Saturday, January 30, 2016

Newbigin: no middle ground

Saturday, January 30, 2016
    Commemoration of Lesslie Newbigin, Bishop, Missionary, Teacher, 1998
    [Jesus:] “My prayer is not for [my disciples] alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.”
    —John 17:20-21 (NIV)
    It is common to hear churchmen speak as though they did not really regard Christian unity as a serious question this side of the End. This is a disastrous illusion. Christians cannot behave as though time were unreal. God gives us time, but not an infinite amount of time. It is His purpose that the Gospel should be preached to all nations, and that all men should be brought into one family in Jesus Christ. His purpose looks to a real End, and therefore requires of us real decisions. If we misconstrue His patience, and think that there is an infinity of time for debate while we perpetuate before the world the scandal of our dismemberment of the Body of Christ, we deceive ourselves. In an issue concerning the doing of the will of God there is no final neutrality.
    ... Lesslie Newbigin (1909-1998), The Reunion of the Church, London: SCM Press, 1960, p. xiii-xiv (see the book)
    See also John 17:20-21; Matt. 11:15; John 10:16; Acts 4:32; 1 Cor. 1:10; 12:27; Gal. 3:28; Eph. 4:3-6; Phil. 2:1-5; Col. 3:11-14; 1 Pet. 3:8-9
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, bring about the unity of Your church.
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