Christian theology is more immediately a practical than a speculative discipline, and such speculation as it harbors stands ultimately in the service of right worship, right confession of Christ, and right living. Right practice demands, of course, critical and constructive reï¬‚ection, and the best Christian theology takes place in the interplay between reï¬‚ection and practice. That is why honor is traditionally given to those practical thinkers and preachers who are designated “Fathers of the Church.” Most of them were bishops who, in the early centuries of Christianity, supervised the teaching of catechumens, delivered homilies in the liturgical assembly, oversaw the spiritual and moral life of their communities, gathered in council when needed to clarify and determine the faith, and took charge of the mission to the world as evangelistic opportunities arose. A ï¬gure of comparable stature and range in the ecumenical twentieth century was Lesslie Newbigin (1909-1998).
–Geoï¬€rey Wainwright, Lesslie Newbigin: A Theological Life (Oxford: Oxford University Press: 2000), p. v