Reform of the Ministry: A Study in the Work of Roland Allen

By Roland Allen and David M. Paton (editor)

A collection of essays by and about the missionary Roland Allen, focusing on his critique of the ministry and the inherited Church policy that surrounds it.

ISBN: 9780718891046


No one was more radically critical of the ministry and the inherited Church policy that surrounds it than Roland Allen (1868-1949), whose prophetic writings constantly challenge the whole mission of the Christian Church, and many of his most important essays are collected here along with contributions about him.

After studying at Oxford, his clerical training was in Leeds. He went as a missionary to China for the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel (SPG), where he stayed for twenty years. His experience convinced him that missionary methods needed changing, and that St Paul had more to offer than contemporary practice, and in particular that ministry should be centred in the laity.

These ideas, unpopular at the time, have grown in importance, and Roland Allen’s influence is now greater than at any time. In this volume, Paton, with the co-operation of Grubb and King, has written on the central concerns of Allen’s life and how his witness gave rise to many fruitful enterprises in different parts of the world. Many new writings of Allen’s are included in the volume, and Grubb tells the story of the Survey Application Trust which, for over half a century played a formative and pioneering part in the mission of the church.

This title adds a lot of new information and throws fresh light on the modern history of many Christian enterprises, and extends current debate over the role of the laity.

Additional information

Dimensions 216 × 140 mm
Pages 235

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Trade Information LPOD

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.



1. Roland Allen: A Biographical and Theological Essay
     By David M. Paton
2. A Church Policy for North China
     By Roland Allen
3. The Story of the Survey Application Trust
     By Kenneth G. Grubb
4. The Voluntary Clergy
     (i) Letters from and to Roland Allen
     (ii) A Diary of a Visit to South India
     (iii) A Correspondence with the Bishop of Assam
5. Last Years in East Africa
     By Noel Q. King
6. Voces Populi de Parabolis Christi: Preface and ‘The Good Samaritan’
     By Roland Allen
7. The Family Rite
     By Roland Allen
8. List of Publications of the World Dominion Press

Index of Names


Endorsements and Reviews

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