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Comment: The item is fairly worn but continues to work perfectly. Signs of wear can include aesthetic issues such as scratches, dents, and worn corners. All pages and the cover are intact, but the dust cover may be missing. Pages may include limited notes and highlighting, but the text is not obscured or unreadable. Slight water damage may be present.
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The Open Secret: An Introduction to the Theology of Mission Paperback – February 28, 1995

4.6 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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About the Author

(1909-1998) Lesslie Newbigin was born inNewcastle-on-Tyne, U.K., in 1909. He completed hisundergraduate studies in Cambridge and then served asStaffSecretary of the Student Christian Movement in Glasgow,Scotland. He studied theology at Westminster College atCambridge and was ordained by the Presbytery ofEdinburgh,Church of Scotland in 1936. That same year Newbiginmarried Helen Henderson and the two of them left for Indiawhere he was to be missionary of the Church of Scotland.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Eerdmans; Revised ed. edition (February 28, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802808298
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802808295
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #75,478 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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The following is an analytical review.

Leslie Newbigin (1909-1998) was a theological missiologist/missionary and a missiological theologian. There are over six decades worth of his writings on mission theology and practice. Thus, he is considered to have had one of the greatest influences on the theology of mission in the twentieth century. Furthermore, Newbigin was a scholar practitioner since his works were always rooted in his living relationship with Jesus Christ; after all, he modeled what he wrote. He was also a Western missionary to India from 1936-1974, and upon returning to Great Britain, his missionary focus turned to the West (Shenk 1998).

The thesis of this book is that Christian mission is an open secret. It is open in the sense that the gospel is proclaimed to all without any boundaries, but it is a secret in that "it is manifest only to the eyes of faith" (Location 2556). As a result, mission cannot be relegated as a side task of the church, but it is the central calling and purpose of the church, yet the church does not own the mission, the mission is God's (Location 256). Newbigin's prophetic call to the church is for it to reemphasize its missionary character "to bring all things to their true end in the glory of the triune God" (Location 2556).

In the first section (Ch.1-3), Newbigin presents a historical background of missions and what the church's current situation is in the West. Although, this book was initially published in 1978, Newbigin's assessment of the state of the church is still profoundly accurate today in the twenty-first century. The missionary character of the church needs to be rediscovered, particularly in the West, in order for the church to live out its mission (Location 89). In the second part (Ch.
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Is there still a place for mission in the late twentieth century? By what authority can we speak about God and the Christian message in our pluralist world? Newbigin brings his original and thoroughly biblical thoughts to these questions. He places missions in a Trinitarian context: Mission is the proclamation of the Kingdom of the Father, sharing in the life of Jesus, doing the work of the Spirit. He discusses the ideas of the school of Church Growth, of liberation theology and John Hicks (from "the myth of Christianity"), and develops his theology of mission in discussion with these voices. I have one reservation, and that is his discussion of election. Election, in Newbigin's view, is - and is being limited to - being called to witness. I cannot see how with this limitation he can avoid the danger of Pelagianism, which he rejects earlier on in the book. (This topic, however, is developed more extensively in "The Gospel in a Pluralist World"). Overall, though, an excellent read.
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Lesslie Newbigin takes the reader through theological exploration, individual evaluation, and his own vast cross-cultural experience to a perspective of how the truths of Scripture are intended for every tribe and tongue. We are not meant to horde the truths of salvation, but, instead share them with the world.

Newbigin artfully informs us that missions is truly Trinitarian: declaring the Kingdom of God the Father, glorifying the person of Jesus, and accomplishing the labor of the Holly Spirit. He develops his theology of missions within the truths of Scripture. He also critiques the church growth movement's view of missions, showing how it greatly limits the focus on the Bible, resulting in the limiting of God's glory.

He masterfully addresses the topic of election and missions. Why be a missionary if God has already chosen His elect? As we look at how the truth of Scripture fits in with the history of the world, it is mandatory to realize that the true meaning of the world is found only in the Bible. Because of this, we must proclaim this faith in a public way and not privatize our faith as if it is not part of God's world history.

Newbigin points out that, "God's reign concerns history in its unity and totality." It is imperative that we bow to His authority in our witness to the human race. Often we determine missionary and evangelistic tactics depending on our own thoughts and strengths, forgetting the most important thing about the missions experience. It is not our ability that counts, it is God's.
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It's a shame that more thought leaders and pastors are not referencing this book. Lesslie Newbigin is one of my faith heroes, and this book only deepens that conviction. The Open Secret is a wonderful introduction to the language of mission and how justice, witness, and action dialogue with the missio Dei. With all the buzz around missional theology and mission in general, this should be the "go to" book if you are interested in learning a great center point by which you can begin to dialogue about others book related to Christian mission.

I'm always blown away by Newbigin's writing with how prophetic. This book was originally written a couple of decades ago, and it seems as though that even in 2009, there is a necessity to read this sort of book on mission beyond the "pop culture" of missional books in the Christian publishing world.

This book will challenge your thinking with regards to pluralism and God's justice in the world, and it seems as though at a time when those things are becoming somewhat overused and ambiguous, a fresh reminder with what God says is necessary.
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