Allen, Young J.
- (1836-1907)American Methodist missionary in ChinaBorn on January 3, 1836, in Burke County, Georgia, Young J. Allen was orphaned as a child and raised by Primitive Baptist relatives. He converted to Methodism as a teenager. He later attended Emory and Henry College in Virginia and Emory College in Georgia. Upon his graduation in 1858, he sold his plantation and slaves, married, and was admitted on trial (probationary membership) in the Methodist's Georgia Conference. He also applied for missionary service. In 1860, amid rumors of war, he sailed for China.The American Civil War erupted while he was en route. As a result, he (and the several missionaries who had preceded him) heard nothing from church leaders for the next five years. Allen settled in Shanghai, the center of Southern Methodist activity, quickly learned Chinese, and took a job as a teacher and translator for the Chinese government. He is said to have learned Chinese so well that when he gave his first sermon from the text "Arise, and let us go hence" (John 14:31), the entire Chinese congregation arose and headed for the church door.Allen quickly became convinced that the major task before the missionary community was breaking down the hostility of the Chinese toward Westerners. He saw education as the major tool, and to that end began to found several small schools and later the Anglo-Chinese College, where he served as president for a decade. The college later merged into Soochow University (also founded by the Southern Methodist Mission).Allen established a Methodist press, translated numerous books into Chinese, edited a Chinese newspaper, The Review of the Times, and wrote three books. By the end of the century, he had won the confidence of many Chinese leaders, who called him Lin Lo Chih, and had become a force for change in Chinese society in general.Allen occasionally returned to the United States as the representative for the China Conference to the Methodist General Conference. His last visit to the States was in 1907 to attend the Centennial Conference on Missions in China, held to commemorate the pioneering work of Robert Morrison. Allen died in Shanghai on May 30, 1907.Further reading:■ Young J. Allen, Diary of a Voyage to China, 1859-1860 (Atlanta, Ga.: Emory University, 1953)■ Adrian Arthur Bennett, III, Missionary Journalism in Nineteenth-century China: Young J. Allen and the early "Wan-Kuo Kung-Pao," 1868-1883 (Davis: University of California, Ph.D. diss., 1970)■ -- "Missionary Journalist in China: Young J. Allen and His Magazines." Georgia Historical Quarterly 67 (1983): 574-76; Walter N. Lacy, A Hundred Years of China Methodism (Nashville, Tenn.: Abingdon-Cokesbury Press, 1964)■ Akin Candler Warren, Young J. Allen: The Man Who Seeded China (Nashville, Tenn.: Abingdon-Cokesbury Press, 1931).
Encyclopedia of Protestantism. Gordon Melton. 2005.
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