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Indonesian Missions

(319 words)

Author(s): Becker, Dieter
[German Version] Indonesian churches are limited in performing their missionary task by edicts issued by the ministry of religion in 1978 which prohibit “oral propaganda,” the “distribution of printed materials,” the use of material “means of enticement” or visiting the homes of fellow-citizens of recognized religions (Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Christianity). On the other hand, the state calles upon adherents of the so-called tribal religions to join one of the recognized religions. The Indone…


(5,614 words)

Author(s): Becker, Dieter | Gerstenberger, Erhard S. | Osiek, Carolyn | Klein, Birgit | Heun, Werner | Et al.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Old Testament – III. New Testament – IV. Medieval and Modern Judaism – V. The Law – VI. History and Sociology – VII. Social Ethics – VIII.  Socialization Theory – IX. Education – X. Practical Theology I. Religious Studies The term family describes a varied network of relationships between parents, children and other persons in a social system. In ethnically shaped small-scale societies, family groups are bearers of religious rituals (Rite and Ritual) and centers of religious community. Fa…


(13,709 words)

Author(s): Sundermeier, Theo | Frankemölle, Hubert | Feldtkeller, Andreas | Collet, Giancarlo | George, Martin | Et al.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Christianity – III. Judaism – IV. Buddhism – V. Islam I. Religious Studies 1. Overview. Mission is not a fundamentally universal phenomenon in the history of religions; neither is every form in which religion is passed on eo ipso mission. “Primary,” tribal religions are not missionary religions. Their domain is coterminous with their society and its way of life; they are handed down from one generation to the next in the course of natural life. The question of truth does not arise. An indivi…

Christian Villages

(178 words)

Author(s): Becker, Dieter
[German Version] Attempts to resettle people in villages created specifically for them in order to “civilize” and “convert” them have a long tradition in the history of European colonialism (Colonialism and mission; Reductions). Similar projects in Africa and Asia dating from the end of the 19th century were undertaken primarily to resettle slaves that had been handed over to or ransomed by the missions. The pioneers of such settlements were the Holy Ghost…

Batak Churches

(672 words)

Author(s): Becker, Dieter
[German Version] The Batak churches of northern Sumatra essentially go back to the initiative of the Rhenish Mission (United Evangelical Mission), which started working there in 1861. The first missionaries, J.H. Meerwaldt and especially I.L. Nommensen, strove to strip the traditional legal and moral system ( Adat ) of its religious elements, in order that it might be integrated into the church order as “civil law.” As a result, particularly strong bonds wit…


(2,417 words)

Author(s): Mohr, Hubert | Becker, Dieter
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. History – III. Missiology I. Religious Studies Paganism (from Lat. paganus “pagan, rustic, civilian”; Pagandom) is the modern scientific term for the deliberate resumption (“reception”) or revival (“revitalization,” “reconstruction”) of ancient or recent ethnic religious traditions or elements of them (Cults; myths, symbols) outside Christianity and biblical Judaism. Although the religious occupation of an outgroup is structurally conceivable in other exclusive religious ¶ communities, such as Judaism or Islam, paganism …


(2,955 words)

Author(s): Peacock, James | Schumann, Olaf | Becker, Dieter
[German Version] I. Non-Christian Religions – II. Christianity A presidential republic since 1945, Indonesia is an archipelagic state in Southeast Asia (13,677 islands, 6,044 of them inhabited). Divided into 27 provinces, it comprises the Malay Peninsula, the Greater Sunda Islands (Borneo, Sumatra, Java, Sulawesi [formerly Celébes]), the Lesser Sunda Islands (including Bali), the Moluccas, and Papua (western New Guinea; Irian Jaya 1969–2002). Its capital is Jakarta. Its population was 234 million in 2007. Some 360 ethnic groups are represented, including 3% Chinese. Indones…

Simatupang, Tahi Bonar

(162 words)

Author(s): Becker, Dieter
[German Version] ( Jan 28, 1920, Sidikalang, North Sumatra – Jan 1, 1990, Jakarta), longtime chairman of the Communion of Churches in Indonesia (Batak churches) and one of its most eminent ecumenical pioneers. Dismissed from military service as chief of staff at the age of 39, he dedicated himself to bringing an open society to fruition on the basis of the Pancasila, calling on the church to contribute “positively, creatively, critically, and realistically” to building up the nation in the light o…


(233 words)

Author(s): Becker, Dieter
[German Version] From its first formulation by President Achmed Sukarno, the Pancasila (from Sanksrit pañcaśīla, “five principles”) has been understood as a ¶ “state philosophy” guiding the people of Indonesia’s various ethnic communities, able to unite them in a single nation. Since the proclamation of the Republic of Indonesia in 1945, it has been in the preamble of all the various constitutions. In its original form, it read: “Belief in the one and only God. Just and civilized humanity. The unity of Indonesia. Demo…

Neuendettelsau Mission

(323 words)

Author(s): Becker, Dieter
[German Version] The Missionswerk der Evangelisch-Lutherischen Kirche in Bayern (Mission ¶ Agency of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bavaria, MWB), founded in 1972, has roots going back to various initiatives of the Neuendettelsau pastor W. Löhe (1808–1872). With the slogan: “Take the gospel to those far off, and you will preserve it for those close at hand,” he began in 1842 to send so-called “emergency helpers” to care for emigrants in North America, and later also pastors to Australia in 1875, and Br…

Nommensen, Ludwig Ingwer

(299 words)

Author(s): Becker, Dieter
[German Version] (Feb 6, 1834, island of Nordstrand – May 23, 1918, Sigumpar, North Sumatra), missionary who pioneered the development of the Batak churches, still honored in Indonesia today as its “apostle” and ompu (Batak: “grandfather” or “ancestor”). He began his missionary work in 1863 in Tapanuli (North Sumatra); despite initially massive resistance, within ten years he had baptized some 1,200 individuals. At his death, the church had some 180,000 members. This unparalleled growth went hand in hand with increasing opennes…