CLTC was established in 1964 at its main residential campus, situated in the Waghi Valley 8 km west of Banz.
It first began as an extension of the work of the Melbourne Bible Institute (now Melbourne School of Theology). The first intake of students was in February 1965. In August 1973, the College was incorporated in PNG under the Papua New Guinea Associations Incorporation Ordinance. At that time, the control of the College was transferred from the Council of Australia to a new Council based in PNG. J. Oswald Sanders recorded the history of the College in his book, Planting Men in Melanesia which is available in the College library.
During the 1970s and 80s, the towns and cities of PNG grew rapidly. This brought a new challenge to the Church- that of reaching towns and cities with the gospel and of establishing strong churches which are able to minister effectively in the changing urban situation. CLTC saw the need for developing effective leadership for these tasks and thus the college established a centre at Lae in 1984 and at Port Moresby in 1986.
CLTC’s theological programs have continued to develop to meet the growing demands of strong Christian leadership within PNG and the Pacific region, together with academic excellence. In 2010 the College was granted accreditation by the commission for Higher Education.
The Master of Theology program was introduced and the first students graduated in 2012. This became a full-time program at the Banz campus in 2013.