First row from left: Professor at the Great Commission Theological Seminary (STTAA, for its acronym in Indonesian), Rev. Andreas Himawan, Executive Director of Leimena Institute, Matius Ho, and Chairperson of STTAA, Castellia Kartika, D.Th. during the Theological Colloquium held on October 31, 2022.
IL News 001/2023
Jakarta – In the midst of various challenges relating to public issues, faith and theology should be able to act as a guide for Christians as well as make tangible contributions to the concerns of the wider community. The active role of Christians is highly required as part of the solution, notably, in overcoming poverty, reconciliation among groups, discrimination and violence, sexual harassment, corruption, access to proper health care and education, pluralism, and others.
This became the framework for the implementation of the Theological Colloquium 2022 with the theme “The Church and Public Theology” on October 31, 2022 as a series of activities for the 25th Anniversary of the Great Commission Theological Seminary (STTAA, for its acronym in Indonesian). The event opened with the Chairperson of STTAA, Casthelia Kartika, D.Th. presenting as guest speakers Executive Director of Leimena Institute, Matius Ho, Rev. Prof. Joas Adiprasetya, D.Th. from Jakarta Theological Seminary, and Rev. Andreas Himawan, D.Th. from STTAA.
In his presentation, Matius Ho conveyed that the life of our pluralistic nation faces the challenge of the emergence of polarization and division that threatens the country. According to him, identity politics, which continues to grow stronger by exploiting issues of religion, ethnicity and race, has exacerbated the polarization of its citizens as warned by surveys from within and outside the country.
“Meanwhile, religious education in Indonesian schools and tertiary institutions is still lacking in its ability to participate in building mutual respect among adherents of different religions,” stated Matius during the event which was held through hybrid presentation with 84 participants from various churches, Christian service institutions, schools, and seminaries.
Panel speakers of STTAA Theological Colloquium Rev. Andreas Himawan, Rev. Joas Adiprasetya, and Matius Ho.
Matius stated that Leimena Institute is working with various leading institutions in Indonesia to develop a capacity building program for teachers in Cross Cultural Religious Literacy (CCRL). The goal is to build interreligious harmony by focusing on training three competencies, namely personal competence (understanding one’s own religion well), comparative competence (comprehending other religions to build empathy and openness), and collaborative competence (encouraging cooperation with other religious adherents).
“The CCRL program is crucial in maintaining the Indonesian nation’s covenant to always work together in facing various world problems in today’s era,” he said.
According to Matius, Indonesia as a pluralistic nation strives to unite itself as a nation through convenants, such as the Youth Pledge in 1928 and Pancasila. The establishment of Leimena Institute itself was also inspired by Dr. Johannes Leimena, who was once Indonesia’s Deputy Prime Minister and who made an important contribution to the realization of the Youth Pledge as Secretary of the 1928 Youth Congress.
Matius added that the history of the Indonesian nation is an example of a concept called “covenantal pluralism”, which is a condition in which a pluralistic society is able to live together peacefully and even work for the common good because of its covenant. Indonesia’s covenants are not only in the form of rigid regulations, but also in the more flexible human relations.
“Such a pluralistic society is united not only by a constitution that maintains equality and is by nature ‘top-down’, but also by a culture that supports a commitment to mutual respect, mutual cooperation, and is by nature ‘bottom-up’,” he explained.
The Theological Colloquium of STTAA was divided into three plenary sessions: Plenary 1 was presented by Rev. Joas Adiprasetya with the theme “The Church and Public Theology: A Theological Construction”, Plenary 2 was presented by Matius Ho with the theme “The Church and Public Theology: Praxis in the Indonesian Context”, and Plenary 3 was presented by Rev. Andreas Himawan with the theme “The Church and Public Theology through the Evangelical Perspective”. [IL/Chr]