ISGA Publishes History of the Muria Javanese Mennonite Church in Indonesia

Sigit Heru Sukoco
Lawrence Yoder

An upcoming book published by the ISGA, The Way of the Gospel in the World of Java: A History of the Muria Javanese Mennonite Church (GITJ), tells the story of one branch of the Anabaptist-Mennonite churches in Indonesia. Authors Sigit Heru Sukoco and Lawrence M. Yoder originally wrote and published this history of the Muria Javanese Mennonite Church—known in Indonesia as Gereja Injili di Tanah Jawa (GITJ)—in 2010 with the title Tata Injil di Bumi Muria. The current publication is based on an English translation by Lawrence M. Yoder, with extensive editing by ISGA director, John D. Roth.

The Way of the Gospel in the World of Java gives an account of how missionaries of the Dutch Mennonite Mission, along with indigenous Javanese evangelists, sought to evangelize the people of the Muria region of north Central Java starting in the 1850s. While European missionaries functioned out of a western cultural framework, the Javanese evangelists drew on their own cultural frame of reference. Over the course of its long history, the developing communities of Christians joined to form a community known as Gereja Injili di Tanah Jawa (GITJ), or the Muria Javanese Mennonite Church.

Portrait of Tunggul Wulung (Photo: L. Yoder)

One of the indigenous founders of the Christian movement in the Muria area was a Javanese mystic, who took the name Ibrahim Tunggul Wulung. This portrait, commissioned by Lawrence Yoder, was created by Semarang artist Inanta on the basis of notes from missionary journals, the life story of Tunggul Wulung, and portraits of persons assumed to be his relatives.

The publication of this book was set to precede the Mennonite World Conference global assembly in 2021 (now postponed to 2022) to give English-language Anabaptists the chance to learn more about this Indonesian church. The project was made possible with funding support from the Doopsgezinde Zendingsraad (DZR) and the Indonesia Committee of the Algemene Doopsgezinde Sociëteit (ADS), as well as the Institute for the Study of Global Anabaptism.

The 464-page book includes numerous photos and is available for purchase for $20 ($30 postage paid within the United States). To buy a copy, send a check made out to ISGA to our address listed below:

John D. Roth/ISGA

Goshen College

1700 S Main St

Goshen, IN 46526