M. Victor Paul

M. Victor Paul
M. Victor Paul
Church Christianity
See Andhra Evangelical Lutheran Church (AELC)
In Office 19931997
Predecessor K. Nathaniel
Successor G. Emmanuel
Ordination April 1962
Consecration 1993
Personal details
Born 7 April 1935
Rajahmundry, Andhra Pradesh
Previous post Principal, Andhra Christian Theological College, Hyderabad, India

M. Victor Paul (Telugu: విక్టర్ పాల్ అయ్యగారు - born 7 April 1935) is a biblical scholar who served as President of the Andhra Evangelical Lutheran Church from 1993 to 1997.


Early years

Victor Paul was born on 7 April 1935 into a into a pastoral family[1] in Rajahmundry, East Godavari District in Andhra Pradesh as the eldest of nine children to Smt. Sundaramma and Pastor Mortha Sudarshanam. After undergoing schooling at the Lutheran Boarding in Peddapuram, his parents sent him to the Andhra-Christian College, Guntur. Paul studied Arts (B.A.)[1] in the College when Rao Sahab T. S. Paulus[2] was at the helm of affairs. After completing graduate studies in Guntur, Victor Paul returned to Rajahmundry where he underwent studies in education at the local Government Training College leading to B.Ed..[1]


Graduate Studies

Continuing the priestly family tradition, Victor Paul chose to pursue divinity and his Church Society, then under G. Devasahayam, sent him to Madras during the academic year 1959-1960 for ministerial formation at the Gurukul Lutheran Theological College (GLTC),[1] Madras {affiliated to the Senate of Serampore College (University)} where Victor Paul pursued a graduate course in theology (B.D.). The GLTCRI was then headed by Dr. P. David.

Ordination & Priesthood

At the end of the academic year 1961-1962, Victor Paul was awarded a B.D. and ordained in April 1962 as a Priest of the Andhra Evangelical Lutheran Church headquartered in Guntur. He was assigned a pastoral role in in Samalkot and Peddapuram parishes. Victor Paul also replaced S. W. Schmitthenner as honorary Youth Director of the Church Society.[1]

Post-graduate studies

After serving as a Pastor, Victor Paul's Church Society under G. Devasahayam (second term of Presidentship) sent him again to Madras where Paul was to pursue a post-graduate degree in New Testament (M.Th.)[1] beginning from the academic year 1963-1964. Initially Victor Paul spent a year working on Greek with Jim Bergquist[3] as well as on the revision of portions from the Westminster Dictionary of the Bible (Revised Edition) edited by Henry Snyder Gehman and John D. Davis.

From 1964-1965 onwards Victor Paul registered as an M.Th. student with the Gurukul Lutheran Theological College and worked out a thesis[4] entitled A theological exposition of 'to know' in the Johannine literature with some points of contact and contrast between John and Gita under the guidance of his Professor, Jim Bergquist and later at the end of the academic year 1965-1966, the Senate of Serampore College (University) awarded the post-graduate degree of M.Th. in New Testament.

In 1966, Victor Paul went to the Jesuit-run De Nobili College, Poona along with Gali Bali[5] to attend the biennial conference of the scholarly Society for Biblical Studies in India held on the theme The significance of the historical in the New Testament Kerygma.

When Victor Paul returned from Madras after his post-graduate studies, he was re-assigned his former ecclesiastical duties in Samalkot and Peddapuram. Paul continued to serve in pastoral roles from 1966 to 1969 in the assigned Parishes.

In 1969, Victor Paul was relieved as Pastor and made Lecturer in New Testament at the ecumenical Andhra Christian Theological College then located in Rajahmundry where he began teaching New Testament and Greek along with Waldo Penner, Muriel Carder, and K. David, then members of the faculty teaching New Testament.[1]

Studies Abroad

Christ Church, Rajahmundry. Victor Paul was ordained here in April 1962.

When W. D. Coleman was Principal of the Andhra Christian Theological College, Rajahmundry, the Board of Governors of the College accorded study leave to Victor Paul who proceeded to Saint Paul, Minnesota and pursued an S.T.M.[1] in Counselling for academic years 1970-1973 in the Luther Seminary (a degree granting authority accredited by the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada duly recognised by the United States Government as an accrediting agency).[1] James A. Bergquist[6] then Professor at the Luther Seminary was the guide of Paul.

Beginning from the academic year 1973-1974 Victor Paul resumed teaching responsibilities at the ecumenical Seminary in Hyderabad after completing studies in North America. Among the new additions to the College faculty in Hyderabad were G. Solomon, R. Yesuratnam, and Ravela Joseph. By then, Victor Premasagar had already become Principal of the College in Hyderabad. Under the aegis of the Andhra Pradesh Council of Churches in 1974, a discussion was initiated on the theme Renewal of the ministry in Andhra Pradesh in which Victor Paul also participated. The findings of the consultation were later tabled before the Churches of Andhra Pradesh.[7]

A. A. Sitompul and others of the Lutheran World Federation took cognizance[8] of Victor Paul's paper on Parish Renewal as early as September 1975[9] at an international consultation held at the Ecumenical Institute of Bossey in September, 1975.

In 1976, A. A. Sitompul on behalf of the Lutheran World Federation invited Victor Paul to pursue doctoral studies (D.Min.) in Practical Ministry at the Luther Seminary, Saint Paul, Minnesota.[10] Victor Premasagar, then Principal of the College put up the matter before the Board of Governors of the College which decided to accord study leave to Victor Paul.[11] While at the Luther Seminary, Victor Paul's doctoral supervisor was James A. Nestingen,[12] currently Professor Emeritus of Church History. By 1979, Victor Paul was awarded the doctoral degree D.Min. by the Luther Seminary and he returned to take up his teaching responsibilities back in India. The College in Hyderabad by then had seen new teaching staff being added onto its rolls.[13] B. C. Paul, G. Sampurna Rao, B. J. Christie Kumar, and G. Babu Rao had joined the College when Victor Paul went on sabbatical at varying intervals.


Theological writings

The Church Historian R. Joseph, a colleague of Victor Paul at ACTC, who compiled a bibliography of original Christian writings in Telugu with the assistance of B. Suneel Bhanu under the aegis of the Board of Theological Education of the Senate of Serampore College included a book by Victor Paul entitled The Liberated Ones: Explanations of Lutheran Catechism and Confessions published as early as 1981.[14]

Victor Paul also authored the following theological books in Telugu published by the Telugu Theological Literature Board, Hyderabad[1] which are devotional commentaries on:

  • Gospels
    • The Messianic King in Gospel of Saint Matthew
    • Gospel of Saint Mark
    • Gospel according to Saint Luke
    • Gospel of John (also shown under Johannine Literature)

Martin Senftleben[15] who researched at the Sri Venkateswara University in Tirupati acknowledged Victor Paul to be a Scholar.[16]

Michael Bergunder, Professor of Missions at the Ruprecht Karl University of Heidelberg, Germany believes that Victor Paul attempted to recognise Charismatic Christianity which was fast enveloping traditional Christianity.[17] Being a person who puts theory into practice, Victor Paul as Principal of ACTC once went ahead and invited the pioneer charismatic Pastor, Apostle P. L. Paramjyoti[18] to deliver the graduation address of the College in a particular year.

Excerpt from Victor Paul's article quoted by Prof. Michael Bergunder:[19]

In the midst of leadership crisis, institutionalism, materialism, corruption and spiritual lethargy, there shines a ray of hope in the form of charismatic lay movement.... Today in almost all congregations of the Andhra Evangelical Lutheran Church (AELC), charismatic groups are evident and are begging for recognition.... AELC is faced with two options: one is to reject them totally as a religiously and emotionally perverted group or to recognize this lay charismatic movement as a natural reaction and a mute protest against evils and secularism existing in AELC. It is time now to own and recognise these charismatics.... With proper investigation, study and reflection on the charismatic Lay Movement within the established churches, one may help the traditional churches to re-discover their identity and relevancy of their faith and service in today's world.


Victor Paul first began teaching New Testament in ACTC from 1969. Past-timers acknowledge Victor Paul as having an influence in students lives in unique[20] ways. After the four-year cycle of Principalship of the Samavesam of Telugu Baptist Churches ended in the academic year 1989-1990, the Andhra Evangelical Lutheran Church's cycle of Principalship began. Besides Victor Paul, there were four other faculty from this Church Society teaching in the College at that time, namely, B. W. David Raju, B. C. Paul, G. Sampurna Rao, and C. Yesupadam. Since the participating Church agency decides the name of the Principal, the Board of Governors of the College left the decision to the Andhra Evangelical Lutheran Church, then under the Presidentship of K. Nathaniel, which chose to nominate Victor Paul[1] to the Principalship of the ecumenical seminary for a term of four years.[13] B. Ryder Devapriam, then Chairperson of the Board of Governors of the College appointed Victor Paul as Principal of the College for a term of four years. As Principal, Victor Paul was able to prove himself as an able Administrator following the footsteps of his predecessors.

In the final phase of Victor Paul's tenure as Principal, he contested the bishopric of the Andhra Evangelical Lutheran Church and proceeded on leave from the College. To fill the vacancy, the AELC then nominated G. Sampurna Rao as Principal of the College.

Church Leadership

When the term of K. Nathaniel as President of the Andhra Evangelical Lutheran Church ended, Victor Paul contested and was elected in 1993 as the ninth President[1] of the Andhra Evangelical Lutheran Church headquartered in Guntur.[21] In 1997, when Victor Paul's term ended, he returned to Hyderabad to teach at the Andhra Christian Theological College then headed by R. Yesurathnam. Victor Paul retired in 2000.

Academic offices
Preceded by
S. Joseph

Andhra Christian Theological College, Hyderabad

Succeeded by
G. Sampurna Rao
Religious titles
Preceded by
K. Nathaniel

Andhra Evangelical Lutheran Church

Succeeded by
G. Emmanuel


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Victor Paul, The Messianic King in Gospel of Saint Matthew, Published by the Telugu Theological Literature Board, Hyderabad, 2002. From the back cover of the book.
  2. ^ The Times of India Directory and Year Book including Who's Who, Volume 36, Published by the Times of India Press, Bombay, 1950. p.534. [1]
  3. ^ D. A. Thangasamy, Towards Involvement: the Theory and Practice of Laity Education, The Christian Literature Society, 1972. p.ix. [2]
  4. ^ Thesis Titles - M.Th., M.R.S., D.D., D.Th., Published by the Board of Theological Education of the Senate of Serampore College, Bengaluru, 1991. p.6
  5. ^ Gali Bali is currently the Bishop of Catholic Diocese of Guntur. [3]
  6. ^ John Henry Paul Reumann, James A. Bergquist (Edited), The Church emerging: a U.S. Lutheran case study, Published by Fortress Press, Philadelphia, 1977.[4] James A. Bergquist had been teaching at the Seminary in Minnesota since 1970.
  7. ^ Renewal of the ministry in Andhra Pradesh: Report of the consultation held in Hyderabad and Tirupati, Published by the Andhra Christian Theological College and the Andhra Pradesh Council of Churches, Hyderabad, 1974.[5]
  8. ^ A. A. Sitompul, Current Asian theological thinking progress reports and papers from seminars conducted by Asia Programme for Advanced Studies, Lutheran World Federation, Geneva, 1977.[6]
  9. ^ Cf. A. A. Sitompul, Theological education within the whole people of God: International Consultation on Theological Education, Second Edition, Lutheran World Federation, Geneva, 1976.[7]
  10. ^ Also see leaflet of St. Mark's Evangelical Lutheran Church, Saint Paul, Minnesota. [8]
  11. ^ Cf. Article on Victor Premasagar
  12. ^ Luther Seminary - James A. Nestingen
  13. ^ a b Cf. Andhra Christian Theological College
  14. ^ Ravela Joseph, Suneel Bhanu (Compiled), Bibliography of original Christian writings in Telugu, Board of Theological Education of the Senate of Serampore College, Bengaluru, 1993. p. 25. [9]
  15. ^ Doctor Martinus
  16. ^ Martin Senftleben, Influences of Hinduism on Christianity in Andhra Pradesh, Unpublished Ph.D. thesis, Sri Venkateswara University, Tirupati, 1992. p.8. [10]
  17. ^ Michael Bergunder, The South Indian Pentecostal movement in the twentieth century: Studies in the history of Christian missions, Published by William B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2008. Page 242. [11]
  18. ^ Apostle P. L. Paramjyoti was an indigenous charismatic leader who earlier studied at the Baptist Theological Seminary in Kakinada.
  19. ^ Victor Paul, Parish Renewal in Reflections on Theology Today - Papers presented by the ACTC faculty during the academic year 1988-1989 on Theology and Mission and Ministry of the Church, Hyderabad, 1990.
  20. ^ Lankapalli Samuel John, Swarna Manjeeralu (Telugu), Published by the author, Visakhapatnam, 2009. Samuel John was a past student of ACTC and a writer. Cf. p. 50 of R. Joseph and B. Suneel Bhanu's compilation found elsewhere in this article for reference of Samuel John.
  21. ^ Cf. Andhra Evangelical Lutheran Church

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