- Proper Confidence: Faith, Doubt, and Certainty in Christian Discipleship © 1995
- 105 pages
Proper Confidence is the fruit of a lifetime. Lesslie Newbigin’s bio blurb describes him as “an internationally esteemed British missionary, pastor, apologist, theologian, and ecumenical statesman.” In this book, published three years before his death, he described his vision of true apologetics. Proper confidence cannot be found by imposing modern or even post-modern methods of inquiry on the question of God. No, we need to question the very worldview that informs our lives to find our way home. No doubt, Newbigin’s lifetime of cross-cultural experiences gave him the perspective required to criticize and to transcend his own cultural presuppositions.
It’s difficult to summarize Newbigin’s argument since, at 105 pages, it’s already quite dense. Nonetheless, here’s what I understand as the core of his book: We find God and our confidence in his reality as we commit to following him. A good analogy is the relationship between husband and wife. You can learn a lot about your spouse by observing him or her from a distance—but you can not truly know the other person. True knowledge of the other only comes in relationship.
Newbigin doesn’t waste any words here. Each chapter is pregnant with insight. Our worldviews are so deeply inset, this book is an antidote worth reading and rereading. This was my first foray into Newbigin’s corpus. It will not be my last.