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Lawrence Yoder


POSITION: Professor Emeritus/Seminary

LOCATION: Main Campus, Harrisonburg | SB 225

PHONE: (540) 432-4262


Dr. Lawrence M. Yoder graduated from college in 1966 and seminary in 1969, and then spent a year taking courses in Islam, Indonesian language, Asian Historiography and Asian and Indonesian church history in preparation for a nine-year assignment teaching church history and Anabaptist studies at Wiyata Wacana Mennonite Seminary in Pati, Indonesia, where he served one year as rektor (president/dean). He also served four and a half years in Indonesia as country administrator for Mennonite Central Committee and two years as researcher and writer for the histories of the Muria Javanese Mennonite Church (GITJ) and the Muria Mennonite Church (GKMI) in both Indonesian and English languages. Earning Th.M. and Ph.D. degrees from Fuller Theological Seminary School of Intercultural Studies further prepared him for teaching mission studies at Eastern Mennonite Seminary since 1983 while remaining involved in Indonesia through frequent teaching, writing, peace building and consulting assignments. In the spring semester of 2008 he taught in the Indonesian Consortium for Religious Studies (ICRS), a Ph. D. program in inter-religious studies sponsored jointly by Duta Wacana Christian University, Sunan Kalijaga State Islamic University and Gajah Mada State University in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. In the summer of 2009 he taught an intensive course in Anabaptist History and Theology in Ethiopia as part of EMS’s course of study at Meserete Kristos College in Debre Zeit. In May 2010 he participated in the celebration in Indonesia of the publication of Tata Injil di Bumi Muria: Sejarah Gereja Injili di Tanah Jawa (Way of the Gospel in the World of the Muria), a history of the Muria Javanese Mennonite Church, which he and Sigit Heru Sukoco wrote together. He is currently preparing an English version of this book for publication.


  • 1987. Ph.D. in Missiology. Fuller Theological Seminary School of Intercultural Studies. Pasadena, CA. Major in Contextualization with minors in New Testament and Church History. Dissertation title: “The Introduction and Expression of Islam and Christianity in the Cultural Context of North Central Java.”
  • 1981. Th.M. in Missiology. Fuller Theological Seminary School of Intercultural Studies. Pasadena, CA. Mission History. Thesis title: “The Church of the Muria: A History of the Muria Christian Churches of Indonesia—GKMI.”
  • 1969. M.Div. Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary. Elkhart, IN. Concentration in Historical Theology and Church History.
  • 1966. B.A. Messiah College. Grantham, PA. Major in History Education.
  • 1995-1997. Course of training in Gestalt Pastoral Care. Staten Island, NY. Integrating Gestalt psychotherapy, spiritual direction and healing prayer.
  • 1969-1970, Special Studies in Islamics and Indonesian Language. Columbia University. New York, NY.
  • 1969-1970. Special Studies in Asian Historiography and Asian and Indonesian Church History. New York Theological Seminary. New York, NY.


  • 2011. “Transmitting Christian Faith Across the Generations.” In Brethren in Christ History and Life.” Vol. XXXIV, No. 1 (April): 103-128.
  • 2010. Tata Injil di Bumi Muria, Sejarah Gereja Injili di Tanah Jawa-GITJ (Way of the Gospel in the Muria area, a history of the Javanese Mennonite Church). With Sigit Heru Soekotjo. Semarang, Indonesia: Pustaka Muria.
  • 2009. “Inter-Religious Dialogue in the Framework of Formal Graduate Level Studies,” with Mohammad Iqbal Ahnaf. Peace Office Newsletter, 39:4 (October-December 2009): 7-8.
  • 2009. “Kekristenan yang Akan Datang di Indonesia Bagaimana Visi, Bentuk dan Komitmennya?” (The Next Christendom—What Will its Vision, Form and Commitments Be?) Gema Teologi, Journal Fakultas Theologia Universitas Kristen Duta Wacana. 32/1 (April): pp. 4-18.
  • 2008. Review of God Wants His Church to Grow: Building the Model Church, by Bijoy Roul and Fred Holland. Brethren in Christ History and Life 30/1 (April): 146-149.
  • 2006 The Muria Story: A History of the Chinese Mennonite Churches of Indonesia. Kitchener, Ontario: Pandora Press.
  • 2006 “Church Growth Theories and Indonesia.” In Walter Sawatsky and James R. Krabill, eds. Evangelical, Ecumenical and Anabaptist Missiologies in Conversation. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books.
  • 2006-07. “Habits and Practices of Excellent and Fruitful Mennonite Pastoral Ministry” Scholarship Practice
  • 2005. “Indonesia—Javanese Mennonite Church (GITJ).” In James R. Krabill, David W. Shenk, and Linford Stutzman, eds. Anabaptists Meeting Muslims, A Calling for Presence in the Way of Christ (pp. 167-173). Scottdale, PA: Herald Press.
  • 2003. “Habits of the Missional Church, Ten Minute Seminars,” a pamphlet written together with Melodie Davis as part of the presentation of the Missional Church Team of Mennonite Church USA to the General Assembly at Atlanta in July.
  • 2000-02. Tunas Yang Tumbuh, Sejarah Gereja Kristen Muria Indonesia (The Growing Plant: A History of the Muria Christian Churches of Indonesia). Semarang, Indonesia: Muria Church Communications. A thoroughly revised, two volume version of Tunas Kecil (Little Shoot) originally published in 1985.
  • 1999. “Contemporary Global Pluralism: The Approach of Hinduism.” In David W. Shenk and Linford Stutzman, eds. Practicing Truth, Confident Witness in our Pluralistic World. (pp. 102-115). Kitchener, Ontario: Pandora Press.
  • 1990. “We why have Changed the Way we Interpret the Bible (Social and cultural factors).” In Owen Alderfer, et. al, eds. The Brethren in Christ and Biblical Interpretation. (pp. 0-0). Nappanee, Indiana: Evangel Press.
  • c1990. “ .” In Terry Brensinger, ed. Within the Perfection of Christ: Essays on Peace and the Nature of the Church. (pp. 0-0). Nappanee, Indiana: Evangel Press.
  • 1990. Articles in Mennonite Encyclopedia volume V: “Gereja Injili di Tanah Jawa,” pp. 333-338; “Persatuan Gereja Kristen Muria Indonesia,” pp. 692-695; “Indonesia,” pp. 436-438; “Java,” pp. 465-466; “Pati,” p. 679; “Semarang,” p. 809; “Tunggul Wulung, Ibrahim,” p. 893; “Pasrah Karso,” pp. 674-675; “Sardjoe Djojodihardjo,” p. 790; “Soehadiweko Djojodihardjo,” pp. 839-840; “Salatiga,” p. 785; “Yogyakarta,” p. 951; “Kudus,” pp. 499-500; “Jakarta,” p. 459; “Church Planting,” pp. 157-159.

Scholarly Presentations and Abstracts

  • 2010. “Transmitting the Christian Faith Across the Generations”, one of five presentations at a conference on “Tradition, Blessing or Burden” sponsored by the “Sider Institute for Anabaptist, Pietist and Wesleyan Studies” at Messiah College on November 11.
  • 2008. “Misi Kristen dan Dakwah Islam” (Christian Mission and Islamic Da’wah), a presentation in a dialog consultation between Christian missiologists and Islamic scholars of da’wah (Islamic mission) held at Sunan Kalijaga State Islamic University in Yogyakarta, Indonesia on April 3.
  • 2008. “Kekristenan Yang Akan Datang di Indonesia: Visi, Bentuk dan Komitmennya Bakal Bagaimana?” (The Next Christendom in Indonesia—What Will its Vision, Forms and Commitments Be?), one of six plenary addresses at a conference on the theme “Will There Be ‘The Next Christendom’?” at Duta Wacana Christian University in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, April 2. Other speakers included an European, two Catholics, a Protestant and two Muslims.
  • 2006. “Learnings from the Excellent, Fruitful Pastor Project,” Presented at the Conference Ministers’ Meeting of Mennonite Church USA and Mennonite Church Canada. A part of the Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary Lilly Foundation Grant Project. At Gilmary Center, Pittsburg, PA. December 2.
  • 2005. “150 Years of Mennonite Witness in Indonesia.” A series of four lectures presented at Virginia Mennonite Retirement Community, Harrisonburg, VA. October 18, November 29 and December 13, 2004, and January 24.