The Open Secret by Lesslie Newbigin Book SummarySeries: Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, Part V, Part VI, Part VII

Sharing the Life of the Son: Mission as Love in Action. If we have seen that in the Father God is making his reign over all creation, we see this reign fully acted out and present in the person of Jesus Christ. “The longed-for kingdom is not only proclaimed: it is present.” (44) But a great question then comes out of this, “does the presence of the kingdom end with the end of Jesus’ earthly ministry?” (44) Newbigin points out that the community of disciples now continues the presence of Jesus after his death. While this seems like an impossible task (and it is) it is possibly only because the Spirit is given to them to empower them and go before them as they seek to live faithfully as the people of Jesus. “His mission is to be their mission. And so also his Spirit is to be theirs…. the disciples are now taken up into that saving mission for which Jesus was anointed and sent it the power of the Spirit.” (48) The question that comes next how we think that the presence of the kingdom can really be found in the church. He concludes that,

“The church represents the presence of the reign of God in the life of the world, not in the triumphalist sense (as the “successful” cause) and not in the moralistic sense (as the righteous cause), but in the sense that it is the place where the mystery of the kingdom present it the dying and rising of Jesus is made present here and now so that all people, righteous and unrighteous, are enabled to take and share the love of God before whom all are unrighteous and all are accepted as righteous. It is the place where the glory of God actually abides among us so that the love of God is available to sin-burdened men and women. It is the place where the power of God is manifested in a community of sinners. It is the place where the promise of Jesus is fulfilled: ‘I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.’ It is the place where the reign of god is present as love shared among the unlovely.” (54)

Bearing the Witness of the Spirit: Mission as Hope in Action. In this chapter Newbigin discusses how “mission is not just something that the church does; it is something that is done by the Spirit, who is himself the witness, who changes both the world and the church, who always goes before the church in its missionary journey.” (56) As stated previously, the reason the church can hope in being the presence of the kingdom is completely dependent upon the action of the Spirit. Drawing on his vast missionary experience, Newbigin writes, “My own experience as a missionary has been that the significant advances of the church have not been the result of our own decisions about the mobilizing and allocating of ‘resources.’” (64)