Roughly ten years ago I was in a poorly lit christian book store which sold old titles and I came across a small navy blue volume. Having no prior experience with names which helped shape missions methodology, I picked it up and hoped for the best. Roland Allen wrote a book before my time which would have ramifications for my future. After reading one of the most relevant texts on missiology I was excited to see the text brought back to life in a mainstream version. Paul’s Missionary Methods: InHis Time and Ours (IVP Academic, 2012) is a critical review of Roland Allen’s methods and thought by leading missiologists and pastors today.
Concentrating on the thought life of Paul and the methods employed by Allen this text takes his timeless work and reshape it in certain ways so as to make it applicable for missions in the 21st century. In the first section the writers view Paul from the lens of the New Testament and explore his life as a missionary and the gospel he proclaimed. They also take a look at topics such as; ecclesiology, suffering, and spiritual warfare. This first section begins the reader on a crash course with Paul’s influence today and helps to lay a structural foundation for the future of Pauline studies and missiology.
The latter portion of the book seeks to develop the function of the missionary in Paul’s thought. Experts like David Sills and Ed Stetzer explore Contextualization and Church Planting. They interact with Allen on several levels and hold up his methods in light of the biblical narrative on the subject.
It seems as though the resurgence of the original volume is part and parcel to a Church which has sought to place missions back into the spotlight of the Church. People are beginning again to read and engage missions texts on an academic level which many have passed over the past several years. It’s a fresh breath of air to hear the Church as a whole begin to take up volumes like this and critically engage with them for the sake of those who have no gospel witness among them.