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Dr Stephen Haar

BTheol BA(Hons) PhD GradDipEd CertIVTAE DD(hon)

Vice Principal, Senior Lecturer in Theology, Course Advisor

In 2007 Stephen commenced at ALC as Lecturer in New Testament and Pastoral Studies. From 2008 to 2021 he held a senior leadership position as Dean. He continues to serve as Vice Principal (2010–) and senior lecturer.

Research areas: New Testament Backgrounds, Historical Jesus, Synoptic Gospels and Acts, Human Sexuality, Ecology, Theological Education, Integrative Learning
Location ALC North Adelaide


Stephen has been a pastor for 44 years, serving in Queensland and South Australia from 1979 to 2004. After accepting a call to ALC as Lecturer in New Testament and Pastoral Studies, from 2005 to 2006 he enjoyed a rich mix of experiences including studies in education, teaching in seminaries of partner churches in south-east Asia, and being a scholar-in-residence at Luther Seminary in Minneapolis, USA. In 2007 he commenced lecturing at ALC, was appointed Academic Dean in 2008 and Vice-Principal in 2010 and accredited as Senior Lecturer by the University of Divinity in 2014. He is recognised for strengths in learning and teaching, with significant contributions to student experience and transformative learning at undergraduate level. In 2022 he was conferred with the degree of Doctor of Divinity (honoris causa) by the Council of the University of Divinity, in recognition of Stephen’s sustained and distinguished contribution to the Church and community in Australia and internationally over many years, through scholarship, educational innovation, and engagement with Church and inter-Church dialogue in myriad ways.

He is married to Janet. They have four adult children and seven grandchildren.

Special interests

  • New Testament backgrounds
  • Historical Jesus
  • Synoptic Gospels and Acts
  • Human sexuality
  • Ecology
  • Integrative learning

Teaching areas

Biblical Studies

  • Biblical Texts and Traditions
  • Biblical Theology
  • Biblical Theology for Educators
  • Big Questions: Caring for the Earth
  • Big Questions: God for People Who Wonder
  • Big Questions: Human Sexuality
  • Encounters with Biblical Theology
  • Exploring the Bible
  • Interpreting the Bible

Education Studies

  • Education and Theology in Dialogue
  • Journey of Theological Education
  • Professional Development in Chaplaincy 1
  • Professional Development in Chaplaincy 2
  • Professional Development in Chaplaincy 3
  • Specialist Applications in Higher Education

Pastoral Theology and Ministry Studies

  • Pastoral Theology 1 (co-lecturer)


  • Master Capstone Theology and Ministry
  • Undergraduate Integrative Capstone

Research supervision

Current areas of research supervision:

Associate Supervisor for PhD candidate. Topic: Towards a local hermeneutic of ecclesiology: a critical dialogue between a Kobai credal myth and Romans 12:9–21

Research areas: New Testament Backgrounds, Historical Jesus, Synoptic Gospels and Acts, Human Sexuality, Ecology, Theological Education, Integrative Learning

Community engagement

  • Member of Lutheran–Uniting Church of Australia Dialogue
  • Secretary of LCA Commission on Theology and Inter-Church Relations
  • University of Divinity governance (Chair: Professional Supervision Program Committee)

Qualifications in detail

  • Bachelor of Theology (Luther Seminary, North Adelaide, 1978)
  • Bachelor of Arts (Hons) (University of Queensland, Brisbane, 1991)
  • Doctor of Philosophy (University of Queensland, Brisbane, 2002)
  • Graduate Diploma in Education (University of Adelaide, 2005)
  • Certificate IV in Training and Assessment (Unity College, ACT, 2016)
  • Doctor of Divinity (honoris causa) (University of Divinity, 2022)
  • Ordained 17 December 1978, St Paul’s, Box Hill, Vic
  • Senior Lecturer (Level C), 2014, University of Divinity

Papers and publications



Simon Magus: the first Gnostic? BZNW 119. Berlin: De Gruyter.



‘Supporting same-sex attracted students in Lutheran middle and secondary schools.’ Lutheran Theological Journal Supplement, no. 1 (May): 35–46.


‘Learning, formation and community: challenges facing a distributed model of theological education.' Lutheran Theological Journal 53, no. 1 (May): 4–15.


‘Putting the Gospel at risk: an Australian voice in the current refugee, asylum, border protection debate.’ In Reflecting Reformation and the Call for Renewal in a Globalized and Post-Colonial World. Edited by Claudia Jahnel. Missionswissenschaftliche Forschungen. Neue Folge Band 36. Neuendettelsau: Erlanger Verlag für Mission und Ökumene.


‘Re-imaging theological education for the church.’ Lutheran Theological Journal 51, no. 1 (May): 47–59.

‘To be Lutheran is to be a bad exegete: reading the Bible in the light of the Lutheran Reformation.’ Australian Biblical Review 65: 78–91.


‘The impact of postmodernism on Lutheran hermeneutics.’ Lutheran Theological Journal 49, no. 3 (December): 153–170.


‘Reflections on the global water crisis in dialogue with Revelation 17—harlot, hegemony and H2O.’ Lutheran Theological Journal 46, no. 2 (August): 119–135.

‘Physical and cultural landscape in 2 Peter: implications for audience, author and context.’ Lutheran Theological Journal 46, no. 3 (December): 208–221.


‘Binding and loosing: a ‘key’ function in hearing and applying scripture.’ Lutheran Theological Journal 45, no. 3 (August): 208–220.


‘On the mountain: worship as community experience in Matthew.’ In In praise of worship: an exploration of text and practice. Edited by David J. Cohen, and Michael Parsons. Eugene, OR: Pickwick Publications.


‘The Resilience Code.’ SchoolLink 15, no. 2 (July): 4–5.


‘e-Constructing theological education for ministry in a www world.’ Lutheran Theological Journal 42, no. 1 (May): 18–29.


‘Historical Jesus studies: a fertile or futile quest?’ Lutheran Theological Journal 41, no. 1 (May): 27–36.

‘Waterless springs and driven mists: language and argument in 2 Peter 2:17.’ In ‘And I gave generously of my knowledge.’ Edited by Pauline Allen, Majella Franzmann and Rick Strelan. Festschrift for Professor Michael S. Lattke, Early Christian Studies 12, Strathfield.


(with Keith McNicol and Victor Pfitzner) Working words: sermons for lay readers for midweek Lenten devotions. Volume 5, North Adelaide, SA: Lutheran Church of Australia.

‘When the dream is over.’ Lutheran 40, no. 7 (July): 21–23.


‘Discernment of prophecy in the church.’ Discussion paper for the Commission on Theology and Inter-church Relations, Lutheran Church of Australia, Adelaide SA.



‘Avoid being caught with your pants down. Strange Bible stories for the End Times.’ ALC Festival of Learning. Holy and dearly loved—called and clothed, 21–23 February, Adelaide.


‘When it hurts to hope. Reflections on 1 Peter 1:1–13.’ LCA Church Worker Online Retreat. Hope has a Name, Online (9–November, 1.00-4.00pm) and (10–November, 9.30–12.30pm).

‘Letters to the Seven Churches in the book of Revelation.’ FRM Bush Course, 18–20 April, Mount Liebig, NT


‘The possibility of same-sex relationships.’ ALC Festival of Learning. Speaking many Languages, Hearing one Voice, 16–19 February, Adelaide.


‘Living as strangers in a Secular World: Reflections on First Peter.’ LCANZ Church Workers Conference, 10–13 February, St Luke’s Palmerston North.


(with Professor Wendy Mayer) ‘God talk in schools and ECSs: employing a theological action research model in relation to human sexuality and gender identification.’ LEA national ministry conferences, Tanunda (9–10 May), Brisbane (18–19 July), Melbourne (25–26 July).


‘A dialogue on Lutheran sacramental theology.’ Queensland District Pastors’ Conference, 1–3 June, Buderim, QLD.

‘Putting the gospel at risk: an Australian voice in the current refugee, asylum, border protection debate.’ Academic Summer School. Augustana Hochschule Neuendettelsau. Department for Mission and Intercultural Studies, Mission-EineWelt, Neuendettelsau, Germany, 4–17 July.


‘Impact of postmodernism on Lutheran hermeneutics.’ Keynote speaker. Lutheran World Federation. Asian Lutheran Identity and Self-Understanding Conference, Manila, Philippines, 17–20 November.

‘Studies in the Gospels: Johannine pericopes [Year B].’ Barossa-Light Zone Pastors Conference, Kapunda, SA, 22 April.

‘Key role of assessment in educational quality.’ Keynote speaker, University of Divinity Teaching for Learning Event, Melbourne, VIC.


‘Talking together cross-culturally as Christians.’ Western Australia District Pastors Conference, Perth, WA, 16–20 June.


‘Catechesis in the early church: Implications for 21st century faith formation.’ NSW District Pastors’ Conference, Warrambui Centre, Murrumbateman, NSW, 21–23 August.

‘Rediscovering Peter as witness, apologist, and theologian: an exegetical, homiletical, and pastoral study.’ Queensland District Pastors’ Conference, Brisbane, QLD, 31 July–2 August.

‘Relation to Jesus and the world: where love comes to life: an exegetical and homiletical study of John 15.’ General Pastors’ Conference, Lutheran Church of Australia, Concordia College, Highgate, SA, 18 April.


‘How does e-Learning nurture learning and support learners’ development?’ Lutheran World Federation, Professional Development Initiative (Pedagogy and e-Learning), Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 19–23 November.

‘Adult faith formation.’ Victorian Pastors’ Conference, Templestowe, VIC, 19–21 June.

‘Preaching on Matthew’s parables: exegetical and homiletical studies.’ Western Australia District Pastors’ Conference, Perth, WA, 29 February–2 March.


‘Preaching on parables and miracles in Matthew.’ Barossa-Light Zone Pastors Conference, Tanunda, SA, 16 February.

‘Serving in a wired world: Faith active in love.’ Keynote address: National Lutheran School Pastors and Chaplains Conference, Ipswich, Queensland, 25—27 May.


‘Enhancing the Capability of Theological Schools in Becoming Agents of Change and Transformation in Civil Society.’ Lutheran World Federation Consultation on establishing an Asian network of Theological Institutions, Bangkok, Thailand, 17—21 March.


‘Love is a verb: the love between friends (philos).’ LSF National Conference, Adelaide, 28 December–3 January.

‘The call of the pastor as teacher (1 Timothy 4:6–16).’ General Pastors Conference, Lutheran Church of Australia, Melbourne.

‘God suffers with us.’ SA/NT Lay Chaplains Conference, ALC, Adelaide SA.

‘The message of Galatians.’ FRM Bush Course, Napperby NT.


‘The Book of Acts as gift and challenge to the church.’ Adult Education Conference, Lutheran Church of New Zealand, Palmerston North.


‘Mark 10:17–31 (B, proper 23): an exegetical study.’ General Pastors’ Conference, Lutheran Church of Australia, Concordia College, Toowoomba Qld.

‘The Gospel of Judas and its challenge to contemporary Christianity.’ Food for Thought, Lutheran students’ forum, Adelaide SA, November.


‘Preaching from Matthew: inspiration for our mission, worship, and stewardship.’ Continuing education for pastors LCSA/NT, Adelaide, July.

Haar Stephen