One of the major concerns that we have, and is clearly expressed by Roland Allen, is the adverse effect foreign missionaries have on indigenous believers. Some of these issues I will address later. We must address those things that stand in the way of nationals becoming self-sufficient as quickly as possible. There is no evidence in Acts, Paul’s letters, Peter or John’s, that outside support was given to start any church. It was the power of the gospel that transformed lives and the Holy Spirit who “baptized into one body…and all were made to drink of one Spirit” (1 Corinthians 12:13).
Though we would never admit it, Roland Allen has the boldness to point out the problem. “Here I must say that the continued presence of a foreigner seems to produce an evil effect. The native genius is cramped by his presence and cannot work with him. The (native) Christians tend to sit still and let him (the foreigner) do everything for them and to deny all responsibility.” (1)
In the places where God has been pleased to send us, and where the work of God is most spontaneous, money is not required and our presence is only for a few days or at the most three or four weeks. In addition, it is the younger generation who are grasping the New Testament principles, not the older, traditional and organizational leaders. This should be a loud voice to explain why there has not been the rapid expansion of the gospel in our day as it was at the beginning of the church. Repeating man’s methods brings the same result. Relying on God and His proven principles brings much different results.
(1) From letters and papers in the archives of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel.
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