Professor Publishes an Ecclesiastical Autobiography

View PHotogalleryDr. Yudha Thianto, professor of theology, delivered an emotional “thank you” to colleagues at the recent celebration of the publication of his new book, The Way to Heaven: Catechisms and Sermons in the Establishment of the Dutch Reformed Church in the East Indies.

Born in Indonesia, the professor called the book his “ecclesiastical autobiography” and his way of “giving back.”

The book explores the introduction and transplantation of Calvinism to the Dutch East Indies in the 17th century. Working with early Malay translations of Reformed catechisms and sermons written by Dutch ministers working in the archipelago, Thianto conducted a thorough analysis of the texts.

According to the publisher’s website, the book “shows how these ministers introduced, taught, and explained the main teachings of Calvinism to the people of the Dutch East Indies in a language they could understand, as well as the challenges these ministers encountered as they moved forward in their efforts to spread the gospel to the people.”

Thianto shared that his dissertation advisor encouraged him to expand his earlier work, saying, “I don’t mean to run your life, but you are the right person to continue this research.”

Taking that advice to heart, Thianto continued his research in Netherlands where he discovered 40 sermons and catechisms published in the 1600s specifically for the indigenous people.

As part of the book celebration, Professors Keith Starkenburg and Aron Reppmann ’92 offered words to honor their colleague.