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Intensive in Indonesia

From time to time, ALC partners with the LCANZ’s International Mission to provides training for overseas partner churches. During April, ALC’s emeritus lecturer, Dr Stephen Haar was invited to lead a 2 week intensive course on ‘Lutheran Theology’ and ‘The Augsburg Confession’, at the Luther Study Centre (LSC) in North Sumatra, Indonesia.

This invitation came at the request of 13 Lutheran World Federation member churches (representing 8 million members), who conveyed a need to grow in their expression of ‘Lutheran identity’. Fifteen representatives from these member churches attended the course.

The LSC aims to strengthen theological understanding and leadership, assist pastors and church workers to better proclaim the saving work of Christ among those they serve and equip local churches for effective mission in a majority Muslim country.

The practice of Christian faith in Indonesia can no longer simply exist in church buildings, as increasing numbers of people feel prevented from worshiping in their buildings, by violence and sometimes legal order. In some regions, faith means simply suffering - even death. The stark reality of this experience was echoed in conversations with those who attended the intensive course.

Dr Haar said, ‘I return home with a greater awareness of the challenges and needs of the church in Indonesia, as well as being inspired by their spirit, faith, hope and reliance.’

Lutheran churches in Indonesia are experiencing challenges in their life due to their common relationship with other believers and social political problems. These include the challenge to be open and changing churches: making the confession and teachings of the reformation both relevant and authentic for their current context and time.