Lesslie Newbigin & the Amnesia of Mainline Churches

June 7, 2011

A very nice essay by Leander Harding on one of my favorite church leaders, Lesslie Newbigin.

Harding begins:

For Newbigin church unity and mission were simply two sides of the same coin. Christ had come to reconcile human beings to each other by reconciling them to the Father. This the savior has done at the cost of the cross. The death and resurrection of the Lord were for Newbigin the unique and actual place where true reconciliation was to be found. The church was to be a community of reconciliation, a place where people heretofore estranged by race, clan, caste and class could actually experience the new way of human being won by the cross of Christ, a place where the Spirit of the risen Lord was triumphant over the divisions of sin. For Newbigin a divided church was a countersign of the Gospel, especially in those missionary contexts like India where Christians were a tiny minority. There is therefore as Newbigin said repeatedly, the closest possible connection between the unity of the church and the mission of the church. In his exquisite and compact ecclesiology, The Household of God, he said that our contentment with the divisions of the church was due to the simple fact that we did not believe that the church of God was what the New Testament taught that it was: the indivisible body of Christ.

Read the rest.