Newbigin, J(ames) E(dward) Lesslie (1909-1998)

British missionary bishop in India, theologian, and ecumenical statesman

NewbiginBorn in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England, Newbigin was educated at the University of Cambridge, where he was brought to Christian faith through the ministry of the British Student Christian Movement, which he later served for two years as secretary in Glasgow. In 1936 he was ordained by the Church of Scotland for missionary work in India. He served as a village evangelist (1936-1947), as an architect and interpreter of the Church of South India (CSI), and as a bishop of the CSI in Madurai (1947-1959). In 1959 he became general secretary of the International Missionary Council (IMC) and guided it in 1961 to integration with the World Council of Churches (WCC), which he served until 1965 as associate general secretary, with responsibility for the Commission on World Mission and Evangelism. He then returned to India as CSI bishop of Madras until 1974. During his postretirement years in England, he [was] professor of ecumenics and theology of mission at Selly Oak Colleges in Birmingham (1974-1979), moderator of the United Reformed Church (1978-1979), and pastor of a small inner city United Reformed congregation in Birmingham (1979-1989). In 1982 he organized the Gospel and Our Culture group to explore the form of Christian mission to pagan Britain.

Newbigin was preeminent as a theologian passionately devoted to the mission and unity of the church. The influence of his thought and style are found in countless ecumenical conference reports he wrote or edited, in articles, sermons, and biblical studies throughout his career, and in his books, especially The Household of God (1953) and The Open Secret: Sketches for a Missionary Theology (1978, rev. ed. 1995). At the same time, engagement of Christian faith with the spirits and worldviews of modern society was his constant theme. His Honest Religion for Secular Man (1966) foreshadowed the substantive theology and social analysis of his later works, Foolishness to the Greeks (1986) and The Gospel in a Pluralist Society (1989).

Charles C. West, “Newbigin, J(ames) E(dward) Lesslie,” in Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions, ed. Gerald H. Anderson (New York: Macmillan Reference USA, 1998), 491.

This article is reprinted from Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions, Macmillan Reference USA, copyright © 1998 Gerald H. Anderson, by permission of Macmillan Reference USA, New York, NY. All rights reserved.

Missionary, missiologist and ecumenist*

James Edward Lesslie Newbigin was born on December 8, 1909 in Newcastle-on-Tyne, England to Annie Affleck and Edward R. Newbigin, a shipping merchant. His earliest memories were happy ones, with a caring mother and a devout and politically radical father. He attended a Quaker boarding school called Leighton Park in Reding, Berkshire. By the time he headed to Queen’s College, Cambridge in 1928 he had left his religious upbringing but not dismissed it as irrational. In the summer of 1929, at age 19, while serving the unemployed of South Wales, Lesslie’s sleep was blessed with a vision of the Cross that touched the depths of human misery and offered hope. He was quickly drawn into evangelistic and ecumenical relationships and in 1930, at a Student Christian Movement (SCM) gathering in Stanwick, experienced a call to ordained ministry. On completion of his degree, he moved to Glasgow to work as staff secretary for the SCM. He returned to Cambridge in 1933 to train for ministry at Westminster College and in July 1936 he was ordained by the Presbytery of Edinburgh to work as a Church of Scotland missionary stationed in Madras, India. One month later, he married SCM colleague Helen Henderson, and together they set off for India where they lived for decades and together had one son and three daughters.

Newbigin took quickly to the native Tamil language, and began his work as a village evangelist. He became troubled by the competing denominational missions that often resulted in a separation of converts by caste. He saw this as a public contradiction to the gospel of reconciliation, and a primary obstacle to missionary work. In response, Newbigin became one of the key architects seeking the local organic reunion of the church. On August 15, 1947, India gained its independence from Britain. A month later, on September 27, 1947 the Church of South India was founded, which brought Congregational, Anglican, Methodist and Presbyterian denominations into organic union. That same year, at age 37, Newbigin was elected and consecrated one of the new Church’s first bishops, over Madurai and Ramnad. He served there for 12 years, during which he read what he called the “seminal” works of Roland Allen, and thus became “anxious to win the local village congregations away from a wrong kind of dependence on the mission bungalow.”(1)

The “South India miracle” quickly made Newbigin a prominent figure in the growing international ecumenical scene. He was a consultant for the inaugural assembly of the World Council of Churches (WCC) in 1948. Between 1951 and 1953, Newbigin served on the “Committee of Twenty-Five” theologians in preparation for 1954. In fact, he was elected chair of the high-powered committee, which included Karl Barth, Emil Brunner and Reinhold Niebuhr. It was during this decade that Barth wrote the three ecclesiological paragraphs in his Church Dogmatics and that Newbigin published The Household of God—his most systematic book on ecclesiology. An insider (peritus) at Vatican II claimed Newbigin’s Household of God influenced the writing of Lumen Gentium, the dogmatic statement of the church which stressed its missiological and eschatological nature as a pilgrim people.(2)

Newbigin continued to play a key role in the WCC, but was also closely involved with the International Missionary Council (IMC), of which he became elected chairman in 1958. After he was cajoled into a full-time role, Newbigin oversaw the integration of the IMC into the WCC. He did this on the basis of his belief that that the only hope for ecumenical progress rested in shared missionary endeavor. He remained in Geneva, Switzerland as director of the new WCC Division of World Mission and Evangelism until 1965, when he returned to India as Bishop of Madras, where he stayed until he “retired” in 1974.

For the next five years he took up a position as professor of missiology and ecumenism at the Selly Oak College in Birmingham, and crystallized his missiological thinking in The Open Secret. Following this, Newbigin accepted a call to pastor a very small congregation from 1980-1988, during which time he wrote, among other books, The Gospel in a Pluralist Society, his fullest treatment of the subject which dominated his later years: “the missionary encounter with modernity.” These later texts show notable influences from Michael Polanyi and Alasdair MacIntyre, among others. In the final years before his death on January 30, 1998, he accepted numerous speaking invitations, including several at WCC gatherings and a series at Holy Trinity Brompton Church in London.

Newbigin’s Lasting Theological Contributions
Four of Newbigin’s most important contributions to theology, especially ecclesiology and missiology, are worth highlighting. First, Newbigin exemplified and extended the conversation taking place around him regarding the eschatological nature of the church. According to Newbigin, “…the Church is not to be defined by what it is, but by that End to which it moves.”(3) Newbigin’s trademark description of the church is ripe with eschatological significance: “The church lives in the midst of history as a sign, instrument and foretaste of the reign of God.”(4) As a sign, the church points beyond itself to the eschatological new humanity. Thus, the church draws attention away from itself and thus confesses that it is not itself the eschatological end of redemption but only its instrument and foretaste. The mission of the church, according to Newbigin, was “itself the sign of the coming consummation.”(5)

As a foretaste, the church is an appetizer of the eschatological kingdom feast. The church is not the realized kingdom to which it points but it is a genuine foretaste of that kingdom. Inasmuch as the church is a community welcoming all cultures and is a fellowship that actualizes the peace and justice which Christ has won for all people, the church is a preview of eschatological community and the nucleus of a new redeemed humanity.(6) It is the function of “a foretaste to make us long ardently for that which is yet to come.”(7) If the church is a foretaste, then it can serve as an instrument.

As an instrument, the church is used to bring about the eschatological goal. While the church points to the kingdom, and gives a sample of it, it also serves to usher the kingdom in, primarily through its mission. Thus, Christian mission is not only a sign of the kingdom but also the “instrument of a universal and eschatological salvation.”(8) Through the empowerment of the Spirit, the church leads this present age to its consummation, by bringing the Gospel to all nations. To summarize, eschatologically speaking, history is on the way to a summing-up in Christ. The church points to this reality, gives the world a taste of its flavor, and, through its mission, helps to usher it into being.

Newbigin’s eschatological imagination was the wellspring of two further contributions to ecclesiology: “the action of the eschatologically aware church must be both in the direction of mission and in that of unity, for these are but two aspects of the one work of the Spirit.”(9)

The second might be summarized by stating that the church is missionary by nature. Indeed, an eschatological ecclesiology must be a missionary ecclesiology, for the “implication of a true eschatological perspective will be missionary obedience…”(10) Thus mission is not seen as merely something the church does, but as essential to what it is. This commitment led Newbigin, while head of the International Missionary Council, to commission Johannes Blauw to write The Missionary Nature of the Church (1962).

Reimagining his inherited Reformed doctrine of election, Newbigin asserted that the church was the elect people of God, chosen not merely for God’s blessing but for service as God’s missionary people, priests for the world. The missionary and eschatological natures of the church are also evident in Newbigin’s designation of the church as “the pilgrim people of God…hastening to the ends of the earth to beseech all men to be reconciled to God, and hastening to the end of time to meet its Lord who will gather all into one.”(11)

Third, Newbigin’s thought consistently and powerfully held together the integral relationship between the church’s unity and its mission. As noted above, Newbigin was distressed by the way denominational missions in South India were reifying caste divisions. This division was for Newbigin a public and scandalous counter-witness to the gospel of reconciliation. The church cannot be an instrument “beseeching all men to be reconciled to God, except we ourselves be willing to be reconciled one to another in Him.”(12) Christian unity testifies to participation in Christ and the effectiveness of the gospel. Indeed, Newbigin noted, it was the church itself that Jesus left behind as his witness, and its unity was “in order that the world may believe.”(13)

According to Newbigin, unity was a means to mission, but also a product of mission. Newbigin rightly credited the modern missionary movement with bringing about the ecumenical movement. When the church attempts to do mission, Newbigin asserted, it discovers how destructive and unacceptable disunity is: “Everything about such a missionary situation conspires to make Christian disunity an intolerable anomaly.”(14) Thus Newbigin believed the hope for organic ecumenical unity was not in academic discussions, but mission partnership. This belief, rooted in his South India experience, led him to push for the integration of the IMC and the WCC.

For Newbigin, both unity and mission were basic to the church’s essence, thus he could say “When the Church ceases to be one, or ceases to be missionary, it contradicts its own nature.”(15) By this measure, Newbigin accused much of the church of failing to be church. At this impasse, Newbigin drew again from his Reformed tradition in declaring that “Simul justus et peccator applies to the Church as to the Christian.”(16) Thus the church is the church despite its fundamental failures because God is the one who calls things that are not as though they are, ala Romans 4:17.

Fourth, finally, and perhaps most importantly, Newbigin forcefully brought to awareness the post-Christian status of the West as a mission field, and called for its reconversion. The importance of this reconversion rested, for Newbigin, in the fact that modern post-Enlightenment western culture was replacing traditional cultures all over the world and that he considered it the “most powerful, most pervasive and (with the possible exception of Islam) the most resistant to the Gospel of all the cultures which compete for power in our global city.”(17) As this quotation suggests, Newbigin saw the need for “the same intense and sustained attention to the problem of finding the ‘dynamic equivalent’ for the Gospel in Western society as [missiologists] are giving to that problem as it occurs in the meeting with people of the ‘Third World.’” Newbigin thus turned his missiological acumen to the task of contextualization of the gospel in the late modern West, by seeking to give Western Christians a “proper confidence” in the gospel as a public truth capable of competing in the market of ideas. One of the chief challenges here was what Newbigin identified as the domestic captivity of the Western Church that he believed the church had become a prime example of syncretism. Moreover, the Church had gone on the defensive against the claims of Western, pluralistic society when its essential task was to live and tell the story that challenges every other account of reality from ancient religions up to the skepticism of modernity.

Newbigin’s Impact
The impact of Lesslie Newbigin’s thought is difficult to overstate. Mission historian Wilbert Shenk described him as “one of the decisive influences on the theology of mission in the twentieth century.” Geoffrey Wainwright, Newbigin’s authoritative biographer, considers him comparable to the early Church Fathers by nature of his heart and mind, pastoral work, ecumenical endeavor, missionary strategy, social vision, the comprehensiveness of his ministry, and his sheer stature as a man of God.

Newbigin’s influence is pervasive today in circles such as The Gospel and Our Culture Movement and the missional church and emerging church conversations. Countless notable theologians evidence the influence of Newbigin on their own work, including Stanley Hauerwas, Christopher J.H. Wright, Brian D. McLaren, Darrell Guder, Andy Crouch, Scot McKnight, N.T. Wright, George R. Hunsberger, David J. Bosch, Alan Roxburgh, Vinoth Ramachandra and others.

Excerpts and chapter-length treatments of Newbigin’s thought are included in such contemporary texts as The Study of Evangelism: Exploring a Missional Practice of the Church (Chilcote and Warner, eds., 2008), An Introduction to Ecclesiology: Ecumenical, Historical & Global Perspectives (Veli-Matti Karkkainen), The Ecumenical Movement: An Anthology of Key Texts and Voices (Michael Kinnamon and Brian E. Cope, eds. Eerdmans, 1997), The Trinity in a Pluralistic Age: Theological Essays on Culture and Religion (K.J. Vanhoozer, ed., 1997) and Faith and Power: Christianity and Islam in ‘Secular’ Britain (with Lamin Sanneh and Jenny Taylor, 2005). Moreover, Newbigin’s thought has been the subject of numerous doctoral dissertations in recent years such as a popular one by Michael Goheen titled: “As the Father Has Sent Me, I Am Sending You”: J. E. Lesslie Newbigin’s Missionary Ecclesiology.

Wilbert Shenk wrote of Newbigin’s legacy as simultaneously that of a missionary theologian, a contextual theologian and a strategic theologian. He and Wainwright both agree with Goheen that Newbigin’s legacy was left in the form of an Unfinished Agenda—the call to the Western Church to “recover the comprehensive scope of the gospel and its story, its missional identity to embody that story, and a critical stance toward the idolatry of its cultural story” (

Wainwright, attempting Newbigin’s own practice of writing limericks, offers this pithy summary of his life with reference to the title of Newbigin’s autobiography:

A Presbyterian Bishop from India
never short for theological ginger,
in the end did his best
to reconvert the West—
and bequeathed an Unfinished Agenda.


(1) Wainwright, 2.

(2) Wainwright, 98.

(3) A South India Diary, 19.

(4) The Open Secret, 110.

(5) The Household of God, 142.

(6) Unfinished Agenda: An Autobiography, 253

(7) The Household of God, 114.

(8) The Household of God, 145.

(9) The Household of God, 19.

(10) The Household of God, 153.

(11) The Household of God, 18.

(12) The Household of God, 150-1.

(13) The Household of God, 70.

(14) The Household of God, 8.

(15) The Household of God, 26.

(16) The Household of God, 30.

(17) A Word in Season, 177-189.

*The sources for this entry include biographies by Wilbert Shenk, H. Dan Beeby, Geoffrey Wainwright, and Brother Maynard as well as an unpublished paper by Christopher B. James titled, “That the World May Know: Newbigin’s Eschatological Ecclesiology of Mission and Unity.”

by Christopher B. James


Digital Texts

Beeby, H. Dan. “Obituary; The Right Rev Lesslie Newbigin.” The Independent. 4 February 1998.

Foust, Thomas F. Christology, Restoration, Unity: An Exploration of the Missiological Approach to Modern Western Culture According to Lesslie Newbigin and Dean E. Walker. M.D. Diss. University of Birmingham, July 2002.

Newbigin, Lesslie. The Household of God: Lectures on the Nature of the Church. New York: Friendship Pr., 1953.

_____. Is Christ Divided? A Plea for Christian Unity in a Revolutionary Age. Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans, 1961.



Newbigin, Lesslie. Ministry of the Church: Ordained and Unordained, Paid and Unpaid. London: Edinburgh House Press, [n.d.].

_____. Christian Freedom in the Modern World. London: Student Christian Movement Press, 1937.

_____. The Reunion of the Church. 1948, 1960.

_____. A South India Diary. London, SCM Press, 1951.

_____. The Quest for Unity Through Religion. N.p: N.p., [195?].

_____. That All May be One; A South Indian Diary: The Story of an Experiment in Christian Unity. New York: Association Press, 1952.

_____. Sin and Salvation. Philadelphia, PA: Westminster Press, 1957.

_____. A Faith for this One World? New York, Harper, 1961.

_____. Joint Action for Mission. Geneva: World Council of Churches, Commission on World Mission and Evangelism, 1962.

_____. The Relevance of Trinitarian Doctrine for Today’s Mission. London: Edinburgh House Press for the World Council of Churches, Commission on World Mission and Evangelism, 1963.

_____. Honest Religion for Secular Man. Philadelphia, PA: Westminster, 1966.

_____. One Body, One Gospel, One World: The Christian Mission Today. New York: Friendship Press, 1966.

_____. Christ Our Eternal Contemporary: Addresses Given at a Teaching Mission to the Christian Medical College and Hospital, Vellore, in July 1966. Madras: Christian Literature Society, 1968.

_____. The Finality of Christ. Richmond, VA: John Knox Press, 1969.

_____. Set Free to be a Servant: Studies in Paul’s Letter to the Galatians. Madras: Christian Literature Society, 1969.

_____. The Holy Spirit and the Church. Madras: CLS; ISPCK; CLC, 1972.

_____. Journey Into Joy. Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans, 1973.

_____. Interfaith Dialogue. New York: World Mission Interpretation, Division for World Mission and Ecumenism, Lutheran Church in America, 1976.

_____. Christian Witness in a Plural Society. London: British Council of Churches, 1977.

_____. The Good Shepherd: Meditations on Christian Ministry in Today’s World. Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans, 1977.

_____. Christianity in the Classroom. London: Christian Education Movement, 1978.

_____. The Open Secret: Sketches for a Missionary Theology. Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans, 1978; The Open Secret: An Introduction to the Theology of Mission. Revised ed. Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans, 1995.

_____. Context and Conversion. London: Church Missionary Society, 1979.

_____. Your Kingdom Come: Reflections on the Theme of the Melbourne Conference on World Mission and Evangelism, 1980. Leeds: John Paul The Preacher’s Press, 1980.

_____. Sign of the Kingdom. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1981.

_____. The Light Has Come: An Exposition of the Fourth Gospel. Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans, 1982.

_____. The Basis and the Forms of Unity. Indianapolis, IN: Council on Christian Unity, 1983.

_____. The Other Side of 1984: Questions for the Churches. Geneva: World Council of Churches, 1983.

_____. Foolishness to the Greeks: The Gospel and Western Culture. Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans, 1986.

_____. The Welfare State: A Christian Perspective. Oxford: Oxford Institute for Church and Society, 1986.

_____. Mission in Christ’s Way: Bible Studies. Geneva: World Council of Churches, 1987.

_____. Mission in Christ’s Way: A Gift, A Command, An Assurance. New York: Friendship Press, 1987.

_____. The Gospel in a Pluralist Society. Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans; Geneva, Switzerland: WCC Publications, 1989.

_____. Come Holy Spirit: Renew the Whole Creation. Birmingham, Eng.: Selly Oak Colleges, 1990.

_____. Truth to Tell: The Gospel as Public Truth. Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans, 1991.

_____. Unfinished Agenda: An Autobiography. Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans; Geneva: WCC Publications, 1985; 2nd, updated ed. Edinburgh: Saint Andrew Press, 1993.

_____. A Word in Season. Edited by Eleanor Jackson. Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans, 1994.

_____. Proper Confidence: Faith, Doubt, and Certainty in Christian Discipleship. Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans Pub, 1995.

_____. Truth and Authority in Modernity. Valley Forge, PA: Trinity Press International, 1996.

_____. The Gospel in Today’s Global City. Birmingham, England: Selly Oak Colleges, 1997.

_____. St. Paul in Limerick: And Other Missionary Journeys He May Have Made. Carlisle: Solway, 1998.

_____. A Walk Through the Bible. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 1999.

_____. Lesslie Newbigin: Missionary Theologian: A Reader. Edited by Paul Weston. Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans; London: SPCK, 2006.

_____. Living Hope in a Changing World. London: Alpha International, 2003.

_____. Signs amid the Rubble: The Purposes of God in Human History. Edited and with introduction by Geoffrey Wainwright. Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans, 2003.

Newbigin, Lesslie, Lamin Sanneh and Jenny Taylor. Faith and Power: Christianity and Islam in “Secular” Britain. Eugene, Oregon: Wipf & Stock, 2005. Orig. London: SPCK, 1998.

Newbigin, Lesslie and Jock Stein. Mission and the Crisis of Western Culture. N.p.: Handsel, 1989.


Beeby, H. Dan. “Walking with Lesslie: A Personal Perspective.” The Bible in TransMission (sp. ed. 1998): 9-10.

Bruggeman, Antonio. The Ecclesiology of Lesslie Newbigin. Ranchi, India: Pontificia Universitas Gregoriana, 1965.

Chilcote, Paul Wesley and Laceye C. Warner. The Study of Evangelism: Exploring a Missional Practice of the Church. Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans, 2008.

Conway, Martin. “Lesslie Newbigin’s Faith Pilgrimage.” Mission Studies 11 no. 2 (1994): 191-202.

Foust, Thomas F. Christology, Restoration, Unity: An Exploration of the Missiological Approach to Modern Western Culture According to Lesslie Newbigin and Dean E. Walker. Diss. University of Birmingham, July 2002.

Foust, Thomas F., J. Andrew Kirk and Werner Ustorf. A Scandalous Prophet: The Way of Mission after Newbigin. Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans, 2002.

Francis, T. Dayanandan and Israyēl Celvanāyakam (eds.). Many Voices in Christian Mission: Essays in Honour of J.E. Lesslie Newbigin, World Christian Leader. Madras: Christian Literature Society, 1996.

Goheen, Michael W. “As the Father Has Sent Me, I Am Sending You”: J. E. Lesslie Newbigin’s Missionary Ecclesiology. Diss. Utrecht University. Zoetermeer: Boekencentrum, 2000.

Hoedemaker, L.A. and Bert Hoedemaker. Secularization and Mission: A Theological Essay. Christian Mission and Modern Culture. Harrisburg, PA: Trinity Press International; Leominster, Herefordshire, England: Gracewing, 1998. [esp. chapter 5, “A Conversation with Lesslie Newbigin”]

Hunsberger, George R. Bearing the Witness of the Spirit: Lesslie Newbigin’s Theology of Cultural Plurality. Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans, 1998.

Hunsberger, George R. and Craig Van Gelder (eds.). The Church between Gospel and Culture: The Emerging Mission in North America. Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans, 1996.

Karkkainen, Veli-Matti. An Introduction to Ecclesiology: Ecumenical, Historical & Global Perspectives. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2002.

Kinnamon, Michael and Brian E. Cope. The Ecumenical Movement: An Anthology of Key Texts and Voices. Geneva: WCC Publications; Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans, 1997.

Krish, Kandiah. Towards a Theology of Evangelism for Late Modern Cultures: A Critical Dialogue with Lesslie Newbigin’s
Doctrine of Revelation
. Diss. University of London, 2005.

Schuster, Jürgen. Christian Mission in Eschatological Perspective: Lesslie Newbigin’s Contribution. Nürnberg: VTR Publications, 2009.

Shenk, Wilbert R. “Lesslie Newbigin’s Contribution to the Theology of Mission.” The Bible in TransMission (sp. ed. 1998): 3-6.

Stults, Donald LeRoy. Grasping Truth and Reality: Lesslie Newbigin’s Theology of Mission to the Western World. Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2008.

Thomas, V. (Joe) Matthew. The Centrality of Christ and Inter-religious Dialogue in the Theology of Lesslie Newbigin. Diss. University of Toronto, 1998.

Wainwright, Geoffrey. Lesslie Newbigin: A Theological Life. New York: Oxford University Press, 2000.

Weston, Paul. Mission and Cultural Change: A Critical Engagement with the Writings of Lesslie Newbigin. Diss. University of London, 2002.

Wood, Nicholas J. Faiths and Faithfulness: Pluralism, Dialogue, and Mission in the Work of Kenneth Cragg and Lesslie Newbigin. Paternoster Theological Monographs. Milton Keynes, UK; Colorado Springs, CO: Paternoster, 2009.

The Bible in TransMission: A Forum for Change in Church and Culture (1998). Swindon, England: Bible Society, 1997. [“The Bible Society agreed at its meeting of 14 June 1997 to take over the work for the Gospel and Culture Network…”; special Newbigin tribute issue]

“The Gospel and Our Culture Network ( exists to give careful attention to the interaction between culture, gospel and church. It arises from the conviction that genuine renewal in the life and witness of the church comes only with a fresh encounter of the gospel within our culture. The network focuses its activities, therefore, on the cultural research, theological reflection and church renewal necessary for the recovery of the church’s missionary identity.”

“A Biographical Profile of Lesslie Newbigin,” by Brother Maynard (posted 15 July 2008) at subversive

“That the World May Know: Newbigin’s Eschatological Ecclesiology of Mission and Unity,” by Christopher B. James (posted 12 January 2008) at


World Council of Churches Archive