About a man who set out to fulfil his dream

On 19 October 1879, Frederik Lodewijk Anthing received the Apostle ministry in Amsterdam (the Netherlands) from Apostle Schwarz. This was the go-ahead for the New Apostolic missionary work in Indonesia.

On a Sunday in April 1879 a distinguished, well-to-do, friendly and obviously seeking man walked through the streets of Amsterdam (Netherlands). Without giving it further thought he followed a couple through the open doors of a church and attended his first divine service in a New Apostolic congregation. And it was not his last. He was back that afternoon and on the following Sunday. The members joyfully told their Apostle about the guest. Apostle Schwarz, who had received the Apostle ministry in Hamburg (Germany) in 1863 and led the Church in the Netherlands, wanted to know more about this gentleman. Already shortly thereafter the two men, Mijnheer Anthing, retired vice president of the supreme court in Batavia, modern Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia, had a ground-breaking conversation.

Rich, yet poor

Frederik Lodewijk Anthing worked his way up and was able to look back on a remarkable career. Born in Batavia on 29 April 1815, the lawyer entered the civil service as a young man and did very well for himself. But something was missing. The dream of a peaceful world, a respectful and conciliatory co-operation among people became a prevalent motif in his hard-working life. After his retirement in 1870 he invested his entire fortune in a mission school he founded: Society for Inner and Outer Mission. His aim was to Christianise the non-Christian environment on the island of Java. Over time he succeeded in winning people for Christ. However, in the end he ran out of funds, and donors were scarce.

Trailblazing talks

Amsterdam in October 1879: the first conversation between Apostle Schwarz and Mijnheer Anthing was inspiring for both sides. Apostle Schwarz wrote about it later on in his memoirs: “For many years, Mr Anthing has been a believing man. After his retirement he worked as a missionary among the Muslims on Java on his own initiative. In a school that he himself founded, he trained fifty Javanese men as missionaries, covering all the expenses himself … When he attended his first divine service in the New Apostolic Church, he immediately felt the activity of the Holy Spirit. Since then he has been attending our meetings regularly … Now he visits me every week, and we exchange ideas and thoughts. He expressed the wish to be sealed, which happened on 12 October this year.”

Those who seek will find

Frederik Lodewijk Anthing was a well-respected personality. As a civil servant, however wealthy he may have been as a result, he ultimately did miss out on pursuing his dream: he had wanted to be an instrument in his master’s, Jesus Christ, hand. In his own memoirs entitled Suchen nach Wahrheit (“Seeking for truth”) he writes: “I was determined to get to know the Christian churches in Europe. I heard a rumour that God had restored apostles, prophets, and further gifts of the Holy Spirit.” For him a dream came true, even though the trained and extremely dedicated missionary still had much to learn.

And then 19 October 1879 dawned. Only a week after he had been sealed, Apostle Schwarz ordained his friend Anthing an Apostle. “We asked God for a hint in which form he should serve the Lord. The Lord called him, through visions and further testimonies, as an Apostle for Java (East Indies).” The thought of being able to support the “work of God as an Apostle among the Gentiles” made Anthing happy. However, his return to Java was delayed. In early 1880 Apostle Schwarz wrote about him: “Apostle Anthing is still here with us. It is doing him good. Once he is back in Batavia he will have to fend for himself, and he needs all the faith and knowledge he can get to fight for the souls entrusted to him.”

The end of the search

Only in July of 1881 did he succeed in returning home to Batavia by ship. Unfortunately—and here the life story of this distinguished missionary takes a sad turn—his apostolic work on Java lasted a mere two years. On 12 October 1883 he tripped as he stepped off a tram and his legs got caught under the wheels. He bravely accepted his fate. He was admitted to hospital in Batavia, where he died the same night of his serious injuries.

A new Apostle was ordained for the New Apostolic Church in Indonesia. It was Apostle Anthing’s former missionary student, Lim Tjoe Kim, a native Chinese.

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Peter Johanning
Indonesia, People/Personalities