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dc.contributor.advisorRae, Murray
dc.contributor.advisorDavidson, Ivor
dc.contributor.authorDodds, Adam
dc.identifier.citationDodds, A. (2013). The Mission of the Triune God: Trinitarian Missiology in the Tradition of Lesslie Newbigin (Thesis, Doctor of Philosophy). University of Otago. Retrieved from
dc.description.abstractIn this thesis I investigate trinitarian missiology in the tradition of Lesslie Newbigin. As one of the most important missiologists of the twentieth century, Newbigin is well known for being a successful missionary to India and for catalysing missionary engagement with modern Western culture. Theologically, Newbigin is also significant for pioneering a trinitarian missiology. It has been fifty years since Newbigin called for the development of an explicitly trinitarian missiology, and this work is a response to that call. As a theologian and missiologist, Newbigin’s chief contribution was not in systematically expositing a topic, but in prophetically discerning the ‘signs of the times’ in order to chart a course forward. Consequently, I set out to examine Newbigin’s trinitarian missiology, and then I go beyond Newbigin to construct a systematic theological trinitarian missiology. Thus, this study falls neatly into two Parts. Part One examines the main contours of Newbigin’s missiology from his mission to India (chapter one) and his mission to modernity (chapter two). Then in chapter three I examine in detail Newbigin’s trinitarian missiology in Trinitarian Doctrine for Today’s Mission and The Open Secret, noting the influences on Newbigin, the historical development in his thought and the content of his account of the mission of the Triune God. Part One forms the foundation for Part Two. In Part Two I develop a constructive and systematic trinitarian missiology that builds on Newbigin’s trinitarian missiology presented in Part One. I first focus on the doctrine of the Trinity proper and its relevance for the theology of mission by discussing the Triune being of the missionary God (chapter four). Mission originates in the Triune being of God, the being that is constituted in a communion of loving relations. As love is not incidental but intrinsic to who God is, so mission ad extra flows freely out of God’s trinitarian being. God is a missionary God. In chapter five I develop an explicitly trinitarian account of the mission of the Son and the mission of the Holy Spirit, examining the central features of their respective missions in relation to each other and in relation to the missio ecclesiae. God seeks communion with His wayward creation and establishes in Christ by the Spirit a living echo of that divine communion: the Church. In chapter six I develop a trinitarian account of the missionary Church and the Church’s mission. The Church exists in Christ, by the Spirit, for the Father. She is constituted in and by God’s mission, being Christologically and Pneumatologically determined. Consequently, the Church is missionary by nature. There is a missionary dimension to all she does, and she possesses a call to intentional missionary activity: communicating the gospel to the ends of the earth. Finally, I will offer a conclusion summarising the contribution of this thesis and indicating how further work in trinitarian missiology might proceed (chapter seven). In this thesis I intend to provide a systematic account of the central features of the mission of the Triune God in the tradition of Lesslie Newbigin. In doing so I will demonstrate the necessity of a Christian missiology being thoroughly trinitarian, and the abiding significance of Newbigin’s writings for continued missiological reflection for the purpose of serving the call of the Church to mission.
dc.publisherUniversity of Otago
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dc.subjectLesslie Newbigin
dc.subjectTriune God
dc.titleThe Mission of the Triune God: Trinitarian Missiology in the Tradition of Lesslie Newbigin
dc.language.rfc3066en of Philosophy of Otago
otago.openaccessAbstract Only
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