For the first 500 years after Christ, Church leadership and laity believed that God would ultimately redeem all of His creation. Then beliefs changed.
And for the last 1,500 years, Christians have been told that the majority of the billions of people who have lived on this earth will suffer in hell forever.
So which view is correct?
"Hell is real," says George W. Sarris, award-winning author and speaker, "but it doesn't last forever, and its purpose is to transform sinners, not torture them for all eternity."
The Door Standing Open Conference 2018 will be held the First Universalist Church in Providence, RI April 27-29. Promising to challenge many traditional beliefs about heaven and hell, it addresses Church teaching from the time of Christ till the present from a historical and Biblical perspective.
Speakers include Peter Hiett, Lead Pastor of The Sanctuary in Denver, CO. As former Senior Pastor of one of the largest and fastest growing churches in his conservative denomination, Peter was forced to step down because of his belief that God will ultimately restore all.
W. Scott Axford, 19th Pastor of the nearly 200-year-old First Universalist Church in Providence, says he often finds himself a lone voice upholding the Bible and the historic creeds of the Christian Church in his generally liberal denomination.
Other featured speakers include prominent scholars in the areas of Church history, ancient languages and Biblical studies.
David Konstan is Professor of Classics at New York University, Professor Emeritus of Classics and Comparative Literature at Brown University, and co-author of Terms for Eternity: Aionios and Aidios in Classic and Christian Texts.
Thomas Talbott is Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at Willamette University, author of The Inescapable Love of God, and lead contributor to Universal Salvation? The Current Debate.
Brad Jersak teaches New Testament and Theology at St. Stephen’s University New Brunswick and is the author of Her Gates Will Never Be Shut.
George W. Sarris, author of Heaven's Doors . . . Wider than You Ever Believed! is conference coordinator. His book is the 2018 Illumination Awards Silver Medal winner in Theology.
"Evangelicals congratulate themselves on their willingness to submit to the final authority of scripture. Yet they also have cherished beliefs that they defend to the hilt . . . Quite rightly, George Sarris insists that even these beliefs should be subjected to the test of scripture," says Nigel Wright, Principal of Spurgeon's College, London, and Council Member of the Evangelical Alliance, UK.