Original Research

Being an Indonesian Christian: Exploration of a theology of nationalism in the history of the proclamation of Indonesian Independence on 17 August 1945

Johny C. Ruhulessin, Yohanes Parihala
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 77, No 4 | a6891 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v77i4.6891 | © 2021 Johny C. Ruhulessin, Yohanes Parihala | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 01 June 2021 | Published: 30 September 2021

About the author(s)

Johny C. Ruhulessin, Department of Theology, Faculty of Theology, Indonesian Christian University in the Moluccas, Ambon, Indonesia
Yohanes Parihala, Department of Theology, Faculty of Theology, Indonesian Christian University in the Moluccas, Ambon, Indonesia

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Despite the fact that the introduction of Christianity in Indonesia coincides with the arrival of Portugal and Dutch Colonialism in the 16th–19th centuries, Christianity in Indonesia could not be claimed as a colonised religion. This study emphasises the importance of Christianity as an integral part of the history of Indonesian nation-building. It also has significance and relevance for Christianity, and how people of different religions should live together in Indonesia. Using historical theology analysis, we argue that being Christian in Indonesia has theological meaning as God’s work in Jesus Christ. God that has called and sent Christians to Indonesia has bestowed independence on the country, as a nation that accepts and recognises all people in their plural existences. At the end of the research, the authors emphasise that by understanding the independence of Indonesia as God’s gift, Christians are to make Indonesia a theatre for glorifying God. They should do it by dedicating themselves to participate in togetherness with all citizens to build and develop this country in all dimensions of life. Therefore, various actions that discriminate against Christians deny the history of Indonesian independence, which accepts and recognises the equality of all citizens as a gift from God.

Contribution: This article contributes to constructing a theology of nationalism as a kind of contextual theology, which is based on the particular context of the history of the proclamation of Indonesian independence. It also enriches the interreligious theology from the Christian perspective on Indonesian history.


being Christian in Indonesia; colonialism; nationalism; independence of Indonesia; work of God; salvation work of Jesus Christ


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