Andhra Christian Theological College

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Andhra Christian Theological College
ఆంధ్ర క్రైస్తవ వేదాంత (దివ్యజ్ఞాన) కళాశాల
Andhra Christian Theological College (emblem).jpg
Motto in English For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.
Established 1964
Type Seminary
Academic affiliation Senate of Serampore College (University), Serampore 712 201, Hooghly District, West Bengal
Location Lower Tank Bund Road, Gandhinagar Post, Hyderabad 500 080, Andhra Pradesh. Telephone: 91 040 2761 3892, Telangana, India
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Director Rev. Dr. K. Frederick Paradesi Babu, AELC (Chairperson)[1]
Principal Rev. Dr. T. Mathews Emmanuel, CBCNC
Academic staff 10+

Andhra Christian Theological College {Telugu: ఆంధ్ర క్రైస్తవ వేదాంత (దివ్యజ్ఞాన) కళాశాల} is a special purpose entity - an ecumenical enterprise of some of the Church societies in Andhra Pradesh/Telangana in India founded in 1964 and affiliated to the Senate of Serampore College, Serampore, West Bengal, the nation's first University[2]

The College is administered by some of the Protestant Church Societies established in the eighteenth century headquartered in three South Indian states,


The College motto is derived from Ephesians 4:12, which in the Latin Vulgate reads "Ad consummationem sanctorum in opus ministerii in aedification corporis Christi."[3] This is "For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ" in the King James Version.


Missionaries in Andhra Pradesh were involved in spreading[4] the Word of God. With a sizeable converts at hand the need for ministering them was possible only with Priests. With this, they started to open seminaries.

The missionaries were careful not to encroach into others territories while ministering - they created comities for this purpose. Seminaries were established in Gooty (Union Theological Seminary),[5] Dornakal (Andhra Union Theological College [6]) to cater to the Church of South India, Ramayapatnam (Baptist Theological Seminary) for the American Baptists, Luthergiri.[7] (Lutheran Theological College) for the Lutherans, in Kakinada (Baptist Theological Seminary) for the Canadian Baptists, and Shamshabad (Mennonite Brethren Bible College) for the Mennonite Brethren.

There was exchange of Professors between the Seminaries. However, for higher education (Bachelor of Divinity), they had to send their students to West Bengal where Serampore College is located.

Andhra Christian Theological College came into being as a result of the Kretzmann's Commission[8] which suggested carving out a unified seminary out of existing century-old seminaries catering to the various Church societies in Andhra Pradesh. It was also as a result of ecumenism where a greater need for unity among the Protestant churches was felt worldwide.

ACTC is situated on the banks of Hussain Sagar excess water canal (north) in Gandhinagar, Hyderabad, Telangana.

The Kretzmann's Commission

Some of the Church societies in Andhra Pradesh felt the need for having a unified seminary where higher theological education could be taught. Together, they appointed a Commission under the Chairmanship[9] of M.L.Kretzmann[10] to explore the possibilities of forming such a unified Seminary. After a lot of talks, the Commission came out with a report that was tabled before many of the then existing Church societies. Some of the Church societies agreed for the setting up of a unified Seminary. They zeroed-in onto Luthergiri. With this, all higher-educated Theologians taught in the newly set-up College.

Participating Church Societies


In 1964, the College was set up in Luthergiri in the river town of Rajahmundry in East Godavari District with the coming together of the following theological colleges,[11] viz.,

On formation of the College with W. D. Coleman as its first Principal, the inaugural address of the formation ceremony in 1964 was delivered by the Registrar of the Senate of Serampore College (University), Chetti Devasahayam in Rajahmundry.[13]

Later, due to pollution from nearby Paper Mills, they felt the need to relocate. After many deliberations, they chose Secunderabad. By 1973 the college in its entirety was moved from Rajahmundry to Secunderabad. By virtue of postal re-classification in the 1990s, its location fell under Hyderabad (now in Telangana).

Courses offered and admissions



  • Diploma in Christian Studies (Dip.C.S.)
  • Bachelor of Christian Studies (B.C.S.)
  • Master of Ministry (M.Min.)

Apart from the courses offered through the Senate, the College independently offers a three-year Master of Divinity (M.Div.) course through evening classes targeting the lay people.

Admission of students

Students are admitted on quota-basis linked to the representation factor of the participating Church societies and taught varied subjects of religion. An entrance test is conducted before admission. Church sponsorship is a must before joining. Bachelor of Theology (four years) and Bachelor of Divinity (five years) are awarded by the Senate of Serampore College (University).

Campus life

ACTC has several recreational facilities, including a throwball court, a tennis court, a basketball court, a volleyball court, a table tennis room and a large ground that is used for playing football and cricket.

Every morning, worship services are held in the Chapel on the top floor of the administrative building for the students and the faculty. On Sundays, the Chapel is also used for worship services for the general public too. Sunday School classes are held separately for children according to their ages.

Many festivals also take place here exclusive to the ACTC community, including Christian Home Festival, Carey Day, CSI Day, Reformation Day, Independence Day.


The college has a well-equipped library including reading room facilities with more than 38,000[14] books on its racks besides 35 subscribed periodicals. </gallery>

The Hall System

File:W. D. Coleman.jpg
W. D. Coleman, the first Principal of the College

W. D. Coleman, the first Principal of the College explains the Hall System as:[15]

Each of the participating denominations has its own 'hall'. There are two hours of instruction each week about the liturgy, history, and policy of each denomination.

The Church societies commonly associated with Protestantism in southern India include those from the Church of South India, Baptists, Lutherans, Methodists among others. Each Church has a tradition of its own. In ACTC, apart from teaching of theological subjects, students are also taught their respective Church doctrine.[16] This is of course extra curricular and does not part form part of the syllabi prescribed by the University.


Principalship is for a term of four years. Each participating Church society gets a chance on rotation. Currently, the four-year cycle of Principalship is with the Church of South India. Ch. Vasantha Rao is the present Principal.

Present Staff

List of Principalships

(Church society, Years, Principal)

Teaching staff

The faculty at ACTC have substantial pastoral experience and theological grounding. The present faculty include:



  1. Web site of the College
  2. Murli Manohar Joshi, Higher Education in India Vision and Action, A paper presented at the UNESCO World Conference on Higher Education in the Twenty First Century, Paris, 5–9 October 1998. Internet, accessed 22 August 2008. [1]
  3. Vulgate, Ephesians 4 Retrieved 23 April 2006.
  4. Martin Senftleben [2] Influences of Hinduism on Christianity in Andhra Pradesh. Retrieved 23 April 2006.
  5. Edmund Davies draws attention to Prof. Wilfred Scopes, a Missionary of the London Missionary Society who taught in the seminaries in Gooty and Dornakal. Edmund Davis, The History of Theological Education in Jamaica: The United Theological College of the West Indies and its four antecedent colleges (1841-1966), 1998, page 167. [3]
  7. Winnipeg Free Press [4] United Lutheran Church Advances - The Board sends new missionaries to each of six foreign mission fields. Retrieved 23 April 2006.
  8. Martin Kretzmann (1906-2000) was a missionary to India and was also instrumental in affiliating the Concordia Theological Seminary, Nagercoil with the Senate of Serampore College (University). [5] Internet, accessed 23 April 2006.
  9. [6] The LCMS Mission Affirmations of 1965 - Then and Now. Retrieved 23 April 2006.
  10. Martin Kretzmann belonged to the Missouri Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. [7] Internet, accessed 28 June 2008
  11. Victor Premasagar [8] Interpretive Diary of a Bishop, Chennai, 2001, p.88
  12. The Ramayapatnam Seminary later shifted to Rajahmundry and functioned as an independent entity within the campus of ACTC in Luthergiri before amalgamating itself into ACTC
  13. The Lutheran, Volume 2, Lutheran Church in America, 1964, p.30
  14. Paul, Luther N.V.L., Principal's Annual Report 2007-2008, for private circulation, pp. 10-24
  15. Edgar R. Trexler, Mission in a New World, Fortress Press, 1977. p. 29.[9]
  16. The American Lutheran, American Lutheran Publicity Bureau, Delhi (town), New York, 1965. p. 12. [10]
  17. Vasantha Rao was a doctoral candidate at the University of Hamburg. He was awarded a Doctorate of Theology (Dr. Theol.) in Old Testament by the School of Evangelical Theology at the University of Hamburg. See dissertations submitted to the Universities of Germany in the academic year 2003-2004. [11]
  18. Matthews Emmanuel studied under the legendary Old Testament Teacher Prof. Rev. Dr. K. V. Mathew, Ph.D. (Edinburgh) at the Federated Faculty for Research in Religion and Culture, Kottayam. For online citation of Rev. Matthews read para VII in the article - Christian groups up in arms that appeared in The Times of India - Hyderabad Edition, 20 August 2007 .....Rev. Matthews, Professor of Old Testament at the Andhra Christian Theological College.... [12]
  19. Development Promotion Group (DPG) | Tamil Nadu | Chennai | Profile of Non Profit Organisation | nonprofit | npos | non profit |
  20. Swami Raju studied at the SATHRI, Bengaluru. The Hindu : Andhra Pradesh / Hyderabad News : Around the City. His doctoral thesis was entitled Vira cult in folk religion of Guntur District : A Dalit Perspective. [13]
  21. Alexander obtained a Master of Theology (M. Th.) through the Gurukul Lutheran Theological College and Research Institute, Chennai. [14]
  22. Vijaya Kumari specialises in Islam. She obtained a Masters degree in Theology (M. Th.) through the Henry Martin Institute, Hyderabad and the United Theological College, Bengaluru. She is a member of the Association of Theologically Trained Women of India.
  23. Richardson studied M. Th. at the United Theological College, Bengaluru. Martyrs in the History of Christianity
  24. Moses obtained M. Th. degree through the Tamil Nadu Theological Seminary, Madurai He is from the Samavesam of Telugu Baptist Churches.He is a member of Church History Association of India.
  25. Joshi obtained an M. Th. through Gurukul Lutheran Theological College, Chennai.
  26. Sudheer pursued M. Th. at the Tamil Nadu Theological Seminary, Madurai
  27. Reuben Mark had a research exposure at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark. [15]
  28. John Prabhakar was a doctoral candidate at the SATHRI, Bengaluru. He was awarded a Doctorate of Theology (Dr. Theol.) in Homiletics by the constituent college of the Senate of Serampore College (University)."Global Media Publications:Bestsellers India books - Islamic Books Islam book law books indian books education books south asia books terrorism books Ayurveda books Pakistan books Urdu books Indian books books from South Asia Books on South asian Islam and books in Urdu GMPublications- Online Indian Book Store". 3 June 2005. Retrieved 13 June 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  29. Nirmal Kumar holds an M. Th. in theology from Serampore College, Serampore, the constituent college of the Senate of Serampore College (University).

Further reading