A long-held hope of the Lutheran churches of Indonesia has been realised with the opening of the Luther Study Centre (LSC) in Pemetangsiantar in North Sumatra.
The centre was opened late last year with members of the Indonesian churches joined online by friends and partners from around the world. While COVID robbed participants of the chance to celebrate this milestone in person, the LCA/NZ’s Assistant to the Bishop – International Mission, Pastor Matt Anker, said it didn’t hinder the sense of enthusiasm and joy for what the new centre represents.
‘In recent years there has been an awakening among the churches we partner within Indonesia’, he said. ‘Key leaders have come to realise that, despite their historic connections to the Lutheran confession, their church bodies have often strayed from distinctive Lutheran teachings on sin and grace.
‘Recognising that this has the potential to rob people of the comfort of the gospel and the certainty of salvation through faith in Christ, they called out for help and LCA International Mission is privileged to be one of the partners who has been able to respond. The LSC is primarily about strengthening their understanding and practice of theology that rightly distinguishes law and gospel, and that points people to the completed work of Christ on the cross.’
Rev Basa Hutabarat, the executive secretary of the National Committee of LWF churches in Indonesia said, ‘Our expectation is that the LSC will offer a program in Lutheran doctrine that will be compulsory for all theological students. Even teachers in Lutheran schools should take this program. From this doctrine we understand and know the relevance of Lutheran theology for our Christian life.’
In addition to providing financial support for the LSC, LCA International Mission is partnering with Australian Lutheran College (ALC) to provide both in-person and online seminars led by ALC faculty which will be offered through the LSC.