Batak Christian Protestant Church

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Batak Christian Protestant Church
Huria Kristen Batak Protestan
Logo of the HKBP ( Huria Kristen Batak Protestan )
AbbreviationHKBP ( Huria Kristen Batak Protestan )
StructureInterdependent local, and national expressions with modified congregational polity
EphorusRev. Dr. Robinson Butarbutar [1]
Secretary‑GeneralRev. Dr. Victor Tinambunan [1]
Origin7 October 1861
Branched fromRhenish Missionary Society
Other name(s)Huria Kristen Batak Protestan
Official Edit this at Wikidata

The Huria Kristen Batak Protestan (HKBP), which translates into English as the Batak Christian Protestant Church,[3] is the largest Protestant denomination in Indonesia, with a baptized membership of 4,000,000. Its present leader is Ephorus (or Bishop) Rev. Dr. Robinson Butarbutar.[1]


The first Protestant missionaries who tried to reach the Batak highlands of inner Northern Sumatra were English and American Baptist preachers in the 1820s and 1830s but without any success. After Franz Wilhelm Junghuhn and Herman Neubronner van der Tuuk did intensive research on Batak language and culture in the 1840s, a new attempt was done in 1861 by several missionaries sent out by the German Rhenish Missionary Society (RMG). The first Bataks were baptized during this year. In 1864, Ludwig Ingwer Nommensen from Rhenish Missionary Society Germany, reached the Batak region and founded a village called "Huta Dame" (village of peace) in the district of Tapanuli in Tarutung, North Sumatra.

The RMG was associated with the Unierte Kirche, or union of Lutheran and Reformed churches. However, Nommensen and local leaders developed an approach that applied local custom to Christian belief.

Already in 1868, a local seminary for the education of teachers was opened in Sipirok, and in 1877 a seminary for the education of preachers was built in Pansurnapitu. 1881, Nommensen was officially nominated "ephorus" of the Batak congregations by the RMG. In 1885, the first Batak ministers were ordained in Pearaja Tarutung, where the HKBP headquarters is located until this day.

In 1889, the RMG sent out Sr. Hester Needham who started the work with girls and women and later established the first Batak deaconesses.

In the last quarter of the 19th century, further missionaries of the RMG were sent out to the other Batak tribes (Angkola, Dairi, Simalungun, Karo, Pakpak).

A Huria Kristen Batak Protestan (HKBP) church in Balige, North Sumatra, built circa 1917.

In 1917, the "Hatopan Christen Batak" (HCB) which later became one of the nuclei for the independent Batak church, was founded in Tapanuli as a social movement.

In 1922, the first General Synod ("Sinode Godang") of all Batak congregations was held

In 1931 HKBP became the first independent self-governing Christian body in what was then the Dutch East Indies.

In 1940, all Germans working for the RMG, including pastors and ministers, were detained by the Dutch government. Rev. Sirait was chosen by the synod the first indigenous ephorus of HKBP.

In 1952, while maintaining its indigenous character, the HKBP became a member of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF).[4] In 1954, HKBP founded Nommensen University. In 1977, Sekolah Tinggi Theologia (STT or "Theological Seminary") HKBP split from Nommensen University.

Over the years, a number of church bodies have split from HKBP for various cultural and doctrinal reasons. However, HKBP remains the largest Indonesian LWF member by a factor of ten and also remains in communion with daughter church bodies through the LWF. Tarutung and the Batak region remain the stronghold for the HKBP in the predominantly Muslim nation of Indonesia, although worshippers are found throughout Indonesia and the United States.[5]

Well known HKBP congregants include Amir Sjarifuddin (only Christian prime minister of Indonesia), Todung Sutan Gunung (TSG) Mulia (second Indonesian education minister), and General Tahi Bonar (TB) Simatupang.

In January 2010 two churches were burnt down in Sibuhuan.[6]

Ecumenical relations[edit]

HKBP is a member and so actively participates in the programmes of Christian Conference of Asia.


The book of liturgical procedure used by the HKBP is referred to as the "Agenda" or formerly as the "Agende". This term comes from the European Protestant use of agenda.[7]

List of leaders of HKBP[edit]

Ephorus of HKBP[edit]

No. Name From Until Notes
1. Rev. Dr. I. L. Ludwig Ingwer Nommensen 1881 1918 First Ephorus.
2. Rev. Valentin Kessel 1918 1920 Temporary officeholder of Ephorus.
3. Rev. Dr. Johannes Warneck 1920 1932  
4. Rev. P. Landgrebe 1932 1936  
5. Rev. Dr. E. Verwiebe 1936 1940  
6. Rev. K. Sirait 1940 1942 The first Batak that became Ephorus.
7. Rev. Dr. (H.C.) Justin Sihombing 1942 1962  
8. Rev. Dr. (H.C.) T.S. Sihombing 1962 1974 Elected in Special General Synod.
9. Rev. G.H.M. Siahaan 1974 1986  
10. Rev. Dr. S.A.E. Nababan, LLD 1986 1998 HKBP Crisis happened from 1992 to 1998 that resulted in dualism of HKBP's leadership until 1998.
11. Rev. Dr. S.M. Siahaan (as Ephorus Official) 1992 1993
12. Rev. Dr. P.W.T. Simanjuntak 1993 1998 Elected in Special General Synod.
13. Rev. Dr. J.R. Hutauruk 1998 1998 Elected as temporary officeholder of Ephorus.
1998 2004 Elected in Reconciliation General Synod.
14. Rev. Dr. Bonar Napitupulu 2004 2008  
Rev. Dr. Bonar Napitupulu 2008 2012 Elected in the 59th HKBP General Synod in Sipolohon Seminarium[8]
15. Rev. W.T.P. Simarmata, MA 2012 2016 Elected in the 61st HKBP General Synod in Sipolohon Seminarium[9]
16. Rev. Dr. Darwin Lumbantobing 2016 2020 Elected in the 62nd HKBP General Synod in Sipolohon Seminarium[10]


General Secretary of HKBP[edit]

No. Name From Until Notes
1. Rev. Karimuda Sitompul 1950 1957 First Secretary General of HKBP.
2. Rev. Dr. T.S. Sihombing 1957 1962
3. Rev. G.H.M. Siahaan 1962 1974  
4. Rev. Dr. F.H. Sianipar 1974 1978  
5. Rev. P.M. Sihombing, M.Th. 1978 1986  
6. Rev. O.P.T. Simorangkir, S.M.Th. 1986 1992
7. Rev. Dr. S.M. Siahaan 1992 1998
8. Rev. W.T.P. Simarmata, MA 1998 2008
9. Rev. Ramlan Hutahaean, M.Th. 2008 2012
10. Rev. Mory Sihombing, M.Th. 2012 2016
11. Rev. David F. Sibuea, M.Th.[12] 2016 2020


Head of Koinonia Department[edit]

No. Name From Until Notes
1. Rev. Bistok M. Siagian, S.Th. 2004 2008
2. Rev. Dr. Jamilin Sirait 2008 2012
3. Rev. Welman P. Tampubolon, S.Th. 2012 2016  
4. Rev. Dr. Martongo Sitinjak 2016 2020  


Head of Marturia Department[edit]

No. Name From Until Notes
1. Rev. Manumpan H. Sihite, S.Th. 2004 2008
2. Rev. Dr. Binsar Nainggolan 2008 2012
3. Rev. Marolop P. Sinaga 2012 2016  
4. Rev. Dr. Anna Ch. Vera Pangaribuan 2016 2020  


Head of Diakonia Department[edit]

No. Name From Until Notes
1. Rev. Nelson F. Siregar, S.Th. 2004 2012
2. Rev. Bihelman D.F. Sidabutar, STh, MM 2012 2016  
3. Rev. Debora Purada Sinaga, M.Th. 2016 2020  


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c
  2. ^
  3. ^ Huria actually means "Community". Gereja (from Portuguese Igreja) means "Church".
  4. ^ Aritonang, Jan Sihar; Steenbrink, Karel (2008), A history of Christianity in Indonesia, Leiden, The Netherlands: Koninklijke Brill NV, p. 554, ISBN 978-90-04-17026-1, retrieved 30 November 2010, Membership of LWF was not promptly achieved because one of the requirements was that HKBP had to accept the Augsburg Confession of the Lutheran church. The HKBP leaders were aware that they were not purely Lutheran since they had inherited from the RMG the so-called Uniert tradition, that is a union or combination of Lutheran and Reformed (Calvinist) traditions, and they wanted to define their own theological identity. To solve this problem, HKBP formulated its own confession in 1951 that on the one hand adopted the Augsburg Confession and on the other hand reflected its own theological struggle and standpoint. The LWF assembly in 1952 accepted this Confessie HKBP 1951 as not contrary to the Lutheran doctrine and confession.
  5. ^ Hillerbrand, Hans Joachim (2004), "Batak Protestant Christian Church of Indonesia", The encyclopedia of Protestantism, 1, New York: Routledge (Taylor & Francis), pp. 337–338, ISBN 0-415-92472-3, retrieved 1 December 2010
  6. ^ Hariyadi, Mathias (23 January 2010). "North Sumatra, two Protestant churches burnt: "too many faithful and too many prayers"". AsiaNews. Retrieved 7 January 2012. A crowd of at least 1000 people burned down two Protestant churches last night in Sibuhuan (district of Padang Lawas, North Sumatra). The blaze was the culmination of tension between the faithful and the local Islamic community, tired of seeing "too many faithful and too many prayers" in a place not registered as a church.
  7. ^ Newman, Albert Henry (1951) [1909], "Agenda", in Jackson, Samuel Macauley; Loetscher, Lefferts A. (eds.), The New Schaff-Herzog encyclopedia of religious knowledge, Christian Classics Etherial Library, I, Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, pp. 84–86, ISBN 0-8010-7947-0, retrieved 31 May 2011
  8. ^ Hari Ini, Pucuk Pimpinan HKBP Periode 2008–2012 Dilantik di Pearaja, Harian Sinar Indonesia Baru, diakses 7 September 2008
  9. ^ Ini Dia Para Pemimpin HKBP (Ephorus, Sekjen, Kadep) dan Daftar Praeses HKBP yang Baru Periode 2012 – 2016,, diakses 14 Oktober 20013
  10. ^, diakses 16 September 2016
  11. ^ a b c d e Headquarters of HKBP (2018). ALMANAK HKBP 2018 (in Batak Toba). Pearaja, Tarutung: HKBP Printing. p. 17.
  12. ^ "Pdt David Farel Sibuea MTh Sekjen HKBP Periode 2016-2020"

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