Synopsis: Lesslie Newbigin (1909-1998) was one of the seminal theologians of mission in the twentieth century, and perhaps the most important in the English-speaking world. His thinking was anchored in the practice of mission: he was a missionary in India, a bishop of the Indian church, and a leader in emerging international mission structures. In his late years, he pioneered research on how the gospel could engage with Western culture. For many he is the founding father of the missional church movement. This book is the first to address the crucial role Newbigin played in shaping ecumenical thinking on mission during the twentieth century, filling an important gap in our knowledge of the development of twentieth-century missional theology. It does so by seeking to answer a central question in Newbigin's thinking: How does "mission" relate to "church"? Taking the integration of the International Missionary Council with the World Council of Churches as its central focus, this book provides a unique history of crucial events in the ecumenical movement. But more importantly, through a study of Newbigin's role in the theological debate, this book demonstrates how missional theology evolved during the postwar period when there was a "sea change" in understandings both of mission and church. Endorsements: "Mark Laing's work makes an important contribution to scholarship, not simply on Newbigin, but more broadly to understanding the development of both ecumenical and evangelical theologies of mission during the twentieth century." --Brian Stanley Professor of World Christianity, University of Edinburgh "Mark Laing's study on Newbigin's decisive role during the most creative, but also critical, period in the recent history of the WCC is a major contribution to a detailed knowledge of developments and debates that bear a lasting influence on present theologies, memories, structures, as well as conflicts . . . I consider this book a 'must' for theologians and leaders in mission and church. --Jacques Matthey Former Director of WCC Commission on World Mission and Evangelism "This is a book that goes to the heart of the relationship of church and mission among Protestant Christians. Newbigin has attracted much attention in recent years and will attract more, but there is, to my knowledge, no equivalent of this work currently available. It is much needed." --Andrew F. Walls Honorary Professor in the University of Edinburgh "This is a pioneering study of a neglected aspect of Newbigin's work. Dr. Mark Laing provides a balanced, reliable, and insightful evaluation of Newbigin's role and contribution." --Wilbert R. Shenk Senior Professor, Mission History and Contemporary Culture Fuller Graduate School of Intercultural Studies Author Biography: Mark T. B. Laing taught missiology at Union Biblical Seminary, Pune, India, for several years, where he also coordinated the Centre for Mission Studies. This book is a revised form of his PhD thesis, which he recently completed at the University of Edinburgh.
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