Andhra Christian Theological College

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Andhra Christian Theological College
ఆంధ్ర క్రైస్తవ వేదాంత కళాశాల
White cross and ACTC against a black-and-pink background
Motto Ad Consummationem Sanctorum In Opus Ministerii
Motto in English "Equipping saints for ministry"
Established 1 July[1] 1964
Type Seminary
Academic affiliation Senate of Serampore College (University)
Location Hyderabad, Telangana, India
17°25′36″N 78°27′10″E / 17.42667°N 78.45278°E / 17.42667; 78.45278
Director R.R.D Sajeeva Raju, STBC[2] (Chair of the Board of Governors)
Principal[2] A. John Prabhakar, D.Th. (Serampore)
Academic staff 15+[3]

Andhra Christian Theological College (ACTC, Telugu: ఆంధ్ర క్రైస్తవ వేదాంత కళాశాల) is a seminary[4] in Telangana which was founded in 1964.[5] It is affiliated with India's first[6] university, the Senate of Serampore College (University) (a university under section 2(f) of the University Grants Commission Act, 1956),[7][8] and has degree-granting authority under a Danish charter ratified by the government of West Bengal.[9] ACTC is on the Hussain Sagar canal (north) in Gandhinagar, Hyderabad, about 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) from the Secunderabad Junction railway station.[10]


Participating ecclesiastical societies
(in reverse alphabetical order)

Founding societies[edit]

The college was founded in 1964 on the Lutheran Theological College campus in Rajahmundry. Its founding societies included[11][12] the Andhra Evangelical Lutheran Church, the Church of South India, the Convention of Baptist Churches of Northern Circars, the Methodist Church in India and the South Andhra Lutheran Church. The Samavesam of Telugu Baptist Churches held its B.D. classes at ACTC in 1967, and in 1972 the B.D. programme of the Ramayapatnam Baptist Theological Seminary was integrated into the college. When M. Victor Paul was principal (1991-1993), Good Samaritan Evangelical Lutheran Church joined the college.[13][14][12]

Missionaries in Andhra Pradesh[15] opened seminaries in Gooty (Union Theological Seminary),[16] Dornakal (Andhra Union Theological College, [17] for the Church of South India), Ramayapatnam (Baptist Theological Seminary, for the American Baptists), Luthergiri[18] (Lutheran Theological College), Kakinada (Baptist Theological Seminary, for Canadian Baptists) and Shamshabad (Mennonite Brethren Centenary Bible College, for the Anabaptists). Although professors were exchanged among the seminaries, Bachelor of Divinity students attended Serampore College in West Bengal.

Kretzmann Commission[edit]

A bespectacled A. B. Masilamani in a suit
A. B. Masilamani of the Convention of Baptist Churches of Northern Circars, who composed hymns and espoused Bhakti theology, was a member of the Kretzmann Commission.

ACTC constituted the Kretzmann Commission in 1969,[19] consisting of:

The commission's report, presented to the board of governors, suggested increasing the Bachelor of Divinity curriculum and abolishing the Licentiate in Theology programme.


In 1964, the college was founded in Luthergiri, Rajahmundry, East Godavari district with the merger of three[20] theological colleges:[21] Andhra Union Theological College in Dornakal, Baptist Theological Seminary in Kakinada,[22] and Lutheran Theological College in Rajahmundry.[22]

With William D. Coleman as its first principal, the college was dedicated on 1 July[1] 1964 by R. M. Clark[1] of the BTESSC.[a] The inaugural address was delivered by Senate of Serampore College registrar C. Devasahayam in Rajahmundry.[23]

The Ramayapatnam Baptist Theological Seminary was a separate part of the college in Rajahmundry until it merged in 1972.[14][1][13] By 1973, the college had moved from Rajahmundry to Secunderabad due to pollution from nearby paper mills.[24] The new buildings were dedicated by Church of South India bishop Pereji Solomon in the presence of Catholic archbishop Samineni Arulappa and seminarians from St. John's Regional Seminary.[25] During the 1990s, the college's postal address changed to Hyderabad (now in Telangana).

Administration and faculty[edit]

Board of governors[edit]

New Testament and Greek faculty

The college is administered by a board of governors composed of representatives of participating Protestant ecclesiastical societies:


Old Testament and Hebrew faculty

The college motto is derived from Ephesians 4:12, which reads in the Latin Vulgate: "Ad consummationem sanctorum in opus ministerii..."[50] ("For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry..." in the King James Version).

Hall system[edit]

W. D. Coleman, the college's first principal, explained the hall system: "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".[51]

The churches commonly associated with Protestantism in southern India include the Church of South India, Baptists, Lutherans and Methodists. Each church has its own tradition. At ACTC, students learn their respective church doctrine in addition to general theology.[52]


The principal serves a four-year term (2018-2022), with each participating church having an opportunity to provide a principal. The current principal is the A. John Prabhakar, D.Th. (Serampore).

Term Years Church Denomination Principals
1964–1972 8 AELC Lutheran W. D. Coleman, Ph.D. (Hartford),
W. P. Peery, Ph.D. (Duke)
1972–1980 8 CSI Wesleyan P. Victor Premasagar, Ph.D. (St Andrews)
1980–1986 6 CBCNC Baptist K. David, Ph.D. (Edinburgh)
1986–1990 4 STBC Baptist Suppogu Joseph, D.Th. (Serampore)
1990–1994 4 AELC Lutheran M. Victor Paul, D.Min. (Luther),
G. Sampurna Rao, D.Min. (McCormick),
1994–1998 4 CSI Wesleyan Regunta Yesurathnam, D.Th. (Serampore)
1998–2002 4 CBCNC Baptist K. D. G. Prakasa Rao, M.Th. (Serampore),
D. J. Jeremiah, M.Th. (Serampore),
2002–2006 4 STBC Baptist B. J. Christie Kumar, M.Th. (Serampore)
2006–2010 4 AELC Lutheran N. V. Luther Paul, D.Th. (Serampore)
2010–2014 4 CSI Wesleyan Ch. Vasantha Rao, Dr. Theol. (Hamburg)
2014–2018[2] 4 CBCNC Baptist T. Matthews Emmanuel, D.Th. (Serampore)
N. V. Vijaya Kumari, M.Th. (Serampore)
2018–2022 4 STBC Baptist A. John Prabhakar, D.Th. (Serampore)

Serampore University affiliation[edit]

Metropolitan bishop in ceremonial robes
Metropolitan Aprem Mooken of the Assyrian Church of the East[53] visited the college during the Church History Association of India's 1988 triennial conference.[54]

The college has affiliated since its founding with the Senate of Serampore College (University).[55]

Degrees for pastors[edit]

ACTC and Serampore[56] offer two degrees for pastors: Bachelor of Divinity (B.D.) and Master of Theology (M. Th.) under the aegis of Advanced Institute for Research on Religion and Culture (ARRC).[55]

Distance education[edit]

Through distance education, ACTC has Bachelor of Christian Studies (B.C.S.) and Master of Christian Studies (M.C.S.) programmes for Christian students[57] and a Diploma in Christian Studies (Dip. C.S.) programme for Christian and non-Christian students.[55]

Registrar visits[edit]

When the college was founded in 1964, university registrar Chetti Devasahayam (CBCNC) delivered its inaugural address;[23] registrar D. S. Satyaranjan visited the college annually. Current registrar S. K. Patro has visited ACTC to investigate the prospect of upgrading the college to a postgraduate institution.[58]

University convocations[edit]

Drawing of a large building with columns
1887 drawing of Senate of Serampore College (University)

Senate of Serampore College (University) has held two convocations at ACTC. The February 1979 convocation[59] was hosted by college Old Testament faculty Victor Premasagar, CSI and G. Babu Rao, CBCNC; both had been associated with the Serampore College.[60] The convocation was attended by university registrar D. S. Satyaranjan and master A. D. Khan. The university president was Victor Premasagar.[61] The Commemoration Mass was led by G. Babu Rao (CBCNC) at St. Gregorios Malankara Orthodox Syrian Cathedral near[62] the college,[63] and the convocation address was delivered by Samuel Rayan,[59] S.J..[61]

The college hosted[58] the 2016 convocation under the tenure of Old Testament scholars T. Matthews Emmanuel,[58] CBCNC and Vasantha Rao, CSI. The university was represented by master John Sadananda,[58] Senate president Issac Mar Philoxenos,[58][61] South Asia Theological Research Institute dean P. G. George[58] and university registrar S. K. Patro. The convocation address was delivered by Klaus Schäfer.[61] honorary doctoral degrees were conferred on D. S. Satyaranjan[58] (who led the 1979 convocation) and Klaus Schäfer,[58] who taught New Testament courses at the college from 1988[64] to 1993.[65]

Proposed MDiv programme[edit]

The college has begun an initiative to admit Christian candidates to a Master of Divinity programme, for which it has sought affiliation from the Asia Theological Association.[3]


Present active faculty[66][3][2]
Subject Name Gender Denomination Degree Alma mater University
Christian ministry L. Anitha, MCI F Methodist M.Th. Gurukul, Chennai[67] Serampore
New Testament Helen Salomy, STBC[68] F Baptist M.Th. UTC, Bangalore[69] Serampore
Religions N. V. Vijaya Kumari, STBC F Baptist M.Th. HMI, Hyderabad/
UTC, Bangalore[70]
History of Christianity N. V. Grace, AELC F Lutheran M.Th. UTC, Bangalore[71] Serampore
Social Analysis M. Yonathan, STBC M Baptist M.Th. TTS, Madurai[72] Serampore
Christian ministry K. T. Vijay Kumar, CSI M Anglican M.Th. TTS, Madurai[73] Serampore
New Testament V. Manikya Rao, AELC M Lutheran D.Th. SATHRI, Bangalore[74] Serampore
Missiology J. Ananda Prakash, AELC M Lutheran M.Th. Gurukul, Chennai[75] Serampore
Christian Ethics B. S. Vara Kumar, CSI M Congregational D.Th. UTC, Bangalore[76][77] Serampore
Christian theology S. I. Nirmal Kumar, CBCNC M Baptist M.Th. NIIPGTS, Kolkata/
Christian theology B. Moses, CSI M Wesleyan M. Th. UTC, Bangalore Serampore
Religions T. Swami Raju, AELC M Lutheran D.Th. SATHRI, Bangalore[78] Serampore
Religions P. Alexander, SALC M Lutheran M.Th. Gurukul, Chennai[79] Serampore
Old Testament R. Jeeva Kumar,[80] STBC M Baptist M.Th. UTC, Bangalore Serampore
Old Testament[68] K. Joseph Premavardhan, CSI[81] M Congregational M. Th. UTC, Bangalore Serampore
Old Testament G. Vara Prasad, AELC M Lutheran D.Th. UTC, Bangalore[82] Serampore
Homiletics A. John Prabhakar, STBC M Baptist D. Th. SATHRI, Bangalore Serampore
On study leave
Subject Name Gender Denomination Degree Studying Institution Leave
Christian Ministry Y. J. Rajendra Prasad,[83] STBC M Baptist M.Th. D.Th. in
Christian Ministry
UTC, Bangalore 2016-2019
Christian theology B. N. Ratna Prakash, AELC M Lutheran M.Th. D. Th. in
Christian theology
UBS, Pune 2018-2021


ACTC's library has reading-room facilities, over 38,000[84] books and 35 periodicals. When the college was founded, it was known as the Dunkelberger Memorial Library.[1] The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America[85] had sponsored the library[85] in memory of Roy Martin Dunkelberger,[86] AELC, a Lutheran missionary in Rajahmundry.[87]

The library was renamed the Gipson Memorial Library in 2014 in honour of Baptist missionary T. G. Gipson, STBC, who had modernized the library during his second term as a visiting faculty member at the college.[88] The renaming ceremony was held during the tenure of T. Matthews Emmanuel (CBCNC) as principal, in the presence of board of governors chair K. Frederick Paradesi Babu (AELC) and board member V. Prasada Rao (CSI).

Student life[edit]

ACTC has recreational facilities which include throwball, tennis, basketball and volleyball courts, a table tennis room and a playing field for football and cricket. Daily mass is said in the chapel for students and teachers, and Sunday mass is open to the public. College festivals include the Christian Home Festival, Carey Day, CSI Day, Reformation Day, and Independence Day.

Notable figures[edit]


  1. ^ Formerly known as the Board of Theological Education of the National Council of Churches in India.


  1. ^ a b c d e Margaret Eunice Hawkinson née Coleman, That they may be one - The Story of the Andhra Christian Theological College, Published by the Mission Council of the Andhra Evangelical Lutheran Church, and printed at the Lenox Press, Madurai, 1966. [1]
  2. ^ a b c d Principal's Annual Report 2016-2017 presented at the 53rd graduation service, ACTC, Hyderabad
  3. ^ a b c Principal's Annual Report 2015-2016 in the 52nd graduation service booklet of the Andhra Christian Theological College, 2016, pp.17-30.
  4. ^ Roger E. Hedlund, World Christianity: South Asia, Missions Advanced Research and Communication Center, 1980, p.48. [2]
  5. ^ M. Ezra Sargunam (Edited), Mission Mandate: A compendium of the perspective of missions in India, Mission India, Madras, 1992, p.495. [3]
  6. ^ Sankar Ray, The Hindu (Business Line), 11 April 2008 "Almost a century later, the charter was endorsed officially under the Bengal Govt Act IV of 1918." Internet, accessed 30 November 2008. [4]
  7. ^ "UGC Act-1956" (PDF). Secretary, University Grants Commission. Retrieved 1 February 2016. 
  8. ^ The Senate of Serampore College (University) is a University within the meaning of Section 2 (f) of the UGC Act, 1956 under which a University means a University established or incorporated by or under a Central Act, a Provincial Act or a State Act, and includes any such institution as may, in consultation with the University concerned, be recoginsed by the Commission in accordance with the regulations made in this behalf under this Act. The UGC took the opinion that the Senate fell under the purview of Section 2 (f) of the said Act since The Serampore College Act, 1918 was passed by the Government of West Bengal.[5]
  9. ^ History of Council of Serampore College.[6]
  10. ^ Google Maps
  11. ^ Prospectus ACTC, Printed by A. Nageswara Rao at Saraswathi Power Press, Rajahmundry, 1969, p.4.
  12. ^ a b Rajaiah David Paul, Ecumenism in action: a historical survey of the Church of South India, Christian Literature Society, Madras, 1972, p.146. [7]
  13. ^ a b Foundations: A Baptist Journal of History and Theology, Volumes 11-12, American Baptist Historical Society, 1968, pp.320-321. [8]
  14. ^ a b Year Book of the American Baptist Convention 1971, 1971, p.183
  15. ^ Martin Senftleben [9] Influences of Hinduism on Christianity in Andhra Pradesh. Retrieved 23 April 2006.
  16. ^ 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. [10]
  17. ^ Library file
  18. ^ Winnipeg Free Press [11] United Lutheran Church Advances - The Board sends new missionaries to each of six foreign mission fields. Retrieved 23 April 2006.
  19. ^ 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). "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 29 May 2006. Retrieved 2006-04-23.  Internet, accessed 23 April 2006.
  20. ^ J. Herbert Kane, A Global View of Christian Missions from Pentecost to the Present, Baker Book House, 1971, p.120. [12]
  21. ^ Victor Premasagar "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 4 June 2004. Retrieved 2006-04-25.  Interpretive Diary of a Bishop, Chennai, 2001, p.88
  22. ^ a b 1966 Yearbook of the Lutheran Church in America, United Lutheran publication house, 1965, p.11.[13]
  23. ^ a b The Lutheran, Volume 2, Lutheran Church in America, 1964, p.30
  24. ^ Minutes of the Biennial Convention, Issue 7, Lutheran Church in America, 1974, p.553.[14]
  25. ^ ACTC web site. Milestones
  26. ^ a b c d e f Talathoti Punnaiah, My Memoir, Ministry and Message - 60 years Life Experiences 1950-2010, Self-published by the author, Kakinada, 2010, pp.11, 12, 18, 23, 33.
  27. ^ K. M. Hiwale (Compiled), Directory 1910-1997 of the United Theological College, Bangalore, 1997, p.111
  28. ^ Indian Journal of Theology, Volume 18, 2-3, April–September 1969, p.196. [15]
  29. ^ University of Edinburgh Journal, Volume 35, 1991, p.193
  30. ^ Victor Paul has a postgraduate degree in New Testament from the Senate of Serampore College (University). In addition, he also has a doctoral degree in the field of Christian Ministry.
  31. ^ 70 years of God's Faithfulness: CSI (Medak Diocese) UK Telugu Christians Souvenir commemorating the 70th year of the formation of the Church of South India, 2016, p.15.[16]
  32. ^ The Bulletin of the Henry Martyn Institute of Islamic Studies, Volume 12, 1993, p.2.[17]
  33. ^ Reconciliation as the mission of God, Reconciliation Network, 2005, p.23.[18]
  34. ^ International Bulletin of Missionary Research, Volume 19, Number 2, April 1995, p.67.[19]
  35. ^ List of Recipients of Doctor of Theology Degree, Senate of Serampore College (University). [20]
  36. ^ Lisa Lohnes, W5 on Missions, Tidings, p.16, September 2012
  37. ^ Church of South India Synod, Diocese of Medak. [21]
  38. ^ Minutes of the Meeting of the Working Committee of the Academic Council held on July 17, 2012, p.32.
  39. ^ Doctoral Dissertations in History, 1958, p.26
  40. ^ The Times of India Directory and Year Book Including Who's Who, Bennett and Coleman, Bombay, 1954, p.961.[22]
  41. ^ John C. England, et al. (Edited), Asian Christian Theologies, Volume 2, ISPCK, New Delhi, 2002, pp.275-276. [23]
  42. ^ G. Solomon, The Concept of Suffering in the Bible and in Hinduism, Eastern University (United States), Pennsylvania, 1957. [24]
  43. ^ Guide to Indian Periodical Literature, Volume 23, 1989, p.57
  44. ^ Faith Lutheran Church, Volume 2, Issue 9, September 2015, p.3
  45. ^ Missionalia, Volume 32, 2004, p.305
  46. ^ Missionalia, Volume 35, 2007, p.148
  47. ^ Journal of the Henry Martyn Institute, Volume 18, Issue 1, 1999, p.4.[25]
  48. ^ Guide to Indian Periodical Literature, Volume 43, 2006, p.133
  49. ^ Ravela Jeeva Kumar, Struggle for land rights in 1 Kings 21 : a dalit hermeneutic perspective, ISPCK, New Delhi, 2012. [26]
  50. ^ Vulgate, Ephesians 4 Retrieved 23 April 2006.
  51. ^ Edgar R. Trexler, Mission in a New World, Fortress Press, 1977. p. 29.[27]
  52. ^ The American Lutheran, American Lutheran Publicity Bureau, Delhi (town), New York, 1965. p. 12. [28]
  53. ^ M. P. Joseph, Uday Balakrishnan and Istvan Perzel Syrian Christian Churches in India in Lucian N. Leustean (Edited), Eastern Christianity and Politics in the Twenty-First Century, Routledge, Abingdon, 2014, p.583.[29]
  54. ^ Studies in Sikhism and Comparative Religion, Volume 8, 1989, p.63
  55. ^ a b c [30]
  56. ^ Nature of Serampore degrees
  57. ^ P. Satyanarayana, Emmanuel D.K. Meduri, Use of Distance Education by Christian Religion to Train, Edify and Educate Adherents, Turkish Online Journal of Distance Education, Volume 14, Number 2, April 2013. [31]
  58. ^ a b c d e f g h Address of the President of the Senate, 2016 Convocation of the University. [32]
  59. ^ a b Religion and Society, Volume 26, Issue 2, Christian Institute for the Study of Religion and Society, Bangalore, 1979, p.77. [33]
  60. ^ The Story of Serampore and its College, Council of Serampore College, Serampore (Fourth Edition), 2005, p.92.
  61. ^ a b c d Senate Presidents and Speakers at Convocations
  62. ^ St. Gregorios Malankara Orthodox Syrian Cathedral, Gandhinagar, Hyderabad. [34]
  63. ^ Convocation brochure of the University, 1979, Secunderabad
  64. ^ The Bulletin of the Henry Martyn Institute of Islamic Studies, Volume 12, 1993, p.2. [35]
  65. ^ Bangalore Theological Forum, Volumes 25-26, 1993, p.37
  66. ^ Senate of Serampore College (University), Faculty with subjects taught.[36]
  67. ^ Gurukul Lutheran Theological College, Projects, Academic and Administrative Committees, Library Committee. [37]
  68. ^ a b Senate of Serampore College (University), United Theological College, Bangalore - Examination Registration 2013 in Master of Theology.[38]
  69. ^ Minutes of the Meeting of the Working Committee of the Academic Council held on July 17, 2012, p.30. [39]
  70. ^ N. V. Vijaya Kumari, Religious Participation of Women in the Mosque, 1999. [40]
  71. ^ Senate of Serampore College (University), Members of the Senate. [41]
  72. ^ Minutes of the Meeting of the Working Committee of the Academic Council held on July 17, 2012, p.30.[42]
  73. ^ Church of South India Synod Administration, Diocese of Dornakal. [43]
  74. ^ Minutes of the Executive Committee, held on November 27, 2012, p.2
  75. ^ a b Directory of Teaching Staff, Senate of Serampore College (University). [44]
  76. ^ Church of South India Synod Administration, Diocese of Dornakal. [45]
  77. ^ P. G. George, Report of the Dean, Department of Research, SATHRI, 2016. [46]
  78. ^ T. Swami Raju, Subaltern Movements: Insights for Inter-faith Dialogue, 2010. [47]
  79. ^ P. Alexander, Religion and Society - The Challenges of Contemporaniety, CONGRESSO INTERNACIONAL DA FACULDADES EST, 1., 2012, pp.1717-1732. [48]
  80. ^ R. Jeeva Kumar, Struggle For Land Rights In 1 Kings 21, ISPCK, New Delhi, 2012.[49]
  81. ^ K. James Cecil Victor (Edited), Sermon Outlines 2016, Based on the Third cycle (Year C) of the revised common lectionary of CSI, CNI and MTC.[50]
  82. ^ Senate of Serampore College (University), Doctor of Theology. [51]
  83. ^ Minutes of the Meeting of the Working Committee of the Academic Council held on July 15–16, 2010, p.260. [52]
  84. ^ Paul, Luther N.V.L., Principal's Annual Report 2007-2008, for private circulation, pp. 10-24
  85. ^ a b Minutes of the twentieth biennial Convention of the United Lutheran Church in America, Board of Publication of the United Lutheran Church in America, 1956, p.991. [53]
  86. ^ Martin Luther Dolbeer, The Andhra Evangelical Lutheran Church: A Brief History, Department of Religious Education of the Andhra Evangelical Lutheran Church, 1951, p.145. [54]
  87. ^ Margaret Eunice Hawkinson née Coleman, The Church is Planted - A Biographical Record of the Missionaries in India of the Lutheran Church in America 1842-1987, Florida, 1987.[55]
  88. ^ Tracy Gipson Memorial LIbrary.
  89. ^ Leonore Krenzlin, Klaus Weigelt (edited), Ernst Wiechert im Gespräch: Begegnungen und Einblicke in sein Werk, De Gruyter, Berlin, 2010, p. 300.[56]

Further reading[edit]