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Indonesia: Authorities Seal Shut Three Church Buildings

The Christians of Indonesia live in precarious circumstances, as exemplified by what the Jambi Civil Service Police did as recounted in this article: as we have seen in Egypt and elsewhere, officials frequently refuse to issue permits for churches, and then close churches down for being unlicensed. It’s a no-win situation for the Christians. continue to pray that our Lord Jesus Christ would soften the hearts of these officials toward their Christian populations, and move them to give the Christians the permits and protection they need.

“Authorities Seal Shut Three Church Buildings in Indonesia,” Morning Star News, October 4, 2018:

(Morning Star News) – Police in Jambi, on Indonesia’s island of Sumatra, last week escorted members of a Methodist church congregation out of their building and sealed the door shut.

While church members wept, the Jambi Civil Service Police pasted a notice declaring the building was sealed due lack of a permit, as seen in a video clip on YouTube. Christian leaders said authorities closed the church building and two others on Sept. 27 to appease Muslim hard-liners preparing a protest for the next day, according to news outlet Gatra.com and social media sites.

Authorities cited lack of permits and violating public order for closing the Indonesian Methodist Church (GMI, Gereja Methodist Indonesia), Indonesia Christian Huria (HKI, Huria Kristen Indonesia) and Assemblies of God Church (GSJA, Gereja Sidang Jemaat Allah), but the general secretary of the Communion of Churches in Indonesia (PGI) told Voice of America that the local government delays and rejects permits without giving any reason.

“There are thousands of other places of worship that don’t have permits but continue to operate,” he told VOA. “I just can’t understand why they won’t let us have our churches. I can understand if [the local government] prohibited us from having the permits if we used the buildings for criminal activities, but we used them to praise God.”

The PGI issued a press release stating freedom of worship is guaranteed by Indonesia’s constitution. It called on all government bodies to quickly grant building permits and stated that it has sent a team to team to Jambi to resolve the conflict….

Indonesia ranked 38th on Christian support organization Open Doors’ 2018 World Watch List of the 50 countries where it is most difficult to live as a Christian.

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