The Rise of Reformed Christianity in the World’s Largest Muslim Country

TGC - The Gospel Coalition | 1/10/2017 | Staff
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With over 16,000 students, Universitas Pelita Harapan is one of the largest Reformed Christian universities in the world. Started just 22 years ago, the university offers a law school, medical school, engineering school, and teachers college—all from a distinctly Reformed worldview.

“We don’t even have that in the United States or Europe,” said Ric Cannada, chancellor emeritus for Reformed Theological Seminary. “Here it is in Indonesia. Isn’t it just like the Lord to do something like this in the least likely place—the country with the largest Muslim population in the world?”

Christians - Percent - Indonesia - Population - Nation

Though Christians comprise only 10 percent of Indonesia’s population, the nation is so populous that roughly 25 million Christians live there. About one-third are Catholic, while the Protestants are typically either Pentecostal or Reformed—as in, really Reformed.

“Over here in the States we talk about the Reformed world- and life-view, but they’re doing it,” Cannada said. “Doing it on steroids.”

Businessman - Love - God - Reformed - Theology

Bankrolled by an enormously successful Indonesian businessman with a love for God and Reformed theology, the Pelita Harapan Foundation—where Cannada is a senior adviser—has opened 55 Christian K–12 schools in the last 25 years.

Pelita Harapan is the mission side of businessman James Riady’s domain. But of course he also has a business side—and it’s enormous: 30 hospitals, 64 malls, 125 department stores, and the country’s largest media group.

Reformed - Tradition - Niel - Nielson - President

Both are informed by the Reformed tradition, said Niel Nielson, the former president of Covenant College who now leads the foundation’s education wing and sits on the board of directors for its hospitals and department stores.

“[The Riady family] is passionately Reformed in their theological perspective, and they link all that together in terms of how they understand the corporation,” he said. “There is energy and focus on integration unlike anything I’ve seen anywhere in the world.”

Nielson - Silos

Nielson says the “thick-walled silos”...
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