Peter Jensen (bishop)

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Peter Jensen
Archbishop of Sydney
Church Anglican Church of Australia
Province New South Wales
Diocese Sydney
Term ended2013
Predecessor Harry Goodhew
Successor Glenn Davies
Other posts Principal of Moore Theological College (1985–2001)
Ordination1969 (deacon)
1970 (presbyter)
Consecration29 June 2001
Personal details
Birth namePeter Frederick Jensen
Born (1943-07-11) 11 July 1943 (age 75)
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Children5; including Rev. Dr Michael Jensen
Alma mater Moore Theological College
University of Sydney
University of London
University of Oxford

Peter Frederick Jensen (born 11 July 1943) is a retired Australian Anglican bishop, theologian and academic. From 1985 to 2001, he was Principal of Moore Theological College. From 2001 to 2013, he was the Archbishop of Sydney and Metropolitan of the Province of New South Wales in the Anglican Church of Australia. [1] He retired on his 70th birthday, 11 July 2013. [2] It was announced at the conclusion of GAFCON 3 on 22 June 2018 in Jerusalem, Israel that Archbishop Jensen will step down as General Secretary of GAFCON in early 2019 to be succeeded by Archbishop Benjamin Kwashi, former Archbishop of Jos in Nigeria. [3]

A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight.

The principal is the chief executive and the chief academic officer of a university or college in certain parts of the Commonwealth.

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 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 complementarian 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.


Early life and education

Jensen was born in Sydney and educated at Bellevue Hill Public School and The Scots College. [4] After completing his Leaving Certificate, Jensen studied law for two years and worked as an articled clerk before he moved into primary school teaching.[ citation needed ]

Bellevue Hill, New South Wales Suburb of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Bellevue Hill is an affluent harbourside eastern suburb of Sydney, in the state of New South Wales, Australia, located 5 kilometres east of the Sydney central business district, in the Municipality of Woollahra. The suburb is located within the Division of Wentworth electorate, which is the wealthiest in Australia, despite being the second smallest. The suburb has long been home to Australia's most notable billionaires.

Scots College (Sydney) Presbyterian school in Sydney, Australia

The Scots College is an independent Presbyterian day and boarding school for boys, located in Bellevue Hill, an eastern suburb of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

Articled clerk

An articled clerk is someone who is studying to either be an accountant or a lawyer. In doing so they are put under the supervision of someone already in the profession, usually for two years. This can be compared as being an intern for a company; the only difference is once the two years is over the trainee becomes the trainer. Trainees are obligated to sign a contract agreeing to the terms of being an articled clerk. The articled clerk signs a contract, known as "articles of clerkship", committing to a fixed period of employment. Wharton's Law Lexicon defines an articled clerk as "a pupil of a solicitor, who undertakes, by articles of clerkship, continuing covenants, mutually binding, to instruct him in the principles and practice of the profession". The contract is with a specific partner in the firm and not with the firm as a whole.

Jensen entered Moore Theological College in the late 1960s [4] and won the Hey Sharp prize for coming first in the Licentiate of Theology, the standard course of study at that time. He also has a Master of Arts degree from Sydney University, a Bachelor of Divinity degree from the University of London and a Doctor of Philosophy (DPhil) degree from the University of Oxford. His 1976 master's dissertation was entitled "Calvinism and the Persecution of the Witches in England (1563–1604)" and his 1979 doctoral dissertation was entitled "The Life of Faith in the Teaching of Elizabethan Protestantism".[ citation needed ]

The Licentiate of Theology or the Licence in Theology is a theological qualification commonly awarded for ordinands and laymen studying theology in the United Kingdom, Malta, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. The academic rank varies from undergraduate degree to master's degree.

A Master of Arts is a person who was admitted to a type of master's degree awarded by universities in many countries, and the degree is also named Master of Arts in colloquial speech. The degree is usually contrasted with the Master of Science. Those admitted to the degree typically study linguistics, history, communication studies, diplomacy, public administration, political science, or other subjects within the scope of the humanities and social sciences; however, different universities have different conventions and may also offer the degree for fields typically considered within the natural sciences and mathematics. The degree can be conferred in respect of completing courses and passing examinations, research, or a combination of the two.

In Western universities, a Bachelor of Divinity or Baccalaureate in Divinity is an undergraduate or postgraduate academic degree awarded for a course taken in the study of divinity or related disciplines, such as theology or, rarely, religious studies. In most modern universities, the BD as a first degree is essentially equivalent to a Bachelor of Arts degree with a speciality in divinity. Relatively few institutions award undergraduate Bachelor of Divinity degrees today, and the distinction between institutions that do award such degrees and those that award BA degrees for theological subjects is usually one of bureaucracy rather than curriculum.

Ordained ministry

Jensen was ordained in the Anglican Church of Australia as a deacon in 1969 and as a priest in 1970. He was a curate at St. Barnabas, Broadway between 1969 and 1976. From 1976 to 1979, when he was studying for his DPhil at the University of Oxford, he was granted permission to officiate in the Diocese of Oxford, England. [5]

Anglican Church of Australia church of the Anglican Communion

The Anglican Church of Australia is a Christian church in Australia and an autonomous province of the Anglican Communion. It is the second largest church in Australia, after the Roman Catholic Church. According to the 2016 census, 3.1 million Australians identify as Anglicans. For much of Australian history, the Church of England was the largest religious denomination. It remains today one of the largest providers of social welfare services in Australia.

Curate person who is invested with the care or cure (cura) of souls of a parish

A curate is a person who is invested with the care or cure (cura) of souls of a parish. In this sense, "curate" correctly means a parish priest; but in English-speaking countries the term curate is commonly used to describe clergy who are assistants to the parish priest. The duties or office of a curate are called a curacy.

Doctor of Philosophy Postgraduate academic degree awarded by universities in many countries

A Doctor of Philosophy is the highest university degree that is conferred after a course of study by universities in most English-speaking countries. PhDs are awarded for programs across the whole breadth of academic fields. As an earned research degree, those studying for a PhD are usually required to produce original research that expands the boundaries of knowledge, normally in the form of a thesis or dissertation, and defend their work against experts in the field. The completion of a PhD is often a requirement for employment as a university professor, researcher, or scientist in many fields. Individuals who have earned a Doctor of Philosophy degree may, in many jurisdictions, use the title Doctor or, in non-English-speaking countries, variants such as "Dr. phil." with their name, although the proper etiquette associated with this usage may also be subject to the professional ethics of their own scholarly field, culture, or society. Those who teach at universities or work in academic, educational, or research fields are usually addressed by this title "professionally and socially in a salutation or conversation." Alternatively, holders may use post-nominal letters such as "Ph.D.", "PhD", or "DPhil". It is, however, considered incorrect to use both the title and post-nominals at the same time.

From 1973 to 1976 and 1980 to 1984, [5] he lectured in systematic and biblical theology at Moore Theological College. He was appointed Principal in 1985 and held the post until becoming a bishop in 2001. He gained a reputation as a gifted preacher [6] and was often seen at the annual Katoomba Christian Conventions.

Lecturer tenure-track or tenured position at a university or similar institution

Lecturer is an academic rank within many universities, though the meaning of the term varies somewhat from country to country. It generally denotes an academic expert who is hired to teach on a full- or part-time basis. They may also conduct research.

Systematic theology is a discipline of Christian theology that formulates an orderly, rational, and coherent account of the doctrines of the Christian faith. It addresses issues such as what the Bible teaches about certain topics or what is true about God and his universe. It also builds on biblical disciplines, church history, as well as biblical and historical theology. Systematic theology shares its systematic tasks with other disciplines such as constructive theology, dogmatics, ethics, apologetics, and philosophy of religion.

Because scholars have tended to use the term in different ways, biblical theology has been notoriously difficult to define.

On 5 June 2001, Jensen became the 11th Archbishop of Sydney. He was consecrated on St Peter's Day, 29 June 2001. He called upon all churches in the Sydney diocese to aim to reach 10% of their communities by 2012. He also encouraged an unprecedented increase in church planting. [7] Over the course of 2002-2008, 136 new congregations were started within the Diocese, particularly within the Northern, Western and Wollongong regions. [8] The number of candidates for ordination within the Diocese increased from 20-30 per year to 40-50 by 2008. [8]

Saint Peter apostle and first pope

Saint Peter, also known as Simon Peter, Simeon, Simon, or Cephas, was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus Christ, and the first leader of the early Church.

Anglican Diocese of Sydney Diocese in the Anglican Church of Australia

The Diocese of Sydney is a diocese within the Province of New South Wales of the Anglican Church of Australia. The majority of the diocese is evangelical and low church in tradition.

Church planting is a process that results in a new (local) Christian church being established. It should be distinguished from church development, where a new service, new worship center or fresh expression is created that is integrated into an already established congregation. For a local church to be planted, it must eventually have a separate life of its own and be able to function without its parent body, even if it continues to stay in relationship denominationally or through being part of a network.

Shortly after his appointment as Archbishop of Sydney, Jensen was accused of nepotism after nominating his brother, Phillip Jensen, as Dean of Sydney and appointing his own wife, Christine Jensen, to a lay position in a new women's ministry team. [9] However, according to a spokesperson for Jensen, his wife was the only unpaid member of this team, and the new role was "just an extension of what she's been doing for many years, as the wife of the Moore College principal and now as the wife of the archbishop". [10]


Jensen has a reputation with the Australian media for being an outspoken advocate for evangelical Christianity. [1] He has spoken out on issues as diverse as abortion, [11] euthanasia [12] and embryonic stem cell research [13] as well as on industrial relations. [14] He has expressed his opposition to the ordination of women as priests, saying "the church is more like a family and, within the family, men are the spiritual guides", [15] but believes women can be appointed to the diaconate, and has ordained women as such within the Sydney diocese. [16] He is opposed to the ordination of women as bishops. [17] He has also opposed the ordination of practicing homosexuals as clergy. [18]

In late 2007, Jensen was one of the founding members of the Global Anglican Future Conference which was held in June 2008, one month prior to the Lambeth Conference. [19]

In a June 2012 opinion piece, Jensen argued that the acceptance of same-sex marriage is not "for the moral good". He also criticised the notion of "marriage equality", noting that society does not allow marriage between siblings or between adults and children. [20] He also wrote a letter to parishioners of Sydney's Anglican churches in which he quoted Bible extracts from Genesis on the nature of marriage and said that "The education of children must not be distorted by the state-imposed idea that a family can be founded on the sexual union of two men or two women as a valid alternative to that of a man and a woman." [21]

In September 2012, Jensen was a panellist on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Q&A program and was questioned about his views on several key issues involving the church and society. [22] On the question of whether women should be submissive to their husbands, Jensen focused on the vows made by the husband at the time of marriage to act towards his wife in a Christ-like manner. [22]

On the Q&A program, when questioned as to whether he supported the attitudes of the Australian Christian Lobby towards homosexuality, including a statement that it was "like smoking", Jensen said, "As far as I can see by trying to get to the facts, the lifespan of practising gays is significantly shorter than the ordinary, so-called, heterosexual man. I think that seems to be the case. Now what we need to do is to look at why this may be the case and we need to do it in a compassionate and objective way." [22] Jensen was questioned by a young homosexual Christian man who had contemplated suicide about what he would say to young people in that position. It was stated by a panel member, journalist Anna Crean, that Jensen's position was one of influence and that people, by the process of being made to feel ostracised, were subject to "self-destruction". Jensen was then offered by a youth worker in the audience the opportunity to discuss the suffering of young homosexual people resulting from comments made by Jensen and the ACL. Jensen responded that the matter was complex and that he would like to hear the facts. He said, "It's all very well to say that what I say causes this. That to my mind is ...already facile." [22] When questioned as to whether God might be responsible for a "gay gene", Jensen responded that God created and loves all people. He stated that same-sex attraction was not the important issue and that what he was talking about was the acting out of same-sex attraction. [22] Jensen was asked whether he thought that his attitudes towards gay marriage and the submission of women were contributing factors in the rise of atheism. He responded that he did not believe that there had been a rise in atheism. [22] He concluded by saying that God had revealed himself through Jesus and that through him, all people have equality. [22]

Jensen has advocated "lay administration" in which lay people could be licensed to preside at Holy Communion services. [23] [24] This reflects his view that the ministry of word and sacrament belong together and, as lay people have long been permitted to preach in the Sydney diocese, it is thought they ought to be permitted to lead communion services. [25]


Jensen has written a number of books on Christian doctrine, including At the Heart of the Universe (1991) [26] and The Revelation of God (2002). In November and December 2005 he also delivered the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Boyer Lectures on the topic "The Future of Jesus". [26] These lectures have subsequently been published as a book.

Jensen, as of 2014, is a co-editor of the Reformed Theological Review . [27] He also authored the Lenten study Power and Promise released by Anglican Press Australia in late 2014.

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  2. Sydney Anglicans – Cathedral gears up for Archbishop farewell Archived 21 June 2013 at the Wayback Machine (Accessed 26 June 2013)
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  21. "House to debate gay marriage bills". WAtoday. 18 June 2012. Archived from the original on 1 July 2012.
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  23. Allan Dowthwaite (8 October 2004). "Radical change needed on Lord's Supper to save declining church". Sydney Anglican Network. Archived from the original on 3 December 2013.
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  27. "History & People". Reformed Theological Review. Reformed Theological Review. 2014. Archived from the original on 25 September 2014. Retrieved 20 November 2014.
Anglican Communion titles
Preceded by
Harry Goodhew
Archbishop of Sydney
Succeeded by
Glenn Davies