In Roland Allen: A Theology of Mission, a companion work to Roland Allen: A Missionary Life, Steven Richard Rutt completes a portrait of Roland Allen (1868-1947) in this intellectual biography. Extensive archival evidence discloses how apostolic principles formed the basis for Allen’s missionary theology.
Although it is well-known that Allen’s hermeneutical ideas were born of Pauline principles, Steven Richard Rutt expounds the ways in which Allen’s missionary experiences had profoundly impacted Allen’s theological beliefs. Allen wrote about his findings in letters, sermons, articles and books, some of which were never published. Allen’s writings tenaciously challenged the methodology of colonial missionary societies and exposed the causes hindering Church expansion: failures occurred in missions due to the imposition of Western missionary paternalism and institutional devolution. Allen advocated the empowerment of indigenous churches to apply the principles of self-government and self-support. He asserted the importance of the Pauline concept of ‘Spirit and order’, which encompasses both the doctrine of the Holy Spirit as well as that of the Church.
Allen’s diagnosis of the missionary situation and the proposed ways to restore apostolic order presented contemporary controversy but since his death, we have seen the importance of Allen’s ideas in Mission studies grow steadily. With an expert evaluation of Allen’s theological insight, Roland Allen: A Theology of Mission also offers a superb contribution to the discipline of historical theology and historical missiology as Rutt delves into a contextual assay of the missionary landscape of the nineteenth and the twentieth centuries.