This fall I am one of the teaching assistants for Geoffrey Wainwright's course at Duke Divinity School: The Theology of Lesslie Newbigin. I will be posting more about that course eventually.
In reading Newbigin's autobiography, Unfinished Agenda: An Updated Autobiography, I was impressed with his leadership, passion for the unity of the church, constant championing of evangelism, love for missions, and emphasis on Bible study.
Unfinished Agenda: An Updated Autobiography by Lesslie Newbigin
Here is my Amazon.com review:
This accessible autobiography is the best way to get to know Lesslie Newbigin (December 8, 1909 - January 30, 1998) who was an Englishman, Scottish pastor, missionary to India, bishop, ecumenical leader, theologian and missiologist. Newbigin briefly describes his life with stories and summaries of the different chapters of his life. It is enormously helpful for making sense of the complex relationships and positions he had throughout his life and appreciating his writings.
"Unfinished Agenda" was originally published in 1985 when Newbigin was 76 by SPCK (London) and Eerdmans (Grand Rapids). It was later published with a new chapter in a revised version in 1993 when Newbigin was 84 by Saint Andrew Press (Edinburgh) with a new subtitle "Unfinished Agenda: An Updated Autobiography." It is now in 2009 being published by Wipf and Stock (and is available cheaper there than Amazon).
In a review in International Bulletin of Missionary Research 20 no 1 Ja 1996, p 36, Lamin Sanneh writes,
This updated autobiography of Bishop Lesslie Newbigin brings his life's story up to 1992. It is a rich and varied story, not just of a remarkable man but of the ecumenical movement, one of whose architects he was and the beginning of whose sad decline he has also witnessed . . . As a guide to ecumenical affairs and their great, leading personalities, Newbigin's autobiography is a record of inestimable value. It will also stand as the testament of a broad, generous spirit whose tireless and characteristically self-effacing efforts for the cause remain a reason for profound thanksgiving.
-Lamin Sanneh, the D. Willis James Professor of Missions and World Christianity at Yale Divinity School, New Haven, Connecticut.
The Wipf and Stock page gives this information about the book:
Complete with a provocative new chapter for this revised edition of his popular autobiography, Lesslie Newbigin describes the breadth and depth of his missionary service-as a student, wrestling with problems of faith and vocation; as a Church of Scotland missionary, helping to build the Church of South India; as a bishop in Madurai and Madras; as a midwife of the integration of the International Missionary Council and World Council of Churches; and as pastor in one of Birmingham's toughest inner city areas. With commitment, spirituality, and a happy marriage to support him, he invites the reader to share the joy of his adventure in Christ.
A fascinating autobiography full of wise comments on the developments in the World Church since 1945 . . ."
-Dr. Chris Wigglesworth
former moderator of CCOM,
Church of Scotland
"Lesslie Newbigin is one of the few great figures of the Church who has both practiced mission and thought deeply about it."
-Bishop Hugh Montefiore
Bishop of Birmingham