Indonesia - (Asia)

Information about Indonesia

1912988 square kilometres
Muslim 88%, Protestant 5%, Roman Catholic 3%, Hindu 2%, Buddhist 1%, other 1%
Christian (%)
Protestant (%)
Reformed (%)


Indonesia consists of approximately 13,000 islands on both sides of the equator between the southeast Asia mainland and Australia. The most important islands are: Java, Sumatra, Kalimantan, and Sulawesi. Important island groups are the Moluccas, with Ambon and Ceram in the center and Ternate and Halmahera in the north, and Nusatenggara Timur (NTT) with the islands of Flores, Sumba, and Timor. The population of approximately 200 million (1997) is unevenly distributed between western Indonesia, including Sumatra, Java and Bali (85%), and the rest of the country. There are about 300 ethnic groups, with ± 250 different languages. The Malay language, originally spoken by the coastal people of East Sumatra and Malaya, who embraced Islam at an early stage (1400), has become thelingua francain the whole archipelago, and has been adopted and developed as the official language of Indonesia. In the first centuries A.D. contact with India was established, and Hinduism and Buddhism flourished in a number of kingdoms on Java and Sumatra. Contacts with China were much more transitory. Islam entered Indonesia about 1300 A.D. It established itself first in Aceh, then in the coastal regions of East Sumatra, Java, and in the North Moluccas (the sultanate of Ternate). In 1525 and 1527, the Hindu kingdoms in the interior of Java collapsed. In the next two centuries the coastal regions of West Sumatra, Kalimantan, and Sulawesi were islamicized. Only the interior of Sumatra, Kalimantan, and Sulawesi, as well as Bali and southeast Indonesia, including Irian, remained outside the sphere of Islam.
In the meantime Europeans found their way to Indonesia; first the Portuguese, who in 1511 conquered Malacca and from 1522 to 1574 had a trade center protected by a fort on Ternate; then the Dutch, who in 1605 established a stronghold on Ambon and in 1619 founded their capital city of Batavia on the ruins of Jakarta (from 1945 onward named Jakarta again). In the next three centuries the whole of Indonesia gradually came under Dutch rule, but not without fierce resistance in many regions. In the 20th century, a movement for independence came into being. In 1942 the country was occupied by the Japanese, but after the capitulation of Japan, on August 17, 1945, the Republic of Indonesia was established, with Soekarno as President. Only after a colonial war which lasted until 1949 did the Dutch recognize the Republic of Indonesia.
The Republic of Indonesia is founded upon the Pancasila, the Five Principles, which include belief in God, humanity, national unity, consultative democracy, and social justice. In one of the first drafts, belief in God was linked to the obligation of Muslims to keep to the law of Islam; but under pressure of the nationalists this clause was dropped. So the republic is neither a Muslim nor a secular state. The Constitution of 1945 gave great powers to the President. Western individualism as well as Marxism was rejected, and a collectivistic “guided” democracy was introduced, modeled upon the structures of village society, and concentrating all political activities in one political party. However, between 1946 and 1959 this “Pancasila democracy” was attacked from three sides. In 1946 it was made more pluralistic and a number of political parties were founded, including a Protestant party (PARKINDO) and a Catholic party (Partai Katolik). The Communists tried to establish a Communist state, first through an armed insurgency (1948) and then through the elections of 1955 and political agitation in the following years. Extreme Muslims established a Muslim state in West Java and South Sulawesi, and the Muslim parties tried to strengthen the influence of Islam in a legal way. In the 1955 elections these parties got 45% of the vote, the Communists 15%. In 1957 parts of Sumatra and Sulawesi started a rebellion known as PERMESTA (Perjuangan Semesta = Total Struggle) against the central government. This rebellion was not religious in character, Muslims and Christians both being involved in it, but it caused much suffering, especially to the churches in North and Central Sulawesi.
In 1959 Soekarno, with the support of the armed forces, disbanded the Constituent Assembly formed after 1955 and returned to the Constitution of 1945. In the next few years, Soekarno incorporated Communism into the national identity, and Communist influence and agitation increased. Tensions came to a head in October 1965. After the top army commanders were murdered, Communism was eliminated both physically and politically. General Suharto became president and a New Order was launched, which stressed economic development using a Western capitalistic model. Politically, however, the country was remodeled on the base of the 1945 Constitution. The Golkar (“functional groups”) became the national party. The political parties were forced to merge into PDI (PNI, Socialist, and Christian parties) and PPP (Muslims). Both played a marginal role in the state. Golkar and PDI include Christians as well as Muslims. The Pancasila remains the nation’s foundation, so that around 1984 all organizations, including the churches, had to recognize Pancasila as the only foundation of national life. In the ’70s and ’80s, Christians occupied important posts in the successive cabinets, in the bureaucracy, and in the armed forces. The Muslims, however, were making up for their disadvantage in the field of education, economics, and politics, the effects making themselves felt in the ’90s. Essential to the New Order was the influence on government of the Armed Forces, which is based upon the doctrine of the Dwifungsi ABRI, the dual function of the Armed Forces.

History of Christianity

Possibly from the 7th century onward Christian merchants from Persia and India came to Indonesia (North Sumatra and possibly Java), but they left only very faint traces. In the 16th century, the Portuguese brought Roman Catholicism to Halmahera, Ambon, and Nusatenggara Timur, and in the 17th century the extreme north of the archipelago was missionized by the Spanish from Manila. This mission was hampered by its subordination to trade interests. From 1546 Francis Xavier brought a fresh spirit. After 1570, the mission suffered heavily from attacks by the sultanate of Ternate (North Moluccas). What remained of it was taken over and protestantized by the Dutch after 1605. Only in East Timor and Flores could the Portuguese maintain themselves and their religion.
Missionary activities were restricted by the Dutch East India Company (VOC, 1602-1799), which also forbade Roman Catholicism in its territories, to areas where they served its interests, i.e., mainly to eastern Indonesia. Even there, they were deployed in earnest mostly in areas which were vital to the VOC, like Ambon and the surrounding islands. Christians were also found on a number of more remote islands as a result of the Portuguese-Spanish mission or of Protestant activities. But these groups were more or less neglected; they had no pastors or church councils and were rarely visited by ministers from the centers. The church could do little to improve this situation since organizationally and logistically it depended completely on the Company. The complete Bible was available in Malay in 1733 (the New Testament in 1668). Formally, the Christianity brought by the Dutch was of the Ref type, the central (town) congr being led by church councils, which in some areas also had Indonesian members. However, due to geographical and political circumstances, there were no national or regional synods, the church council of Batavia acting as a kind of central governing body. Government influence in the church was very noticeable, but no more so than in Europe in the same period. Indonesians could only serve as unordained teacher-preachers without authority to administer the sacraments, or, in some centers, as members of the church council. As a result, in this period there were no Indonesian pioneers, and no first ordained leaders can be named. At the end of the 18th century, there were 55,000 Protestant Ref Christians and a smaller number of RCath in the archipelago.
In the 19th century, the situation changed. In 1799, the Dutch state took over all assets of the bankrupt VOC. Freedom of religion was proclaimed (an influence of the French Revolution). As a consequence, Catholic priests could enter the country again (1808). The existing Prot congr were organized into the Protestant Church in the Netherlands Indies, which had no mission work of its own because it was financed by the state, which professed to be neutral in religious matters. However, the way was also open to missionaries from the newly formed Prot missionary bodies. Between 1811 and 1850, a number of English and Americans (Bapt, Meth, and Congreg) worked in Java and Sumatra (where two of them were murdered) and West Borneo/Kalimantan. The first Dutch missionaries of the Nederlandsch Zendelinggenootschap (NZG, 1797) were put in charge of the neglected Christian parishes in Java and Eastern Indonesia. After 1830 the Dutch Prot missions gradually spread out to the neglected Christians in the outer regions, such as North Sulawesi and the Sangir archipelago, which had never been served by resident ministers or missionaries. At the same time, through the efforts of a number of lay people, Europeans and Eurasians, the Christian faith first put roots among the Javanese (± 1850).
In the meantime, as a result of theological conflicts, a number of new missionary bodies, most of which were informally linked with the Netherlands Reformed Church, came into being. Most of these had a pietist outlook. They started work in New Guinea (Irian, 1855), North Sumatra (1857), the North Moluccas (Halmahera, 1866), Central Sulawesi (1892) and South Sulawesi (1852/1913/1930). Southern Central Java and Sumba became the mission field of the Gereformeerde Kerken. In 1836 the German Rheinische Mission (RMG), a united Lutheran-Ref body, started mission work among the Dayak in South Kalimantan, and in 1861 the first RMG missionaries arrived in North Sumatra. After World War I the Basel Mission took over work in Kalimantan from the RMG. These missions stressed the use of tribal languages instead of Malay, aimed at individual conversion, and kept the congr under close supervision, church independence being postponed until a long nurturing process resulted in sufficient Christian maturity. The Salvation Army came to Indonesia in 1894, the Advent in 1900, the American CMA in 1930. After several Baptist missionaries had been working without any lasting result in the 19th century, Bapt reentered Indonesia in 1951. The Pentecostal movement was brought from Europe and America around 1920. In the 20th century the government allowed the Protestant Church to do missionary work in Sulawesi, the South Moluccas, and Timor.
The RCath concentrated their work in Flores (1860) and in Central Java (1894), but they also had important fields in North Sumatra (1878), West Kalimantan (1885), North Sulawesi (1868), Timor (1883), the Southeast Moluccas (1888), and Southern New Guinea (1905). They had a later start than the Prot, and in most of those territories a certain rivalry developed between RCath and Prot missions, which only diminished after 1960. From 1859 until 1902 all mission fields in Indonesia were served by the Jesuits; after 1902 most areas were gradually handed over to other orders and congr, the Jesuits retaining only the capital city of Batavia (Jakarta) and the culturally important region of Central Java.
In colonial times missionary work was accompanied by the conviction that Western civilization and Western models of Christianity, and even Western people, were superior. As a consequence, throughout the 19th century no Indonesians were ordained as ministers or priests except by the RMG in North Sumatra (RMG, first 1885). In the Prot missions, and even more so in the Protestant church, there was a functional hierarchy in which Europeans invariably held the top positions. Almost without exception Indonesian mission personnel worked as local teacher-preachers, with only a basic education. They served as the essential link between the “white” church government and the indigenous church members. In contrast with the VOC period, however, local church councils were established in purely Indonesian village congr.
This is not to say that Indonesians received the Gospel in a passive way. Those who became Christians did so of their own will, consciously, and for their own reasons, which mostly were not those expected and often assumed by the missionaries. And in many areas Indonesians played a decisive role in bringing their fellow countrymen to the faith, often without any formal tie to the mission.
In the 20th century things gradually changed. Between 1878 and 1886, theological seminaries had been founded in North Sumatra, Java, North Sulawesi, and Ambon. In 1934 a Theological Academy was established in Jakarta. The RCath opened their first seminary in Java in 1911 and in Flores in 1925. A number of Indonesians were ordained, and some of these worked on an equal footing with Europeans. The first RCath priest of Indonesian descent was ordained in 1926, and the first Indonesian bishop was consecrated in 1940. Between 1927 and 1940 a number of Prot churches in North Sumatra, Java, North Sulawesi, and the Moluccas became independent. In consequence of the division of the mission field among the missionary societies, these churches were all of the regional and/or ethnic type. On the Prot side, Hendrik Kraemer (1922-1936 in Indonesia) was instrumental in bringing about this development. However, European influence remained very strong even in the independent churches. Until 1940, all synods were chaired by white missionaries, the general idea being that the character, moral soundness, and organizational abilities of the Indonesian Christians still had to be brought up to European level. In the meantime the number of Christians steadily grew; in 1941 there were about 1.7 million Prot and 600,000 RCath in a population of 60 million.
In 1942 Indonesia was occupied by Japan. In the confusion of the transition period there were bouts of persecution by fanatical Muslims in some areas. Christianity was tolerated by the Japanese, and, up to a certain point, protected, even if among the Dutch-oriented Ambonese scores of congregation leaders were killed. The Japanese tried consistently to make the churches into channels for their war propaganda and confiscated almost all mission schools and hospitals. The churches were forced to join regional councils of churches (Kiristokyo Rengokai) which included mainline Prot, RCath, and other Prot groups. Japanese clergy were sent to Indonesia and, within the narrow margins allowed them, succeeded in providing protection and practical assistance to the churches.
Since nearly all foreign missionaries were interned, the war proved that Indonesian Christianity was able to govern itself. The declaration of national independence in 1945, too, caused quick progress in church independence. Most Prot churches which had not been independent before the war became so between 1946 and 1949, following the war of independence (1945-1949), and their infrastructure expanded. A Christian publishing house was established. Theological education grew quantitatively and qualitatively, most larger churches founding a theological school or faculty of their own. Christian universities sprang up in Pematangsiantar, Jakarta, Salatiga, and elsewhere. Leading Indonesian theologians were J. L. Ch. Abineno, P. D. Latuihamallo, and S. A. E. Nababan. The laymen T. S. G. Mulia and T. B. Simatupang were instrumental in founding and leading the Indonesian Council of Churches. In politics J. Leimena and A. M. Tambunan can be mentioned. The status of the missionaries changed from that of guardians to fraternal workers. In the RCath Church Indonesianization proceeded at a slower pace. The hierarchy was established in 1961, but of the bishops, Indonesians were not in the majority until 1979, and of the priests not until 1982. RCath set up an excellent infrastructure in education; their daily Kompas became the biggest newspaper in southeast Asia.
After World War II the growth of the church accelerated, especially in tribal societies, and in the aftermath of the 1965 coup d’état in Muslim Java as well. In 1994 the number of RCath was reported to be 5.8 million (including East Timor); the number of Prot is more difficult to estimate but might be put at 13 to 16 million. The government tends to give higher numbers, owing to the phenomenon that many people (especially in Java) have themselves registered as Christians even if they have no ties with a church. Among the Prot, 45% belong to the Ref denomination, 25% are of a mixed Lutheran-Calvinist type, and 30% are members of Evangelical and Pentecostal church bodies. It is to be noted that in 1950 the last group comprised about 1% of Indonesian Protestantism. Most of its growth came from outside existing Christian churches.
The percentage of Christians (including RCath) is highest in the provinces of Eastern Indonesia, which are relatively thinly populated: East Timor (90%), Irian (85%), and NTT (75%); North Sulawesi follows with 55%. Between 25% and 50% is Christian in the Moluccas, North Sumatra, and West Kalimantan; 10 to 25% in Central Sulawesi, Central and East Kalimantan, and the capital city of Jakarta; 5 to 10% in the Autonomous Region of Yogyakarta (Central Java) and South Sulawesi; 3 to 5% in Central and East Java and Southeast Sulawesi; 1 to 3% in Sumatra outside North Sumatra and South Kalimantan; under 1% in West Java, Bali, and West Nusatenggara. Of the total number of Christians, more than 25% are living in Java (mostly ethnic Javanese), more than 20% in North Sumatra (mostly Batak), less than 10% in Kalimantan (mostly Dayak), more than 10% in Sulawesi (mostly Minahasans and Torajans), and 30% in the rest of Eastern Indonesia. Of the RCath, 35% are living on the islands of Flores and Timor, the other areas of concentration being Java, West Kalimantan, and North Sumatra.
Some characteristics of the development of the churches during the last decades are: the tendency to experiment with decentralizing and recentralizing the church order; expanding the confession formulas in church orders or even formulating new confessions of faith (of which eight were received between 1951 and 1984); the prospering of initiatives by Indonesian authors and composers to create new church hymns and church music; the broadening of ecumenical relations in general and aid relations in particular from the former mission body to churches and other organizations in other European countries, Australia, the United States, and, of course, Asia; the decreasing of the number of foreign church workers due to both government policy and the rising level of training of Indonesian theologians.

Present Situation

The present situation of the churches is partly determined by their mutual relations, and partly by their relation to government and Islam. Originally, Christianity was planted by the Dutch Ref. The RMG, with its mixed Ref-Luth background, brought a Lutheran strain to North Sumatra; the Dutch Mennonites founded churches in Central Java and the Methodists in Sumatra. In 1950 churches of these denominations founded the Council of Churches in Indonesia (Dewan; after 1984, [Persekutuan] Gereja-Gereja di Indonesia, DGI/PGI); in 1997 the membership of the 70 affiliated churches totalled more than 10.5 million, of whom 2.5 million were in the HKBP alone. In 1984 the PGI accepted a Common Understanding of the Christian Faith (Pemahaman Bersama Iman Kristen, PBIK) consisting of five articles. The member churches of the PGI have formed regional councils of churches (Persekutuan Gereja-Gereja di Indonesia Wilayah, PGI-W), which in one case (Northern and Central Sulawesi) has developed into a synod (Sinode Am Gereja-Gereja Sulawesi Utara/Tengah, SAG).
The Indonesian Bapt (± 100,000 baptized members) are in part affiliated with the Indonesian Baptist Alliance (Gabungan Gereja Baptis Indonesia, GGBI). Most churches issuing from CMA mission work have united in the Gereja Kemah Injil Indonesia, whose six member churches total about 500,000 members, more than half of whom are in Irian Jaya. Between 1930 and 1970 Pentecostalism experienced a number of schisms. In 1979 the Indonesian Pentecostal Council (Dewan Pentakosta Indonesia, DPI) was founded. Very tentatively, the combined membership can be put at 1.5 to 2 million, of whom many are of Chinese descent. Advent (numbering about 200,000) and a number of independent bodies do not belong to any national church council. It should be noted that the lines between the denominations are not rigid. Within the PGI members now there are also churches of Bapt, CMA, and Pent stock. Moreover, since the 1970s an Evangelical movement has developed, mainly stimulated from America, which has led to the founding of a number of new church bodies and of an Indonesian Evangelical Fellowship (Persekutuan Injili Indonesia, PII), which also counts many CMA and Pent churches among its members.
In the ’50s and ’60s, the main ecumenical challenge faced by Indonesian Protestantism was the effort to bring together the DGI member churches into one church body. That effort resulted in the renaming of the “Council” (Dewan) as “Fellowship” (Persekutuan) in 1984, but it did not really change the relationship between the member churches. In the meantime, no attempts were made to realize church union between single churches. On the contrary, a number of regional churches (North Sumatra, South Sulawesi, North Sulawesi) split, usually on ethnic or regional lines. After 1970 a theological reorientation in DGI/PGI circles and the increasing influence of American evangelicalism caused a growing antithesis between evangelicals and ecumenicals, which makes itself felt in evangelization, literature work, and theological education, even though the Indonesian cultural and religious context does not seem to warrant such an American-style antithesis. Moreover, the charismatic movement influences a number of traditional churches and eventually generates tensions that threaten to cause them to break up. Relations between Prot and RCath, which were strained until the ’60s, have improved. There is a common Bible translation and regular consultation between PGI and the Conference of Bishops, but no organized cooperation. Twenty-six Indonesian churches are members of the WCC, 30 have joined the CCA, 28 the WARC, and 8 the LWF.
Relations with the government are partly determined by the Christians’ minority position. Because of this the churches tend to conform to the government policy of the moment, even to the point of making “revolution” a theological issue in the early 1960s and doing the same with “development” in the 1970s. In the 1980s there was a clash with the CCA over the East Timor issue. In 1984-1985 all churches and church organizations had to insert a formula into their church order or statutes recognizing the Pancasila as the sole foundation for the life of the nation. On daily matters the churches communicate with the government through the Ministry of Religion (Departemen Agama),which has departments for each of the five recognized religions; the Minister is always a Muslim.
Relations with Islam are uneasy. In 1996 and 1997 existing tensions came to the surface in riots on Java and West Kalimantan. Islam has long considered Christianity the “religion of the Dutch,” and Muslim fears that the process of Westernization will bring Christianization in its trail were fueled by the large numbers of Muslim youth in Christian schools converting to Christianity in the 1970s and 1980s. Christians tend to suspect the Muslims of striving for an Islamic state and do not appreciate that they may have to take a step back, now that Muslims are overcoming their disadvantage in education, economics, and politics. In a minority situation Christians have problems in obtaining permission to use church buildings; where Christians are a majority, Muslim presence may be felt to be ostentatious. In recent years a significant number of Christian churches and other buildings have been destroyed by Muslim mobs, especially on Java; these incidents were more or less explicitly approved by part of the Muslim leadership. In Catholic East Timor, with its long history of armed resistance against the annexation to Indonesia in 1976, a mosque was destroyed, as well as several Prot churches, in an anti-immigrant riot. Very few Christians have a thorough theological knowledge of Islam, and dialogue on an academic and national level has hardly been practiced (Th. Sumartana). However, since 1945 Christians have earned their legitimate place as members of the nation, and the majority of people on both sides want to live together in peace.

Types of Reformed Christianity

The differences between the various types of Ref Christianity in Europe, especially in the Netherlands, make themselves felt in the Indonesian churches. Even now, four types can be distinguished:

a) There are churches originating from the former established church (the Protestant Church in the Netherlands Indies). After 1934 a number of regional churches were carved out of the former Protestant Church. These churches accepted Ref church orders. However, they still have a tradition of their own which distinguishes them from the other Ref Churches in Indonesia. A tendency to think in top-down terms still remains; in their church orders no confessions of faith are named except those of the early church (Apostles’ Creed, Nicene Creed, Athanasian Creed); none of these churches has formulated a confession of faith of its own; nowhere, except in the Batak Church (HKBP), are church and Christianity so much interwoven with regional (ethnic) identity as in these churches. The churches belonging to this group are: GKLB (cf. no. 14), GMIM (cf. no. 26), GPM (cf. no. 36), GMIT (cf. no. 28), GPIB (cf. no. 30), GPID (cf. no. 32), GPIG (cf. no. 33), GPIBT (cf. no. 31), GPKB (cf. no. 35), GPI-Irja and, historically speaking, the KGPM (cf. no. 42). With the exception of the GPI-Irja all of them are PGI members. Until the mid-50s, the then existing churches of this type still functioned as a loose confederation, convening in General Synods of the Protestant Church (Gereja Protestan Indonesia, GPI), but today, after having lost its function, the GPI continues as an empty shell, with an office and board but no congr or pastors. Taken together, the membership of these churches amounts to ± 2.5 million, or about 20% of Prot Christianity in Indonesia.

b) There are churches originating from 19th- and 20th-century mainline Dutch and German mission bodies. In general these bodies consciously avoided transferring the confessional, organizational, and liturgical identity of their own denomination to the congr on the mission field. The missions were hierarchically organized, with the European missionary at the top. The missionaries introduced their congr to the liturgy they had known in their home churches; in many cases they also introduced the Heidelberg Catechism. After 1925 their character and policy changed, and most of the churches were founded with a simply worded church order of the Ref type. Initially the confessions of faith included in these church orders were very succinct; in the following decades in many churches these formulas were enlarged and the Creeds of the Early Church, in some cases also the Heidelberg Catechism, were named explicitly as belonging to the fundamentals of the church. To this group of churches belong the GBKP (cf. no. 3), GEPSULTRA (cf. no. 37), GKI (cf. no. 7), GKI Irja (cf. no. 9), GKJW (cf. no. 12), GKP (cf. no. 15), GKSS (cf. no. 18), GKST (cf. no. 19), GMIBM (cf. no. 24), GMIH (cf. no. 25), GMIST (cf. no. 27). Among the churches springing from the RMG mission, AMIN (cf. no. 2), BNKP (cf. no. 1), GKE (cf. no. 6), and ONKP (cf. no. 43) could be added, the other churches of this stock having opted for the membership of the LWF. Their combined membership amounts to 2.5 million, about 20% of Prot Christianity in Indonesia. All churches belonging to this category are members of the PGI.

c) Another group of Ref churches in Indonesia derives from conservative Ref mission bodies in the Netherlands. In contrast to the mainline missions, these bodies include both missionary societies and church missions. They stressed their denominational identity and up to a certain point tried to transfer this identity to the congr on the mission field. When these congr became independent churches, the HeidC and, in most cases, the BelgC and the CDort were included in their church order. In one case (GT, cf. no. 40) these three confessions were replaced by a new confession formulated by the church itself. The transfer of identity also included the exclusion of women from office in the church and the introduction of the exclusive use of the Psalm Book (with Genevan melodies) in church services. To this group belong GGRI (cf. no. 38), GJPI (cf. no. 5), GKI-Sumut (cf. no. 8), GKJ (cf. no. 10), GKS (Cf. no. 21), GT (cf. no. 40), and GT-Mamasa. Together they have ± 750,000 members, which amounts to 6% of Indonesian Prot Christianity. The older churches of this group are all PGI members and admit women to church office; the younger churches still follow the pattern of their Dutch mother-churches.

d) Among the churches affiliated with the Indonesian Evangelical Fellowship (PII) there are some which consciously present themselves as Ref or Presb. In the list below one of these churches, on which data could be obtained, has been included (GRII, cf. no. 39). This type of Ref Christianity is characterized by a conservative Calvinist theology and an energetic rejection of modern theology. These churches are not affiliated with the PGI.

It should be noted that for all types of Ref Churches, the Presb church structure is sometimes under overt pressure from cultural factors (e.g., traditional feudalism, government and army hierarchy). Also, all Ref churches in Indonesia practice infant baptism exclusively (with the exception, of course, of adult converts). During the last decades many churches have been afflicted by schisms, mostly caused by regionalism.





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