Thursday, July 16, 2009

Who is Gregory MacDonald?

Will I reveal my real identity? Yes.

When? Not in the immediate future but certainly in the medium term future.

But to quash some rumours

1. I am not Donald Carson.
2. I am not Greg Boyd.
3. You have almost certainly not heard of me, so don't get too excited! (This means that I am also not the Cookie Monster)
4. I am not hiding my identity to protect my job.
5. I am (mostly) not hiding my identity to protect my reputation (although I would be lying if I said that this was never a factor in my thoughts).
6. I am not hiding my identity because I am scared of facing my critics.
7. I am not hiding my identity because I cannot recall my real name.

I am hiding my identity for two reasons
(a) to protect my employer from hassle
(b) to protect the ministry of other books that I have written which God is using to bless Christians that would - sadly - not look at them if they thought I was a heretic (which I am not).

Exatly how and when I will reveal my identity remains a mystery. Mostly that is because I am still considering how best to do it. To be honest most of me wants to say, 'Gregory MacDonald is really [Jon Bon Jovi?]' but whenever I get close to doing that God seems to foil my plans so I suspect that he has other plans re: timing.

I must also confess that there is a naughty little boy in me who likes to play with a pseudonym. I am much more interesting when you don't know who I am. But fun and games can only last for a season.

More later

Rick Warren (whoops!)

All Will Be Well. Book update.

Here is some more information about the forthcoming book.

The goal is to have chapters on different Christian theological thinkers who were (or arguably ought to have been) universalists. (By 'ought to have been' I mean that whilst certain thinkers denied being universalists, the logic of their 'systematic theology' pointed in universalist directions. I have people like Barth and Forsyth in mind.) The chapters would seek to show how universalism fitted into their wider theological ‘systems’, explore what aspects of their wider theology led them in that direction and to offer some evaluative comments on the strengths and weaknesses of their universalist theology.

In a nutshell, the thought is that instead of simply noting that they were universalists, or treating their universalism as an item on a list of things they believed, the aim is to treat it in its wider theological context so as to join the dots with the rest of each thinker's theological ideas.

So here is the outline

(Gregory MacDonald)

3rd-15th Centuries
Origen (c.185-c.254)
(Tom Greggs)

Gregory of Nyssa (330-394)
(Steve Harmon)

Julian of Norwich (c.1342-1416)
(Robert Sweetman)

17th-19th Centuries
The Cambridge Platonists – (Peter Sterry and Jeremiah White, 17th C)
(Louise Hickman)

Elhanan Winchester (1751-1797)
(Robin Parry)

Friedrich Schliermacher (1768-1834)
(Murray Rae)

Thomas Erskine (1788-1870)
(Don Horrocks)

George MacDonald (1824-1905)
(Tom Talbott)

20th Century
P. T. Forsyth (1848-1921)
(Jason Goroncy)

Sergius Bulgakov (1871-1944)
(Paul Gavrilyuk)

Karl Barth (1886-1968)
(Oliver Crisp)

Herbert Henry Farmer (1892-1981)
(Christopher Partridge)

Jaques Ellul (1912-1994)

John A. T. Robinson (1919-1983)
(Trevor Hart)

Hans Urs von Balthasar (1905-1988)
(Father Edward Oakes)

John Hick (1922-)
(Lindsay Hall)

J├╝rgen Moltmann (1926-)
(Nik Ansell)

I am very excited about this project. To the best of my knowledge a project of this kind (surveying the theology of a range of universalists and almost-universalists) had never been attempted before.