Monday, May 21, 2007

75 years later God has blessed both schools (Davis College and Baptist Bible)

This summer marks the 75th anniversary of the split between Practical Bible Training School and Baptist Bible Seminary. In May of 1932 brought the first meetings preparing for the creation of Baptist Bible Seminary. That summer Mabel Thomson and Hazel Vibbard terminated their teaching engagements with PBTS. Dr. Bancroft who had suggested it followed. A meeting was held on May 16, 1932. Several other meetings continued through June and into July. On August 28, 1932 Dr. Arthur Wright was appointed the first president of BBS. Registration occurred on Tuesday, August 28, 1932. The school was housed in First Baptist of Johnson City very near where PBTS had started on Harrison Street. The split created some confusion at PBTS that summer and in the fall. Some students went to Baptist Bible while others stayed at PBTS. While I do not know when the PBTS registration was it was after that of Baptist Bible's. As Pastor Wheeler had pointed out about his experience with the school splitting:

The School split during my summer vacation from being a freshman. So much going on in every way and a big problem what to do the next fall. A crucial decision I had to make while sitting alone in a borrowed car and I can't remember the name of that Main Street or avenue. So thankful my steps turned toward Practical and a new Semester amidst questionable circumstances with many of my former teachers not there... My mind says "Floral Ave." Right?

Ruth Kummerer had told me about the split from her perspective saying:

The summer of 1932 I spent as a waitress at a fisherman’s lodge near my home. I had very little contact with students or the school. I did not hear of the difficulty until I returned. I had no decision to make. I was already there ready to start. Looking back on the situation now I can even see God’s hand in the division. I have always felt that Dr. Davis conducted himself well and was not guilty of infractions.

However, without the split there would never have been Baptist Bible Seminary –and it has been a great blessing to many people.

John A. Davis had only a few months before faced the death of his youngest son Charles and now the school was splitting. Amid financial problems from the Depression the school went nearly bankrupted. Less than 2 years later John A. Davis would pass away. It was a tough time for both PBTS and for Baptist Bible, but 75 years later both are still serving God.

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