Australian Dictionary of Biography

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Gibson, Edward Gordon (Ted) (1915–1991)

by David Parker

This article was published online in 2014

Edward Gordon Gibson (1915-1991), Baptist minister and theological educator, was born on 27 June 1915 at Ashfield, Sydney, youngest of three sons of New Zealand-born parents Ivie Sloane Gibson, bookkeeper, and his wife Harriet Anne, née Thomas. Ted was educated at Fort Street Boys’ High School but, failing to matriculate, took up accountancy. He regularly attended Sunday school and Christian Endeavour at Haberfield Baptist Church and, following his conversion at age sixteen, became a lay preacher. Applying to the Baptist Union of New South Wales to become a home missionary, in 1939 he was appointed to the Cessnock Baptist Church for one year. In 1940 he began his formal training at the Baptist Theological College of New South Wales (Morling Theological College), where he was a prize-winning student for each year of the four-year course and gained the LTh diploma (Melbourne College of Divinity, later MCD University of Divinity) in 1942.

After graduation he studied further, lectured part time at the college, and served on denominational committees. On 16 December 1943, at North Croydon Baptist Church, he married a manageress, Winifred Mona (‘Lass’) Colechin. Gibson was ordained in 1944, but resigned from his church in 1945 on medical advice. Appointed pastor of Waverley Church in 1946, he studied through the University of London (BA, 1947). In 1949 he became principal of Perth Bible Institute (Perth Bible College) and there continued his studies at the Melbourne College of Divinity (BD, 1951), University of Sydney (MA, 1951), University of London (BSc (Econ), 1952), Berkeley Baptist Divinity School, United States of America (ThD, 1954), and University of Western Australia (BEd, 1957).

In 1959 Gibson was appointed superintendent of the Sydney Bible Training Institute. Two years later, failing to become principal of the Baptist Theological College of New South Wales, he moved to South Australia as principal of the Adelaide Bible Institute (Bible College of South Australia). He was appointed vice-principal of the Baptist College of South Australia in 1964. Unsuccessful in being appointed principal of this college, he applied for a similar position at the Baptist Theological College of Queensland (Malyon College), Brisbane. Conservative forces there welcomed his application in preference to others, seeing him as one who could realign the theological direction of the college; he was appointed to the position in September 1967. The first Australian-trained principal, he immediately stamped his imprint on the college, adding a Bible college section, enlarging the faculty, and effecting a relocation to a new campus.

His devotional approach made him a popular convention speaker and preacher. Many of his addresses were tape recorded and reported, but he did not publish any academic works. Strong advocacy of his particular theological views, including scriptural inerrancy, pre-millennial eschatology, and an emphasis on the Holy Spirit, attracted loyal students from long distances and swelled enrolments dramatically.

Gibson retired in 1982 and was appointed principal-emeritus. President of the Baptist Union of Queensland (1979-80) and president-general of the Baptist Union of Australia (Australian Baptist Ministries) (1984-88), he was also the first dean of the Brisbane College of Theology (1983-86). Predeceased by his wife and survived by one daughter and two sons, he died of myocardial infarction on 17 August 1991 at Brookfield, Brisbane, and was cremated.

Research edited by Brian Wimborne

Select Bibliography

  • Calvert, John David. ‘A History of the Adelaide Bible Institute (ABI) 1924-1962 with Special Reference to the Development of Its Theological Education.’ Master’s thesis, University of South Australia, 2000
  • Manley, Ken R., ed. From Woolloomooloo to Eternity. Milton Keynes: Paternoster, 2006
  • Monteith, Graham Given. ‘A Biography of Dr E. G. Gibson 1915-1967.’ Diss., Baptist Theological College of Queensland, 1995
  • Nickerson, Stanley Walter. ‘Baptist Theological College of Queensland 1904-1982.’ PhD thesis, University of Queensland, 1995
  • Nickerson, Stanley Walter and Les Ball. For His Glory: 100 Years of the Queensland Baptist College of Ministries. Brisbane, Queensland Baptist College of Ministries, 2004

Additional Resources

Citation details

David Parker, 'Gibson, Edward Gordon (Ted) (1915–1991)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/gibson-edward-gordon-ted-14657/text25792, published online 2014, accessed online 24 August 2019.

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