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The Open Secret: An Introduction to the Theology of Mission [Paperback]

By Lesslie Newbigin (Author)
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Item description for The Open Secret: An Introduction to the Theology of Mission by Lesslie Newbigin...

In the 16 years since this prophetic volume was first published, Newbigin's clarion call to reemphasize the missionary character of the church has grown more necessary than ever before. Newbigin argues clearly and convincingly that mission is the heart of the church, and a church without missions is no church at all. This edition includes a helpful index and a new preface by the author.

Publishers Description
Aimed at bringing contemporary concerns in mission theology to a wide-reading public, this volume flows from Newbigin's extensive experience in the mission field and from lectures developed especially to prepare men and women for missionary service. Newbigin describes the Christian mission as the declaration of an open secret--open in that it is preached to all nations, secret in that it is manifest only to the eyes of faith. The result is a thoroughly biblical attempt to lead the church to embrace its Christ-given task of presenting the gospel in our complex modern world. This revised edition includes a helpful index and a new preface.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
Pages   200
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.94" Width: 6.02" Height: 0.54"
Weight:   0.6 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Feb 28, 1995
Edition  Revised  
ISBN  0802808298  
ISBN13  9780802808295  

Availability  0 units.

More About Lesslie Newbigin

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! (1909-1998) Lesslie Newbigin was born in Newcastle-on-Tyne, U.K., in 1909. He completed his undergraduate studies in Cambridge and then served as Staff Secretary of the Student Christian Movement in Glasgow, Scotland. He studied theology at Westminster College at Cambridge and was ordained by the Presbytery of Edinburgh, Church of Scotland in 1936. That same year Newbigin married Helen Henderson and the two of them left for India where he was to be missionary of the Church of Scotland In 1947 Reverend Newbigin was consecrated Bishop in the Church of South India, formed by the union of Anglican, Methodist, and Reformed churches. He also served on the Central Committee of the World Council of Churches and as Chairman of the Advisory Committee on the main theme of the Second Assembly. Other members of the committee included famous theologians such as Barth, Brunner, and Niebuhr In 1959 Newbigin was called to be General Secretary of the International Missionary Council with offices in London and New York. He was responsible for carrying through final negotiations for the merger with the World Council of Churches. In 1962 he became the first director of the Division of World Mission and Evangelism, and Associate General Secretary of the World Council of Churches with headquarters in Geneva.

Lesslie Newbigin was born in 1909 and died in 1998.

Lesslie Newbigin has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Osterhaven Lecture

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Christian Living > General
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Church History > Protestant
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Evangelism > Missions & Missionary Work

Christian Product Categories
Books > Theology > Theology & Doctrine > General

Reviews - What do customers think about The Open Secret: An Introduction to the Theology of Mission?

Fascinating Trinitarian Missiology  Aug 13, 2004
Issues of mission(s) and how the church is to be as a missional body have become more important than ever in the last century or so, given the massive changes that have taken place in the west. Newbigin is a profound voice, speaking cogently and helpfuly to the church, giving her lots of resources to recover a propely understood missional identity. This "introduction to the theology of mission" sketches the countours of what a missiology that is informed theologically by the biblical narrative and conversant with culture might look like.

The results are fascinating and engaging. One of the central emphases that Newbigin communicates is the idea of a "trinitarian model" for missions. Thus he speaks of mission in a way that takes not of the different and harmonious roles that the different persons of the Trinity play in the economy of salvation. He speak of mission as proclaiming the kingdom of the Father, sharing the life of the Son and bearing the Witness of the Spirit. He sees these three emphases more basically as mission being Faith, Love and Hope in action in the world.

Newbigin is also careful to situate a discussion of mission within the context of the kingdom of God, understood trinitarianly. Thus he speaks of mission as the proclamation of the kingdom of the Father, the presence of the kingdom through the work of the Son and the prevenience of the kingdom through the Spirit's work of leading the church into areas where he is sovereignly extending the kingdom.

In addition to his constructive work, Newbigin also masterully critiques the church growth missiology of Donald McGavaran, showing how it flattens and neuters central elements of the gospel. An example of this is McGavaran's belief that Indian Christians should remain in their caste systems and not attempt to break down those barriers in the church. I find this to be nothing short of idolatry as it not only capitulates to the principalities and powers, but also denies the unity that the church is called to in Christ. Newbigin is right to critique this popular movement and I hope that his critique recieves a wide reading.

There is much more in this book. Newbigin engages with liberation theology and focuses on how the church should be engaged in the casue of justice in the wider world. One of the things that I particularly appreciated about this discussion was the way that Newbigin situated his discussion of justice within an understanding of justice as defined by God, rather than false secular conceptions of justice (such as those embodied in, say the United States).

All in all, this book is an excellent introduction, both to theology of mission and to the thought of Newbigin. I highly recommend it.
The Open Secret: mission in a pluralist society  Nov 28, 2000
Is there still a place for mission in the late twentieth century? By what authority can we speak about God and the Christian message in our pluralist world? Newbigin brings his original and thoroughly biblical thoughts to these questions. He places missions in a Trinitarian context: Mission is the proclamation of the Kingdom of the Father, sharing in the life of Jesus, doing the work of the Spirit. He discusses the ideas of the school of Church Growth, of liberation theology and John Hicks (from "the myth of Christianity"), and develops his theology of mission in discussion with these voices. I have one reservation, and that is his discussion of election. Election, in Newbigin's view, is - and is being limited to - being called to witness. I cannot see how with this limitation he can avoid the danger of Pelagianism, which he rejects earlier on in the book. (This topic, however, is developed more extensively in "The Gospel in a Pluralist World"). Overall, though, an excellent read.

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