The Reformed Theological Review commenced publication in 1942. The vision was for an Australian journal that would give a scholarly exposition, defence and propagation of the Reformed faith. Whilst being independently published today by the Reformed Theological Society (originally published by the Calvinistic Society, formed by Arthur Allen, John Gillies and Maxwell Bradshaw in 1939), RTR has historically had close links to Reformed Anglicanism and Presbyterianism in Australia, and has been associated especially with Moore Theological College (Anglican) in Sydney and the Presbyterian Theological College in Melbourne.
The first editor was Arthur Allen, at that time minister of the Presbyterian Church of Eastern Australia in Geelong. Consulting editors were John Gillies, recently retired from Ormond College, the ministry training college of the Presbyterian Church of Victoria, and Robert Swanton, then minister at Hawthorn Presbyterian Church, and later the first Principal of the reorganized Presbyterian Theological College.
The original associate editors are also worthy of note:
Rev John Aitken, Perth
Rev Principal T. C. Hammond, Sydney
Rev Marcus L. Loane, Sydney
Rev Allen McKillop, Brisbane
Rev Neil Macleod, Sydney
Rev Prof Alexander Yule, Melbourne
The editorial of the first edition stated (November 1942):
'The immediate aim of "The Reformed Theological Review" is a scholarly exposition, defence and propagation of the Reformed Faith, regarded as the purest expression of Historic Christianity.'
Robert Swanton became co-editor in 1944, and continued as an editor (sometimes sole editor) until his retirement at the end of 1988. Under his leadership, the Reformed Theological Society was formed, on 9th April, 1963. Swanton would later leave a substantial bequest to the Society, which has placed the publication of the journal on a stable financial footing.
Over Swanton's time as editor, there were various changes of co-editors.
1948: Barton Babbage, Dean of Sydney, replaced Allen as an editor. Allen had moved to new labours in Sydney, and became an associate editor.
1963: Babbage became an associate editor, leaving Swanton as sole editor.
1970: Donald Robinson, later to be Archbishop of Sydney, became co-editor with Swanton.
1986: Robinson become an associate editor, and David Peterson, then a lecturer at Moore, became co-editor with Swanton.
Swanton retired in 1988, and the first issue of 1989 brought a new cover (the third cover design in the journal's history) and a new editor alongside Peterson, namely Allan Harman, Principal of the Presbyterian College in Melbourne.
In 1996, upon Peterson's move to London to take up the Principalship of Oak Hill Theological College, the then Principal of Moore, Peter Jensen, became an editor alongside Harman.
Harman retired at the end of 2013, and was succeeded by Jared Hood, Lecturer and Academic Dean at the Presbyterian College in Melbourne. Peter Jensen was added to the list of editors emeriti at the start of 2019.
Assistant, associate, book-review and consulting editors
As indicated above, there have been various assistant, associate and consulting editors in the journal's history. The first 'assistant editor' was also the first non-minister on the editorial team, namely Brian Bayston, who served in that position from 1960-1988. Bayston continued as secretary of the Reformed Theological Society until his passing in 2021.
Peterson was also an assistant editor, for just one year, in 1985. The other assistant editors: Tony Bird (1996-2007) , Barry Webb (1996-2006), Brian Rosner (2007-2013), Philip Kern (2007-2014), Greg Goswell (2008- ), Jared Hood (2009-2011), and Mark Thompson (2015- ).
Douglas Milne, former Principal of the Presbyterian Theological College, Victoria, became book-review editor in 2013.
Notable associate and consulting editors: T C Hammond, Marcus Loane, Broughton Knox, Leon Morris, Bill Dumbrell, and Guy Waters.