The GKII belongs to the “Alliance” family. The founder of the Alliance movement was A.B.Simpson, a minister of the Presbyterian Church in New York, who first laid down his ministry because he wanted to devote himself to the poor and sinners, and subsequently left the Presbyterian Church because he had been persuaded that baptism could only be administrated to adults. In 1897 the Christian and Missionary Alliance (CMA) was founded. Its doctrine can be summarized in four short sentences: Jesus Christ saves; Jesus Christ sanctifies; Jesus Christ heals; Jesus Christ will come again as Lord. The fourth sentence includes the adoption of chiliastic doctrine.
The conviction that Christ will come again soon gives the CMA a strong missionary impetus. The mother organization in America had to be as simple as possible, and on the mission field all energy had to be directed to direct preaching of the Gospel. Consequently no costly institutions, such as schools and hospitals, were to be founded.
In 1926 the CMA Board in New York decided to start missionary work in what was then the Netherlands Indies. When it seemed this decision would not be implemented because of lack of funds, Robert A. Jaffray (1873-1945), who from 1897 until 1927 worked in South China and had received reports about the thousands of Chinese immigrants in southeast Asia, together with Chinese Christians founded the Chinese Foreign Mission Union (CFMU, president Leland Wang, vice president/treasurer R. A. Jaffray). Beginning in 1928 the CFMU sent several Chinese missionaries to Indonesia, who worked mainly among Chinese immigrants in urban areas but baptized more than 2,000 tribal people in the Mahakam area of East Kalimantan. In 1930 Jaffray himself settled in Makassar (now Ujungpandang). It became the center of CMA work in Indonesia, which was mainly among ethnic Indonesians.
Within a few years, missionary work was begun in a number of regions which were not or hardly touched by the Dutch and German missionary societies working in the colony, such as East Kalimantan (1929, George Fisk and David Clench), Lombok (1929, J. Wesley Brill), Bali (1931, Tsang To Hang), Southern Sumatra (1933, David Griffin), West Kalimantan (1935, D. A. Patty and Luther Adipatty), Sumbawa (1937, S. W. Chu), Malaya (1937, Tsang To Hang and Gustave Woerner), North Kalimantan (1937, Einar Mickelson), West Irian (Paniai region 1939, W. Post and R. Deibler; Baliem Valley 1954, E. Mickelson, Elisa and Ruth Gobai). Eventually, East Kalimantan and Irian became the most important fields from a statistical point of view.
In this mission work, students and graduates from the Bible School which in 1932 was opened in Makassar took an important part. In some cases it was these students who opened up new mission fields. Another important general tool was colportage, the materials for which were provided by the publishing house Kantor (1930). The CAMA magazine wasKalam Hidup,with P. H. Pouw as editor. Pouw also published a hymnbook,Nafiri Perak(The Silver Trumpet). In East Kalimantan, the work was particularly blessed, so that a second Bible School was founded there (1938). It used the same simple facilities as had been applied by Jaffray at the Makassar Bible School, so that the students might not become alienated from the environment they came from and were destined for. In 1939 Fisk was the first missionary in Indonesia to use a plane in the service of the mission, to overcome the difficulties of traveling in the jungle.
The mission fields mentioned above were mainly inhabited by adherents to tribal religions, sometimes by Muslims (Lombok, Sumbawa) or Hindus (Bali). In Sumatra and Malaysia missionary work was directed to isolated ethnic groups which had not embraced Islam. Because of lack of funds and personnel, the Dutch and German mission bodies, weighed down by educational and medical work, had not started work in these fields. However, as a number of Bible School students originating from christianized regions returned there to bring the Gospel as they had come to understand it, CMA churches came into existence in those regions, too (Toraja, Minahasa, Alor). Even preceding this development, the Dutch mission held the CMA in low esteem because of the supposedly low level of its theological education and its “American” methods. The colonial government was mainly interested in preventing unrest. For that reason, in 1934 the CMA workers were expelled from Bali. In 1941 CMA worked in 139 places. There were 11,694 baptized members, served by 20 foreign and 140 Indonesian workers; the Bible School in Makassar had 209 students, and there were 13 lower-level Bible Schools with 479 students.
During World War II, the work survived without funds from abroad and sometimes under heavy Japanese pressure. Four Americans and ten Indonesian workers were killed, and two more Americans, including Jaffray, died in Japanese internment. The CMA churches had to join the regional councils of Christian Churches(Kiristokyo Rengokai) set up by the Japanese. After the war, the work continued to expand, including to other Christianized regions (Eastern Sunda Islands, Sangir-Talaud) and to Java, where in 1981 an ambitious program was launched to found 500 new congr within 10 years. In 1947 for the first time inhabitants of the Paniai region, Irian Jaya, were baptized; in 1964 the Ekagi New Testament was published. In 1954 the first CMA missionaries entered the Baliem Valley (Irian), by plane. More Bible Schools were founded; in 1987 there were 19 of them. The central Bible School in Ujungpandang was upgraded and became Jaffray Bible College (1958) and Sekolah Tinggi Theologia [Theological Academy] Jaffray (1966). The mass media, including radio, continued to be used extensively. Church workers from 1967 onward had their own journal for pastors, the Sahabat Gembala. In 1951 the CMA congr were assembled into three regional churches, in East Indonesia, East and West Kalimantan. Five years later, the Indonesian daughter churches were considered to have reached maturity. The foreign workers were put under the supervision of these churches; at the same time the CMA stopped the allowances which until then were given to a great number of Indonesian church workers. However, the Indonesian Church and the CMA, though separated organizationally, continued to cooperate closely.
In 1965 the regional churches entered into a fellowship named the Kemah Injil Gereja Masehi Indonesia (KINGMI), which in 1983 was transformed into a united church named Gereja Kemah Injil Indonesia (GKII), with its central office in Jakarta. The regional churches which made up the united church were: 1. GKII Bahagian Timur (KINGMIT, 21,000 members), 2. GKII Kalimantan Timur (98,000), GKII Kalimantan Barat (62,000), 3. GKII Toraja (Kerapatan Injil Bangsa Indonesia, ca. 40,000), 4. GKII Bahtera Injil Menado (6,500), 5. GKII Irian Jaya (138,000), 6. GKII Jawa-Sumatera (3,000). (Membership figures are given for 1990 and include those not yet baptized.) The Board was all-Indonesian; first chairman was Matias Abai, from East Kalimantan. The congr which had originated from the CFMU mission kept apart and formed several independent churches. The GKII has not joined the Indonesian Council of Churches, but it is a full member of the Indonesian Evangelical Fellowship (PII) and of the Alliance World Fellowship which was formed in 1975. Once every four years conferences of the Alliance Churches in Asia are held.