Short History of Protestant in Bali
Though Christmas has just passed but the joy is still being felt. They still have beautiful Christmas tree, and delicious foods, and obviously friends whose regions vary to share the joy with. The joy is also shared here, in Bali. How could Christians come into a region whose community is mostly Hindu? On the previous posting it has been written about the spread of Catholic in Bali, while this writing will talk about the spread of Protestant.
The spread of Christian in Bali was influenced by the Dutch. In fact, the attempts to Christianize Balinese had been planned during VOC period. This plan finally was realized by the coming of Justus Herminius to Bali in 1630. Yet, on March 4th 1654, the result of the meeting of church council conducted in Batavia (Jakarta) concluded that Christianization in Bali should be stopped.
In 1846, when almost all regions in Bali were conquered by the Dutch, Zending (the name of an organization concerning about protestant evangelization on that time) wanted to conduct the attempts of mission again. This attempt was pioneered by coming of Dr. Van der Tuuk to Bali to translate the Bible into Balinese in order to attract Balinese to Christianity. Zending also founded UZV (Utrechtse Zending Vereeniging) as an organization which aimed to spread Christian in Bali. UZV then delegated Van der Jogt to evangelize the Balinese. On October 26th 1864 Van der Jogt had created an agreement with King of Buleleng that there would be a place as a centre of evangelization. Beside UZV also sent Jacob de Vroom to carry on the mission.
From then on, evangelization was done continually until I Goesti Wajan Karangasem, a Balinese young man, baptized on the first Easter in 1873. And his name was changed into Nicodemus. Unfortunately, Nicodemus was expelled by his family since his family considered him an outcast. And Jacob de Vroom was killed by someone whose motivation was not clear. This caused the condition in Bali became chaos.
Tjang Kam Foek who was delegated by CMA (Christian and Missionary Alliance) whose responsibility to serve Christian Chinese in Bali made the condition became more and more miserable. In fact, Tjang Kam Foek also spread Christian to Balinese. But, he did it in a wrong way. He commanded Balinese who wanted to be Christian to destroy their sanggah and Pura first before baptizing. No wonder Balinese became so angry and expelled Christians. This thing made Balinese so worried about Christianization. And absolutely, this act triggered conflict in Bali. However, Tjang Kam Foek had sent many Balinese youngsters to Makasar successfully before the conflict to learn about Christian.
The Dutch who ruled Bali on that time felt that this condition would make the situation detrimental for Dutch’s interest. Because of this reason, the authority forbade all kinds of zending program in Bali and all youngsters who were in Makasar were sent back to Bali. Since that time, there was no significant progress about the spread of Christianity. Until, several years later CFMU(Chinese Foreign Missionary Union) which the attempts focused on evangelization to Chinese could be accepted its appearance in Bali. In fact, CMFU was successful to evangelize not only Chinese but also Balinese. And Protestant slowly but sure gained its mass until nowadays.