The Gospel, Church, and Culture According to Leslie Newbigin

Pastor Chris shares wisdom and insight from missiologist, theologian, and pastor Leslie Newbigin which changed his understanding of the church and have been invaluable in shaping the ethos of Ecclesia. The Gospel is good news for everyone, calling us into the culture to share it; not to cling to the supposed “safety” of our own religious circles. God’s mission is everywhere, and you are called to be a part of it.


Luke 5: 25-39

Quotes from Leslie Newbigin

“How can this strange story of God made flesh, of a crucified Savior, of resurrection and new creation become credible for those whose entire mental training has conditioned them to believe that the real world is the world which can be satisfactorily explained and managed without the hypothesis of God? I know of only one clue to the answering of that question, only one hermeneutic of the gospel: a congregation which believes it.”

“The question which has to be put to every local congregation is the question whether it is a credible sign of God’s reign in justice and mercy over the whole of life, whether it is an open fellowship whose concerns are as wide as the concerns of humanity, whether it cares for its neighbors in a way which reflect and springs out of God’s care for them, whether its common life is recognizable as a foretaste of the blessing which God intends for the whole human family.”

“ A church that exists only for itself and its own enlargement is a witness against the gospel.”

“The church is not meant to call men and women out of the world into a safe religious enclave but to call them out in order to send them back as agents of God's kingship.”

“The choice for the church in every age will always be, Will our identity be shaped by Scripture or by our culture—by the biblical story or the cultural story?”

“Live in the kingdom of God in such a way that it provokes questions for which the gospel is the answer.”

“It is less important to ask a Christian what he or she believes about the Bible than it is to inquire what he or she does with it.”

“The living God is a God of justice and mercy and He will be satisfied with nothing less than a people in whom his justice and mercy are alive.”

“Mission begins with a kind of explosion of joy. The news that the rejected and crucified Jesus is alive is something that cannot possibly be suppressed. It must be told. Who could be silent about such a fact? The mission of the Church in the pages of the New Testament is like the fallout from a vast explosion, a radioactive fallout which is not lethal but life-giving.”

“If we take the Bible in its canonical wholeness, as we must, then it is best understood as history. It is universal, cosmic history. It interprets the entire story of all things from creation to consummation, and the story of the human race within creation, and within the human race the story of the people called by God to be the bearers of the meaning of the whole… and—at the very center—the story of the One in whom God’s purpose was decisively revealed by being decisively effected. It is obviously a different story from the stories that the world tells about itself.”


Chris suggested the following first steps we invite you to prayerfully consider:

1. Engage the whole culture with the Gospel: What opportunities will you have (and act upon) to share the Good News this week?
2. Re-imagine your participation in the Church: How might God be calling you to engage more fully in community?
3. Open your table: Ask God to place an image on your heart of someone you are meant to share a table with, especially those who might otherwise feel on the margins. Then, make it happen!


I Shall Not Be Shaken

We Will Feast

Jesus Paid It All

Come And See

See The Love

House Of God Forever