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Eerdmans Lesslie Newbigin Collection (8 vols.)

, 1987–2003
  • Format:Digital


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Explore pertinent topics in missions, discipleship, and church structure with these select works from renowned missiologist Lesslie Newbigin. A prolific author and long-time missionary, Newbigin’s works laid the foundations of the missional church movement. In this collection you’ll find works on sharing the gospel in the contemporary Western world, strategies for reaching the rest of the globe with the gospel, and studies on strife within the church. Also included is Newbigin’s commentary on John, which delves into how to share its eternal truth with a generation that rejects the existence of truth.

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Key Features

  • Collects eight works from influential missiologist Lesslie Newbigin
  • Provides invaluable insight into how to preach the Gospel in the twenty-first century
  • Includes Newbigin’s commentary on the Gospel of John

Product Details

Individual Titles

Foolishness to the Greeks: The Gospel and Western Culture

  • Author: Lesslie Newbigin
  • Publisher: Eerdmans
  • Publication Date: 1988
  • Pages: 160

Sample Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

How can biblical authority be a reality for those shaped by the modern world? Lesslie Newbigin treats the First World as a mission field, offering a unique perspective on the relationship between the gospel and current society by presenting an outsider’s view of contemporary Western culture.

This is an extraordinary book on contemporary missiology. Writing from four decades of experience in Christian mission, Lesslie Newbigin applies the same discernment involved in contextualizing the gospel in another culture to the issues involved in contextualizing the gospel in our Western culture. He lays bare the pervasive and subtle synergism that alters the gospel, and he calls us to a thorough critique of our culture and of the way in which we understand or misunderstand the gospel of Christ. . . . Important reading for a stimulating perspective on the gospel and Western culture.

Mission Focus

Newbigin’s analysis is the best part of this stimulating book. I do not know of another such brilliantly comprehensive treatment of Western society.

Christianity Today

Newbigin’s missionary enthusiasm and his experience in cross-cultural missions make this book far more invigorating than the usual disquisition on the problems of belief in the modern age. . . . With his vast learning worn very lightly and, above all, with a deep commitment to the gospel, Newbigin pierces some holes in the secular plausibility structure that Christians have come in large part to accept.

Christian Century

A Word in Season: Perspectives on Christian World Missions

  • Author: Lesslie Newbigin
  • Publisher: Eerdmans
  • Publication Date: 1994
  • Pages:219

Sample Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

This collection of 17 never-before-published essays, sermons, and addresses by Lesslie Newbigin, one of the premier missiologists of the twentieth century, puts forth his developing view of the agenda for Christian mission from 1960 to 1992. Considered “the quintessence of Newbigin’s thought” by editor Eleanor Jackson, these papers record the dynamics of Newbigin’s ideas about mission as he confronted new issues in the church and society.

Newbigin’s sermon at Riverside Church in New York City in 1960 opens discussion on the themes of unity in mission, changes in the missionary enterprise, and developments in the theology of mission. A second group of articles addresses specific “frontline” situations: mission in the modern city, the pastor’s role in the inner city, and future of the parish church. Newbigin then moves to frontier concerns: the resistance of modern society to the gospel, the cultural captivity of the church, and the consequences of witness in a world of religious and ideological pluralism—themes central to many of his full-length books. Finally, Newbigin sets the agenda for mission as the church approaches a new millennium.

Spanning three significant decades in the history of church outreach, A Word in Season offers an important perspective on the course of Christian mission and provides valuable instruction to those who struggle with the missionary task today.

Many fresh and stimulating insights to the world Christian missionary enterprise.

Books & Culture

A stimulating introduction to the thought world of an ecumenical giant of the twentieth century who, though past 85 and severely handicapped in sight, is nevertheless constantly producing fresh perspectives on the church, kingdom, and mission.

Lutheran Quarterly

A helpful and thought-provoking book for every missionary and every mission administrator.


The Light Has Come: An Exposition of the Fourth Gospel

  • Author: Lesslie Newbigin
  • Publisher: Eerdmans
  • Publication Date: 1987
  • Pages: 281

Sample Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

Thousands of books have been written on the fourth Gospel, but few have had the lasting impact of this modern classic by respected missiologist Lesslie Newbigin. Developed over a period of 30 years during which Newbigin led Bible studies as a bishop in the Church of South India, this excellent commentary on John is unique both in its power to prepare pastors and teacher to effectively declare the Word of God to others and in its ability to clearly communicate John’s message to contemporary Western readers.

A rather orthodox, pastorally lively reading of the Gospel. Newbigin’s writing is unburdened and accessible to people who do not read much technical theology.

Christian Century

For those who want a clear, simple, and conservative explanation of the theological significance of the Fourth Gospel, Newbigin has provided a very useful volume. . . . It is lucidly written, well informed, articulately reasoned, and practical for modern Christians.

Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society

Here is a person putting together his experience and his scholarship in the church’s service; the result is exposition, that middle ground between exegesis and proclamation that is indispensable to understanding and, hence, to preaching.

Living Church

Proper Confidence: Faith, Doubt, and Certainty in Christian Discipleship

  • Author: Lesslie Newbigin
  • Publisher: Eerdmans
  • Publication Date: 1995
  • Pages: 111

Sample Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

Looking to end the divisive conflict that has raged between Christians who attack each other either as “liberals” or as “fundamentalists,” Newbigin here gives a historical account of the roots of this conflict in order to begin laying the foundation for a middle ground that will benefit the Christian faith as a whole. What results is a perspective that allows Christians to confidently affirm the gospel as public truth in our pluralistic world.

A masterful demonstration of the bankruptcy of secularism and all forms of Christian accommodation to it.

Books & Culture

Whatever Lesslie Newbigin writes is well worth reading and worth reading well. . . . With a breathtaking grasp of the history of Western thought, Newbigin proves the roots of the current dialectic between liberalism and fundamentalism.

Presbyterian Outlook

This is an important book for pastors and teachers serving in church settings where the temptation to soften the scandal of the cross is present or where the good news, for all its outward acceptance, is thought (deep down) to be a source of embarrassment. . . . The book is beautifully written, a powerful statement of faith in God, whose incarnation has changed the nature of human life forever and whose call to the church cannot be altered by the temptation to believe that the human being is the center of the universe.

Princeton Seminary Bulletin

Signs amid the Rubble: The Purposes of God in Human History

  • Author: Lesslie Newbigin
  • Publisher: Eerdmans
  • Publication Date: 2003
  • Pages: 130

Sample Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

The late Lesslie Newbigin was widely regarded as one of this generation’s most significant voices on Christianity in relation to modern society. Now that he is gone, there is a call for his unpublished writings to be made available. To that end Signs amid the Rubble gathers some of Newbigin’s finest statements on issues of continuing relevance. The first set of chapters consists of the 1941 Bangalore Lectures, in which Newbigin speaks powerfully of the kingdom of God in relation to the modern idea of “progress.” The second group of writings, the Henry Martyn Lectures of 1986, deals mainly with the importance of Christian mission. In the last piece, his address to the World Council of Churches conference on mission and evangelism in Brazil in 1996—which editor Geoffrey Wainwright calls his “swan song on the ecumenical stage.” Newbigin wonders aloud how future generations will judge today’s practice of abortion.

This volume of previously unpublished lectures by Lesslie Newbigin is an unexpected gift, thanks to his biographer Geoffrey Wainwright. This gift contains welcome supplements to Newbigin’s early seminal writings on ecumenical theology and world missions but also includes his latest critiques of Western pluralist secular society. Newbigin’s was a fresh voice of Christian prophecy in the contemporary situation. This ecumenical missionary-theologian foresaw an approaching global future that would be impacted by the fanaticism of Islamic fundamentalism and the idolatry of an unfettered free-market economy. Newbigin believed that the only hope for a free society lies in the truth and power of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Carl E. Braaten, professor of systematic theology emeritus, Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago

Truth to Tell: The Gospel as Public Truth

  • Author: Lesslie Newbigin
  • Publisher: Eerdmans
  • Publication Date: 1991
  • Pages: 108

An important book for all who are concerned with the impact of Christianity on today’s world, Truth to Tell affirms the gospel as the truth—not only for personal life but also for life at the public, societal level.

In emphasizing the Christian gospel as the truth that calls for radical conversion, Lesslie Newbigin runs counter to the prevailing subjectivism and skepticism in our society regarding the possibility of knowing ultimate truth. Societies like ours that have undergone “modernization” tend to regard the world’s religions as agencies for the cultivation of privately held religious opinions—agencies that can be studied with the tools of sociology, psychology, and other secular disciplines.

But, says Newbigin, the Christian church is not simply an agency that stands for good personal values. In three pointed chapters—“Believing and Knowing the Truth,” “Affirming the Truth in the Church,” and “Speaking the Truth to Caesar”—Newbigin develops the argument that the Christian gospel is a statement of objective, historical truth, and all other modes of thought are to be evaluated in the light of the gospel truth.

Directed especially to ministers and concerned laypeople, Truth to Tell consists of the Osterhaven lectures delivered by Newbigin at Western Theological Seminary in Holland, Michigan.

The Open Secret: An Introduction to the Theology of Mission

  • Author: Lesslie Newbigin
  • Publisher: Eerdmans
  • Publication Date: 1995
  • Pages: 200

Sample Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

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.

The Gospel in a Pluralist Society

  • Author: Lesslie Newbigin
  • Publisher: Eerdmans
  • Publication Date: 1989
  • Pages: 264

Sample Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

How does the gospel relate to a pluralist society? What is the Christian message in a society marked by religious pluralism, ethnic diversity, and cultural relativism? Should Christians encountering today’s pluralist society concentrate on evangelism or on dialogue? How does the prevailing climate of opinion affect, perhaps infect, Christians’ faith?

These kinds of questions are addressed in this noteworthy book by Lesslie Newbigin. A highly respected Christian leader and ecumenical figure, Newbigin provides a brilliant analysis of contemporary (secular, humanist, pluralist) culture and suggests how Christians can more confidently affirm their faith in such a context.

While drawing from scholars such as Michael Polanyi, Alasdair MacIntyre, Hendrikus Berkhof, Walter Wink, and Robert Wuthnow, The Gospel in a Pluralist Society is suited not only to an academic readership. This heartfelt work by a missionary pastor and preacher also offers to Christian leaders and laypeople some thoughtful, helpful, and provocative reflections.

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About Lesslie Newbigin

Lesslie Newbigin (1909–1998) Lesslie Newbigin was born in Newcastle-on-Tyne in the United Kingdom. He studied at Cambridge and served as staff secretary of the Student Christian Movement in Glasgow, Scotland. He studied theology at Westminster College and was ordained by the Presbytery of Edinburgh, Church of Scotland, in 1926.

In 1947, Newbigin was consecrated bishop in the Church of South India. He also served on the Central Committee of the World Council of Churches. In 1959 Newbigin became the general secretary of the International Missionary Council. He oversaw the final negotiations for the merger with the World Council of Churches. In 1962, Newbigin became the first director of the Division of World Mission and Evangelism, and associate general secretary of the World Council of Churches. He was recalled as Bishop by the Church of South Indian in 1965, where he stayed until his retirement in 1974.


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