We have to be thankful to some of our fellow Christian leaders like John Piper, William Lane Craig and Ravi Zacharias and many more that generously offer their resource materials freely online. It is, indeed, one of our greatest needs in a growing country like Indonesia, especially for the church’s growth.
About the necessity of good resources for better quality of the church, it has been my experience that people that have many resources in their hands are often more effective than those who don’t. In my times ministering at a university, it is indeed makes a significant difference whether we have books like “Philosophical Foundations of a Christian Worldview” or “Shaping a Christian Worldview” or “Defending Your Faith” or many other good reference books. What is sad about this great news is that Indonesia’s students are usually not ‘wealthy’ enough to afford these kinds of books.
I am not saying that most of our students are really laid back people that we often cannot afford any books at all. After all, we have a few local publishers that try, perhaps their best, to translate some expensive books, but of course they could not translate all the books that we need at once. They need to have a focus, and often, their focus (as helping as they are) cannot cope with the needs of younger (and poorer?) theologians like me (and I believe, many others). To make a picture of how we struggle with the prices list, imagine a price for an NIGTC Commentary for the book of Revelation here is equivalent to our living cost for a month times three, it is also always our greatest concern that we need more than just a book!
Now, here is the thing that needs to be discussed. We certainly can’t wait for our serious and hardworking local publishers to translate all of the commentaries and fine books that we need (not to mention the sometimes unclear and vague translations). We can’t expect a library that could supply all of our minister’s needs, since we know that certain people are ministering all abroad our beloved Indonesian Archipelago – which would help them enormously, if they don’t have to rent a book and paid more for their lateness to return the books. There are some that probably doesn’t have as much access to a book store or even a library in their city. It is not just a caricature, we really need good books. Some students of theology (like me) are limited to buy only a few books, when we inevitably need a lot other books to be enrich and enhance the quality of our research – and ultimately the growth of the church in Indonesia, if not Asia itself.
We need strong and committed publishers, yes we have some! We need a big and comprehensive library, yes we have a few! But ‘some’ and ‘few’ are not really a good indicator for Indonesia’s great need. If such a thing is the condition of our country, what would you do?