Magazine article International Bulletin of Mission Research

Lesslie Newbigin, 1909-1998

Magazine article International Bulletin of Mission Research

Lesslie Newbigin, 1909-1998

Article excerpt

Bishop Lesslie Newbigin, a contributing editor of the INTERNATIONAL BULLETIN, died in London on January 30, 1998. He was 88. Widely recognized as one of the foremost missionary statesmen of the twentieth century, he was an ardent proponent of Christian unity. He was the youngest bishop to be elected when the Church of South India was formed in 1947. In this issue of the IBMR, his friend Dan Beeby, former Presbyterian missionary in Taiwan, shares his reflections given at Bishop Newbigin's funeral.

Beginning with "Cross-Currents in Ecumenical and Evangelical Understandings of Mission" (October 1982), Newbigin's essays appeared seven times as the opening feature of this journal. His final contribution, "The Dialogue of Gospel and Culture," appeared in April 1997. Several other offerings and book reviews also filled these pages.

Newbigin made it abundantly clear by his lifelong ministry and in such essays as "Cross-Currents . . ." that evangelism, no less than unity in Christ, must be at the top of the church's agenda. Maintaining that word and deed are inseparable, he resisted the urge to prop up evangelism with adjectives like "holistic" (IBMR, October 1982, pp. 146, 149). He emphasized that evangelism is "a joyful exercise to which we are all invited," and "There cannot be any greater task, or any deeper joy, than to tell the world what God has done for us in Jesus Christ and to enable others to know, love, and serve him as Lord and Savior" (April 1997, pp. 52, 50).

In the 1980s Newbigin set a fresh agenda for the witnessing church with his "Can the West be Converted? …

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