Batak Christian Protestant Church

Batak Christian Protestant Church
Huria Kristen Batak Protestan
Logo of the HKBP
Abbreviation HKBP
Classification Protestant
Theology Lutheran
Structure Interdependent local, and national expressions with modified congregational polity
Leader Ompui Ephorus Darwin Lumbantobing
Associations WCC, CCA, LWF, PGI
Region Indonesia
Headquarters Tarutung
Origin 7 October 1861
Branched from Rhenish Missionary Society
Members 4,500,000[1]
Other name(s) Huria Kristen Batak Protestan
Official website

The Huria Kristen Batak Protestan (HKBP), which translates into English as the Batak Christian Protestant Church,[2] is the largest Protestant denomination in Indonesia, with a baptized membership of 4,500,000. Its present leader is Ephorus (or Bishop) Darwin Lumbantobing.[3]


The first Protestant missionaries who tried to reach the Batak highlands of inner Northern Sumatra were English and American Baptist preachers in the 1820s and 30s, but without any success. After Franz Wilhelm Junghuhn and Herman Neubronner van der Tuuk did intensive research on Batak language and culture in the 1840s, a new attempt was done in 1861 by several missionaries sent out by the German Rhenish Missionary Society (RMG). The first Bataks were baptized in this year. In 1864, Ludwig Ingwer Nommensen from Rhenish Missionary Society Germany, reached the Batak region and founded a village called "Huta Dame" (village of peace) in the district of Tapanuli in Tarutung, North Sumatra.

The RMG was associated with the Unierte Kirche, or union of Lutheran and Reformed churches. However, Nommensen and local leaders developed an approach that applied local custom to Christian belief.

Already in 1868, a local seminary for the education of teachers was opened in Sipirok, and in 1877 a seminary for the education of preachers was built in Pansurnapitu. 1881, Nommensen was officially nominated "ephorus" of the Batak congregations by the RMG. In 1885, the first Batak ministers were ordained in Pearaja Tarutung, where the HKBP headquarters is located until this day.

In 1889, the RMG sent out Sr. Hester Needham who started the work with girls and women and later established the first Batak deaconesses.

In the last quarter of the 19th century, further missionaries of the RMG were sent out to the other Batak tribes (Angkola, Dairi, Simalungun, Karo, Pakpak).

In 1917, the "Hatopan Christen Batak" (HCB) which later became one of the nucleus for the independent Batak church, was founded in Tapanuli as a social movement.

In 1922, the first General Synod ("Sinode Godang") of all Batak congregations was held

In 1931 HKBP became the first independent self-governing Christian body in what was then the Dutch East Indies.

In 1940, all Germans working for the RMG, including pastors and ministers, were detained by the Dutch government. Rev. Sirait was chosen by the synod the first indigenous ephorus of HKBP.

In 1952, while maintaining its indigenous character, the HKBP became a member of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF).[4] In 1954, HKBP founded Nommensen University. In 1977, Sekolah Tinggi Theologia (STT or "Theological Seminary") HKBP split from Nommensen University.

Over the years, a number of church bodies have split from HKBP for various cultural and doctrinal reasons. However, HKBP remains the largest Indonesian LWF member by a factor of ten and also remains in communion with daughter church bodies through the LWF. Tarutung and the Batak region remain the stronghold for the HKBP in the predominantly Muslim nation of Indonesia, although worshippers are found throughout Indonesia and the United States.[5]

Well known HKBP congregants include Amir Sjarifuddin (only Christian prime minister of Indonesia), Todung Sutan Gunung (TSG) Mulia (second Indonesian education minister), and General Tahi Bonar (TB) Simatupang.

In January 2010 two churches were burnt down in Sibuhuan.[6]

Ecumenical relations

HKBP is a member and so actively participates in the programmes of Christian Conference of Asia.


The book of liturgical procedure used by the HKBP is referred to as the "Agenda" or formerly as the "Agende". This term comes from the European Protestant use of agenda.[7]


  2. Huria actually means "Community". Gereja (from Portuguese Igreja) means "Church".
  3. Siadari, Eben E. (16 Sep 2016). "Profil Pendeta Darwin Lumbantobing, Ephorus Baru HKBP" [Pastor Profile Darwin Lumbantobing, New Ephorus HKBP]. Satu Harapan. Jakarta: PT Sinar Kasih. Retrieved 23 Nov 2016.
  4. Aritonang, Jan Sihar; Steenbrink, Karel (2008), A history of Christianity in Indonesia, Leiden, The Netherlands: Koninklijke Brill NV, p. 554, ISBN 978-90-04-17026-1, retrieved 30 Nov 2010, Membership of LWF was not promptly achieved, because one of the requirements was that HKBP had to accept the Augsburg Confession of the Lutheran church. The HKBP leaders were aware that they were not purely Lutheran since they had inherited from the RMG the so-called Uniert tradition, that is a union or combination of Lutheran and Reformed (Calvinist) traditions, and they wanted to define their own theological identity. To solve this problem, HKBP formulated its own confession in 1951 that on the one hand adopted the Augsburg Confession and on the other hand reflected its own theological struggle and standpoint. The LWF assembly in 1952 accepted this Confessie HKBP 1951 as not contrary to the Lutheran doctrine and confession.
  5. Hillerbrand, Hans Joachim (2004), "Batak Protestant Christian Church of Indonesia", The encyclopedia of Protestantism, 1, New York: Routledge (Taylor & Francis), pp. 337–338, ISBN 0-415-92472-3, retrieved 1 Dec 2010
  6. Hariyadi, Mathias (23 Jan 2010). "North Sumatra, two Protestant churches burnt: "too many faithful and too many prayers"". AsiaNews. Retrieved 7 Jan 2012. A crowd of at least 1000 people burned down two Protestant churches last night in Sibuhuan (district of Padang Lawas, North Sumatra). The blaze was the culmination of tension between the faithful and the local Islamic community, tired of seeing "too many faithful and too many prayers" in a place not registered as a church.
  7. Newman, Albert Henry (1951) [1909], "Agenda", in Jackson, Samuel Macauley; Loetscher, Lefferts A., The New Schaff-Herzog encyclopedia of religious knowledge, Christian Classics Etherial Library, I, Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, pp. 84–86, ISBN 0-8010-7947-0, retrieved 31 May 2011

External links

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