Modern man finds the concept of finality alien to his whole way of thinking. Science teaches him that human history is only a moment in the life of an infinite universe. His study of world religions calls into question the uniqueness of Christianity. Western man's uneasy conscience--due to the excesses of colonialism--makes him hesitant to press his own faith on others. By taking the issues of finality out of the classroom, Lesslie Newbigin demonstrates its importance to Christians with loyalties both to the community of the church and to the community of man. He asserts that conversion does not involve either a denial of the value of a person's previous faith or a blanket acceptance of the church's way of doing things. Bishop Newbigin examines the various Christian interpretations of finality, giving special attention to the views of Dutch theologian Hendrik Kraemer about the relationship of Christianity to world religions. The author advances the debate by showing that the way to move beyond Kraemer's position is to look for the place of the gospel in secular history. The gospel is the announcement of an event which demands that all men make a decision for or against. It is the clue to history--the history of mankind and of the individual.
Lesslie Newbigin (1909-1998) spent many years in India as missionary and bishop before returning to the UK where he became Moderator of the United Reformed Church. He wrote numerous books including Foolishness to the Greeks and The Gospel in a Pluralist Society.