Mark Breakout Sessions
Rev. Dr. Joseph Burnham · Relentless Love for Addicts (and Those Who Love Them)
In the second and third steps, those struggling with addiction are invited to surrender their lives to a Higher Power who is both willing and able to restore them to sanity. But what happens when the god you’ve always believed in is either unwilling or unable? This session will briefly explore the nature of addiction before delving into various theological responses and exploring how a Gospel of Relentless Love serves both addicts and those who love them on a recovery journey.
Joe is a recovering Lutheran pastor discovering an abundant life on the other side of the pulpit. After decades of trying to hide his battle with compulsive/addictive behavior, Joe unearthed a Gospel of Relentless Love while writing his Doctor of Ministry dissertation. In the process, he finally found himself able to move forward on a recovery journey because he now had a Higher Power both willing and able to restore him to sanity.
Corey Friend · Common Objections
A brief overview of common objections made against the Gospel of Relentless Love, along with some simple ideas on how to respond. Ample time will be made for discussion. Bring questions!
Corey lives in Chicago with his wife Ruth and 2 children (Seth and Abigail) where he attends Moody Bible Institute. He’s been a Christian for 25 years, has lead worship for 15 years, has been married to Ruth for 10 years, and has believed that Jesus truly is the Savior of the world for 5 years.
Rev. Petri Tikka · The Church, the Holy Spirit, and Praise: Foundations for a Cruciform Theology of Universal Salvation
How does Universal Salvation work? For a Trinitarian Universalist, the salvific action of Jesus is at the forefront. The question of how this salvation is received often gets stuck around the issue of free will. In this presentation, a possible way forward is presented. The Church as the presence of Christ, the Holy Spirit as the power of God’s own future, and the nature of salvation as praise or even music are the themes discussed, based on a comparison of Robert Jenson’s theology with understandings of apokatastasis.
Petri Samuel Tikka is an ordained Lutheran pastor, doctoral student, singer and a scholar of Tolkien’s languages. He was inspired to study universal salvation by a vision on the goal of the Trinity with the sacrifice of the cross. Petri is arranging a conference “Universal Salvation in Christian Theology?” in his home city of Helsinki (April 24-26, 2020), with speakers such as Ilaria Ramelli, Robin Parry, and Brad Jersak. At the same time, the premiere performances of his father, Kari Tikka’s opera, Love Is As Strong As Death, will be held. The opera is an allegory on the worst things leading to a good end, and was inspired by father and son talking about apokatastasis.
David Sielaff, Director, Associates for Scriptural Knowledge · Universal Salvation Teaching in the Roman Catholic Hierarchy
At Vatican II the teaching of universal salvation began to insert itself into the theology of the Roman Catholic seminaries. One major theologian, educator, and scholar (recent) Cardinal Louis Ladaria, openly promotes universal salvation. Popes John Paul II, Benedict, and Francis have each promoted Louis Ladaria and his biblical exposition of Universal Salvation. Furthermore, all three Popes have made overt statements supporting Universal Salvation. I try to explain WHY they all have done so.
Raised Lutheran, I learned about biblical universal salvation 45 years ago in 1974. I studied the works of Dr. Ernest L. Martin and the Concordant Publishing Concern. I earned a Masters in Theology from Fuller Theological Seminary, working for 9 years editing publications for professors of the Fuller School of Theology and School of World Missions. In January 2002 I became Director of the Associates for Scriptural Knowledge upon the death of Dr. Martin.
Boyd C. Purcell, Ph.D. · Christian Universalism Evangelism
Dr. Boyd C. Purcell is passionate about fulfilling Jesus’ Great Commission to go into all the world and share the Gospel, meaning Good News. In this regard, the Apostle Paul declared that we Christians are to be ambassadors of peace for Christ. Sadly and tragically, most Christian evangelists are hell-fear mongers (trying to get people saved before it is “eternally too late”), rather than ambassadors of peace for Christ. Dr. Purcell agrees with the great theologian, Karl Barth, who stated that Christian evangelism is not a matter of getting people saved, but sharing the Good News with them that they have already been saved by Christ’s death on the cross! Dr. Purcell’s booklet, “SALTED WITH FIRE … Symbolic Fire in Religions,” is presently the only evangelism booklet that presents the Gospel from the perspective of Christian Universalism.
Boyd C. Purcell, Ph.D., is a National Board Certified Counselor, a Licensed Professional Counselor, a Board Certified Chaplain, and an Ordained Christian Minister. Educationally, he has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Comprehensive Social Studies, a Master of Arts Degree in Counseling, a Master of Divinity Degree in Biblical Studies, and a Doctor of Philosophy Degree in the integration of Psychology and Theology. Experientially, He has over 40 years of experience in counseling: agency, clinical, pastoral, psychiatric hospital, school, substance abuse, private practice, teaching counseling courses in the Counseling Department of Marshall University Graduate College, and chaplaincy—providing spiritual care at the end of life for hospice patients. Dr. Purcell, as a victim and survivor of spiritual terrorism/insanity, the most extreme forms of spiritual abuse, has devoted his life (as a “wounded healer”) to helping other victims of such abuse find peace with God, tranquility of mind, healing for damaged emotions, and joy of living. For this purpose, he has written two books, 5-star rated on Amazon, Spiritual Terrorism: Spiritual Abuse from the Womb to the Tomb and Christianity Without Insanity: For Optimal Mental/Emotional/Physical Health.