Lesslie Newbigin on Nihilism, Modernity, and Jesus Christ

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7 Responses to Lesslie Newbigin on Nihilism, Modernity, and Jesus Christ

  1. Was Nietzsche even a nihilist? I mean he made a bunch of contradictions in his philosophy (ie–“God is dead! Now let’s become gods!” (not exactly word for word but close enough)).


  2. infanttheology says:

    Father Kimel,

    Thanks for posting this. Someone had recently recommended one of Newbigin’s later books to me to read and so when I saw this post, I started listening right away. So far, so good – I am enjoying the lecture.

    I know you don’t here much from me here lately. Busy, busy…. Hope you and yours are well.



  3. Nicole says:

    This was very lengthy, so I listened to it while I was typing some stuff. But it was very interesting and informative!


  4. Kim Fabricius says:

    Thanks for this, Alvin. It was good to hear the great man’s voice again. I first met Newbigin – in awe at his credentials in missiology and ecumenism – when I was a student/ordinand at Oxford (in 1982 – he taught a short course on missiology at Mansfield College). Later I was privileged to have him as an esteemed elder-statesman URC colleague. Shocked by the state of European culture and (liberal) theology on his return to the UK from India in the mid 1970s, Newbigin launched his parting crusade – his critique of Enlightenment modernism (beginning with The Other Side of 1984 [1983]).

    I remember meeting Newbigin again at a URC General Assembly, when he kindly thanked me for an article I’d written on Karl Barth for our national magazine Reform, and reminisced about meeting Barth at two preparatory conferences for the 1953 WCC Evanston Assembly, commenting on KB’s terrific sense of humour (not mentioning, of course, how impressed KB was at the young LN’s chairmanship skills and “spiritual discipline”). Newbigin also promptly and incisively responded to a letter I later wrote him (about some theological reservations I had about Welsh nationalism). Sadly, towards the end of his life, we came to disagree on issues concerning human sexuality which the URC was addressing in the 1990s. But the national leaders and theologians we have nowadays in the URC – pygmies compared to this giant.

    Sorry about my own reminiscences! More substantively, the 3-word Wittgensteinian thought that came to mind on listening to the first 15 minutes of the tape: Doubt plays black.

    Thanks again,


    • Fr Aidan Kimel says:

      Thanks for sharing the reminiscences, Kim. I wish I had known the man. I started reading him back in the 90s. The first book of his books I read was The Gospel in a Pluralist Society. I was deeply impressed by it. It deserves, I think, a wide readership, especially by parish pastors.


  5. Pingback: Man’s limp “who do I say that he is” and what God calls reliable proof | theology like a child

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