a pastor as well as a theologian, and he brings a wealth of practical experience to this huge question. Does universal salvation mute the gospel and just make us melt into a kind of uncritical pantheism? Robin argues that universal salvation, far from muting our voice in the world, amplifies our voice, and the many ways through which we can bless the world.
In this third talk of our Hope and Hell conference, Robin paints a sweeping picture of the story of salvation beginning with creation and ending with the eschaton. He then poses the significant question—which fits best into this picture—hell or universal salvation? This talk is quite awe-inspiring—not because it advocates universal salvation (which it does) but even more because it stretches our horizons beyond individual redemption into the purpose of the cosmos. In developing his theme, Robin draws heavily on the magnificent Patristic fathers and their grand conception of the irresistible goodness of God.
Universal salvation raises the critically important question of how we read the Bible—or ‘hermeneutics’. That is what Robin covers in this talk. He sweeps us through a big landscape in three succinct waves—each bigger than the one before. Firstly he confronts the foreground question of biblical texts—and he makes the point that everybody has problems here. How do we reconcile God’s love with his omnipotence? He then moves onto slightly broader terrain—we need the read texts in their context BUT the meaning of the texts will often be bigger than even the author intended or realised. And finally, he finishes with a new horizon of interpretation—the future. He talks about the ‘trajectories’ of the biblical canon, which stretch beyond themselves for future generations—like ours—to articulate. He uses the development of the doctrine of the Trinity as an example. So this talk is as much about how we read the Bible as how we do or don’t find ‘universal salvation’ in the Bible.
This is the second talk from our Hope and Hell conference.
Tony introduces Rev Dr Robin Parry by explaining what Gospel Conversations is all about—expanding our view of God and that means inquiring into mystery. One of the best ways to inquire is to map out the landscape of a debate—and that is exactly what Robin does in this marvellous talk. He gives us a birds-eye view of the long debate over universalism. But he goes further—and he gives us a map to navigate the territory. He defines what universalism is and is not. He explains the different pathways that have led many orthodox Christians to consider it seriously—Bible, experience, patristics, and ‘gospel logic’. This takes a lot of confusion and heat out of the debate and gives us a clear view of the topic. But it also hints at a bigger view of God, and a broader view of Christian thinking. Robin gives us the gift of years of learning and thought in one hour.
This is the first talk from our Hope and Hell Conference.
Sarah’s talk is a celebration of the glory in the mundane. That is the theme of the two wondrous Gwen Harwood poems that Sarah takes us through. But this leads naturally onto a view of the incarnation—the ultimate revealing of glory in the mundane. And Gwen Harwood pursued this glory in the mundane as a woman and mother—which leads her (and Sarah) to advocate a distinctly feminine view of incarnation and Christ. A view that Sarah brilliantly touches on in Luke’s gospel where the gentle domestic view of the women—and the mothers—seems a deliberate counterpoint to the chest-beating imperialism of the male disciples. This gorgeous talk is a work of art and will reward repeated listening.
This is the first talk in our Great Poets on the Mystery of Faith series.
Anyone who is not shocked by Quantum Theory has not understood it.
—Niels Bohr, father of Quantum Theory
Ron gives us a crash course in Quantum Theory and explains why it has profound implications for our understanding of reality and Creation's everlasting significance.
This is the second talk on the incarnation in which Tony develops the expansive picture of how the incarnation defines and secures the ultimate destiny of humanity. This expansive vision only makes sense in a big picture of the cosmos so that is where Tony begins. He finishes with a summary of probably the most sophisticated framework of the incarnation that the church has developed—Irenaeus' theory of recapitulation.
Tony’s latest series of talks will position Ron’s talks on Mind over Matter in a biblical context. Ron’s talks have humanised creation and reintroduced mystery to nature. In this talk, Tony's asks how does this apply to our theology of:
- The relationship between man and God?
- God and the natural world?
All of these questions come to a head in our view of the Incarnation—was it a ‘detour’ or was it actually necessary as defining the destiny of all creation? Was Irenaeus right when he said that the Incarnation was necessary even without sin? This debate has been pivotal in the Christian tradition and has vast implications. Tony will overview some of the history of the debate, and then move to its implications for the Incarnation, and for the Incarnation’s implications for our topic of Mind over Matter.
In this talk, Ron puts humanity back at the centre of the cosmos. He begins by admitting that the cosmos seems to dwarf us human beings. We are intimidated by the scale of the universe and thus we can feel small. The universe’s immensity is framed by space and time: these are the dimensions that make the cosmos ‘big’ and us humans ‘small’. But then Ron explains how Einstein’s theory of relativity turned that world upside down. It turns out that light is the only constant, and space and time shrink the faster we approach the speed of light. All the time that Ron speaks, we were thinking about Jesus when he said, ‘I am the light of the world’…