Christian Persecution Continues In Indonesia
Christian worshippers in Indonesia were dealt another blow by a radical group who succeeded in shutting down their worship service on March 23. This incident occurred in Bandung, West Java. Their message in a video that went viral threatened, “Stop the illegal HKBP worship plan at the Maris Square shophouse!!! Or we will act.”
Without proper permits, churches in Indonesia cannot gather legally. However, obtaining building permits, called IMB, is a very difficult process as many churches can testify. In this mainly Muslim country, the refusal to grant an IMB is a real weapon that satan uses to target the growth of Christianity. The Bible reminds us in Hebrews 10:25: “Don’t stop meeting together with other believers, which some people have gotten into the habit of doing. Instead encourage each other, especially as you see the Day drawing near.” The HKBP Betania Rancaekek was established on April 1, 1999, and has struggled since then to get an IMB permit from the government.
The ICC (International Christian Concern) has been working to help these struggling churches to exist with these harsh requirements. Gina Goh, the ICC’s regional manager says, “Too often, churches in Muslim-majority Indonesia are unfairly subjected to Indonesia’s religious harmony laws, which require several conditions be met to worship legally; these conditions are often subject to the consent of reluctant Muslim majorities.”
The church has continued to work with government agencies to take care of the permit issue, but their plan was disrupted by hardline residents. A Christian lawyer says, “The church now plans to resume their worship after the month of Ramadan. They will consult with the district leader before they send me a formal letter requesting legal assistance.”