Wednesday, June 22, 2016

116 Years Ago...The first classes of PBTS

What can you accomplish in 78 days?  That was the amount of time it took an eager 28 year old evangelist, husband, and father of two by the name of John A. Davis to start Practical Bible Training School (now Davis College). 
On April 10, 1900 while preaching in Elmira, NY he had received a one dollar bill from a poor wash woman that had confirmed his calling to start a Bible school similar to Moody's in Chicago.  There was no permanent structure for the new school so John rented a room above Lestershire Home Furnishing on the corner of Main and Arch Streets in Lestershire (now Johnson City), NY. 
The school opened on Tuesday, June 27 and held evening classes on Monday, Thursday, and Friday nights until the closing on Friday, August 17.  John A. Davis taught 105 students from six different denominations of churches during those classes.  His subjects were: How to Use the Bible, Bible Book Summary, Personal [evangelistic] Work, and Introductory Studies in Bible Doctrine.  
The closing service was held on August 20 at the Lestershire Methodist Episcopal Church (now Sarah Jane Johnson Memorial
United Methodist Church).  During the ceremony lead by Rev. Edward Taylor pledges were raised for a permanent building for the school.  They were able to raise $1,279 toward the building that would cost $8,000. 
Due to the success of the first classes that summer a second series of evening classes were held from November 19-30 at both the Lestershire Methodist Episcopal Church and the Lestershire Baptist Church.  The lecture for these students, which totaled 160, was none other than the Rev. R. A. Torrey who was the dean of the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. 
Much can happen in 78 days, but for John A. Davis he used his talents and gifts and began a school that has trained thousands of men and women to preach, teach, and live the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the community of Johnson City, NY and to the ends of the earth. 

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