• Foolishness to the Greeks

  • The Gospel and Western Culture
  • By: Lesslie Newbigin
  • Narrated by: Simon Vance
  • Length: 5 hrs and 44 mins
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars (84 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

How can biblical authority be a reality for those shaped by the modern world?

This work treats the First World as a mission field, offering a unique perspective on the relationship between the gospel and current society by presenting an outsider's view of contemporary Western culture.

©1986 Lesslie Newbigin (P)2008 christianaudio.com

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  • 11-23-19

Not a light listen

Prepare for a repeat listen. I had a quite a few moments “whoa, what did he just say?” If you’re looking to fall asleep, this could probably accomplish that, but if you’re looking for brainy concepts, this is also the book for you. I thoroughly enjoyed, have told a number of my friends and will probably have to listen again.

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Outsiders can sometimes see us better than we can

Lesslie Newbigin is one of the most important Christian thinkers of the last couple decades. He was a missionary in India for 40 years before returning to teach in England. His work on missiology and culture are very important and I have read some short articles by him and had his work referred to frequently, but I think this is the first full length book of his that I have read.

I really do think that all pastors need to take some classes in cross cultural missions and translation theory. In many ways it is like requiring high school and college students to take a couple of years of a foreign language. Most students will never get enough of the language to really communicate or actually use the foreign language, but they will learn enough of the other language to take a new appreciation and perspective on English.

So at the beginning of this book I was a huge cheerleader because Newbigin was giving a lesson in culture and some of the ways that we often forget that we are embedded in a particular culture. But once he got past the initial cultural critique and translation theory types of discussion I was a bit less excited.

This book is nearly 30 years old now. It was before the fall of communism and there is clearly some issues that are dated. But it seemed to get bogged down on issues that I find less important. Of course, I am not the author and I was not in 1986 in the UK when this was written. I like that Newbigin wants to chart a narrow path, that we can no longer either revert to Christendom and create theocracies nor withdraw from society and make our faith purely private.

Newbigin wants us to struggle to balance. I want to read more of him. Because I think he can say what he was trying to say more clearly, and I assume he did in other books. He seemed to be caught up here in philosophical categories and seemed to need some of the post-modern tools to help him get out of the tangle.

This is a good critique of the ability of Western culture to be fully Christian. He is one of the early voices that I know of that was calling for non-Western voices to speak to Western Christianity and participate in the evangelism of the West. I also appreciate that he was clear that the gospel is not just about salvation but about Christ as King. It was a message that I needed to hear a long time ago, and I am glad he was speaking to the weaknesses of the Western church while I was too young to be aware of the discussion.

(originally published on my blog bookwi.se)

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enlightening

I would recommend this book to anyone striving to find a way forward in our ever advancing post-christian and post Christendom america. this book is so applicable and it is shocking that it was written so long ago when I was only 4 years old. I wish more of my church leader friends would read this because I believe out of it we can find a way to be faithful now.

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Very interesting and thought provoking

Upon the first time through, I know I’ve missed a lot. However, what I’ve grasped so far has me really thinking about how I view Christianity and how my witness cannot be a simplistic message. I have to do the hard work of thinking through the contemporary story and seeing where the gospel of the kingdom agrees with and opposes that story. But not only must I do it on my own, but also through the context of the local church. I’m looking forward to going through this book again.