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The Spontaneous Expansion of the Church, by Roland Allen

The Spontaneous Expansion of the Church

and the Causes Which Hinder it

By Roland Allen


Although first published in 1927, this challenging study still dares today's reader to re-assess common and erroneous assumptions about the relation between churches and missions.

Series: Roland Allen Library
Trade Information: LGENPOD
Available as: Paperback, ePub, Kindle, PDF
Print Paperback 17.00
ISBN: 9780718891718
Specifications: 216x140mm, 168pp
Publication: August 2006
ePub eBook 10.13 + VAT
ISBN: 9780718840068
Publication: May 2012
Kindle eBook
ISBN: 9780718840204
Publication: May 2012
PDF eBook 13.50 + VAT
ISBN: 9780718840136
Specifications: 173pp
Publication: May 2012

About this Book

If it were once believed that the freedom of churches should be restricted to bring greater control to missions, Roland Allen sets out to overturn this conception. Warning against the danger of imposing greater limits on churches, the Author advocates that all members of the church, 'natives' and foreigners alike, must take an active role in its establishment and daily life.

The study divides itself into nine chapters; the first, introducing Allen's standpoint, the second as an opening into the nature and character of Spontaneous Expression. The third chapter deals with modern attempts by 'natives' towards the liberty of their churches. The fear of the doctrine becoming weakened by natives taking it into their own hands is addressed by chapter four and this fear is widened into the realm of the Christian standard of morals in chapter five. Civilisation and enlightenment form the central themes of the sixth chapter. Chapters seven and eight tackle the distinction between the Church and missionary societies. It is in the final chapter that the future of Spontaneous Expansion is investigated and Allen puts forward his ideas which, as he rightly predicted, were broadly accepted fifty years and longer still after their original publication.


Introduction by Michael Turnbull
Foreword by Kenneth G. Grubb

1. Introduction to 1927 Edition
2. The Nature and Character of Spontaneous Expression
3. Modern Movements Towards Liberty
4. Fear for the Doctrine
5. The Christian Standard of Morals
6. Civilization and Enlightenment
7. Missionary Organization
8. Ecclesiastical Organization
9. The Way of Spontaneous Expansion



   Introduction and Foreword » (PDF, 23 KB)
   Chapter 1: Introduction to 1927 Edition » (PDF, 23 KB)
   Chapter 4: Fear for the Doctrine » (PDF, 52 KB)

About the Author

Roland Allen trained for the ministry at Oxford and became a priest in 1893. As a missionary in North China, he worked for the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel and also in collaboration with the founders of World Dominion. His experiences in China prompted him to radically re-assess the theology and missionary methods of the Western churches. He retired to Africa, where he died in Kenya in 1947.

His published works enjoyed immense success during his lifetime, and are still highly influential today.

Reviews and Comments

"The passion of his writing and the fundamental concerns which he addresses mean there is wealth of relevant and thought-provoking analysis in these highly commendable books."
Mission Catalyst, magazine of the BMS World Mission

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