[ Editor’s note: This week saw the 100th anniversary of the birth of missiologist and theologian Lesslie Newbigin. Our friend, Andy Rowell has written a wonderfully engaging tribute on his blog, and gave us permission to reprint it here… Thanks, Andy! ]
Ten Things You Probably Did Not Know about Lesslie Newbigin
in Honor of the Centennial of his Birth
by Andy Rowell
8 December 2009
10. Newbigin means “new building” according to the first page of his autobiography.
9. Though only three years apart in age, Dietrich Bonhoeffer (Feb 4, 1906 – Apr 9, 1945) and Lesslie Newbigin (Dec 8, 1909 – Jan 30, 1998) never did to my knowledge meet one another though the 27 year old Bonhoeffer was in London pastoring a German congregation from 1933-1935 while the 24 year old Newbigin was training for the ministry in Cambridge. Both were very involved in ecumenical affairs and international relationships but Bonhoeffer was active in the 1930’s with the World Alliance, Life and Work, and Faith and Order; and Newbigin was primarily involved in the 1940’s, 50’s and 60’s in the International Missionary Council, World Council of Churches, and Faith and Order. Though both were highly effective in the international sphere, both ended their lives more optimistic about the local church and somewhat disappointed in the theological compromises of the large ecumenical organizations.
8. Newbigin was sent out as a missionary by Presbyterians (the Church of Scotland) to India in 1936 but in 1947 the Presbyterians, Methodists and Anglicans in that part of India joined together and became The Church of South India. He was elected a bishop. That is how a Presbyterian–they do not have bishops–became a Bishop.