- Brunei is a small country on the island of Borneo, the remnant of a sultanate that at one time controlled the entire island. The British formed a protectorate in 1888 that lasted until independence in 1984. Some two-thirds of the population are Malaysian, almost all of whom are Muslim. Another 11 percent follow traditional ethnic religions, and 9 percent are Buddhists.The British introduced Christianity and the Church of England. Today, Anglicans and Catholics, each 3,000-strong, are the largest Christian groups. The Evangelical Church of Borneo is an outgrowth of the Borneo Evangelical Mission, an independent Protestant missionary agency founded in 1928 with Methodist roots. Missionary personnel left with the departure of British rulers, but the church continued with indigenous leadership.In the decades since World War II, other churches have established work, primarily among non-Malaysians. Of these, the Seventh-day Adventist Church has been by far the most successful. The growth of the Christian community has been checked by government regulations against proselytizing and any activities that might infringe upon the peace of society. The country has lived under an official state of emergency since 1962.In December 2000, three members of the Evangelical Church of Borneo were arrested and charged with "cultlike" activities that included attempting to convert Muslims and importing Indonesian Bibles. The church has remained under intense scrutiny.See also Malaysia.Further reading:■ David Barrett, The Encyclopedia of World Christianity, 2nd ed. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2001)■ Shirley P. Lees, Jungle Fire (Lawas: Borneo Evangelical Mission, 1967).
Encyclopedia of Protestantism. Gordon Melton. 2005.