Indonesian churches face closure threat as hard-liners ramp up opposition
Two new churches in Java are facing the threat of closure as part of what many see as a rising tide of persecution in Indonesia.
The Family of God Church in West Jakarta received its official permit earlier this month but has yet to meet because of local protests. Pastor Timotheus says the church has received threats from Islamic Defenders Front – the same extremist group that drove them out of their last building in the city.
And, in Central Java, a Pentecostal church in Yogyakarta city is facing calls to close just three months after it opened.
Please pray for our Christian family in Indonesia amid mounting pressure.
Local opponents of the Family of God Church in the Cengkareng district of West Jakarta claim it is too close to a mosque and Islamic school – even though local Christians say there are no such buildings nearby.
Meanwhile, Pastor Tigor, leader of the new Indonesia Pentecostal Church in Yogyakarta, has long faced persecution. Back in 2003, he opened a house church in his home but faced local protests and vandalism. Then, in 2017, he applied for an official permit which was finally granted this April – but church meetings have immediately met with local protests once again.
- Pray that God will make a way for these congregations to meet and to witness to their neighbourhoods. For both churches, local-level talks have failed and the cases are being referred to higher authorities.
- Pray that many of those who currently oppose Christian worship in Indonesia will come to Christ.
- Praise God that Pastor Tigor and his church have an ally in the local police chief who has warned local objectors: ‘I will protect the repressed minority with my blood.’ Pray that God will raise up many more defenders of religious freedom.
(Sources: The Jakarta Post; UCANews)
Please continue to pray for our family in Chengdu, China, where members of Early Rain Covenant Church continue to face intense persecution. Pastor Wang Yi (also known as Wang Li) has had charges of ‘illegal business activities’ added to the charge of ‘subversion’ on which he has been held since December. Officials have forced church members to make false accusations against him; those who refused to comply were reportedly shackled for days to prevent them from sleeping. Pray for the swift release of Pastor Wang and the four other church leaders also detained; pray also that Pastor Wang will be able to get a full legal defence and an opportunity to share the message God has given him to those around him.
(Sources: Morning Star News; Release partner)