These are some of my favorite quotes from “Proper Confidence”, written by Lesslie Newbigin – one of my favorite authors. The quotes are referring to paradigm changes from modernity to postmodernity and how Christ and evangelism permeate both paradigms. What we think we know, and hold so dear to, is not necessarily always what should be known. I wholeheartedly recommend this book for all and especially those who might be struggling with a fundamentalist mindset of, “I do therefore I am accepted.” versus a more appropriate, “I am accepted therefore I do.” My own four half-pennies.
“But we are now entering a postmodern period, a time in which the seemingly assured assumptions we have inherited from the Enlightenment are being deconstructed.”
“Secondly, the phrase “until that day” reminds us that this is not a claim to possess final truth but to be on the way that leads us to the fullness of truth.”
“It will mean that my understanding of the truth must be constantly open to revision and correction, but — and this is the crucial point — only and always within the irreversible commitment to Jesus Christ.
“Hold to Christ, and for the rest be totally uncommitted.”
“If we are to make contact with reality, we must have the courage to make statements that can be doubted. There can be no knowing of reality without the courage to affirm what can be doubted and to act on that affirmation.”
“”Your kingdom come,” What are we, as Christians, asking for when we so pray?”
“I am referring to a kind of fundamentalism which seeks to affirm the factual, objective truth of every statement in the Bible and which thinks that if any single factual error were to be admitted, biblical authority would collapse.”
“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 church has defined the boundaries of Scripture as canonical and thus as having a position of decisive authority within the entire ongoing tradition, but that does not mean that the conditions governing all human knowing of God do not apply within the biblical canon.”
“If we allow the Bible to be that which we attend to above all else, we will be saved from two dangers: The first is the danger of the closed mind. The Bible leaves an enormous space open for exploration. …The second is the danger of the mind open at both ends, the mind which is prepared to entertain anything but has a firm hold of nothing.”
“The reasonableness of Christianity will be demonstrated (insofar as it can be) not by adjusting its claims to the requirements of a preexisting structure of thought but by showing how it can provide an alternative foundation for a different structure.”