NOTE: this post has been rewritten

Foolishness to the Greeks
Lesslie Newbigin
160 pages
Publisher: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company (April 1986)

Post-enlightenment culture, chapters 1-2

Modern culture has three key features: the public-private dichotomy, the fact-value dichotomy, and the abandonment of teleology. In this culture, it is assumed that one’s public and private worlds operate independently. One has little influence on the other. In this culture, facts are public matters whose validity is determined by science. Values are private matters determined by personal choice. How should the church proclaim the gospel in the language of this culture and in a way that radically calls it into question?

The gospel and its missionary encounter with culture, chapters 3-5

The Christian testimony is that Jesus is the ultimate authority. All of life is ordered under him and finds its explanation in him. From the perspective of modern culture, this testimony is foolish, meddlesome, and dangerous. Yet it must be proclaimed. Modern culture–its science and its politics–must be called into question and all persons must be called to submit to the one by whom all things consist.

Implications and applications for missionary encounter, chapter 6

The church is…

  • an advance community of the kingdom of God to yearn publicly for the consummation of the kingdom.
  • a witness of the ultimate authority of Jesus to engage in honest conversation with others.
  • an earthly and temporal outpost of the kingdom to speak a theology that flows from daily life.
  • one church to witness to the one truth.
  • one church to engage with one another so that we may more accurately declare the one God.
  • composed of those who trust Jesus as the ultimate authority to declare him in a culture that rejects the very notion.
  • a community of praise to broadcast the overflow of our praise as a witness to the nations.