Moore Theological College

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Moore College
Established 1856
Type Theological College
Affiliation Diocese of Sydney
Anglican Church of Australia
Principal Mark Thompson
Registrar Rhonda Barry
Academic staff
Students 600
Location Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
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Moore Theological College, otherwise known simply as Moore College, is the theological training seminary of the Diocese of Sydney in the Anglican Church of Australia. The college has a strong tradition of conservative evangelical and Reformed theology with a strong emphasis on biblical languages, the use of primary sources and, critically, the importance of learning in community. It has developed three academic and ministry centres alongside its mainstream academic program, the Priscilla and Aquila Centre, which promotes women's ministry from a complementation perspective, the Centre for Christian Living, which seeks to provide resources to the general Christian public for intelligent gospel engagement with the wider community, and the Centre for Ministry Development, which provides specialised continuing training and education for graduates and others involved in Christian ministry.

The college is one of the largest Anglican seminaries in the world, with normally around 300 full-time students in its BD and BTh programs. The college has had 13 principals and over 4000 graduates. It has also served to train ministers in the Presbyterian Church of Australia and has also trained many Baptists who are sympathetic to the Reformed tradition. The college has also trained missionaries, church planters and independent church pastors. It attracts students from around the world into its undergraduate and postgraduate programs.

While the largest group in the student body is typically those preparing for Anglican ordained ministry, Moore has also trained other Christian workers, including women, children, youth, families and assistant ministers. Moore graduates also serve as school chaplains, Christian studies teachers and scripture teachers, university and church evangelists, cross-cultural workers, AFES staff workers, social workers, community workers, hospital and nursing home/retirement village chaplains and refugee advocacy workers. The college trains men and women at every level of its program.

The college has played a critical role in the shape of the Anglican Diocese of Sydney. Its evangelical and reformed character has been created and maintained by the vast majority of the diocese's clergy being men and women trained at Moore College. The last three Archbishops of Sydney all spent time as students at Moore College and three out of the last four had been full-time members of the college faculty. Members of the current faculty also serve in various capacities in the diocese, including the Sydney Diocesan Doctrine Commission.


The vision for Moore College came from one of the early settlers of the colony of New South Wales, Thomas Moore. When Moore died in 1840 he left his substantial estate to the Church of England with specific provision for the founding of a college to train young men in the principles of the United Church of England and Ireland. Moore College was opened on 1 March 1856 in Moore's former home in Liverpool, New South Wales. The college was opened by the Anglican Bishop of Sydney, Frederic Barker, and began with three students and one tutor.

In 1891 the college was moved to Newtown adjacent to the University of Sydney. The college began to grow in student numbers and influence under the important principalships of Nathaniel Jones (1897–1911) and later T. C. Hammond (1935–1953). However, the college's most notable leader in 20th century was Broughton Knox (1959-1985). His vision, drive and shrewd management of the college saw it built into a theological college with an international reputation, a noted faculty and students spreading out from Sydney to many other parts of Australia and the globe.

The site on which the college reopened in 1881 has expanded considerably since then. Numerous adjacent buildings have been acquired or built, the latest being the Broughton Knox Teaching Centre, which was opened in 1994. A major redevelopment of the campus is expected to commence in late 2014.

The Moore College Library is one of the largest theological libraries in the Southern Hemisphere, with close to 300,000 works in its collection.[1] It also houses numerous manuscripts and other items of significance to Anglican, Australian and Evangelical history. In recent years it has developed a significant body of electronic resources.

Well known Moore College theologians and writers have included Broughton Knox, Donald Robinson, Paul Barnett, Peter Jensen, Graeme Goldsworthy, Peter O'Brien, David Peterson, Barry Webb, John Woodhouse, Peter Bolt, Mark D. Thompson, Andrew Shead and Con Campbell. Through the influence of Moore College, Sydney Anglicanism has maintained its distinctive Evangelical perspective within worldwide Anglicanism.[2]

Most of the college's students are also employed in Christian ministry at churches throughout Sydney as well as an increasing Asian Australian outreach with people such as Gordon Cheng, Peter Ko and Steve Chong.

The college previously hosted a bookstore, MooreBooks, which closed to the public in 2012. It has continued as an internal bookstore for students.

The current principal (the college's thirteenth) is the Revd Mark Thompson, who was officially installed in office by the Archbishop of Sydney, Peter Jensen, in a service held at St Andrew's Cathedral, Sydney on 6 June 2013. Prior to his appointment, Thompson had been the head of the college's theology, philosophy and ethics department and had been teaching at Moore for 20 years.


Moore College teaches subjects in three key areas: of Biblical studies (Old Testament, New Testament, Biblical theology, Hebrew, Greek) Christian thought (doctrine, ethics, church history, philosophy) and Christian ministry (ministry and mission). There is an emphasis on study of the Bible in the original languages, and practical experience for students in Christian ministry.

Annual events

In 1977 the college began to host an annual lecture series, the Moore College Lectures which have been a showcase of contemporary biblical and theological scholarship. Among the Annual Moore College Lecturers have been J.I. Packer, F.F. Bruce, D.A. Carson, Kenneth Kantzer, Henri Blocher, M.J. Ovey, Ashley Null and Gerald Bray. In 2014 the lecturer was M.S. Horton and in 2015 Kevin Vanhoozer.

Also in the late 1970s, a school of theology began to be held which enabled faculty and graduates to explore subjects of interest and important in the wider Christian community. Subjects treated have included the church, the Spirit, the ethics of life and death, biblical theology, justification, emotions in the Christian life, a celebration of the John Calvin Quincentenary, and various books of the Bible (incl. Galatians, Exodus, and the Psalms).

Moore College Distance

Since the 1940s the college's Department of External Studies has trained lay preachers within the Diocese of Sydney. These students initially attended evening lectures but the course was gradually offered by correspondence. In late 2013 the college announced a revamp of its distance education programs and Department of External Studies is now known as Moore College Distance.

Moore College Distance still runs the Moore College Evening Course (formerly the Diploma of Biblical Studies) as well as a more fully developed distance education program offered at three levels: the ITS, new PTC and Moore Access. In 2006 there were just under 2000 students enrolled in correspondence course subjects.[3] This course is also used in several other countries including Nigeria[4] and India.[5] Translation is under way into Chinese, Tamil, Hindi and Hausa languages.[6]

Accreditation and courses

In the early 20th century the college prepared people for the University of Durham's Licentiate of Theology. Later the standard award of the college was the Licentiate of Theology through the Australian College of Theology. From 1958 to 1986, around 200 students were prepared for the external Bachelor of Divinity degree of London University. During this period the college also began preparing students for the Australian College of Theology's Bachelor of Theology degree.

In 1992 the college gained the right to award its own Bachelor of Divinity degree for its four-year program. This degree and the three year Bachelor of Theology degree were accredited by the NSW Department of Education and Training. The college was given self-accrediting authority as an Australian Higher Education Provider in 2011.

The college offers a number of degrees and diplomas: Diploma of Bible and Mission, Diploma of Bible and Ministry, Bachelor of Divinity, Bachelor of Theology. Master of Arts in Theology, Master of Theology, and Doctor of Philosophy.

Current faculty

  • The Revd Canon M.D. Thompson – Principal and Head of Theology. Lectures in theology
  • The Revd C.R. Bale –Vice Principal and Head of Church History
  • The Revd G. Athas – Director of Post-Graduate Studies. Lectures in Hebrew and Old Testament
  • The Revd P.G. Bolt – Head of New Testament. Lectures in New Testament
  • The Revd K.G. Condie – Dean of Students. Lectures in ministry and church history
  • The Revd D.A. Höhne – lectures in theology and philosophy
  • P.H. Kern – lectures in New Testament
  • The Revd A.M. Leslie – lectures in theology
  • The Revd E.A. Loane – lectures in theology and church history
  • P.C. Orr – lectures in New Testament
  • The Revd A.P. Poulos – Head of Ministry and lectures in ministry, Director of Centre for Ministry Development
  • The Revd A.G. Shead – Head of Old Testament and lectures in Old Testament
  • T.J. Stenhouse – Dean of Women, lectures in ministry
  • W.N. Timmins – lectures in New Testament
  • J.M. Tooher – Head of Women's Ministry, lectures in ministry, Director of the Priscilla and Aquila Centre
  • P.R. Williamson – lectures in Old Testament
  • The Revd L.J. Windsor – lectures in New Testament
  • The Revd D. Wu – lectures in Old Testament

Notable alumni



External links