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Aliens and Strangers (1 Pet 2: 11-12) in Indonesian Context

ARC Team 02
2023-07-13 10:40 398

Aliens and Strangers (1 Pet 2: 11-12) in Indonesian Context 

 Religion and Social Communication 21, no. 1 (2023)

Batara Sihombing and Desri Maria Sumbayak


This paper examines the Epistle of 1 Peter and the experiences of its recipients, who were labeled as aliens and strangers living in Asia Minor during the Roman Empire. The paper explores the reasons for their labeling and the struggles they faced due to their faith in the first century, including persecution from non-Christians and those in power. The paper also delves into the literal and contextual usage of the terms and elaborates on the persecution faced by the recipients. The author of the letter uses the paraenetic style to communicate his admonition to the recipients, encouraging them to live good lives in the hope that their opponents would be ashamed. Furthermore, this paper draws a parallel between the experiences of the recipients of 1 Peter and contemporary Indonesian Christians in establishing their places of worship. A minority of Indonesian Christians face difficulties when moving from their homeland to areas where Muslims are the majority. Establishing places of worship requires permits from non-Christian neighbors, and their sanctuaries are often closed and attacked by radical Muslims, possibly due to political motivation. The paper suggests that the wise response for Christians is to live good lives and establish harmonious relationships with other religious followers, in the hope that their non-Christian neighbors will understand the importance of their need to worship God. 

Keywords: aliens, strangers, persecution, paraenesis, religious discrimination, religious minority 


1. Introduction 

The Church is sent into a world where believers exist as outsiders and foreigners, consequently exposing them to inhospitable treatment and persecution from their surroundings. Coping with such negative behaviors requires the adoption of wise strategies. This paper aims to examine how the Epistle of 1 Peter exhorts its recipients, who are foreigners and strangers, to conduct themselves honorably and responsibly in the face of persecution. This analysis will be used to underscore how Indonesian Christians should respond to hostile treatment from their surrounding community. The paper will first discuss the Epistle of 1 Peter, including its epistolary form, the concept of foreigners and strangers, and their interaction with non-Christian outsiders. This examination will provide insight into how the author utilized the epistle as a means of admonishment to his recipients. The paper will approach 1 Peter 2:11-12 literally and contextually in order to gain an understanding of the text’s voice within its first-century situation. Secondly, the paper will examine how Indonesian Christians navigate their shared struggle of existing as a minority and seeking permission to construct churches. This section will draw comparisons between the struggles of first-century believers and contemporary Indonesian Christians, using synonymous parallelism. 

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