The Gospel and Pluralism Today
Toward the end of the twentieth century, Lesslie Newbigin offered a penetrating analysis of the challenges of pluralism that confronted a Western culture and society reeling from the dissolution of Christendom. His enormous influence has been felt ever since. Newbigin (1909-1998) was a longtime Church of Scotland missionary to India and later General Secretary of the International Missionary Council and Associate General Secretary of the World Council of Churches.
The first installment in the Missiological Engagements series, the essays in this volume explore three aspects of Newbigin?s legacy. First, they assess the impact of his 1989 book, Gospel in a Pluralist Society, on Christian mission and evangelism in the West. Second, they critically analyze the nature of Western pluralism in its many dimensions to discern how Christianity can proclaim good news for today. Finally, the contributors discuss the influence of Newbigin's work on the field of missiology. By looking backward, this volume recommends and advances a vision for Christian witness in the pluralistic world of the twenty-first century.
Contributions from leading missiologists and theologians, including:
"After a quarter century, Lesslie Newbigin's testimony to 'the gospel in a pluralist society' still feels strikingly relevant, penetrating in its analysis and winsome in its pastoral encouragement of Christian discipleship and witness. Such is the testimony of the authors of this volume, who rehearse, interpret, receive and build upon Newbigin's missional wisdom. They have done us the great service of calling us to do likewise!"
"This book offers the best available reflection on Newbigin's deep understanding of Christ's gospel and human pluralisms with their merits, challenges and enduring relevance for missional thinking, living and service at all levels."
"As I write this, I'm sitting in a coffee shop in Winson Green, Birmingham, where Lesslie Newbigin pastored after returning from India. Newbigin loved this community, with all its cultural and religious diversity. He was always a pastor. But he was also a scholar who studied cultures theologically and philosophically. In The Gospel and Pluralism Today, Scott W. Sunquist and Amos Yong bring together a remarkable collection of papers that reveal the ongoing value and contribution of Newbigin's work. But Sunquist and Yong's book doesn't stop at Newbigin's contribution. It builds on Newbigin's thought, and it explores critical cultural and missionary issues that have emerged in the twenty-first century. In brief, this book is an invaluable addition to missiology and to the study of Newbigin's pastoral-missionary paradigm."
1. Introduction: The Legacy of Newbigin for Mission to the West
Scott W. Sunquist
2. Newbigin in His Time
Wilbert R. Shenk
3. Newbigin?s Theology of Mission and Culture After Twenty-Five Years: Attending to the "Subject" of Mission
William R. Burrows
4. Community and Witness in Transition: Newbigin?s Missional Ecclesiology Between Modernity and Postmodernity
Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen and Michael Karim
5. Holistic Theological Method and Theological Epistemology: Performing Newbigin?s Plurality of Sources in the Pluralist Context
Steven B. Sherman
6. Honoring True Otherness in a Still-Antipluralist Culture
Esther L. Meek
7. Pluralism, Secularism and Pentecost: Newbigin-ings for Missio Trinitatis in a New Century
8. Evangelism in a Pluralistic Society: The Newbigin Vision
Carrie Boren Headington
9. What Does It Mean for a Congregation to Be a Hermeneutic?
John G. Flett
10. Asian Perspectives on Twenty-First-Century Pluralism