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A History of Christianity in Indonesia

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Granny sex dating service. In order to view this website you need to update your internet browser. With its Dutch heritage, the country the old Dutch East Indies never made as much impression on the English-speaking world as did, say, India. And in recent years, Indonesia has been blessed by a tranquillity that has kept it out of global headlines. Contrary to familiar generalizations about Islam, this huge Muslim country is a functioning democracy that rarely sees the kind of chaos that so regularly makes headlines in Pakistan or Nigeria.

Also, amazingly, its flourishing Christian minority is enjoying an era of rapid growth.

Indonesia: 9,000 Jailed Christians Receive Reduced Sentences

Nobody can pretend that Indonesia is a monument to peace and tolerance. Historically, the country is no stranger to mass violence. Its war of independence in the s was a savage racial conflict, and an anticommunist purge in —66 claimed half a million lives. But both those spasms were driven by secular nationalism rather than religion.

Indonesia and the religious clash that wasn't

On occasion, certainly, Islamic causes have sparked violence, and the country has had its vicious terror groups and hardline Islamist militias. In some parts of the country, like the islands of Sulawesi and the Malukus, Christians have suffered terrible persecutions and forced conversions. Both preach tolerance and obedience to law. In the Christmas season, their volunteers defend churches from terrorist attacks.

All of which helps explain just how well Indonesian Christians generally are doing. Christians make up at least 10 percent of the population—some 25 to 30 million people—giving Indonesia a substantially larger Christian community than the much better known Asian success story of South Korea. While some of these churches date their origins to missions in the Dutch colonial era, most of the recent growth involves very modern charismatic denominations of a kind that would not be out of place anywhere around the Pacific Rim.

Pentecostal movements have grown spectacularly, buoyed by revivals and healing crusades from the s onward and boosted by claims to charismatic gifts. They also benefited from the general withdrawal from political activism following the suppression of communism. The Pentecostal Church of Indonesia has grown from perhaps half a million members in to 3 or 4 million today.

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In , the church opened its Messiah Cathedral in Jakarta, a classic megachurch seating 6,, a grandiose structure that would not look out of place in Seoul or Singapore. Whatever may be happening elsewhere in the country, these urban Christians show no concern about hiding their activities out of fear of provoking persecution. Despite the tolerance that has allowed the megachurches to boom, local authorities have been stingy in granting Christians the right to build new places of worship.

In practice, this has caused many Christians to focus their activities on private house churches and in shopping malls, making mall churches a distinctively Indonesian contribution to Christian architecture.

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But even in the face of this bureaucratic obstacle race, churches persist. By far the most active Christian leaders tend to belong to the Chinese minority, whom majority Indonesians sometimes scapegoat as greedy exploiters. If Indonesia suffered another economic downturn, we could easily expect a new wave of pogroms and anti-Christian violence. If that were to occur, the most likely perpetrators would be the militia group the Islamic Defenders Front, which already has an ugly track record. In theory, matters could deteriorate fast.

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