Cleveland, TN–The Pentecostal Theological Seminary dedicated the Niko Njotorahardjo Chair for the Restoration of the Tabernacle of David (Prayer, Praise and Worship) on Thursday, April 28, in a chapel service followed by a celebration dinner. Dr. Njotorahardjo is a pastor of Gereja Bethel Indonesia, an international Pentecostal church of over 250,000 members. His church donated $1,000,000 for the endowment to establish the chair. The chair focuses on Prayer, Praise and Worship and the title reference to the restoration of the tabernacle of David comes from Acts 14:16-18 (King James Version):
After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up: That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things. Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.
According to a statement released by the Seminary, the chair is only the fifth chair in the history of the Church of God’s flagship seminary, but it is the first to be named after a non-American. The naming of the chair after an Asian speaks of the global vision and worldwide ministry outreach of the Pentecostal Theological Seminary and of the Church of God denomination. It also indicates the participation of the Indonesian church in fulfilling the Great Commission. Perhaps it is fitting that it is named after an Indonesian since more than 25 Indonesian pastors and leaders have studied and graduated from seminary.
The purpose of the endowment is to fund a professor and activities and projects related to the basic intention of the chair. These activities would include curriculum at the Seminary, global leadership forums, and cross-cultural exchanges. This endowed chair is established to assure the principles of prayer, praise and worship are an integral part of the Pentecostal Theological Seminary and the church.
The evening before the dedication, over 50 friends and family who travelled from Indonesia and around the United States for the event were hosted by the Seminary for a time of fellowship. Brad Moffett and the Lee Singers kicked off the evening with singing. During the evening, President Lamar Vest expressed to Pastor Njotorahardjo and the dinner guests:
“You and Gereja Bethel Indonesia-Jakarta have taught us so very much about the importance of spiritual leadership and prayer. This commitment on your part binds us to share your passion with the rest of the world. Please be assured that the Pentecostal Theological Seminary is grateful for your support and that we will do everything within our power to be forever diligent in our efforts to fulfill the commitments to develop global leaders who know the importance of prayer.”
The Chapel service on Thursday, April 28 opened with a scripture from Psalm 127 and prayer by Dr. John Christopher Thomas, Clarence J. Abbott Professor of Biblical Studies. Thomas’s prayer thanked God for His provision for the 41 years of the Seminary’s existence and for the generosity of Gereja Bethel Indonesia.
Following a welcome by PTS President Dr. Lamar Vest, the service included remarks by Dr. Mark L. Williams (Presiding Bishop of the Church of God), Martin Taylor (Chairman of the PTS Board of Trustees), Dr. Cheryl Bridges Johns (Robert E. Fisher Professor of Spiritual Renewal and Christian Formation), and Michael Bennett (PTS Student Government President).
As board chair, Taylor noted how Njotorahardjo, affectionately referred to as Pastor Niko by many, started a congregation in 1988 with 400 persons in Jakarta and in the last 28 years, the church has to exceed 250,000 members with 6,000 cell groups and 900 branches in Indonesia and around the world. He further explained how prayer, praise and worship are an integral part of the Gereja Bethel Indonesia church and that world-wide evangelism is a trademark of the ministry of Pastor Niko and the church. Taylor added that Pastor Niko emphasizes Pentecostal theology and worship and has conducted 256 crusades throughout Indonesia and around the world. Taylor shared that Pastor Niko is known throughout Indonesia for the songs he has written and CD’s of Christian praise and worship. Two of his CDs reached gold status in Indonesia with six of them reaching platinum status.
Pastor Niko gave a response at the end of the chapel service expressing how he is humbled by this honor and how he looks forward to a close and continued relationship with the Pentecostal Theological Seminary and working together to teach the theology and importance of prayer, praise and worship to the international community. He expressed how receiving his honorary doctorate in 2001 from the Seminary has been a highlight of his ministry. The honoree also expressed his gratitude for God’s provision, saying, “Never has God answered me so quickly to give such a large amount….God has since blessed our obedience.”
Dr. J. Ayodeji Adewuya (Professor of Greek and New Testament) closed the service with prayer.
Those attending the dedication service saw a letter from Pastor Niko in the dedication service program. It said in part:
“Today, I am humbled and honored at having a chair at the Pentecostal Theological Seminary name after me; but as with any and every award I receive, I always share this with my leaders, pastors, workers and congregations in Indonesia. Yes, the chair will bear my name, but I represent all of those who serve with me in ministry. It is our chair together, for the glory of God and for the restoration of the tabernacle of David – prayer, praise, and worship.”