Batak Christian Protestant Church
Huria Kristen Batak Protestan
TheologyHKBP Confession[1]
EphorusRev. Robinson Butarbutar
AssociationsSee below
RegionIndonesia, United States, Singapore and Malaysia
LanguageIndonesian, Toba Batak
HeadquartersHutatoruan V [id], Tarutung, North Sumatra, Indonesia
Origin7 October 1861
Separated fromRhenish Missionary Society (RMG)

The Huria Kristen Batak Protestan (HKBP, or Batak Christian Protestant Church in English") is an Evangelical Lutheran church among the Batak people, generally the Toba Batak in Indonesia. This church uses an Ecumenical worship style influenced by the Dutch Reformed Church due to the influence of Dutch colonialism in Indonesia, as well as the legacy obtained from the Rhenish Missionary Society when the church was founded.[2] With a membership of 4,133,000,[3] it is one of the largest Protestant churches in Indonesia and Southeast Asia. Its present leader is Ephorus (bishop) Robinson Butarbutar.[4]


Ludwig Ingwer Nommensen

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 made 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 of the RMG reached the Batak region and founded a village called "Huta Dame" (village of peace) in the district of North Tapanuli Regency in Tarutung, North Sumatra.

The RMG was associated with the uniting churches also called a merged denomination that includes a Lutheran element. However, Nommensen and local leaders developed an approach that applied local custom to Christian belief.

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 still located.

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

Church in Balige, North Sumatra, built since 1917
Church in Medan, North Sumatra, built since 1952
The Interior, Altar, and Pulpit of HKBP Balige
The Interior, Altar, and Pulpit of HKBP Medan Sudirman

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") for all Batak congregations was held. In 1931 the 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. The Rev. Sirait was chosen by the synod as the first indigenous ephorus of HKBP.

In 1952, while maintaining its indigenous character, the HKBP became a member of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF).[5] 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 lands region remain the stronghold for the HKBP in the predominantly Muslim nation of Indonesia, although worshippers are found throughout Indonesia and worldwide.[6]

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

In January 2010 two churches were burnt down by extremist mobs in Sibuhuan.[7]

Ecumenical relations

HKBP is a member of and active participant in the World Council of Churches, Christian Conference of Asia, Lutheran World Federation, Asia Lutheran Communion,[8] and Communion of Churches in Indonesia.


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.[9]

Further information on the book of hymns in the Batak language: Buku Ende



No. Name From Until Notes
1. The Rev. Ludwig Ingwer Nommensen 1881 1918 First ephorus
2. The Rev. Valentin Kessel 1918 1920 Temporary officeholder of Ephorus, due to the First World War preventing Johannes Warneck from arriving.
3. The Rev. Johannes Warneck 1920 1932
4. The Rev. P. Landgrebe 1932 1936
5. The Rev. E. Verwiebe 1936 1940 Interned by the Dutch colonial government after the German invasion of the Netherlands.
6. The Rev. K. Sirait 1940 1942 The first Batak that became Ephorus.
7. The Rev. Justin Sihombing 1942 1962
8. The Rev T. S. Sihombing 1962 1974 Elected in Special General Synod.
9. The Rev. G. H. M. Siahaan 1974 1986
10. The Rev. S. A. E. Nababan 1986 1998 HKBP Crisis happened from 1992 to 1998 that resulted in dualism of HKBP's leadership until 1998.
11. The Rev. S. M. Siahaan (as Bishop or Ephorus) 1992 1993
12. The Rev. P. W. T. Simanjuntak 1993 1998 Elected in Special General Synod.
13. The Rev. J. R. Hutauruk 1998 1998 Elected as temporary officeholder of Bishop.
1998 2004 Elected in Reconciliation General Synod.
14. The Rev. Bonar Napitupulu 2004 2008
The Rev. Bonar Napitupulu 2008 2012 Elected in the 59th HKBP General Synod in Sipolohon Seminarium.[10]
15. The Rev. W. T. P. Simarmata 2012 2016 Elected in the 61st HKBP General Synod in Sipolohon Seminarium.[11]
16. The Rev. Darwin Lumbantobing 2016 2020 Elected in the 62nd HKBP General Synod in Sipolohon Seminarium.[12]
17. The Rev. Robinson Butarbutar 2020 2024 Elected in the 65th HKBP General Synod in Sipolohon Seminarium.[13]


General secretaries

No. Name From Until Notes
1. The Rev. Karimuda Sitompul 1950 1957 First Secretary General of HKBP
2. The Rev. T. S. Sihombing 1957 1962
3. The Rev. G. H. M. Siahaan 1962 1974
4. The Rev. F. H. Sianipar 1974 1978
5. The Rev. P. M. Sihombing 1978 1986
6. The Rev. O. P. T. Simorangkir 1986 1992
7. The Rev. S. M. Siahaan 1992 1998
8. The Rev. W. T. P. Simarmata 1998 2008
9. The Rev. Ramlan Hutahaean 2008 2012
10. The Rev. Mory Sihombing 2012 2016
11. The Rev. David F. Sibuea[15] 2016 2020
12. The Rev. Victor Tinambunan[13] 2020 2024


Head of Koinonia Department

No. Name From Until Notes
1. The Rev. Bistok M. Siagian 2004 2008
2. The Rev. Jamilin Sirait 2008 2012
3. The Rev. Welman P. Tampubolon 2012 2016
4. The Rev. Martongo Sitinjak 2016 2020
5. The Rev. Deonal Sinaga 2020 2024


Head of Marturia Department

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


Head of Diakonia Department

No. Name From Until Notes
1. The Rev. Nelson F. Siregar 2004 2012
2. The Rev. Bihelman D. F. Sidabutar 2012 2016
3. The Rev. Debora Purada Sinaga 2016 2020


See also


  1. ^ "Konfesi HKBP". 22 November 2023. Retrieved 22 November 2023.
  2. ^ "HKBP: Gereja Lutheran Gado-gado". 30 August 2021. Retrieved 6 July 2022.
  3. ^ "Indonesia". Lutheran World Federation. Retrieved 15 September 2023.
  4. ^ "Serah Terima Jabatan Pimpinan HKBP Periode 2016-2020 Kepada Pimpinan HKBP Periode 2020-2024".
  5. ^ 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 Calvinist and Lutheran 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.
  6. ^ Hillerbrand, Hans Joachim (2004), "Batak Protestant Christian Church of Indonesia", The encyclopedia of Protestantism, vol. 1, New York: Routledge (Taylor & Francis), pp. 337–338, ISBN 0-415-92472-3, retrieved 1 December 2010
  7. ^ 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.
  8. ^ "Asia". Lutheran World Federation. Retrieved 13 November 2022.
  9. ^ 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, vol. I, Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, pp. 84–86, ISBN 0-8010-7947-0, retrieved 31 May 2011
  10. ^ Hari Ini, Pucuk Pimpinan HKBP Periode 2008–2012 Dilantik di Pearaja, Harian Sinar Indonesia Baru[permanent dead link], diakses 7 September 2008
  11. ^ Ini Dia Para Pemimpin HKBP (Ephorus, Sekjen, Kadep) dan Daftar Praeses HKBP yang Baru Periode 2012 – 2016,, diakses 14 Oktober 2013
  12. ^ "Darwin Lumbantobing Terpilih Jadi Ephorus HKBP". (in Indonesian). 16 September 2016. Retrieved 13 November 2022.
  13. ^ a b markus (14 December 2020). "Pdt Dr Robinson Butarbutar, Ephorus HKBP Periode 2020-2024". Website PGI (in Indonesian). Retrieved 16 September 2021.
  14. ^ a b c d e Headquarters of HKBP (2018). ALMANAK HKBP 2018 (in Batak Toba). Pearaja, Tarutung: HKBP Printing. p. 17.
  15. ^ "Pdt David Farel Sibuea, Sekjen HKBP 2016-2020"