Manullang, Theophilus D. (1897–1978)

By Yohanes Verdianto Doloksaribu

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Yohanes Verdianto Doloksaribu is a pastor in the Jakarta Local Conference, Indonesia. He has a B.A. in Theology from Surya Nusantara Adventist College, North Sumatera. He finished his M.A. in Religion from Adventist University of Indonesia; and completed his Doctor of Theology with an Emphasis on Church History from the Cipanas Theological Seminary. He has written several articles that have been published in Indonesia and an international journal. He is married to Kristina Simanjuntak. They have two children.

First Published: January 15, 2021

Theophilus Datutaladibabana Manullangn was an Adventist educator, pastor and administrator in Indonesia.

Early Life

Theophilus Datutaladibabana Manullang, fondly called “Theo,” was born on March 27, 1897, in Tarutung, Sumatera,1 in the Dutch colonial era. He was born in an area where cannibalism was practiced in Sumatera. For generations in his family, there has been one son to whom the secrets of witchcraft have been passed down until his father became a Christian.2 At that time, when Christianity had not yet entered its territory, the totem pole-like staff is the symbol of office belonging to the chief witch doctor of his tribe, which is now merely a reminder of the pagan life his forefathers lived in Sumatera.3

His parents were Raja Singal Daniel Manullang and Aratua Katarina Sihite. They despised the Dutch colonial rule, and that is why his father became close friends and fellow soldier of Sisingamangaraja (one of the heroes from North Sumatra who fought against the Dutch Colonialists). Theo was the third child of four siblings: three brothers and one sister. Eventually the three of them became pastors: one Methodist pastor, one Protestant pastor, and one Adventist pastor, Theophilus.4

Education and Marriage

Because of her parents' displeasure with the Dutch, they chose not to send their children to the Dutch schools. Instead, they sent their sons to an Anglo-Chinese School commonly called the Methodist English School in Bogor,5 After that, Manullang continued his education at the Buitenzorg (now Bogor) College in Bogor where he majored in English, accounting, and stenography. Manullang lived and studied in Bogor from 1914-1917.6

After finishing his education, he returned to Tarutung, and there he married Rose Bintang Almen Hutagalung on October 27, 1917.7 Then they were blessed with eleven children. One of his sons became an Adventist pastor: John Tuamauli Manullang, and two of his sons-in-law also became an Adventist pastor: Padimun R. Sibarani and Jan M. Hutauruk. His son, J. T. Manullang, served in the Education, Youth Ministry, and Voice of Prophecy Department at West Java Mission,8 and also radio-TV secretary for the Indonesia Union Mission.9

Ministry

In 1921, Manullang was baptized by Pastor D. S. Kime. After he and his wife were baptized, he was sent to teach English in the Adventist school in Sipogu, North Sumatera. The name of the school was Batakland English School (BES). The school itself was opened by Pastor D. S. Kime in 1921.10 Huta Kima (Kima Village) was a township named after Brother Kime.11 There he taught from 1921-1927. After that, he was sent to Singapore Mission in 1927. He worked there as their Gospel teacher until 1928. Then he was assigned to be an editor and translator in the Malaysian Signs Press until 1929.12 In Singapore, their twin daughters were born: Thalma Mariana and Thelma Meriani.13

After serving for three years in Singapore and Malaysia, he returned to North Sumatera. There he was active as a missionary at his own expense. He became a missionary in Porsea, Balige, Tarutung, and Sibolga. For six years he served as a missionary with his own money, and in 1936 he was employed as a Gospel worker and Home Ministry and Publishing secretary of the North Sumatra Mission. He worked in North Sumatra Mission until 1949.14 When he was in Pematangsiantar, he led 30 literature evangelists and was very successful.15 Manullang was very caring and liked to help literature evangelists in their ministry work.16

In 1949, Manullang was called to Indonesia Union Publishing (now Indonesia Publishing House) as an editor. There he worked for two years until he became an ordained minister on February 18, 1950, in Naripan Church, Bandung.17 Manullang then was elected to the office of president of the West Java Mission from 1950-1959.18 After that, he served at the Indonesia Union Mission in their Home Ministry, Personal Evangelism, and Sabbath School Department from 1961-1962.19 At that time, the president of Indonesia Union Mission was C. C. Cleveland.20

In 1962-1963, which was the last year of his ministry before his retirement, Manullang served again as an associate editor at Indonesia Union Publishing.21 22

Later Life

After retiring in 1963, Manullang and his wife lived in Bandung until his wife passed away on January 3, 1978. Then, 11 days later, Manullang also breathed his last on January 14, 1978. Both were buried in Pandu Cemetery, Bandung.23

Legacy

Theo Manullang’s service in the different departments and countries of the Adventist Church organization is more than what his service record reveals. Manullang was the longest-serving president of the West Java Mission, having served in that capacity for 10 years. All together, he served the Church for 42 years.

While he taught in Batakland English School, he was translating several books, including Christ Our Saviour, Health and Longevity, and Satan into the Batak language. In Singapore, he translated Gospel Workers, The Marked Bible, and Satan.24 In 1957, Manullang wrote his popular book, Rahasia Rumah Tangga Yang Senang (The Secret of a Happy Family), published by the Indonesia Publishing House, Bandung.25

Sources

Batoebara, D. “Tim Editorial.” Warta Geredja, no. 11 (1962).

Cleveland, C. C. “Takut Akan Tuhan.” Warta Geredja, no. 1 (1962).

Coffee, Cecil. “General Conference of Seventh-day Adventist, San Francisco, California, May 24-June 5.” These Times, August 1954.

Diredja, M. E. “Urapan Pendeta.” Warta Geredja Advent, no. 6 (1950).

Kime, D. S. “Dari Sana-Sini.” Warta Geredja, no. 11 (November 1941).

Manullang, Theo D. “Batankland, Indonesia.” Far Eastern Division Outlook, December 1925.

Manullang, Theo D. Rahasia Rumah Tangga Yang Senang. Bandung: Percetakan Advent Indonesia, 1957.

Michael, D. L. “An Interesting Glimpse of One of the Activities at the General Conference Session.” Canadian Union Messenger, June 2, 1954.

Personal Employee Service Record of Theo D. Manullang, Far Eastern Division, West Indonesia Union Mission Archives.

Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook. Various years. https://www.adventistyearbook.org/.

Tambunan, E. H. Sejarah Gereja Masehi Advent Hari Ketujuh di Toba. Jakarta: Toba Ministry, 2015.

Walde, E. R. “Good News from Indonesia.” ARH, June 27, 1963.

Notes

  1. Personal Employee Service Record of Theo D. Manullang, Far Eastern Division, West Indonesia Union Mission Archives.

  2. Cecil Coffee, “General Conference of Seventh-day Adventist, San Francisco, California, May 24-June 5,” These Times (August 1954): 11. http://documents.adventistarchives.org/Periodicals/WM/WM19540801-V63-08.pdf.

  3. D. L. Michael, “An Interesting Glimpse of One of the Activities at the General Conference Session,” Canadian Union Messenger, June 2, 1954, 145.

  4. Interview with Thelma Manullang and Bob Panjaitan, daughter and grandson of Theo D. Manullang respectively, on Sunday, March 4, 2018, at their home in South Jakarta.

  5. Richard M. Daulay, Mengenal Gereja Methodist Indonesia (Jakarta, BPK Gunung Mulia: 2004), 132.

  6. Interview with Thelma Manullang and Bob Panjaitan, daughter and grandson of Theo D. Manullang respectively, on Sunday, March 4, 2018, at their home in South Jakarta.

  7. Personal Employee Service Record of Theo D. Manullang, Far Eastern Division, West Indonesia Union Mission Archives.

  8. Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (1962), 103.

  9. E. R. Walde, “Good News from Indonesia,” ARH, June 27, 1963, 24.

  10. E. H. Tambunan, Sejarah Gereja Masehi Advent Hari Ketujuh di Toba (Jakarta: Toba Ministry, 2015), 113, 117.

  11. Theo D. Manullang, “Batankland, Indonesia,” Far Eastern Division Outlook, December 1925, 8.

  12. Personal Employee Service Record of Theo D. Manullang, Far Eastern Division, West Indonesia Union Mission Archives.

  13. Interview with Thelma Manullang and Bob Panjaitan, daughter and grandson of Theo D. Manullang respectively, on Sunday, March 4, 2018, at their home in South Jakarta.

  14. Personal Employee Service Record of Theo D. Manullang, Far Eastern Division, West Indonesia Union Mission Archives.

  15. H. Twijnstra, “Noord-Sumatra,” Warta Geredja, no. 8, 1941, 2.

  16. D. S. Kime, “Dari Sana-Sini,” Warta Geredja, no. 11, November 1941, 6.

  17. M. E. Diredja, “Urapan Pendeta,” Warta Geredja Advent, no. 6, 1950, 2.

  18. Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (1960), 99.

  19. Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (1962), 100.

  20. C. C. Cleveland, “Takut Akan Tuhan,” Warta Geredja, no. 1, 1962, 1.

  21. D. Batoebara, “Tim Editorial,” Warta Geredja, no. 11, 1962, 144.

  22. Personal Employee Service Record of Theo D. Manullang, Far Eastern Division, West Indonesia Union Mission Archives.

  23. Interview with Thelma Manullang and Bob Panjaitan, daughter and grandson of Theo D. Manullang respectively, on Sunday, March 4, 2018, at their home in South Jakarta.

  24. Personal Employee Service Record of Theo D. Manullang, Far Eastern Division, West Indonesia Union Mission Archives.

  25. Theo D. Manullang, Rahasia Rumah Tangga Yang Senang (Bandung: Percetakan Advent Indonesia), 1957.

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Doloksaribu, Yohanes Verdianto. "Manullang, Theophilus D. (1897–1978)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. January 15, 2021. Accessed November 29, 2022. https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=9CKI.

Doloksaribu, Yohanes Verdianto. "Manullang, Theophilus D. (1897–1978)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. January 15, 2021. Date of access November 29, 2022, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=9CKI.

Doloksaribu, Yohanes Verdianto (2021, January 15). Manullang, Theophilus D. (1897–1978). Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. Retrieved November 29, 2022, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=9CKI.