Vision And Mission of Indonesia’s Evangelical Reformed Church
We call ourselves Reformed Evangelicals, because we are Reformed theologians and passionate evangelicals. Our Reformed Theology believes in the theology based on God’s Sovereignty and does its utmost to establish biblical authority. The Evangelical spirit reminds us that as Christians we must be the salt and light of the world, loving others who still live in sin, who need the redemption of christ’s blood. This we express in our Confession of Faith, also in the Burdens and Prayers expressed by rev. Stephen Tong at grii opening service in Jakarta.
The Indonesian Evangelical Reformed Church was founded by rev. Dr. Stephen Tong. Grii was founded to fight for a pulpit faithful to the word of God. Therefore, GRII gives very special attention to the teaching of the word from the pulpit. We strive to make the pulpit truly a place of responsible preaching of the word, which is based on the Exposition of God’s Word carefully, and to avoid misusing the pulpit for personal gain or dredged up worldly wealth and other secular things.
The existence of GRII anywhere is expected to be a blessing to all Christians around the place. Therefore, GRII never thought that this church existed only and stood for one group of Christians, but always fought so that what we did could be a blessing to as many people as possible with the widest possible scope.
In the mid-20th century, the new Christian world experienced little relief from the difficulties posed by World War II. Eastern Europe has fallen into the hands of communism. Western Europe is beset by secularism. Missionary sedation began to shift from mainland Europe to North America. Meanwhile, the church in America must confront the development of Liberalism that is very life-threatening to traditional Christianity.
Meanwhile, the most recent theologies, for example: Demitologization sought to rival the NeoOrtodox of the Barthian wing to denounce gospel beliefs. At such times, churches in Asia are asleep in the stage of ignoring theology, although the spiritual movements once gifted by God have yielded a great lot of fruit especially in Southeast Asia and China. The revival services led by John Sung and Andrew Gih have produced many full-time workers serving God and evangelical teams that have flourished here and there that have stirred the national spirit in Asian countries. But the Ecumenical movement, which ignores orthodoxy and expands the spirit of tolerance to all sorts of new traditions, plus the Charismatic movement that has replaced the traditional Pentecostal movement to overhaul the mind structure of denominational churches, has produced lay waves that do not understand theology but venture to preach the gospel and establish churches without Confession, without liturgy, even without appreciation of the great music inherited from history.
In the 70s and 80s, when evangelicals saw the dangers of inequality in Christianity, in Southeast Asia the student movement began to be resurrected, including the Leveling Movement and the Campus Crusade. But theological strongholds, namely the places where the education of the servants of God do not have enough power to maintain the faith of orthodox beliefs. That is why there was a movement to establish theological schools outside the lines of conventional institutions. History proves these kinds of schools are less weighty in maintaining true theology and responsible and correct understanding of Scripture. That is why many of the Lord’s servants graduate from these kinds of schools difficult to accept the challenges of the times let alone challenge the times, especially in the face of intellectuals.
On the other hand, the revival of religions outside Christianity is also a major challenge to the Christian faith. The growing number of scholars in other religions and their awareness of consolidation is also a fact we should not ignore. In addition, the increasing education and the growing influence of modern philosophy in Asian countries has increased the likelihood of Christianity, with under-weighted leaders, becoming a religion considered underdeveloped and harassed by a new generation. Looking at such situations, who is prepared to accept this challenge and fill the needs of the times in the late 20th century?
The quantity obtained through the movements that took place among the commoners is not enough to answer the challenges of this era. Due to dissatisfaction with the current christian teaching and the inability of liberalism and the emotionally winged Christian movement to represent true Christianity, we thought there needed to be an Evangelical Reformed Movement.
This movement is in a wave of transition from agricultural society (agriculture) to industrialization society and also towards the information community. That is why this movement is not easily followed by unusual people with the awesomeness of this transitional wave, let alone the movement that fights this current rooted in the spirit pioneered in the 16th century. The movement is motivated to bring Christianity into the 21st century. That is why, no wonder, if this movement is judged too retarded or against the current.
The reformation that took place in the 16th century was a unique and unparalleled movement because the motivation of the reformation was to return to scripture and claim that everything was solely by grace, and that only by faith, and not human merit, the chosen were called to be witnesses of God in this world. The Church is called not only to preach the gospel and teach the truth, it is also called to carry out cultural mandates through the guidance of god’s Word to enlighten the world with the principles of God’s Word in all aspects of culture.
In all facets of human life, history has witnessed the contribution of Calvinism, from personal life to societal life and education, even pioneering democracy around the world. At a time when the influence of Liberalism was expanding and undermining the Christian faith in the 19th century, Reformed theologians steadfastly stood at the forefront of the battle against teachings disloyal to Scripture. So both in Europe and in America, the books that weighed the most in the fight against liberal teachings were mostly the work of Reformed theologians. It is this spirit of Reformed theology that has kept Christianity from all the misappropriation and infidelity of the church as the bride of Christ who must be faithful to God.
Such figures as Abraham Kuyper, Herman Bavinck, Hendrik Kraemer in the Netherlands; and Charles Hodge, Archibald Hodge, B.B. Warfield, Gresham Machen, Cornelius Van Til, John Murray, and other figures in America have shown their uncompromising spirit derived from John Calvin. The discovery of common grace and the uniqueness of general revelation has been the hallmark and hallmark of Reformed Theology in addressing cultural issues and enlightening and guidance to all the most modern scientific discoveries, as well as the changing currents of the mind to the New Age Movement and Postmodernism. No one can ignore what Reformed Theology has done throughout history. Reformed theology is one of the most test-resistant and superior theology to lead Christians through the wars of faith and to guide the future of mankind.
Aren’t many church leaders who have been educated at Reformed theological schools in America, the Netherlands, and elsewhere who are back in the field of service in Indonesia? Aren’t those who are supposed to bring the church back to the spirit of Reformed and raise the consciousness of Christians to keep the faith of faith that is passed down to us and fight in a world full of thoughts that are quite opposite to Scripture?
Having waited for about 20 years, I feel like I can’t wait anymore – even though since 1964 I’ve been teaching Reformed doctrine at the theology school I serve and forming reformed minds in students. The call to found the Evangelical Reformed Movement became increasingly clear and urgent after I got hepatitis B in 1984.
Life is temporary. Although I have served for 27 years, but with the understanding gained through the experience of suffering from such lever diseases, I feel like I may still be able to survive in this world for only another 15 to 20 years. So I am not waiting for others anymore and sincerely pray to submit myself once again to uphold the Evangelical Reformed Movement in Indonesia. I ask the Lord that within 15 years, by the end of the 21st century, a group of young people have come together who understand and realize the importance of the Evangelical Reformed Movement and are willing to give themselves up to serve and sacrifice in this day and age.
The response to this call received the blessing of God, so that in 1984 began the first step, namely to boldly hold a Seminar on The Construction of Christian Faith (SPIK) to pioneer reformed doctrine. Beyond expectations, the participants grew more and more and with great enthusiasm accepted the Reformed doctrine taught.
The SPIK movement that started in 1984 has become a movement that has not withered until now, both in Indonesia and abroad. Those who were made aware took the decision to study the Doctrine of Reformed further. So the second step in this call was to establish the School of Evangelical Reformed Theology (STRI) for the laity in 1986.
What is the So-Called Evangelical Reformed Movement?
The movement is different from the organization. Movement is a kind of fire and spiritual spirit that burns a group of people so that it becomes a force of influence on other personal beings to see, acknowledge, perform and carry out an important task to change history. Quality historical movements always have consistent theories, agile strategies, complete devotion, loyal followers, and lasting influences, both in the secular and spiritual fields, the above elements can be clearly seen. Therefore the Evangelical Reformed Movement must also ask the Lord to give help and blessings in important matters. We believe that the motivation to hold this movement is purely based on God’s calling and the needs of the times and the ongoing life of faith as a Christian in history. So clearly we see the Lord bestowIng His blessings in both inclusion and anointing, especially evoking the persons blazed by the fire of the Holy Ghost. Soli Deo Gloria (All glory is only for God).
What Is the Content of the Evangelical Reformed Movement?
This movement covers two aspects. First, restore the theological understanding based on god’s revelation in scripture pioneered by reformers, especially the Calvinism wing and its successors to this day. With this strict theology, derived from the meanings stored in scripture, the faith of Christians will be equipped and strengthened to face the challenges of all ages. Second, promote the spirit of evangelism and mobilize Christians to directly preach the gospel, which is good news for all mankind, introduce the power of salvation through the death and resurrection of Christ for the remission of sins and human peace with the Lord God thus creating a new life that glorifies God, testifies to Christ, and preaches the gospel. Thus this movement brought the church into the root of God’s Word and came to fruition in this world.
What Was the Beginning of This Movement?
The steps of this Movement have been led by God through the obedience of His servants. So we planned (for the Reformed Theological Aspects): First, form as many masses as possible who are aware of and experience evangelical Reformed teaching. This was realized in the form of a Seminar on the Development of Christian Faith (SPIK). Second, filter and obtain a group of laypeople who demanded to study Reformed theology systematically and consistently. This was realized in the form of the School of Evangelical Reformed Theology (STRI). Third, establish a library that provides quality books to fill the needs of people who want to learn more truth and believe that this movement is universal and influential in history. Fourth, establish a theological school and institute to prepare the lord’s full-time servants for generations to come. Fifth, with true theology established churches and gospel outposts to be a place for the Lord’s servants to boldly teach Reformed theology and shepherd god’s chosen people. Sixth, translate and print Reformed theological books.
While the plan in the Aspects of Evangelism includes: First, holding mass evangelism and directly confronting the needs of society and teaching people to repent and welcome invitations to be Christians. Second, to conduct evangelism discipleship to train people who feel called to expand the Kingdom of God through personal evangelism. Thus mobilize Christians to become a channel of God’s gift to society. Third, train full-time evangelists in theological school to prepare god’s current and special burdened servants in evangelism. Fourth, provide gospel outposts to house the fruits of evangelism to lead to the life of grazing and the church.
What is the Uniqueness of This Movement?
The Evangelical Reformed Movement is different from the church and the Reformed Evangelical denomination. The Evangelical Reformed Movement is meant to be an impetus for every denomination and may belong to every church outside the Evangelical Reformed Church, so that churches are awakened and directed to true theology and true Evangelical spirit. But the Evangelical Reformed Movement did not close the possibility for The Lord’s evangelical Reformed theologians to establish the Evangelical Reformed Church as one of the vessels in the Kingdom of God, accompanying other churches to carry out their calling duties as the body of Christ.
Who Is In This Movement?
This movement is not monopolized by full-time servants of God, nor is it monopolized by GRII, because Reformed theology and evangelism in the Evangelical Reformed Movement are internal cores and external actions that should be had by all churches. So every Christian who has experienced a new birth by the Holy Spirit and has been baptized into God, has the right to share in the Evangelical Reformed Movement. If God leads, then these passionate and theological Christians, may freely, on their own willingness, join the Evangelical Reformed Society, even the Indonesian Evangelical Reformed Church. Everyone who shares in this movement must realize and understand the Evangelical Reformed Confession and willingly work with evangelical Reformers to develop this movement, with the aim of glorifying god, purifying the faith of the church, and promoting the spirit of the Great Mandate until Christ comes back.
GRII and the Evangelical Reformed Movement
GRII was founded on the basis of the Evangelical Reformed Confession of Faith with the aim of establishing a church based on Reformed theology, with a pulpit delivering expository sermons, and a congregation committed to preaching the gospel. This church is part of the body of Christ, consisting of all churches based on the correct doctrine of performing its duties in this world. GRII members consist of: First, direct evangelism results that receive God and are baptized into GRII. Second, from church members abroad or abroad who moved to the city where GRII existed, then at his own request and willingness became a member of GRII through atestasi after following the catechization. Third, the children of members are promised by faithful parents to educate them based on the Christian faith. Fourth, the transfer of other church members by following lawful procedures.
Of the GRII members who believe in the importance of the Evangelical Reformed Movement and have the burden of the Lord’s call to enter the movement, they will be given the opportunity to participate in the ministry so that through observation, training and screening, some become workers who serve more people. The board consists of those who have passed the level of service that is considered sufficiently mature. Any Christian who realizes and understands the Evangelical Reformed Movement should have a positive influence, both in churchwi’s life and in society and in the country.
The Prospect of This Movement
Through the Evangelical Reformed faith, we expect more and more churches to return to the right doctrine, and more and more churches to dive into carrying out the Great Mandate of the Lord Jesus Christ. Thus, STTRII, Institut Reformed, and STRI located in major cities in Indonesia and abroad, bear the obligation to educate Christians in the introduction of Reformed theology and mobilize evangelism missions. While GRII is expected to open as many MRI (Evangelical Reformed Pulpit) as possible in various places to fill the needs and thirst of Christians for god’s Word, Reformed theology, and evangelism exercises. We expect true theology to be the key to enlightenment for culture and life in this world; and through evangelism, bring the whole nation back to the Lord. Because God said. “You are the light of the world, ye are the salt of the world.” In the 21st century marked by mass movements influenced by the spirit of the New Age Movement and the philosophical cultural movement Postmodernism, let us shine the light of God’s Word like a beacon that leads all the lost back into the eternal lap of God.