Tuesday, May 08, 2018

Door Standing Open – Post Conference Report

“The conference was PIVOTAL and only enhanced my Faith.”  

“I feel so much better prepared now to give an answer for the hope that lies within!”  

“For me it was exactly what I needed to put the lingering doubts about Universal Salvation to rest.”  

“I believe I speak for most when I say we were sad to see it end.”

Those were some of the comments from participants who came to the Door Standing Open Conference 2018 from Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York State, Pennsylvania, Virginia, South Carolina, Florida, Texas, Colorado, Arkansas, Oregon, Ontario and British Columbia, Canada, Finland and Sweden.

“Never-ending hell is not Good News!” said George W. Sarris, award-winning author of Heaven’s Doors . . . Wider than You Ever Believed!  “It is not good news that God loses . . . forever . . . most of those created in His image.”  He explained, “That was not the teaching of the Early Church.  It is not the teaching of the Bible.  And it’s contrary to what the Bible teaches about the nature and character of God.”

Just recently Pope Francis questioned the traditional translation of the Greek word peirasmos as temptation,” said David Konstan, Brown University Professor Emeritus of Classics and Comparative Literature.  “This is just one of many Greek words in the New Testament being translated differently these days, involving such fundamental ideas as sin, repentance, faith, punishment, forgiveness – and eternity,” he added.  In his talk, Konstan, who is co-author of Terms for Eternity: Aionios and Aidios in Classic and Christian Texts, explained in detail “Why Greek Matters.”  

Brad Jersak, professor of New Testament and Theology at St. Stephen’s University New Brunswick and author of Her Gates Will Never Be Shut, discussed why “the concept of universal restoration is far from heresy or even a novelty among fringe groups.”  In fact, it was the central theme of some of the most respected teachers and theologians in the first five centuries of the Christian Church.

“The Universalist interpretation of the Bible is far more plausible than either a Calvinist or Arminian interpretation,” argued Thomas Talbott, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at Willamette University and author of The Inescapable Love of God.  His talk explained the reasons why.

W. Scott Axford, the 19th Pastor of the nearly 200-year-old First Universalist Church in Providence   a Trinitarian Christian congregation upholding the Bible and the historic creeds of the Christian Church – discussed the history of the Universalist Church in America.  It began as a denomination that adhered to the Early Church’s teaching that God will ultimately restore all, and some individual churches still remain true to that vision.

 “Who’s Your Daddy?” asked Peter Hiett, Lead Pastor of The Sanctuary in Denver, CO.  His presentation, based on I John 3:1-3, shared what Scripture teaches about who God is and what He is really like.  He explained that God treats those made in His image as a father treats his children.  He disciplines them, but always in love.  “We are saved by Grace through Faith,” Hiett said, “but God does not love just a few.  In Christ, our Father chooses to redeem all.”

Petri Tikka is working on his PhD in Helsinki.  “All the speakers were really committed and interesting,” he said.  “Another highlight was talking with people personally.”  He told the conference of his work, and later invited the conferees to join him in Finland April 24-26 AD 2020 for the Love Is Strong As Death conference! 

One participant summed up the conference well, “God is doing wonderful things.  I believe we are on the tip of a reformation . . . What an awesome truth that God loves all humanity.”

1 comment:

Pat McDermott said...

We heard your interview with Eric Metaxas yesterday: Brilliant! Thanks to Eric for having you on.

We would love to see the conference. Will it be posted on Youtube?

For the first time in our married life (30 years approximately), we regularly attend a church, Anglican. In my first conversation with our minister, I declared that we believe in Universal Reconciliation (love your take!). We are so thankful to hear your presentation, so diplomatic, so winsome! Thank you!

Looking forward to watching/hearing the conference.

God bless, He's the Winner!