A Journey without Maps

T. B. Simatupang and the Protestant Search for a Public Theology in Post-Independence Indonesia

In: International Journal of Public Theology
Simon Rae Former Principal, Theological Hall, Life Fellow, Knox College Dunedin Aotearoa New Zealand

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The challenge of finding a Protestant public theology appropriate for a pluralist, newly independent, Muslim majority nation was taken up initially by a mixed group of lay and ordained theologians, among them T. B. Simatupang, a recently retired lieutenant-general, still in his late thirties. This study links Simatupang’s experience as a soldier-diplomat and strategic planner in Indonesia’s struggle for independence to the objectives and values he promoted and endeavoured to safeguard in his second career as an ecumenical strategist and mentor. Some attention is given to more recent criticism and the argument that a less confrontational Christian stance toward politically active Islam is called for in today’s era of interfaith conversations.

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