Andrew C. Stout deposited A Presbyterian Bishop: Lesslie Newbigin and Reformed Ecumenism in the group Theology on Humanities Commons 6 months, 2 weeks ago
Lesslie Newbigin’s insights into and example of the missional and ecumenical nature of the Church have exerted influence on Christian churches and communities across the ecumenical spectrum. While Newbigin’s ideas about the shaping effect of cultural pluralism on the Church’s mission have become common currency for many Christians in our post-Christendom context, the Reformed roots of much of his thought and ministry are not a prominent part of his legacy. Yet, the better part of Newbigin’s ecclesial life was spent ministering in confessionally Reformed churches. In addition, his missional thinking in strongly evangelical, in terms of not only its broad vision but also its doctrinal foundations. As confessionally Reformed evangelicals seek ways to give greater expression to the catholicity of their tradition and pursue ecumenical endeavors, Newbigin has the potential to be an invaluable resource. I will attempt to establish Newbigin’s credentials as a theologian in the Reformed tradition. I will then turn to his views on episcopacy and the potential role of bishops in the Reformed tradition. Finally, I will propose that confessionally Reformed evangelicals look to Newbigin as a model for how episcopal structures can be consistently appropriated by Reformed churches in the interest of more visible expressions of catholicity.