Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous
CenQ 6:1 (Spring 1963) p. 39
THE SPONTANEOUS EXPANSION OF THE CHURCH, by Roland Allen (Wm. B. Eerdmans Publ. Co., Grand Rapids, Mich., 1962, 158 pp., $1.65 paper).
This is the companion volume to MISSIONARY METHODS, ST. PAUL’S OR OURS? by the same author. In -it he deals with the planting of the church on the mission field, and here he sets forth the need of the spontaneous expansion of that church. He defines spontaneous expansion as the unexhorted and unorganized activity of the individual members of the church in explaining to others the Gospel which they have found for themselves; that this is to be the multiplication of churches as well as of individuals. To repress this spontaneous expression is to stifle the life and growth of the native church. While the avowed intent of. the missionary enterprise has been to eventually evangelize a people by its native converts, progress has not been made very far or very fast in that direction. Yet that was the method of the church until the advent of the modern missionary movement of the past century. But that movement has feared to trust spontaneous expansion, because of possible doctrinal confusion; lowered standards (which standards are those of the homeland arbitrarily thrust upon the native church); or mistrust of the ability of the native evangelist, teacher, or pastor to work according, to our standards. The author contends that the complexities of modern missionary organizations have created a paid professional class of missionaries, which has made our Lord’s; Great Commission an option rather than an imperative; that these organizations, by their very cumbersomeness and complexity, defeat the purpose for their existence. In the homeland they devote too much to the perpetuation and safeguarding of prestige and power, while on the mission field they unwittingly teach the native church that nothing can be done without money or organization. The author believes that while our present-day missionary philosophy gives lip service to the establishment of indigenous and autonomous churches on the mission field, actual practice has unduly prolonged the period of training needed to produce such churches.. In fact, whether consciously or not, the development of such churches has been repressed. Apart from the author’s sacramentarian and episcopal emphases and background, this book should urge serious recasting among our Conservative Baptist missionary organizations and personnel and the occupants of both pulpit and pew in the home churches.
Rev. Ernest Ruark
BARNES’ NOTES ON THE NEW TESTAMENT (eleven volumes complete in one), by Albert Barnes (Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids 6, Mich., 1962, 1763 pp., $14.95).
This commentary, originally written more than 100 years ago for Sunday School te...
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