Indonesia, a nation with over 215 million Muslim believers that total 13% of the total Muslim world population is in for a surprise! Unprecedented growth among Christians with an Evangelical and Pentecostal identity puzzles the nation. In Indonesia it is a disgrace and a dangerous act to convert to Christianity from a Muslim background. People who are converts are experiencing different kinds of persecution within the extended family, but also within society. Exact figures are hard to gather but a recent report estimates that 10% of Indonesians are Christians. A figure many Christian leaders believe is too low.
Some interesting facts?
- In the early 1960s there were no Evangelical churches in Temanggung, where the soccer-field revival took place; now there are more than 40.
- In the capital Jakarta, newly built mega churches send steeples into the sky
- Other Christians worship at unofficial churches based in hotels and malls, where Sunday services rival shopping as a popular weekend activity
- Asia’s tallest statue of Jesus Christ, built in 2007, presides over Manado city in eastern Indonesia, while Indonesian cable TV beams 24-hour Christian channels.
Time magazine reports: “What is it about Evangelical Christianity that has so resonated in Indonesia? As in many other crowded, developing-world countries where a person can feel lost in a teeming slum, the concept of individual salvation is a powerful one. At the same time, the attempted hijacking of Muslim theology by a small band of homegrown terrorists who have killed hundreds of Indonesians in recent years has led some to question their nation’s majority faith. So, too, has the general trend toward a more conservative Islam that has given rise to hundreds of religiously inspired bylaws, from caning for beer-drinking to enforced dress codes for women. Not everyone, though, is celebrating Christianity’s boom. Some Muslims view the faith as an unwanted foreign influence, even though Islam, too, is an imported religion”.
I am excited about this recent development and it gives hope to us who have not been part of such sweeping moves of God in our nations. If God can do it in strongholds of Islam, He can AND will move here as well!