Leslie Newbigin

Newbigin Misread? or, Missing Sentralized and Wondering

There will always be next year. But, I confess that I was looking forward to hanging out with David Fitch, for at least coffee over the next few days. Call it trip interrupted. I will spare you the painful details but when I learned the stones did not pass that spelled the end of my trip. Who wants to leave home to possibly writhe in pain, cry like a baby, and potentially miss out while being in the same town as the gathering you hoped to attend? Not me.

Add to the fact that my urologist could get me in Wednesday morning and could perform a procedure first thing yesterday morning and only a misguided teenager with a crush would have gone on to the concert gathering. So much for poor analogies.

Last week while I was clipping items to read I was intrigued by this one by Len Hjalmarson, missional, post-Newbigin. I wonder what those gathered in Kansas City would say? How would they respond to the idea that we may have not read Newbigin deeply enough, or even rightly? Would it scuttle him in the pantheon of missional thinkers? Or, would we be compelled to make some adjustments?

Len relayes a comment by Tom Allen left on Alan Hirsch’s blog, Read More

Scot McKnight Asks, “Do You Agree with Piper?”

We rarely agree with everything another person says. If we do, we may need to re-evaluate the relationship.

Yesterday I read a brief post by Scot McKnight titled, I Agree with John Piper. He later tweeted the post,

What interested me was his statement, “I agree with John Piper.” Many do. But, in Scot’s recent book, The King Jesus Gospel, he locates the Gospel formula found in Piper – and others who follow such a strain – as more a subplot of The King Jesus Gospel rather than the Main Event.

The provocative nature of this claim seems to turn in part on how the grand story of God found in the Scriptures functions on the grand scale. Read More

It’s Below the Water Line or, Newbigin Illustrated in Duren, Horton, McKnight, and Merritt

We prefer to re-arrange the deck chairs on the Titanic than look below the water line. My mentor uses the first part of this imagery to describe the ways in which new fangled approaches to church were really little more than eye candy. My friend Spencer Burke refers to what is below the water line when he thinks about the theological subjects we refuse to discuss because many believe they are “settled” matters.

Scot McKnight illustrates how we re-arrange the deck chairs. Scot continues to review books that have come out of the cottage-industry-for-Christian-writers-created-by-various-publishers answering the question, “What is the Gospel?” This is of course in response to the “Gospel-centered” movement. If the Gospel is at the center, then someone gets to define it. And, there is no shortage of takers who want their vision to win the day.

The King Jesus Gospel represents Scot’s foray into the discussion. But, outside of N.T. Wright among popular writers, every offering seems to be a nuance on the same theme. Read More

What About Those Scary Others Not in the Hallway? Or, There Still More to Learn

“What is a Southern Baptist doing reading Walter Brueggemann?” The email questioner was a fellow Southern Baptist pastor. From his perspective Brueggemann was not on the approved reading list for those in our tribe. I politely replied and kept reading. In my last post I was hopeful to disabuse us of the idea that those within the Christian Tradition outside our particular stream are indeed not scary whether they are identified by another denominational affiliation or at a different place than us on the idealogical spectrum from fundamentalist to liberal. Something I recently learned about C.S. Lewis may provide another illustration.

My favorite C.S. Lewis book is The Abolition of Man. Over the years I have read excerpts from Mere Christianity. Steve suggested it be our next book to read for our Theology Cafe at Snow Hill on Thursday mornings.

This past Thursday we watched The Magic Never Ends: The Life & Faith of C.S. Lewis. Christopher Mitchell, Director of the Wade Center at Wheaton College, shared with the audience, via DVD, Lewis’ reference to the variety of Christian Traditions and their interplay as living in a building with a common hallway lined with doors to various rooms. Read More

Weekly Video – The Eighth Letter from Kester Brewin

“To the Church in North America write . . . ” I happened on The Eighth Letter after the fact. Almost felt as if  the Rapture had occurred. My eschatological view calmed my fears. Some comments on the  event came up via my Google Reader subscriptions. And, as is normally the case someone’s reactions prompted a reference to the event. It only goes to show some of my friends are correct. Negative publicity gets the word out more than a positive recommendation. So, I suspect interest in my weekly video will be light.

I liked KesterBrewin‘ss letter (See the video in the sidebar). Brewin was not considered one of the presenters but he caught wind of the event and submitted his own found on Youtube. He lives on the other side of the pond. That’s right his perspective might be something like Peter Rollins who did present but is not from North America. Rollins is living here in the States for a bit speaking around the Country. I will hear him later this week. But, I digress.

Tim Challie’s remarked about his perceived “cool” reception at the event. He wants the Church in North America to get the “gospel right.” Nathan Colquhoun, one of the event coordinators, did not get the same sense regarding Challie’s presentation. It is at this point I return to Brewin. For all of our impressions of what the Church in North America needs, it is good to hear and “outside” observer weigh in. That seems to be the value of someone like Newbigin and his time spent in India. Certain glaring omissions became clear when looking through different lenses. We need that. Read More