Original Research

Kuyper’s sphere sovereignty and institutional religious freedom in Indonesia

David Kristanto, Tony Salurante
Verbum et Ecclesia | Vol 44, No 1 | a2613 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ve.v44i1.2613 | © 2023 David Kristanto, Tony Salurante | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 13 June 2022 | Published: 24 February 2023

About the author(s)

David Kristanto, Department of Theology, Harvest International Theological Seminary, Tangerang, Indonesia
Tony Salurante, Department of Theology, Arastamar Evangelical Theological Seminary, Tangerang, Indonesia


Although the Indonesian Constitution guarantees religious freedom in Indonesia, the implementation of that freedom is not without ambiguity. As the state defines what constitutes religion and categorises official and nonofficial religions, religious communities such as indigenous religious groups are struggling to obtain equal access to the public administration and to express their faith to the broader society. The ambiguity of religious freedom in Indonesia is obvious in the matter of institutional freedom of religion. Minority religious groups, especially those of nonofficial religions, would find their institutional freedom much restricted. Kuyper’s sphere sovereignty has proved to be successful in establishing institutional religious freedom in the Netherlands. This article seeks to show the relevance of Kuyper’s sphere sovereignty to the matter of institutional religious freedom in Indonesia.

Intradisciplinary and/or interdisciplinary implications: Kuyper’s sphere sovereignty does not only show the importance of religious freedom but also the equal access for every religious community to institutionalise themselves. In the Indonesian context, sphere sovereignty could contribute to the issue of institutional religious freedom, especially for the adherents of nonofficial religions.


Abraham Kuyper; institutional religious freedom; freedom of religion and belief (FoRB); theology; Indonesia.


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