Tunggul Wulung (Tunggulwulung), Ibrahim (d. 1885)

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As something of a folk hero Tunggul Wulung's early life is enshrouded in legends that are difficult to confirm or deny. These include birth as a scion of the Javanese royal line (in about 1800), participation in the Java War (1825-1830) against colonial rule, change of identity and relocation in the Juana area to hide from his past, spiritual dissatisfaction despite of material success, arrest for horse theft, and finally escape to become a hermit mystic on Mount Kelud in East Java. One scholar suggests that he is the author of the inflammatory 19th-century Javanistic tract, Serat Darmogandul.

The mysterious discovery of the Ten Commandments on a scrap of paper under his mat, his mystic partner and wife Endang Sampurnowati, the indigenous Javanese Christian movement in Nogoro, and a Nederlandsch Zendelingengenootschaft (Dutch Missionary Board) missionary, Jellesma, in Mojowarno all seem to have influenced Tunggul Wulung's conversion to Christian faith in about 1852 (and baptism by Jellesma on 6 July 1857 with the Christian name Ibrahim). He also used the honorific title of a traditional Javanese teacher of religion, Kyai.

Early in 1853 Tunggul Wulung sought partnership with Mennonite missionary Pieter Jansz in Jepara. Unfortunately the terms Jansz set for such a partnership were too domineering and presumptuous in Tunggul Wulung's mind, and he ultimately saw no option but to form an indigenous Christian movement based in remote villages independent of any mission. He traveled the length and breadth of Java gathering his converts and some dissatisfied members of mission congregations into his remote Christian villages. His first settlement (1856) in the Muria area was Ujung Watu (near present day Margokerto). Soon his center of activity in this area shifted a short distance south to Bondo, where, after more than 30 years of ministry, he died and was buried. His second and third settlements in the Muria area were in Banyutowo and Tegalombo.

Though sharply criticized by the missionaries for his allegedly syncretistic teachings and practices Tunggul Wulung clearly had a stronger appeal among the Javanese people than the missionaries. He was able to facilitate the engagement of the gospel with the real world of the Javanese people in a very direct way. He seemed to relish challenging in the name of Jesus Christ the evil spiritual powers that the Javanese knew to be dominating their lives. And he did not hesitate to nourish the hope in his followers that the Christian teaching about the coming of the kingdom of God would in some measure correspond to their hoped-for deliverance from oppressive foreign rule and the debilitating influence of Islamic belief. Perhaps these things help to explain why he had nearly 10 times as many followers in the Muria area by the end of his ministry as did the Mennonite missionaries.

Tunggul Wulung's first wife was Endang Sampurnowati. He later lived with another woman, the widow of one of his followers, though his first wife was still alive and living in Ujung Watu. Claims of biological descent from Tunggul Wulung are very difficult to confirm. His spiritual heritage is much more clearly evident in the life of the Gereja Injili di Tanah Jawa (Evangelical Church of Java).

In his estrangement from most missionaries Tunggul Wulung found a friend and supporter in the high government official and promoter of indigenous Christian movements, Anthing. However, Anthing's later involvement with the Irvingite Apostolic movement left little imprint on Tunggul Wulung and his movement. Tunggul Wulung was an early teacher of the leader of the south Central Javanese indigenous Christian movement, Kyai Sadrach.


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Author(s) Lawrence M Yoder
Date Published 1989

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MLA style

Yoder, Lawrence M. "Tunggul Wulung (Tunggulwulung), Ibrahim (d. 1885)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1989. Web. 26 May 2024. https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Tunggul_Wulung_(Tunggulwulung),_Ibrahim_(d._1885)&oldid=130450.

APA style

Yoder, Lawrence M. (1989). Tunggul Wulung (Tunggulwulung), Ibrahim (d. 1885). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 26 May 2024, from https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Tunggul_Wulung_(Tunggulwulung),_Ibrahim_(d._1885)&oldid=130450.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 5, p. 893. All rights reserved.

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