Roland Allen came under severe criticism for the stand he took on missions. Even today, his writings are not well received by most because they are radically different from the general tradition of mission boards and missiologists. His concern was being biblical, not popular. This alone should cause us to read carefully and listen to his heart through his pen.
“It is scarcely possible to make any statement about our Missions which someone will not contradict. Statements of fact are constantly made, and repeated again and again in our missionary magazines, without any question being raised, so long as the conclusion is that we agree to meet present needs. But if questions are raised concerning the wisdom of our missionary policy or practice, they are disputed without reference to principle.
There is another difficulty which faces anyone writing of missionary methods in general terms. It is not easy for him to find statements which are universally true, or any rules which have no exception. I can only ask my readers to believe that I have not written anything carelessly; I can only ask them to remember that the field with which they are familiar is not the only mission field in the world. I can only ask them to pay heed to the essential principles rather than the particular details. Remembering that a crop of fruit does not all ripen on one day, and that if they did not see ripe fruit in their field, it may be because it is not the right season. The seed which produces the fruit may be there, and it is the character of seed they are sowing that is important. Just do not be taken by surprise when the fruit appears.”
What Allen is pointing out in this section is that ‘mission policy’ should be set from principle (of Scripture) and not what may be needed in a specific culture. When the native is given the biblical principle, then they can work out the cultural application.
Roland Allen, Edited by Sherman Driver
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