Synod 2022, meeting June 10-16 in Grand Rapids, Mich., appointed Yudha Thianto, Ph.D., as professor of history of Christianity and Reformed theology at Calvin Theological Seminary after a successful interview with delegates.
Jul Medenblik, president of the seminary, introduced Thianto as “a person who is warm and generous yet has a desire to learn and grow.”
Thianto was born in Indonesia, the country with the world’s largest Muslim population, and he is of Chinese descent. “Being a Chinese and a Christian in Indonesia, I have always been a double minority everywhere I go.” He said through that experience, “I learned how to receive God's love through other people, and I also learned how to extend God’s love to other people regardless of their faith, belief, religion, and backgrounds. It is a privilege and joy—even though it’s difficult.”
In 2003, Thianto earned his Ph.D. from Calvin seminary, with a research focus on baptism, and Thianto taught as a professor of theology at Trinity Christian College for over 20 years.
During his interview, he shared that “baptism together with the Lord’s Supper are the sacraments of the church,” and both are “physical signs of God’s invisible grace.”
When discussing creeds and confession, Thianto said, “The functions of the creeds and confessions are providing us with the (guard) rail so we can carry out our mission, and it also shapes us. It gives us an identity of who we are fully in Christ.”
Curt Walters, a pastor from Classis Georgetown, interviewed Thianto on behalf of delegates. He asked how Thianto would respond to a student who asked “Why do I have to take history?” Thianto, displaying his lively sense of humor, said, “On Thanksgiving Day would you eat fried tofu? The turkey is the identity of the Thanksgiving feast.” He continued explaining the importance of learning about church history to “understand who we are and how we got there.” He also said, “Church history is to learn of God’s providence.”
Leah Sweetman, a young adult representative and former Trinity student of Thianto, asked him how his experience there shaped and prepared him for Calvin. Thianto shared that his time at Trinity formed him into the teacher he is, and he plans to carry everything he has learned into his new role.
Fitting as he moves to Calvin, Thianto has just written an accessible introduction to the school’s namesake, “An Explorers Guide to John Calvin,” to be released July 12.
Synod 2022 is meeting at Calvin University in Grand Rapids, Mich., from June 10-16. Find daily coverage from The Banner news team at thebanner.org/synod, download the Banner app on your mobile device, or follow The Banner Magazine on Facebook. On Twitter follow #crcsynod or twitter.com/crcna. Synod is the annual general assembly of the Christian Reformed Church (it did not gather in 2020 or 2021). Connect to the meeting’s livestream, read advisory committee reports, and find other resources at crcna.org/synod.