While radical Muslims are continuing to pressure officials to close churches in Indonesia, destroying buildings and threatening believers, this is not stopping the Church from growing in the world’s largest Muslim-populated nation.
Recently, a group of Muslim protesters shouting “bongkar,” which means tear down, demanded that a Christian church be shut down, and in a city in the province of West Java, all 29 Christian churches have been forcibly closed, even after meeting the requirements needed to operate legally as a church.
The pastors are saying that the main reason for closures is because Muslim extremists are pressuring the local government not to grant licenses to these churches. Many times, it turns violent, as was the case when radical Muslims stormed Surabaya Pentecostal Church.
The church’s pastor, Bernard Maukar, told CBN News: “angry members of the Islamic Defender’s Front barged into our church and destroyed our musical instruments, chairs, everything. It’s been more than a year since I passed all requirements to obtain a legal permit for our church, but the local government did not pay attention to it, and because I was holding Sunday Service without a permit, they put me in jail for three months.”
But even behind bars, Pastor Maukar continued to share God’s message.
“Christians inside the prison invited me to give the sermon,” he said. “I preached that God never leaves us and He is present in each of our situation.”
“This blessed the prisoners, including the Muslims,” he shared. “They asked me to pray for them Christian style, and when I laid hands on the sick they got well.”
For several months, Pastor Bernard’s church held services in an open field. Today, they are worshipping in private homes.
Despite the persecution of Christians, reliable research shows the number of Christians in Indonesia has significantly increased. Indonesia still has more Muslims than any other nation in the world, but pastors believe that the rise of Christianity will bring a spiritual and social transformation to this nation.
- Pray for Christians in Indonesia as they face growing pressure and opposition to their faith.
- Pray for protection for the churches in Indonesia, for registration applications to be approved and for freedom of worship for Christians in this nation.
- Pray for Christians in prison, for strength and courage to witness to their fellow prisoners and guards.
- pray for those who hear the Gospel to respond with open hearts to the truth of Jesus’ love and grace.
- Pry for spiritual transformation across Indonesia as the church continues to grow.
Colossians 4 vs 3: “At the same time pray for us as well that God will open to us a door for the word, that we may declare the mystery of Christ, for which I am in prison”
Source: http://www.persecution.org/2016, http://www1.cbn.com