Striking social, economic and political changes in the Pacific region in the fifteen years following World War II stimulated the various island churches and missions to confer regarding questions facing the church about its own life and about its responsibility to the communities in which each denomination and mission served. With the help of the International Missionary Council, conferences with Pacific wide participation were held in April and May of 1961. It was agreed that there was a need for a central institution to provide higher levels of theological education to better prepare Pacific church leaders. The Dudley House consultations made plans to enlist the cooperation of all church bodies involved in theological training in the Pacific for a central educational institution. In September 1962, a negotiating committee met in Suva and drew up specific, detailed proposals for the founding and operation of such a college.
PTC was the first educational institution, secular or religious, within the Pacific region to offer studies at degree level and award an internationally accepted degree. It is a unique regional ecumenical theological institution offering academic programmes since 1965, serving the churches and countries of the Pacific islands. Since its founding more than 50 years ago, PTC has been instrumental in producing many educated church leaders, scholars, theologians, ethicists, and activists both for the Pacific churches and for the wider Pacific community. It is also the first institution in the Pacific to introduce and emphasise the importance of postcolonial studies through indigenisation and contextualisation both in theology and education, as well as assisting the churches and the countries in the region through the contributions of its graduates in their transitions towards religious and political self-determination. The college has also been instrumental, and still is, in shaping and guiding the theological responses of the churches of the Pacific Conference of Churches (PCC) as it addresses critically many of the political, economic and social issues in the region from the perspective of the Christian Gospel.
PTC came from four (4) denominational traditions: Anglican, Congregational, Methodist, and Presbyterian/ Reformed with the Lutheran tradition joining later. Today while still maintaining its firm Christian basis and focus as outlined in its Constitution, the college is increasingly becoming a multicultural, multi-ethnic, multidenominational, and multi-religious institution in terms of its staff and students. It is one of the leading theological institutions in the world in terms of contextual theology and hermeneutics and has attracted international interest. It has a long history of producing quality church leadership and graduates who have served in many capacities, including leaders of governments, churches, and theological and ecumenical institutions in the Pacific region and internationally. The college serves a diverse number of churches from sixteen (16) different countries from the Pacific region: American Samoa, Fiji, Samoa, Cook Islands, Tuvalu, Niue, Kiribati, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Tonga, Vanuatu, Tahiti, New Caledonia, Solomon Islands, Marshall Islands, and West Papua. It is governed by its own Council, comprised of representatives of owner churches, General Secretaries of the Pacific Conference of Churches and the South Pacific Association of Theological Schools and the leadership and management of the college.