Basel Christian Church of Malaysia

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Basel Christian Church of Malaysia
Logo of the BCCM
Classification Protestant
Orientation Lutheran, Reformed
Leader Rev Dr Thomas Tsen Lip Tet
Region Malaysia
Origin 1925
Branched from Basel Missionary Society
Congregations 112
Members 59,500 baptised
Basel Christian Church in Papar, Sabah.

The Basel Christian Church of Malaysia or BCCM (Malay: Gereja Kristian Basel Malaysia) is one of the four Lutheran bodies in Malaysia. It currently has 112 congregations nationwide and 59,500 baptised members.[1]

The current bishop of the Basel Christian Church in Malaysia is the Rev. Dr. Thomas Tsen Lip Tet [2]


In the aftermath of the failed Taiping Rebellion in China, Hakka speaking Christians affiliated with the Basel Mission were viewed with suspicion by the Qing Government as the leader of the rebellion, Hong Xiuquan, was himself a Hakka who claimed to be a Christian. This resulted in an increase in the number of Hakka speaking refugees from China into the Southeast Asian region.[3]

Early History[edit]

With the establishment of a settlement by the British North Borneo Company in North Borneo in 1882, Chinese labourers were sought to develop the interior of the territory and the British North Borneo Company sent agents to Hong Kong to recruit these labourers. Rudolph Lechler of the Basel Mission enthusiastically supported the scheme and Hakka Christians from the Basel Mission and the Basel established Chongzhen Church (Tsung-Tsin Church or 崇真會) were recruited.[3]

The pioneer batch of settlers consisted of 10 families who arrived in Kudat and proceeded to found a settlement in Lausan. Worship meetings were held on Sundays in one of the houses until the first attap roofed church building was built in the plantation of Lo Tai Hong in 1886. This became known as the Lausan Church and was the first Basel congregation organised in the territory.[3][4][5]

Expansion and self support[edit]

With the increase in the number of immigrant Hakka settlers from China, other congregations were organised in places and settlements like Kudat (1901), Papar (1903), Jesselton (1904), Sandakan (1907), Beaufort (1910), Tenom (1912), and Inanam (1914).[5] The Basel Christians also pioneered formal Chinese language education in the territory when the first Chinese school was established in Kudat in 1886.[6]

The first synod of the Basel churches in North Borneo was convened in Kudat in 1925 and following a challenge from the representative of the Basel Mission to practice self-reliance, organised themselves as the Borneo Self-Governing Basel Church under the leadership of the Rev. Wong Thien Nyuk.[5]


  1. ^ LWF Statistics 2009
  2. ^ Asia Lutheran Communion: Change of Leadership in BCCM; 13 December 2007 (Retrieved on 6 September 2008)
  3. ^ a b c Hsiao, Andrew: "A Brief History of the Chinese Lutheran Church", Hong Kong: Taosheng Publishing House, 1999, ISBN 962-380-107-6
  4. ^ Zhang, Delai: "The Hakkas of Sabah", Sabah Theological Seminary, 2002, ISBN 983-40840-0-5
  5. ^ a b c BCCM Kota Kinabalu: A Brief History of the Basel Christian Church in Malaysia (Retrieved on 6 September 2008)
  6. ^ Charney,Michael W. ; Brenda S. A. Yeoh; Tong Chee Kiong; Chee Kiong Tong: "Chinese Migrants Abroad: Cultural, Educational, and Social Dimensions of the Chinese Diaspora", World Scientific, 2003, ISBN 981-238-041-8

External links[edit]