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Dr Jeff Silcock


Emeritus Lecturer

Jeff served as a lecturer in Lutheran theology and ethics from 1996 until his retirement at the end of 2016. After retirement he continued to serve the Lutheran Church of Australia as the chair of the Commission on Theology and Inter-Church Relations (CTICR) until the end of 2018 at which time he also retired as co-chair of the Lutheran–Uniting Church Dialogue. He remains a member of the Lutheran–Orthodox International Joint Commission.


These biographical notes are based on the Lutheran Theological Journal tribute to Dr Jeffrey Silcock on his retirement from ALC at the end of 2016.They were updated in 2022.

Jeff was ordained as a pastor of the Lutheran Church of Australia in 1980. Years in parish ministry were relatively short, finishing with the role of associate pastor at Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Adelaide (1986–89), but his entire theological career has focussed on the task of equipping people for service in the church, especially for the public ministry of word and sacrament.

Postgraduate studies in systematics at Concordia Seminary, St Louis, under Australian scholar, Dr. Norman Nagel, led to a doctorate in systematic theology with a special interest in the theology of Martin Luther, on which he wrote his dissertation.

Included in these years (1990–95) were fifteen months of Luther research in Erlangen, Germany. In 1996 Jeff commenced lecturing in systematic theology at Luther Seminary (now ALC); for more than two decades he proved to be an excellent teacher with the learning needs of students his first priority. Thoroughness combined with tact and gentleness helped to endear him to students. Doctoral candidates whose work he supervised will readily attest to his wise and patient direction.

Few lecturers at Luther Seminary/ALC have travelled abroad as much as Jeff, often accompanied by his wife Pam, but frequent trips have not been mere tourist jaunts. He attended numerous theological conferences, mainly in Germany and Scandinavia, where he presented papers, many of which have been published. He has also been active in teaching Lutheran theology to pastors in South East Asia, at Kota Kinabalu (East Malaysia), Kuala Lumpur (West Malaysia), and Medan (Indonesia). Travel has been required to attend meetings of the Lutheran–Orthodox International Joint Commission of which he has been a member since 2000 and has often served on the drafting committee.

Closer to home, Jeff has been a valued member of the Lutheran–Uniting Church Dialogue since 1997, and its co-chair from 2006 to 2018. In 1998 he became a member of the LCA’s Commission on Social and Bioethical Questions, but his most important theological leadership role within the Church began in 2000 when he became a member of the Commission on Theology and Inter-Church Relations. As its chair from 2006, he has given even-handed and wise direction during discussions on a number of challenging and sometimes contentious issues.

Attendance at the 2002 Luther Research Congress in Copenhagen was especially memorable because it was here that Jeff first met Oswald Bayer and offered to translate a major portion of his Theologie, published in 2007 under the title Theology the Luther way (Eerdmans). This was to be the beginning of a very close friendship which also included Pam. Sundry articles by Oswald Bayer have since been translated by Jeff for publication, most of which have appeared in Lutheran Quarterly. This collaboration with Bayer will hopefully see the English version of his ground-breaking book Promissio appear in 2023 (Fortress). The original study, first published in 1971 (second edition 1989 with a major preface), won an award and was hailed by Luther scholars as a ground-breaking piece of research. It has formed the basis for most of Bayer’s subsequent theological labours. Jeff’s ongoing contribution in making his works accessible to the English speaking world deserves special commendation.

Praise for Jeff as translator must include the book by Bayer’s friend and colleague Athina Lexutt, A year with Luther: readings from the great reformer for our times, published 2016 (ATF), and translation of Luther’s major work The Antinomian Disputations that has now appeared in the American Edition of Luther’s Works LW 73 (Disputations II). He also translated the Doctoral Disputation for Palladius and Tilemann: On the Works of the Law and the Works of Grace for LW 72 (Disputations I).

At a time when ties have been strengthened with Lutheran Churches in the USA, especially with the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, Jeff has given outstanding service in keeping alive cherished links with Germany (at Erlangen, Neuendettelsau, and now Tübingen through Bayer) as well as Scandinavia (especially Helsinki). In many ways he has been able to bridge two theological worlds. Though educated in the USA, almost all of his scholarly connections are with Europe. Other conferences he has attended, such as the International Löhe Society at Neuendettelsau and the Dies Academicus at Oberursel, serve as meeting points between German and North American scholars.

Since retirement, Jeff has remained active in research, writing, and translating. He is married to Pam Zweck who retired from her role as acquisitions librarian at ALC at the same time as Jeff and is now completing her PhD on the topic: Lucas Cranach the Elder, Theologian, Painter, and Co-worker with Martin Luther in the Wittenberg Reformation: A Theological-Rhetorical Analysis of his Visual Art.

ALC positions held

  • Vicarage Coordinator (1996–2008)
  • Head of Systematic Theology and Church History Department (2002–2016)
  • Chair of Library Committee (2005–2013)
  • Postgraduate Research Coordinator (2009–2012)
  • Associate Dean for Research (2012–2016)

Qualifications in detail

  • Bachelor of Theology (Luther Seminary, North Adelaide, 1977)
  • Bachelor of Arts (University of Adelaide, 1981)
  • Master of Sacred Theology (Concordia Seminary, St Louis USA, 1993)
  • Doctor of Theology (Concordia Seminary, St Louis USA, 1996)
  • Ordained 21 December 1980, Nazareth, South Brisbane Qld

Papers and publications

Book chapters


‘The Impact of Martin Luther on Christianity in Australia’. In The Global Luther: Confessional Lutheran Perspectives on Martin Luther’s Continued Influence Through 500 Years and on Five Continents, edited by Werner Klän and Gilberto da Silva, 79–94. Göttingen: Edition Ruprecht.


‘A New Look at the Theology of the Cross: What It Meant for Luther and Its Significance for Us Today’. In Luther@500 and Beyond: Martin Luther’s Theology, Past, Present and Future, edited by Stephen Hultgren, Stephen Pietsch and Jeffrey Silcock, 75–104. Adelaide: ATF Press.

‘Hearing and Seeing [Eye and Ear], Word and Image in the Bible, Luther, and the Lutheran Tradition’. In Promising Faith for a Ruptured Age: An English-Speaking Appreciation of Oswald Bayer, edited by John Pless, Roland Ziegler and Joshua Miller, 209–226. Eugene, OR: Pickwick.


‘The significance of the Theopaschite Formula for Lutheran Christology: another look at divine impassibility.’ In ‘Die einigende Mitte’: Theologie in konfessioneller und ökumenischer Verantwortung, edited by Christoph Barnbrock and Gilberto da Silva, 368–383. Göttingen: Edition Ruprecht.


‘Christian Hope and Hope for Eternal Life’. In Oxford Encyclopedia of Martin Luther, vol 1, edited by Derek Nelson and Paul Hinlicky, 636–655. New York: Oxford University Press.


‘Löhe on the Formation of the Spiritual Life.’ In Wilhelm Löhe und Bildung—Wilhelm Loehe and Christian Formation. Loehe Theological Conference IV of the International Loehe Society, 23–27 July 2014, Neuendettelsau, edited by Dietrich Blaufuß and Jacob Corzine, 59–79. Neuendettelsau: Freimund Verlag.


‘Christian Freedom and Responsibility.’ In Introduction to Lutheran Ethics, edited by Michael Press, 29–53. Sabah, East Malaysia: Lutheran Study Centre, Sabah Theological Seminary.

‘Justification and Sanctification’. In Introduction to Lutheran Ethics, edited by Michael Press, 93–108. Sabah, East Malaysia: Lutheran Study Centre, Sabah Theological Seminary.

‘Luther on the Holy Spirit and his Use of God’s Word’. In The Oxford Handbook of Martin Luther’s Theology, edited by Robert Kolb, Irene Dingel and L'ubomír Batka. Oxford: Oxford University Press.


‘Selective eucharistic hospitality between Lutheran and Uniting Church congregations in Australia.’ In Die Leuenberger Konkordie im inner­lutherischen Streit: Internationale Perspektiven aus drei Konfessionen, edited by Werner Klän und Gilberto da Silva, 152–168. Göttingen: Edition Ruprecht.

Articles and translations


Translation: Bayer, Oswald. ‘Luther’s “Simul Iustus et Peccator”.’ In Simul: Inquiries into Luther’s Experience of the Christian Life, edited by Robert Kolb, Torbjörn Johansson, and Daniel Johansson, 31-47. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht.


Translation: Luther, Martin. ‘The Antinomian Disputations (1537-1540).’ Translated and edited by Jeffrey Silcock with an introduction by Jeffrey Silcock and Christopher Brown. In Luther’s Works: Disputations II, vol. 73, 2020, edited by Christopher Boyd Brown: 3-238. St. Louis: Concordia.


Translation: Bayer, Oswald. ‘What Matters.’ Lutheran Forum 53, no. 3 (Fall 2019): 43-46.


Translation: Bayer, Oswald. ‘Marcuse’s Critique of Luther’s Concept of Freedom.’ Lutheran Quarterly 32, no. 2 (Summer 2018): 173-204.


‘A Lutheran approach to eschatology.’ Lutheran Quarterly 31, no. 4 (Winter 2017): 373–395.


Translation: Lexutt, Athina. A year with Luther: readings from the great reformer for our times. Translated by Jeffrey Silcock. Hindmarsh, SA: ATF.


‘A Lutheran approach to the ministry of deliverance.’ Lutheran Forum 47, no. 4 (Winter 2013): 51–57.

Translation: Bayer, Oswald. ‘How I became a Luther scholar.’ Lutheran Quarterly 27, no. 3 (Autumn 2013): 249–263.


‘Jacob’s ladder—a bridge between heaven and earth: reading Genesis 28:10–22 against the grain of modernity.’ Lutheran Theological Journal 46, no. 3 (Dec): 179–188.

Translation: Bayer, Oswald. ‘A public mystery.’ Lutheran Quarterly 26, no. 2 (Summer 2012): 125–141.


Translation: Bayer, Oswald. ‘Philosophical modes of thought of Luther’s theology as an object of inquiry: a sketch.’ In When reason is a whore: the quandary of Lutheran philosophy, edited by Jennifer Hockenbery Dragseth. Philadelphia, PA: Fortress Press.

‘The truth of divine impassibility: a new look at an old argument’, Lutheran Theological Journal 45, no. 3 (Dec): 198–207.


‘The role of the Spirit in creation.’ Lutheran Theological Journal 44, no. 1 (May): 4–14.


Translation: Bayer, Oswald. ‘Preaching the word.’ Lutheran Quarterly 23, no. 3 (Autumn 2009): 249–269.


‘Theology and proclamation: towards a Lutheran framework for preaching.’ Lutheran Theological Journal 42, no. 3 (Dec): 131–140. 

‘Freiheit und Gesetz.’ Oberurseler Hefte 47: 29–42.


Translation (with Mark Mattes): Bayer, Oswald. Theology the Lutheran way. Edited and translated by Jeffrey Silcock and Mark Mattes. Lutheran Quarterly Books. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans.

‘Law, gospel, and repentance in Luther’s antinomian disputations.’ Luther-Bulletin: Tijdschrift voor interconfessioneel Lutheronderzoek 16 (2007): 41–56.


‘Church and politics.’ Lutheran Theological Journal 40, no. 2 (Aug): 51–61.


‘Law and gospel in Luther's Antinomian disputations: with special reference to faith’s use of the law.’ ThD dissertation. Concordia Seminary, St Louis, MO.

Current projects

  • Finalisation of translation of Oswald Bayer’s Promissio book (Fortress 2023)
  • Monograph analysing Luther’s arguments against Johann Agricola in the Wittenberg Antinomian controversy of 1537–1540.
Emeriti: Silcock Jeffrey