Reviews - What do customers think about The Spontaneous Expansion of the Church: And the Causes That Hinder It?
A paradigm for current and potential missionaries Nov 22, 2006
Roland Allen's book, written in the 1920s as a sequel for his book, "Missionary Methods: St. Paul's or Ours?", stands alone and was way ahead of its time. The book looks at the methods and structure of the modern missionary movement and shows how it fails to follow Biblical standards and models, and as a result stunts the natural growth of the church. Allen's treatment is from an Anglican perspective, but it is applicable to the Christian church at large. Mission organizations, denominations and individual churches, along with current missionaries and those who are being called by God to full-time missionary service, will definitely benefit from reading this book.
Some sections, particularly the one regarding parachurch missionary organizations, will challenge your thinking. We are so immersed in Western thought and structures, that we superimpose those concepts onto the church and our missionary organizations, thinking that they are biblical. But the Gospel is supra-cultural; we need Allen's corrective to change our way of seeing things.
We are seeing in our day exactly what Allen says in this book: the explosive growth of the Church in Africa, in China, etc., through the freeing of the church and believers to shoulder the job of sharing their faith, without the "professional" to do the job for them.
There is one area with which I would disagree with Allen: he contends that the Bible says nothing about financial support for pastors, that it should be done solely by unpaid pastors and elders. The passages where both Christ and Paul say "the laborer is worthy of his wages" (Luke 10:7 and 1 Timothy 5:17-18), Paul's receiving funds from other churches to preach the Gospel to new places (2 Corinthians 11:8), and that those who proclaim the Gospel should get their living from the Gospel, that is, from those to whom they minister (1 Corinthians 9:14) are sufficient to show that pastors should be supported in their work by those in the congregation, and that should not be a burden to the people if they are to be good stewards. But that is a minor point of contention.
In sum, Allen's main premise is sound, and I would urge anyone interested in seeing God's kingdom expand in this world to give this book serious time and thought.
The Title Says It All Jan 21, 2005
This book, originally published in the 1920's, is still used today in a wide range of missionary circles. This book was written for TODAY. Although the book is written in the context of cross-cultural church planting, it is applicable for any church that wants to grow. The title of the book is very appropriate.
This book is not for everyone. If you think the state of the Church is right where it needs to be, I'd recommend that you stay away from this book as it my ruffle your feathers. The Bible says that when Jesus taught that he spoke with authority (Matthew 7:29). This book has that kind of air about it.
This book is not an easy read nor for the faint of heart. It took me weeks to get through this book but it was well worth my time - and anyone's time who is passionate about seeing the Spontaneous Expansion of Christ's Church in our generation.
KAPOW! ZAP! BIFF! OOOF! Aug 17, 2001
Here is a book to challenge smug Western ideas about Christian church and missions. Don't worry about the author's "liberalism" or "conservatism." He shows some attachment to his own denomination's political structure, and he uses language which we consider outdated (seeing as the book was written over 70 years ago), but otherwise he preaches an appropriately "modern" message of mere (and powerful!) Christianity. All I can say is: Get book. Read book. Compare with Bible. Then get out there and *do* something!