Indonesian Christians are denied the right to build a church

Indonesia (MNN) — Local officials have denied Indonesian Christians the right to build churches, even though the Christians own the land. It happened in a small town near the capital, Jakarta. About 10,000 Christians live in this city.

Bruce Allen with MFI said, “Christian leaders across the country have said this goes against the spirit of religious moderation that Indonesia is known for. And he denies the constitutional right of 10,000 Christians living in the city.

State versus local governments

The Indonesian government has weighed in on this controversy. Allen says, “The minister of religion even said that Christians have a constitutional right to have their own building on their property. But the city refuses to back down.

The Indonesian government has gone to great lengths to establish unity across its 6,000 inhabited islands. But local governments often have more practical power. Allen says, “It’s really incumbent on the Christian population to have very good relationships with the people in their neighborhoods and communities who are not Christians.

“Pray that Christian leaders do not become belligerent.”

Christians across the country are watching the confrontation. Ask God to strengthen Indonesian Christians, giving them patience and love for their neighbors. Allen says, “Jesus said, ‘Love your enemies.’ One of the most difficult commandments I think we have to follow as Christians.

Expansion of church planting

Indonesian Christians have a vision of great future expansion. Allen says, “Over the past few weeks, I have seen that members of our leadership team in Indonesia have interviewed 12 candidate church planners for IMF partnerships. Some were in Sumatra. Many were on the island of Kalimantan, the region where the country’s new capital is being built.

They will even interview candidates on the islands of Java, where this controversy is taking place. Allen says, “By 2023, the IMF could see needing to support 18 new pastors. And that’s in the largest Muslim-majority country in the world.

You can support the work of the IMF in Indonesia.

The header photo shows a Christian church in Indonesia. (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

Charles K. Eckert