Dr Erich Renner

Position:Emeritus Lecturer
Area of service:Emeritus Lecturer

BA DipEd DTh

About Erich Renner

Erich Renner was born at Horsham Base Hospital on 2 May 1922. He was the eldest son of M. T. Renner, Lutheran Pastor at Dimboola, and Bertha nee Rohde. He studied at Immanuel College from 1937 to 1938, and at Immanuel Seminary from 1939 to 1943.

He was ordained by his father on 6 February 1944 at Eudunda. He was then appointed to the Lower Murray Home Mission Field and served there from 1944 until 1948. He was called as a teacher of Scripture and Classics to Immanuel College in Walkerville in 1948, and taught there until 1954.

In 1955 he went to Germany to study Hebrew and Old Testament with a view to lecturing at Immanuel Seminary. Professor Gerhard von Rad at the University of Heidelberg supervised his doctorate on the topic, ‘A study of the word goral in the Old Testament’—the word means ‘lot’ or ‘inheritance’—and he completed this in 1958. He returned to Australia in February 1959 and started lecturing at Immanuel Seminary that year. At the amalgamation of the Concordia and Immanuel Seminaries in 1968, he was one of the founding faculty of seven, three members coming from Concordia Seminary and four from Immanuel Seminary.

He taught at Luther Seminary from 1968 to 1991. In the beginning, the subjects included Introduction to the Old Testament, OT Exegesis, OT Theology and the History of Israel. He also taught Hebrew until Pastor C. R. Priebbenow joined the faculty in 1970. Originally, the seminary course was seven years full-time, including one year of vicarage. The classes were larger than now, with 20 students to a class being common. Seminar classes were smaller. These were subjects, often non-compulsory, where a special topic, for example Wisdom, was studied for one semester.

Faculty members had many other responsibilities for the church. They taught at pastors’ retreats and conferences all over Australia. They taught Aboriginal evangelists in Central Australia for the Finke River Mission. They also taught some subjects at the Lutheran Teachers College, before it joined with the seminary. He also did a lot of lecturing at other colleges, but this was always understood to be done in his own time. He lectured for 10 years at the Adelaide College of Divinity, in Parkin-Wesley College. For study leave, he usually went to Germany to keep up with the language and scholarship there. But he often combined this with some teaching at overseas seminaries, one time for six months at Lae in Papua New Guinea and another six months at Shatin in Hong Kong.

He was on the Lutheran – Roman Catholic Dialogue from 1975 to 1991, and co-chairman with Denis Edwards in the last few years. He was also involved with the Anglican – Lutheran Dialogue for some time.

Dr Vic Pfitzner says in his tribute to Dr. Renner, that he could speak and write in five languages—English, German, Hebrew, Greek and Latin.

In 2014 the church celebrated with Erich his seventy year anniversary of ordination and the college gathered to honour him as well.

Papers & publications



In times of crisis: commentary on Jonah, Chi Rho Commentary, Openbook, Adelaide.


Jeremiah, Chi Rho Commentary, Lutheran Publishing House, Adelaide.


Genesis, Chi Rho Commentary, Lutheran Publishing House, Adelaide.


Israel yesterday and today, Shekinah Foundation, Indianapolis.


Psalms, Chi Rho Commentary, Lutheran Publishing House, Adelaide.


Hosea, Chi Rho Commentary, Lutheran Publishing House, Adelaide.


Mission to Jonah, Lutheran Publishing House, Adelaide.


Basic studies in Christianity: four lectures on The word of God, Lutheran Student Fellowship, Adelaide.


A study of the word goral in the Old Testament, unpublished thesis, University of Heidelberg.  



‘Pietism and early Lutherans in South Australia’ in Journal of Friends of the Lutheran Archives 21, 5–12.


Heilsgeschichte and Apocalyptic in the writings of Gerhard von Rad, Lutheran Theological Journal 41/2, 77–83.


‘The Path to Lutheran Unity’ in Journal of Friends of the Lutheran Archives 16, 5–17.


Address on Genesis 50:15–19: preached in the chapel of ALC, 20 November 2003, Lutheran Theological Journal 39/2&3, 107–109.


‘The Basel Mission society and its influence on Australian Lutheranism’ in Journal of Friends of the Lutheran Archives 12, 23–34.


‘Twenty-five years of Lutheran-Roman Catholic Dialogue’ in Lutheran Theological Journal 34/1, 82–92.


‘Hermann Sasse and the Australian Lutheran scene’ in Logia 4/4, 37–40.


‘Australian Lutheran Roots: Orthodoxy and Pietism’ in Lutheran Theological Journal 28/1, 38–46.


‘Some thoughts on Luther and the Old Testament’ in Lutheran Theological Journal 25/3, 157–165.


‘Justice and human rights’ in Lutheran Theological Journal 24/1, 3–6.

‘Church bi-lateral discussions in Australia’ in Lutheran Theological Journal 24/1, 27–32.


‘Recent books on the Old Testament’ in Lutheran Theological Journal 21/1, 11–17.


‘“Believing” in the Beginning of Blessing-History’, Lutheran Theological Journal 20/2,3 (Aug–Nov), 47–54.


‘Thoughts of Peace and not of War’, Lutheran Theological Journal 19/2 (Aug), 65–72.


‘Chapel Address on Exodus 24:12–18’, Lutheran Theological Journal 18/2 (Aug), 74–76.

‘Bibliography of Hermann Sasse’, in We Confess Jesus Christ, Concordia Publishing House, St Louis.


‘Aspects of pain and Suffering in the Old Testament’, Colloquium 15/1 (Oct), 32–42.

‘Alttestamentliche Theologie heute’, Lutherische Theologie und Kirche 4 (Dec), 128–134.

‘The Word of God, Church, and Theology Today’, Lutheran Theological Journal 16/3 (Dec), 129–137.


‘The Rest of God in the Creation Account of Genesis’, Lutheran Theological Journal 15/1,2 (May–Aug), 18–22.


‘Die eine heilige christliche Kirche und ihre Gnademittel’ in Die Eine Heilige Christliche Kirche, ed. M. Roensch and J Schöne, Martin Luther Verlag, Erlangen.


‘Genesis 4:1–16, Theological thrusts and Homiletical Considerations’, Lutheran Theological Journal 13/2,3 (Nov), 10–14.

‘Old Testament Theology Today’, Lutheran Theological Journal, 13/1, 2–6.


‘Siegfried Paul Hebart—A Tribute’, Lutheran Theological Journal 13/2,3 (Nov), 6,7.

‘Christ Did Rise Again!—Jewish Conclusion’, Lutheran Theological Journal, 12/2, 82–3.


‘Concerning the Use of the Name JAHWEH in Translation and Worship’, Lutheran Theological Journal 11/3, 126–27.

‘Church and Jews Today’, Lutheran Theological Journal 11/1, 20–22.


‘The Australian and New Zealand Society for Theological Studies’, Lutheran Theological Journal 10/1, 36.


‘Old Testament Books’, Lutheran Theological Journal 9/1 (May), 1–6.

‘Woman in the Old Testament’, Lutheran Theological Journal 9/3 (Dec), 90–99.

‘The Shadow of the Cross in the Old Testament’, in Theologia Crucis, ed. H.P. Hamann, Lutheran Publishing House, Adelaide, 19–32.


‘Lutheran-Roman Catholic Dialogue in Europe Today’, Lutheran Theological Journal 8/1 (May), 29–32.


‘In Memory of Wilhelm Löhe’ (Translation), Lutheran Theological Journal 6/1 (May), 1,2.


‘The Death of an Old Testament Theologian’, Lutheran Theological Journal 5/3 (Nov), 135,136.


‘Old Testament Books’, Lutheran Theological Journal 4/3 (Dec), 94–103.

‘The New English Bible with Apocrypha’, Lutheran Theological Journal 4/2 (Aug), 84–89.


‘Christian Communication in an Age of Revolution’, Lutheran Theological Journal 3/3 (Dec), 106–110.

‘The Old Testament in the New’, Lutheran Theological Journal 3/2, 41–50.

‘Old Testament Notes and Comments’, Lutheran Theological Journal 3/1, 26,27.


‘Old Testament Notes’, Lutheran Theological Journal 1/2, 105–106.


‘False and true Prophecy’ in Reformed Theological Review 25/3, 95–104.

Updated: 03/03/2014 11:31am