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The Future of Mission in the World Council of Churches: The Dialogue between Lesslie Newbigin and Konrad Raiser

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In this article, Michael W. Goheen summarizes and evaluates a debate between ecumenical pioneer Lesslie Newbigin and former WCC general secretary Konrad Raiser. Raiser exemplifies a trinitarian approach to ecumenism and mission that recognizes the universal presence of the Holy Spirit among all peoples and religions, and so would cease to have a Christocentric focus. For Newbigin, while a trinitarian approach to ecumenism and mission is of paramount importance, an abandonment of the centrality and universality of Jesus Christ is something that cannot be abandoned. In the end, says Goheen, the differences between Raiser and Newbigin are differences revolving around the meaning of Jesus Christ and his atoning work on the cross.

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