Close this search box.

‘Mission in Weakness and Vulnerability’ in Selected Writings: From Lesslie Newbigin’s and David Bosch’s Missiological Books

Author: Paul Yonggap Jeong
Published: February 2013

MD 4.1

Article Type: Peer Reviewed Article

Lesslie Newbigin and David Bosch were two of the last century’s outstanding missiologists. This essay demonstrates how both of them consistently and convincingly rooted their theology of mission in the weakness and vulnerability of the cross. Their faithful voices are an important reminder that the call is to mission in Jesus’ way.

Not long ago, I was in a Bible study group. The group was studying the sixth chapter of the Gospel of Mark:

Jesus left there and went to his hometown, accompanied by his disciples. When the Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed. “Where did this man get these things?” they asked. “What’s this wisdom that has been given him, that he even does miracles! Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him. Jesus said to them, “Only in his hometown, among his relatives and in his own house is a prophet without honor.” He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. And he was amazed at their lack of faith. (Mark 6:1–6a)2

As the people who were present wrestled to understand whether there was a deeper meaning in the reason why the people in Jesus’ hometown were so hostile to him, it dawned on me that an incarnational approach would require vulnerability from the messenger of God. When we are vulnerable enough to approach people face to face, the message that the messenger carries then becomes genuine. The message and the messenger are not separable; rather, the messenger’s heart and attitude are already melted together in his communication so that the messenger becomes intrinsic to the message. Therefore, without true vulnerability from the messenger, the love of God cannot flow with his or her spoken words into the hearts of the recipients of the message. Therefore, when Jesus himself came as a person into the world and tried to give life to the townspeople, he had to risk hostility and rejection.

Needless to say, we must go back to the Bible if we want to be grounded on solid rock before we articulate any form of mission from the perspective of mission theology. In this article, however, I want to deal with the theme of “mission in weakness and vulnerability” that appears in missiological writings, specifically from the writings of Lesslie Newbigin and David Bosch. In my opinion, how missiologists see the theme of mission in weakness and vulnerability is crucial in understanding and formulating mission theology for missionary movements. The writings on the theme of mission from a position of weakness and vulnerability from missiologists such as Newbigin and Bosch will illuminate us as to how missionaries and mission theologians have tried to understand mission in Christ’s way.

Lesslie Newbigin

Lesslie Newbigin acutely indicated that modern missiology remarkably lacks the understanding of weakness and vulnerability that should essentially accompany the messenger if the message that the messenger carries is to be authenticated.3 In his book, Mission in Christ’s Way, Newbigin unfolds what it means to do mission in the way of Christ.

First of all, in order to do mission as Christ did, according to Newbigin, we need to realize that gospel is revealed, yet hidden, in Jesus Christ; people are naturally asking how a man crucified as a sinner can be the embodiment of the wisdom and power of God. It is like a parable. It is hidden, yet revealed in the eyes of believers. It is there on Calvary that the kingly rule, the kingdom of God, won the victory over all the powers of darkness. The cross is not a defeat overturned by the resurrection, but the cross is itself the victory proved by the resurrection. The disciples who saw the resurrected Jesus began to understand that it was when the Lord of Life was crucified that he exposed and disarmed the power of the darkness and overcame death itself.4

Therefore, the kingdom of God, Newbigin went on to say, now has a human face and a human name. Without Jesus, we cannot comprehend the kingdom of God, and without the kingdom of God, we cannot think of Jesus. Jesus Christ himself is the very embodiment of the kingdom of God. The kingdom of God has been given to us (not that we establish, expand, or extend it by ourselves) in the form of the Suffering Servant of Yahweh. In this milieu, the cross embodies the weakness and vulnerability of God that turned out to be the power of God. It is in this vulnerable love out of which overflowed the saving and healing power of God for humanity.5

Thus, to Newbigin, mission is not a success story. The world yearns for success, but the gospel is, by no means, a success story. Mission does not have to do with a pragmatic or effective effort, or an accomplishment that can be much more easily achieved with ready-made tools or highly developed scientific statistics. In both Newbigin’s time and ours, the most vital mission has not taken place in more developed countries but rather in areas where Christianity is persecuted, believers suffer, and where Jesus’ followers do not have much means to offer—a position many would define as vulnerable or weak. However, the effectiveness of our mission is not in our own hands. It is the work of the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete, who himself arises, is with and comforts the weak and vulnerable community of the believers, and manifests the power of God through this earthen vessel.6

John 20:19–21 clearly shows how mission is to be carried out in Christ’s way, says Newbigin:

On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord. Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” (John 20:19–21)

The words written in John show that Jesus had sent the disciples (and us) exactly as the Father has sent the Son into the world. In the same manner that the Father sent his Son, the Son now also sends us. For the disciples to understand more fully the manner in which they were to be sent, Jesus showed them his hands and side. Here lies the ultimate foundation for vulnerable mission. The church, which is the body of Christ, as the bearer of mission, will have the same scars as she goes out to the world and preaches the gospel of the kingdom. These scars will authenticate the mission that is undertaken and the very gospel that they preach.

The cross—the scars—that the disciples bear is not a suffering that the church has to passively endure. Nor is it a defeat that the church should receive. It is not an act of oppression that the church should tolerate submissively. The scars are “the marks of Jesus” that the Apostle Paul talks about (Gal 6:17). It is the weakness, vulnerability, and suffering that accompanied Paul when he preached the gospel. We see these characteristics constantly demonstrated in the life and ministry of Paul (e.g., 1 Cor 4:8–13; 2 Cor 4–5; 12:1–10).7 To heal the sick and cast out demons is “an active and uncompromising challenge to all the powers of evil, yet . . . a totally vulnerable challenge so that (and here is the profound mystery) the final victory is God’s and not ours.”8 In weakness and vulnerability, seemingly a defeat, the victory of God is assured.

The concept of mission from a position of weakness and vulnerability is also addressed in another of Newbigin’s books, The Open Secret. Although The Open Secret deals primarily with the broad area of theology of mission within the framework of trinitarian view, Newbigin always focuses the reader’s attention to the fact that the cross is the way of Christ for mission and that we are to follow him in his example. As a missionary from the West, Newbigin was very sensitive to how people in other parts of the world might feel about Western colonialism, and he recognized the incongruity of the tie that Christian mission had with expanding Western power.9 Newbigin insisted that those involved in present-day mission should learn from New Testament examples “what it means to bear witness to the gospel from a position not of strength but of weakness.”10 Newbigin went on, saying that “this picture of the mission is as remote as possible from the picture of the Church as a powerful body putting forth its strength and wisdom to master the strength and wisdom of the world.”11 The opposite is true in this case. The church is weak and vulnerable. However, it is in the church’s state of weakness and vulnerability that the Spirit of God himself manifests his power through her. A true mission cannot be done by using military strategy, mastering the strength and wisdom of the world, and neither can it be done by a successful sales campaign. The victory is not ours. The victory is and always has been won by the One who is greater than we are. Newbigin’s description of mission in weakness and vulnerability is well presented in this way:

The real triumphs of the gospel have not been won when the church is strong in a worldly sense; they have been won when the church is faithful in the midst of weakness, contempt, and rejection. And I would simply add my testimony, which could be illustrated by many examples, that it has been in situations where faithfulness to the gospel placed the church in a position of total weakness and rejection that the advocate has himself risen up and, often through the words and deeds of very “insignificant” people, spoken the word that confronted and shamed the wisdom and power of the world.12

What constantly appears in Newbigin’s theology of mission is that significant advances of the church do not happen when we depend on human power, decision, or the ability of “mobilizing and allocating of ‘resources.’ ”13 Rather, significant advances of the church happen without advance knowledge and without human power.

Earlier, I mentioned that The Open Secret was written within the framework of the trinitarian view. What is intriguing in Newbigin’s emphasis on the trinitarian approach is that the element of weakness and vulnerability found within christology is always combined with the fresh, surprising action and empowerment of the Holy Spirit. Influenced by Roland Allen,14 Newbigin dared not omit the essential place of the Holy Spirit in mission. The evidence of Newbigin’s emphasis on the role of the Holy Spirit is clear in his ecclesiology as well.15

Newbigin’s emphasis on the role of the Holy Spirit is also apparent in his understanding of the Gospel of John. With the dominant theme of “sending” apparent throughout the Fourth Gospel, Newbigin confirms that the writer of the Gospel is truly concerned with mission.16 The earlier quotation, having established mission in Jesus’ way, continues: “And with that he breathed on them and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven’ ” (John 20:22–23).

Various roles of the Holy Spirit are previously mentioned in the Gospel of John, especially in chapters 14–16. This emphasis on the role of the Spirit in the Fourth Gospel is culminated in verse 22, preceded by Jesus’s remark as to the way in which the disciples will themselves be sent—with scars (v. 20). What I am trying to point out is that the great commission in the Gospel of John (20:19–23) combines an emphasis on the power of the Holy Spirit (pneumatology) with the weakness and vulnerability (christology) of the messenger—so much so, that there is no room for any kind of triumphalism even as we are used mightily by God Almighty in the communication of the message. As much as “the Church on earth is by its nature missionary,”17 mission as having been sent is by its nature vulnerable.

In another of his books, The Gospel in a Pluralist Society, Newbigin deals with the meaning of the cross.18 In an attempt to shed light on the relationship between the meaning of history and Christ, Newbigin recognizes the centrality of the cross in the kingdom of God. What is the meaning of history and what does history move toward? Referring to Hendrikus Berkhof,19 Newbigin elaborates the prominent placement of the weakness and vulnerability of the cross, both in the kingdom of God and throughout history.

To Newbigin, history has to do with the gap “between the coming of the kingdom veiled in the vulnerable and powerless Jesus and the coming of the kingdom in manifest power.”20 Thus, patience and watchfulness are greatly required because we live between the times. What is critical here is that the character of this time in which we are waiting is determined by the character of the earthly ministry of Jesus Christ. The church, while journeying through history, is destined to participate in the suffering of Christ.21

In our present period, the meaning of the cross has both been revealed and yet still remains hidden. Though the event of the crucifixion of Jesus was seen as a real historical moment by believers and unbelievers alike, the resurrection of the Lord, on the other hand, was seen only by those who had faith in him. This hiddenness of the kingdom of God has been throughout history. However, to Newbigin, it is this hiddenness that “makes possible the conversion of the nations.” Because of this hiddenness of the kingdom, nations may continue to freely turn to the Lord. Without the hiddenness of the kingdom of God, nations would be forced to turn to the Lord because of the terrible majesty of Jesus revealed in glory with no room for a free will of their own. Here is the significance of the weakness and vulnerability of the cross, both in the kingdom of God and as evidenced in history:

When the Church tries to embody the rule of God in the forms of earthly power it may achieve that power, but it is no longer a sign of the kingdom. But when it goes the way the Master went, unmasking and challenging the powers of darkness and bearing in its own life the cost of their onslaught, then there are given to the Church signs of the kingdom, powers of healing and blessing which, to eyes of faith, are recognizable as true signs that Jesus reigns.22

Acceptance of vulnerability and weakness in mission is, to Newbigin, not only appropriate but also indispensable for the authentication of the gospel of the kingdom that the messenger preaches.

David J. Bosch

Though David Bosch, a South African missiologist, wrote several important books such as Witness to the World, Transforming Mission, and Believing in the Future,23 I will primarily address only two books in this article: A Spirituality of the Road and The Vulnerability of Mission.24 A Spirituality of the Road was written earliest among his books, and The Vulnerability of Mission was written just before he died in a car accident, and yet both of them are very relevant to the theme of “mission in weakness and vulnerability.” It shows that the theme of mission in weakness and vulnerability had been on his mind constantly throughout his lifetime. It should also be added that his book, Transforming Mission, which many missiologists regard as a magnum opus, also deals with this issue in much broader context, which is beyond the scope of this article.25

As a white man who had stood against apartheid in South Africa and had kept his integrity about racial issues until death, Bosch knew better than most that missionaries and missiologists should live and carry out their ministries with vulnerability. Bosch solidly developed the theological foundation for the primary thesis of A Spirituality of the Road from 2 Corinthians. In the last chapter, Bosch commends that we as believers above all need to have the courage to be weak.26

What Bosch noted in the Apostle Paul’s life is that “true mission is the weakest and least impressive human activity imaginable, the very antithesis of a theology of glory.” This Apostle followed his Master. To Paul, weakness and vulnerability was “a necessary precondition for any authentic mission,” said Bosch.27

The same precondition of weakness and vulnerability is true within authentic community. The community of Christ is not the assembly of spiritual giants. It is the gathering of the broken people and led by people like Peter who experienced brokenness. Mission involves not just the vulnerability of the people whom we want to convert, but also requires the vulnerability of the missionaries themselves; because Jesus himself revealed our own sins by his vulnerability. Our sin would have remained hidden if Jesus had not been willing to be vulnerable.28

Even my own experiences are evidence that our failures and mistakes can become assets. When we become vulnerable, yet courageous enough to share our failures and mistakes with others, these failures become rich assets, and transform the hearers. As we begin to take the road to weakness and vulnerability, we see people changed.

Bosch seemed to understand how powerful it is to be in a position of vulnerability. He stated that Jesus had never been so close to the world as when he was on the cross. In vulnerability, Jesus was able to embrace the world so closely and in this same vulnerability he was able to relate himself to the world. Though Bosch also believed that it was on the cross that Jesus stood against the world more than any other occasion, it was Jesus’s involvement with the world that Bosch wanted to highlight.29

Bosch’s perception of the relationship between the vulnerable mission and the world was broad. To Bosch, mission in vulnerability and weakness does not only pertain to so-called “spiritual matters,” but that mission in vulnerability and weakness also applies to ministry that has social dimensions. To Bosch, the distinction between “spiritual and social” ministries was caused by dichotomistic thought that originated from Greek spiritual ancestors. Vulnerable mission legitimately encompasses social issues as well as personal and spiritual ones in a traditional sense.30

As a final comment on A Spirituality of the Road, I also want to note that Bosch views missiology as “the study of the Church as surprise.”31 Reciting Ivan Illich,32 Bosch asserts that theology, especially missiology, is always in process. Because missionaries constantly bring their own experiences into their own areas of reflection as they continue to engage in mission, their way of thinking or frame of reference also constantly changes.33

This discerning attentiveness with the thorough grasp of the meaning of mission in weakness and vulnerability should assure that militant vocabularies like “soldiers, forces, advance, army, crusade, marching orders, strategy, planning, and many more” should be used discreetly in describing mission.34 For after all, it is the Spirit of God who works through the messenger who is obedient in a position of vulnerability and weakness. Through this position, we might come to realize that we are not there as messengers to give correct answers or to resolve problems with superior technology or tools, but that we were sent by God to show scars in vulnerability, and relate ourselves with the people to which the message is being given, because we too are weak and vulnerable. By doing mission in our Master’s way, taking the road to weakness, instead of strength and power, we will move “from surprise to surprise.”35

As I address another of Bosch’s books, The Vulnerability of Mission, I will not discuss issues related to the book, Silence, written by Japanese author Shūsaku Endō, which Bosch referred to in the beginning of his own book. I want to specifically avoid talking about apostasy in Silence, since Bosch also describes Endō’s book as a disturbing novel. However, the main point Bosch tried to draw from Endō’s book was that the cross is not about the power of God, but the weakness of God.36

In The Vulnerability of Mission, Bosch states that the cross is not a beauty or a power contest,37 nor is mission to be carried out by crusading minds but by crucified minds.38 What Bosch eventually tried to discuss was the problem of the colonialism that Westerners have imposed on the rest of the world. For it was natural in the Christendom model that where the power of Western countries went, their religion (Christianity) was expected to go as well.

Although Bosch addresses the flaws of colonialism and Western mission, Bosch’s statement also sounds a note of warning against the missionary forces from the Majority World, since we tend to think that generally speaking, we (the missionary forces from the Majority World) are currently replacing Western missionary forces. We may not be performing our ministry under the banner of colonialism; however it is often done with substitute colonialism such as the power of money, technology, popular business brand, and the like.

Whether it is from Western countries or the rest of the world, if mission is to be authenticated according to the way of our Master, mission should have the marks of Christ. Here, I would like to make sure, along with Newbigin, that Jesus is not portrayed as a victim, nor do we accept our suffering passively, but that Christ and we are submitting to God actively.39 Nevertheless, mission is not a success story either.40 Desmond Tutu once declared that the church of Christ should be a “failing community rather than a success-driven one” in the face of a South African government that was outlawing nineteen ministry organizations, arresting many of the church leaders, and operating banning orders.41 We have no choice but to follow the footsteps of our Master. In the words of Jonathan Bonk, there is nothing “strategically efficient . . . about taking up a cross.”42

The analysis of Bosch and his understanding of mission in weakness and vulnerability may be stated here in a rather brief manner. However, his mission praxis, personal life, and his difficult journey in the context of South Africa continue to serve as the clearest example of a position of mission from weakness and vulnerability. From the beginning of his ministry period (1957–1967) as a missionary among the Xhosa in Transkei until the time of his death in April 1992 he was constantly in a situation in which he had to be vulnerable; in the context of apartheid, as a white man, Bosch found himself caught between the blacks and Afrikaners (whites). The situation of apartheid continued to become more pressingly difficult for him as he continued to stand for and with those who were black.43 Bosch understood that to be an instrument of reconciliation, he could not avoid being “crushed in between.”44 As Bosch began to identify himself more with the suffering blacks, his family, including his young children, had to go through the same difficulties.45 Here, I do not feel that I am dealing with this issue of mission in vulnerability and weakness somberly enough to accurately convey to the reader how crucial it was to Bosch. For Bosch, his writings were reflections of his lifetime struggles for mission in vulnerability, weakness, and integrity. With utmost integrity and seriousness, he embraced this vulnerability into his life, into his heart and mind, and in his flesh and blood, and sacrificed greatly for it. He understood that it was an essential part of his mission.

In this short article, I have examined the writings of Lesslie Newbigin and David Bosch. However, throughout history this theme of mission from a position of vulnerability and weakness was not ignored by conscientious men and women of God. The reason we must now re-emphasize it is because somewhere along the way we lost touch. As Protestants, we tend to launch our missionary movement with triumphalism and ambition, and choose to settle for mere effectiveness in activities. We have forgotten how our Master did his mission. We have not paused to think about the true meaning of the cross and its implications for our mission. We have tended to go ahead of the Lord carelessly whistling, as Kōsuke Koyama has described.46 We have hastily embraced the theology of glory before we have tasted the suffering. We must want to know Jesus more with the willingness to have the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings (Phil 3:10).

Mission in weakness and vulnerability does matter. As we comprehend the true meaning of the gospel of the kingdom of God, we must put the cross, the scar, and the weakness and vulnerability at the center of the kingdom of God. And we shall humbly follow our Master. That is authentic mission.

A graduate of the Korea Military Academy, Paul Yonggap Jeong was voluntarily discharged from the army to pursue his calling as a minister. After graduating with an MDiv from the Korean Baptist Theological Seminary, Jeong became the senior pastor of Hanter Baptist Church in Seoul, which he also jointly established. He earned his ThM at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in North Carolina and his PhD in intercultural studies at Fuller Theological Seminary. He was the interim pastor of Winston-Salem Korean Baptist Church and the senior pastor of Carrboro Korean Baptist Church. Currently, he teaches at the School of Intercultural Studies at Fuller Theological Seminary and serves as the International Director of Vision for the Kingdom, which is a cooperative mission for world evangelization.


Allen, Roland. The Spontaneous Expansion of the Church and the Causes Which Hinder It. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1962.

Berkhof, Hendrikus. Christ the Meaning of History. Richmond: John Knox, 1966.

Bonk, Jonathan J. Missions and Money: Affluence as a Western Missionary Problem. American Society of Missiology Series 15. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 1991.

Bosch, David Jacobus. Believing in the Future: Toward a Missiology of Western Culture. Christian Mission and Modern Culture. Valley Forge, PA: Trinity Press International, 1995.

________. A Spirituality of the Road. Missionary Studies 6. Scottdale, PA: Herald Press, 1979.

________. Transforming Mission: Paradigm Shifts in Theology of Mission. American Society of Missiology Series 16. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 1991.

________. The Vulnerability of Mission. Occasional Paper (Selly Oak Colleges) 10. Birmingham, England: Selly Oak Colleges, 1991.

________. Witness to the World: The Christian Mission in Theological Perspective. New Foundations Theological Library. Atlanta: John Knox, 1980.

Flannery, Austin. Vatican Council II: The Conciliar and Post Conciliar Documents. Wilmington, DE: Scholarly Resources, 1975.

Illich, Ivan. Mission and Midwifery: Essays on Missionary Formation. Mambo Occasional Papers: Missio-Pastoral Series 4. Gweru, Zimbabwe: Mambo Press, 1974.

Jeong, Paul Yonggap. Mission from a Position of Weakness. American University Studies 269. New York: Peter Lang, 2007.

Koyama, Kōsuke. No Handle on the Cross: An Asian Meditation on the Crucified Mind. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 1977.

Kritzinger, J. N. J., and W. A. Saayman. David J. Bosch: Prophetic Integrity, Cruciform Praxis. Pietermaritzburg, South Africa: Cluster Publications, 2011.

Newbigin, Lesslie. The Gospel in a Pluralist Society. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1989.

________. The Household of God: Lectures on the Nature of the Church. Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, 2008.

________. Mission in Christ’s Way: Bible Studies. WCC Mission Series. Geneva: World Council of Churches, 1987.

________. One Body, One Gospel, One World: The Christian Mission Today. London: International Missionary Council, 1958.

________. The Open Secret: An Introduction to the Theology of Mission. Rev. ed. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1995.

________. Unfinished Agenda: An Autobiography. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1985.

1 This essay is an adaptation of a lecture presented at the Abilene Christian University “Global Conference on Vulnerable Mission,” March 7–10, 2012.

2 All Scripture quotations are from the New International Version.

3 Lesslie Newbigin, Mission in Christ’s Way: Bible Studies, WCC Mission Series (Geneva: World Council of Churches, 1987), 23.

4 Ibid., 5–6.

5 Ibid., 6–12.

6 Ibid., 13–14; Lesslie Newbigin, The Open Secret: An Introduction to the Theology of Mission, rev. ed. (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1995), 62.

7 Newbigin, Mission in Christ’s Way, 23–24.

8 Ibid., 25–26; emphasis added.

9 Lesslie Newbigin, Unfinished Agenda: An Autobiography (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1985). Throughout this book, Newbigin humbly and honestly expresses his guilty feelings as well as gratitude while looking back on the entire years of his ministry. See specifically Newbigin’s first impression on the relationship between the missionaries and the people upon his arrival in India (41) and his retrospect (“Looking Back and Forward”) in the last part of the book (251–55).

10 Newbigin, Open Secret, 5.

11 Ibid., 62.

12 Ibid.

13 Ibid., 64.

14 Roland Allen, The Spontaneous Expansion of the Church and the Causes Which Hinder It (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1962), iii–iv.

15 Lesslie Newbigin, One Body, One Gospel, One World: The Christian Mission Today (London: International Missionary Council, 1958), 18–19; Lesslie Newbigin, The Household of God: Lectures on the Nature of the Church (Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, 2008), 95–122.; Newbigin, Unfinished Agenda, 136–37, 192.

16 Newbigin, Mission in Christ’s Way, 22–31.

17 Austin Flannery, Vatican Council II: The Conciliar and Post Conciliar Documents (Wilmington, DE: Scholarly Resources, 1975), 814; ch. 1 of Ad Gentes.

18 Lesslie Newbigin, The Gospel in a Pluralist Society (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1989), ch. 9.

19 Hendrikus Berkhof, Christ the Meaning of History (Richmond: John Knox, 1966), 101–121, under “The Crucified Christ in History.”

20 Newbigin, Gospel in a Pluralist Society, 106.

21 Ibid., 107.

22 Ibid., 108.

23 David Jacobus Bosch, Witness to the World: The Christian Mission in Theological Perspective, New Foundations Theological Library (Atlanta: John Knox, 1980); Transforming Mission: Paradigm Shifts in Theology of Mission, American Society of Missiology Series 16 (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 1991); Believing in the Future: Toward a Missiology of Western Culture, Christian Mission and Modern Culture (Valley Forge, PA: Trinity Press International, 1995).

24 David Jacobus Bosch, A Spirituality of the Road, Missionary Studies 6 (Scottdale, PA: Herald Press, 1979); The Vulnerability of Mission, Occasional Paper (Selly Oak Colleges) 10 (Birmingham, England: Selly Oak Colleges, 1991).

25 For more on the theme of “mission in weakness and vulnerability” in Transforming Mission, see ch. 5 of my book, Mission from a Position of Weakness, American University Studies 269 (New York: Peter Lang, 2007).

26 Bosch, Spirituality of the Road, 75.

27 Ibid., 76; emphasis added.

28 Ibid., 77.

29 Ibid., 15–16.

30 Ibid., 16.

31 Ibid., 59.

32 Ivan Illich, Mission and Midwifery: Essays on Missionary Formation, Mambo Occasional Papers: Missio-Pastoral Series 4 (Gweru, Zimbabwe: Mambo Press, 1974), 7.

33 No wonder that his final great book, Transforming Mission, is about paradigm shifts in theology of mission.

34 Bosch, Spirituality of the Road, 30–31.

35 Ibid., 59.

36 Bosch, Vulnerability of Mission, 1–5.

37 Ibid., 5.

38 Ibid., 13.

39 Newbigin, Mission in Christ’s Way, 25.

40 Ibid., 13.

41 Bosch, Vulnerability of Mission, 15.

42 Jonathan J. Bonk, Missions and Money: Affluence as a Western Missionary Problem, American Society of Missiology Series 15 (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 1991), 118.

43 J. N. J. Kritzinger and W. A. Saayman, David J. Bosch: Prophetic Integrity, Cruciform Praxis (Pietermaritzburg, South Africa: Cluster Publications, 2011), 106–8.

44 Ibid., 178.

45 Ibid., 135.

46 Kōsuke Koyama, No Handle on the Cross: An Asian Meditation on the Crucified Mind (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 1977), 2; Bosch, Vulnerability of Mission, 6.

Close this search box.