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Title: The Borneo Evangelical Mission (BEM) and the Sidang Injil Borneo (SIB), 1928-1979 : a study of the planting and development of an indigenous Church
Author: Tan, Jin Huat
Awarding Body: Oxford Centre for Mission Studies
Current Institution: Oxford Centre for Mission Studies
Date of Award: 2007
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The aim of planting a “three-self” indigenous church has often been the policy of many mission societies, but many have been unable to successfully implement it. This study argues that, from its formation in 1928, the Borneo Evangelical Mission (BEM) had this aim as its raison d’etre, and, from the outset, the BEM was an exception as a mission society in displaying an intentional and sustained implementation of its policies and practices toward the planting and nurturing an indigenous church, the SIB, particularly among the Orang Ulu of Sarawak. This study also investigates the processes and influences that have aided or hindered this development. As such, there will be an analysis of the interaction of the policies and practices of the BEM with three contextual factors; namely, (a) the administrative policies and style of the Brooke Raj and the subsequent colonial government in which the BEM found itself working within, (b) the character and self-governing styles of the indigenous communities in particular the Orang Ulu, and (c) the changing social, economic and political climate of Sarawak from 1959 till 1979, especially under independent Malaysia. The development of the significant BEM policies and their implications for the BEM and SIB are analyzed with reference to the challenges posed by regional political events and the changing political situations within Sarawak and Malaysia. In response to these political developments, there were crucial shifts in the implementation of the policies of the BEM which enabled the fulfillment of its mission objective. This study shows that the growth and consolidation of the indigenous church, the SIB, were linked to the capability of indigenous leadership, the mass movements of the Orang Ulu into Christianity and the revivals among them. The revival movements were indigenous movements, which the missionaries were often not in control but were present to influence, guide, and disciple the church. This study further discusses the relevant themes such as the nature of conversion, mass movement of the Orang Ulu into Christianity, and the revival movements among the Orang Ulu, that were significant contributory factors toward the development of the SIB as a “three-self” church. There is also an evaluation of the extent to and the reasons for which the BEM has succeeded in the implementation of its policies that resulted in the SIB becoming a viable “three-self” indigenous church by 1979. This evaluation takes into particular consideration the constant monitoring of its mission policies by the BEM, the surprising lack of Mission-church conflict, the changing socio-economic and political factors, and the enforced euthanasia of the BEM due to governmental constraints.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available