This dissertation discusses the practices of To Salu ethnic group in Toraja Mamasa in welcoming the stranger, that is, the missionaries of de Christelijke Gereformeerde Kerken (ChGK) from the Netherlands. These practices are called ma'sara and man'tila. Ma'sara is essentially an act of pretending to accept the desire and the need of a stranger, while mantila ' is the practice of distributing meat or other kinds of food to strangers.
In addition, this dissertation discusses the belief of To Salu on Debata Tiga Batu Tungku (God is present at three stonestove symbol) that consists of God as the Creator (Debata to Metampa), God the Heritage Giver or the Savior (Debata To Memana or To Mepasalama), and God as the Counselor (Debata To Meolaam). For the missionaries of ChGK, ma’sara, mantila’ and the belief on Debata Tiga Batu Tungku are fundamentally idolatrous and incompatible with the doctrine of Triune God in Christianity, therefore it becomes an obstacle to evangelism.
By primarily referring to Bevans’ Anthropological and Synthetic models of contextual theology, and other theologians (Emanuel Gerrit Singgih, Ebenhaizer I. Nuban Timo, and Catherine Mowry LaCugna etc.), this dissertation on the contrary, argues that To Salu’s belief on Debata Tiga Batu Tungku is not idolatrous. It is compatible with the doctrine of Triune God and, therefore, it can be used as a bridge to understand the doctrine of Triune God.
This dissertation further argues that To Salu maintains the ma’sara practice in order to protect the teaching of Debata Tiga Batu Tungku while maintaining their friendship with strangers. The principles of befriending strangers (ma’sara) and sharing food with strangers (mantila) provide a relevant basis for reconstructing the mission concept of the Toraja Mamasa Church (GTM) today. The efforts of reconstructing the mission concept of GTM is mainly based on the works of C. S. Song, a pioneer in reconstructing the concept of Christian mission in Asia. This dissertation offers a unique perspective of mission by engaging the practice of mantila’ and the concepts of missio Dei and perichoresis simultaneously.
The dissertation consists of four parts. The first part is on the context of To Salu at Toraja Mamasa. Second part focuses on the encounter of To Salu with the missionaries of ChGK in the periods of 1928-1959 and 1967-1982. The third part discusses the importance of the belief of Debata Tiga Batu Tungku and argues that it can be used as a "bridge" to understand the doctrine of the Holy Trinity. The final part econstructs the mission concept of GTM by bringing into conversation the concept of mantila’ with the discourses of missio Dei and perichoresis.
Keywords: Debata Tiga Batu Tungku, Ma 'sara', Mantila ', Missio Dei, Perichoresis, Reconstruction.
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