Lutheran Church in Malaysia and Singapore

Lutheran Church in Malaysia and Singapore

Infobox Christian denomination
name = Lutheran Church in Malaysia and Singapore

imagewidth = 140px
caption = Logo of the LCMS
main_classification = Protestant
orientation = Lutheran
polity = Interdependent local, regional, and national expressions with modified episcopal polity
founder =
founded_date = 1963
founded_place =
separated_from =
leader/moderator =
leader = Rev Philip Lok Oi Peng
parent = United Lutheran Church in America
merger =
separations =
fellowships =
associations = Lutheran World Federation, Asian Lutheran Communion, Federation of Evangelical Lutheran Churches in Malaysia & Singapore] , Council of Churches of Malaysia, Christian Federation of Malaysia, Christian Conference of Asia, World Council of Churches
area = Malaysia
hospitals =
nursing_homes =
aid =
congregations = 52
members = Approx. 8,750
ministers =
missionaries =
temples =
primary_schools =
secondary_schools =
tertiary =
footnotes =

The Lutheran Church in Malaysia and Singapore or LCMS ( _ms. Gereja Lutheran di Malaysia dan Singapura) is one of the four Lutheran bodies in Malaysia. It currently has 52 nationwide with a total of 8,750 members [Lutheran World Federation: [ Member Churches] - Lutheran Church in Malaysia and Singapore (URL last accessed April 13, 2007)] and is the third largest Lutheran body in the country [Lutheran World Federation: [ Member Churches] - See individual denominational statistics for comparison (URL last accessed April 13, 2007)] .

The current bishop of the Lutheran Church in Malaysia and Singapore is the Rt. Rev. Philip Lok Oi Peng.


Early history

The first Lutherans to arrive in what is now Malaysia were Hakka Taiping Rebellion refugees from China closely linked to Theodore Hamberg and Rudolph Lechler of the Basel Mission Society. While it is not certain when they first arrived in British North Borneo, a significant Chinese presence was already noticed at the founding of the town of Sandakan in 1874. These refugees eventually organised themselves into what is today known as the Basel Christian Church of Malaysia. [Zhang, Delai: "The Hakkas of Sabah: a survey of their impact on the modernization of the Bornean Malaysian state", Seminari Theologi Sabah, 2002, ISBN 983-40840-0-5] .

The LCMS traces its history to the eviction of foreign Christian missionaries from mainland China in 1953 after the establishment of the People's Republic of China. Some missionaries from the United Lutheran Church in America were stationed to northern Malaya and were invited to work among the ethnic Chinese community that were relocated to the New Villages due to Malayan Emergency. It was thought that this would help stem the influence of the Communist Party of Malaya among the displaced ethnic Chinese [ed. Hunt, Robert, Lee, Kam Hing, Roxborogh, John: "Christianity in Malaysia: A denominational history", Pelanduk Publications, 1992, ISBN 967-97840-8-8] .

Establishment of the LCMS

Mission work extended southwards; first towards Kuala Lumpur and soon afterwards to Singapore which was then considered part of Malaya. The LCMS was formally established in 1963 with 2 districts in Peninsular Malaysia and 1 district encompassing Singapore. By 1978, all established congregations attained financial self-support, and together assumed support for the administrative budget of the LCMS central office. [Evangelical Lutheran Church in America: [ Country Packet - Malaysia] (URL last accessed April 13, 2007).] .

In August 1996, the Singapore District was separated from the LCMS and gazetted as an independent national church known as the Lutheran Church in Singapore to reflect the fact that Malaysia and Singapore have been separate countries politically since 1965, and their activities have also been independent of each other. LCMS continues to retain the word "Singapore" in its name for legal purposes [Lutheran Church in Singapore: [ Background] (URL last accessed April 13, 2007)] .


The LCMS has seen steady growth over the years with a 10.8% growth in membership recorded in 2006 [Asia Lutheran Communion: [ Latest LWF Membership] (URL last accessed April 14, 2007)] and also actively supports mission work among the Senoi [LCMS Website: [ Orang Asli Ministry] (URL last accessed April 14, 2007)] and Jahai [The Lutheran: " [ Into The Jungle] ", Augsburg Fortress, August 2002 (URL last accessed April 14, 2007)] people of West Malaysia and overseas mission work in Kyrgyztan [LCMS Website: [ Kyrgyzstan] (URL last accessed April 14, 2007)] and Myanmar (in partnership with the Myanmar Lutheran Church) [LCMS Website: [ Myanmar Mission] (URL last accessed April 14, 2007)] .

Bombing in Myanmar

On 7 May 2005, a series of coordinated bombings occurred in the city of Yangon, Myanmar [International Heral Tribune: [ Eleven killed, 162 wounded in rebel bombings in Myanmar capital] , 8 May, 2005 (URL last accessed April 14, 2007)] . 11 people were killed in the attack and among the 162 people that were injured was a member of the LCMS mission team to Myanmar headed by its Overseas Missions Director, Rev. Dr. Philip Tan [ [ Bomb blast in Yangon, Myanmar] - an account by the son of one of the victims (URL last accessed April 14, 2007)] .

Belief and practices

The LCMS is a member church of the Lutheran World Federation, a communion of Lutheran Churches throughout the world. As a Church in the Lutheran tradition, it accepts and confesses the teachings found in the unaltered Augsburg Confession, Luther's Small Catechism and the other confessional articles and symbols of the Book of Concord.

Ordination of Women

The LCMS accepts the ordination of women as co-workers and pastors in the denomination and a significant percentage of their full time workers are women. To date no women bishops have been selected.

Languages in use

Most services conducted by the LCMS congregations are in Mandarin and the other Chinese dialects commonly spoken in West Malaysia like Hokkien and Cantonese reflecting the roots of the Church's work. English language services are becoming increasingly common in many congregations with some congregations using English exclusively and some congregations have started Malay and Tamil services. Senoi language services are conducted almost exclusively with the Senoi congregations.


In 2006, the LCMS adopted a 4 year ministry development plan dubbed the LUTHER Plan [LCMS Website: [ LUTHER Plan] (URL last accessed April 14, 2007)] that seeks to chart the development of the spiritual and material aspects of the Church, and also her contribution to the society. It has a six-fold focus based on an acronym formed by the name of Luther:

*Lutheran Identity:To promote the Lutheran identity within and outside of the LCMS
*Unity in Ministry:To cultivate greater unity in doing ministry among all the congregations within the LCMS
*Transformation of Lives:To bring transformation both in the Church and in the society through the proclamation of the Word of God and by social concerns
*Human Resource Development:To build a bigger group of leaders, both clergy and lay, who are faithful and effective to the cause of the Gospel
*Expansion in Mission:To intensify involvement in the mission fields both within and outside Malaysia
*Renewal of Structure:To review and renew structures in order to meet the present and future needs of the Church for accountability and for growth

tructure and organization


The highest decision making body of the LCMS is the Biennial Convention (formally known as the Church in Convention). The Biennial Convention consists of elected lay and ordained voting members from each congregation which meets every two years and elects an Executive Council headed by a Bishop ("President" until 1974). While the Biennial Convention is in recess, authority is delegated to the Executive Council. The most recent Bishop, The Rev. (Bishop) Philip Lok was elected in 2005.

The LCMS is divided into 3 full regional districts and 1 provisional district headed by a dean. The districts of the LCMS act as the middle judicatory of the Church.

Further divisions within the Church structure are specialized subcommittees and divisions engaged in the ministries and programs of the Church. These include structures that support missions, education, social concerns, youth ministries and Orang Asli ministries.

The Ministerium, consisting of the ordained pastors of the Church, attends to matters of doctrine, nurture and spiritual care and on the local congregation level, Local Church Councils run the various LCMS congregations. All properties of the local congregations are owned by the LCMS.

List of Districts and Provisional Districts

*Northern District:Dean: Pastor Ong Chin Long:Congregations in the states of Kedah, Penang and Perak

*Selangor District:Dean: Rev Goh Hoo Chun:Congregations in the state of Selangor

*Kuala Lumpur District:Dean: Pastor Chan Juin Ming:Congregations in the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur and the state of Sarawak

*Provisional Southern District:Dean: Rev Yen Tin Fah:Congregations in the states of Melaka and Johor

Presidents & Bishops of the LCMS

When the LCMS was constituted in 1963, the title of the head of the Executive Council was President. The title was changed to Bishop in 1974 [Warren, Lau: "A Heavenly Vision - The Story of the Lutheran Church in Malaysia and Singapore, 1952 - 1991", The Lutheran Church in Malaysia and Singapore, 1993, ISBN 983-99862-1-X] . As the LCMS is a not organized with an episcopal polity, retiring Bishops are not granted the title "Bishop Emeritus" automatically. Instead the title is conferred by the Biennial Convention.

*1963-1964:Rev Paul Alberti

*1964-1969:Rev Ray Nyce

*1969-1977:Rev. Dr Carl Fisher:Title changed to Bishop in 1974:Bishop Emeritus since 2005

*1977-1985:Rev Peter Foong Siew Kong:Bishop Emeritus since 2005

*1985-1993:Rev Daniel Chong Hoi Khen:Bishop Emeritus since 2005

*1993-2005:Rev Gideon Chang (Teo King Chew):Bishop Emeritus since 2005

*2005-present:Rev Philip Lok Oi Peng

chools and colleges

The LCMS operates the Lutheran Bible Training Institute in Kuala Lumpur and is also participating member in the governing councils of Seminari Theoloji Malaysia and the Sabah Theological Seminary.


The LCMS participates actively in ecumenical relationships through:

*Council of Churches of Malaysia [ link]
**Christian Federation of Malaysia
**Christian Conference of Asia
**World Council of Churches
*Federation of Evangelical Lutheran Churches in Malaysia & Singapore [ link]
**Basel Christian Church of Malaysia
**Evangelical Lutheran Church in Malaysia
**Lutheran Church in Singapore
**Protestant Church in Sabah
*Lutheran World Federation
**Asia Lutheran Communion [ link]
*Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism

The LCMS also works in partnership with:

*Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
**Southeastern Synod
*Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bavaria
*Lutheran Church in Singapore
*Myanmar Lutheran Church

ee also

* Christianity in Malaysia
* Christianity in Singapore

External links

* [ Lutheran Church in Malaysia and Singapore]
* [ Lutheran Church in Singapore]


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