Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Prophetic Voices

At the GOCN meeting in Kansas City last week, I had the opportunity to meet George Hunsberger, one of the more prolific writers on the missional church. George is pictured here (on the right) with Dale Ziemer of the Center for Parish Development. George is a professor of missiology at Western Theological Seminary in Holland, Michigan, and comes out of the Reformed theological tradition.

Hunsberger was greatly influenced by missionary and missiologist Lesslie Newbigin and is the author of a book on Newbigin entitled Bearing the Witness of the Spirit. You may recall that Newbigin was a missionary in India for most of his ministry. While there he found ways to communicate the Gospel in a non-Christian context. When he returned to his native Great Britain for retirement, he discovered that he was again living in a non-Christian context! He spent the rest of his life writing, lecturing, and exegeting Western culture as a mission field. His work provides a foundation for missional church theology.

I remarked to Hunsberger that I often find Newbigin's books on the shelves of pastors who attended seminary 20 or 30 years ago, and I am amazed at how little it seems to have impacted their ministries! OK. I realize that a lot of us bought books in seminary that we never read or read only under pressure! At the same time, it would seem that the seminal ideas that Newbigin presented would have impacted our vision for reaching our culture for Christ. We still have time to avail ourselves of his insights.


Missional Jerry said...

Newbigin certainly has the insight we need. Im praying more pastors read then heed his words.

Mike Beach said...


I just found your blog (through the TNCBF neswletter) and will continue to read with interest.

Thanks for the reference to Newbigin. I haven't read any of his works, but after reading your post I'm thinking that I should...

Mike Beach