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Maxioms by Lesslie Newbigin

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The conception of the Church which we tend to reproduce as the fruit of our missionary work is so much read more

The conception of the Church which we tend to reproduce as the fruit of our missionary work is so much a replica of our own, so much that of a fundamentally settled body existing for the sake of its own members rather than that of a body of strangers and pilgrims, the sign and instrument of a supernatural and universal salvation to be revealed, that our missionary advance tends to follow the lines of cultural and political expansion. and to falter when that advance stops.

by Lesslie Newbigin Found in: Christianity Quotes,
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We feel that other churches must accept, as the pre-conditions of fellowship, such changes as will bring them into conformity read more

We feel that other churches must accept, as the pre-conditions of fellowship, such changes as will bring them into conformity with ourselves in matters which we regard as essential, and that a failure to insist on this will involve compromise in regard to what is essential to the Church's being. But for precisely the same reason, we cannot admit a demand from others for any changes in ourselves which would seem to imply a denial that we already possess the esse of the Church.

by Lesslie Newbigin Found in: Christianity Quotes,
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We know so well what the unique quality was that held this great and beautiful pride and exquisite humility together. read more

We know so well what the unique quality was that held this great and beautiful pride and exquisite humility together. It lay in the relationship he held with God. We know the familiar idea of Jesus' oneness with God: only we deal with it too much as a doctrine of the Church, not as an element in Jesus' own experience. If we never find it in reality, in life, we cannot reveal the true Christ-like character at all -- we will always be trying earnestly to be something, but on too superficial and obvious a plane. ... The Notebooks of Florence Allshorn June 28, 1996 Feast of Irenêus, Bishop of Lyons, Teacher, Martyr, c.200 The Church exists, and does not depend for its existence upon our definition of it: it exists wherever God in His sovereign freedom calls it into being by calling his own into the fellowship of His Son. And it exists solely by His mercy. God shuts up and will shut up every way except the way of faith which simply accepts His mercy as mercy. To that end, He is free to break off unbelieving branches, to graft in wild slips, and to call "No people" His people. And if, at the end, those who have preserved through all the centuries the visible "marks" of the Church find themselves at the same board with some strange and uncouth late-comers on the ecclesiastical scene, may we not fancy that they will hear Him say -- would it not be so like him to say -- "It is my will to give unto these last even as unto thee"? Final judgement belongs to God, and we have to beware of judging before the time. I think that if we refuse fellowship in Christ to any body of men and women who accept Jesus as Lord and show the fruits of His Spirit in their corporate life, we do so at our peril. It behooves us, therefore, to receive one another as Christ has received us.

by Lesslie Newbigin Found in: Christianity Quotes,
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Western European civilization has witnessed a sort of atomizing process, in which the individual is more and more set free read more

Western European civilization has witnessed a sort of atomizing process, in which the individual is more and more set free from his natural setting in family and neighborhood, and becomes a sort of replaceable unit in the social machine, His nearest neighbors may not even know his name. He is free to move from place to place, from job to job, from acquaintance to acquaintance, and -- if he has attained a high degree of emancipation -- from wife to wife. He is in every context a more and more anonymous and replaceable part, the perfect incarnation of the rationalist conception of man. Wherever western civilization has spread in the past one hundred years, it has carried this atomizing process with it. Its characteristic product in Calcutta, Shanghai, or Johannesburg, is the modern city into which myriads of human beings, loosened from their old ties in village or tribe or caste, like grains of sand fretted by water from an ancient block of sandstone, are ceaselessly churned around in the whirlpool of the city -- anonymous, identical, replaceable units. In such a situation, it is natural that men should long for some sort of real community, for men cannot be human without it. It is especially natural that Christians should reach out after that part of Christian doctrine which speaks of the true, God-given community, the Church of Jesus Christ. We have witnessed the appalling results of trying to go back to some sort of primitive collectivity based on the total control of the individual, down to the depths of his spirit, by an all-powerful group. Yet we know that we cannot condemn this solution to the problem of man's loneliness if we have no other to offer. It is natural that men should ask with a greater eagerness than ever before, such questions as these: "Is there in truth a family of God on earth to which I can belong, a place where all men can be truly at home? If so, where is it to be found, what are its marks, and how is it related to, and dis tinguished from, the known communities of family, nation, and culture? What are its boundaries, its structure, its terms of membership? And how comes it that those who claim to be the spokesmen of that one holy fellowship are themselves at war with one another as to the fundamentals of its nature, and unable to agree to live together in unity and concord?" The breakdown of Christendom has forced such questions as these to the front. I think that there is no more urgent theological task than to try to give them plain and credible answers.

by Lesslie Newbigin Found in: Christianity Quotes,
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Feast of Antony of Egypt, Abbot, 356 Commemoration of Charles Gore, Bishop, Teacher, Founder of the Community of the Resurrection, read more

Feast of Antony of Egypt, Abbot, 356 Commemoration of Charles Gore, Bishop, Teacher, Founder of the Community of the Resurrection, 1932 Continuing a short series on Romans 8: [Of vv. 11,17,23-25] The counterpart of this withdrawal of Christ [the ascension] from the reach of the senses was the gift to the apostles of the Holy Spirit by whom Christ was made present to them in a new way. They now knew him no more by sight and after the flesh; they had His Spirit. And this "having" is both a real possession and a foretaste, an earnest of what is in store... The Spirit assures us that we are heirs of a kingdom yet to be revealed (Rom. 8:17). The Spirit wars in us against the flesh (Gal. 5:17) and gives us assurance that even our mortal bodies shall be quickened (Rom. 8:11). Meanwhile the very mark of the Spirit's presence is that we groan waiting for our adoption (Rom. 8:23) and hoping for that which we do not yet see (Rom. 8:24,25).

by Lesslie Newbigin Found in: Christianity Quotes,
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