Bible Schools

American. These appeared in the United States after 1880 to restore biblical authority and to fulfill the Great Commission. The Grossner Mission, started by Johannes Grossner in 1842 to train missionary candidates, probably preceded all other institutions. H. Grattan Guinness organized the East London Institute for Home and Foreign Missions in 1872. This work inspired A.B. Simpson to found in New York City the first American Bible school in 1882. The school was moved to Nyack in 1897 as the Missionary Training Institute (now Nyack College). Bible studies and practical training for Christian service were coupled with a disciplined life. Moody Bible Institute began as the Chicago Evangelization Society in 1886 to provide what D.L. Moody* called “gap men,” trained to fill the gap between the laity and the ministers. This institute flourished after R.A. Torrey* became superintendent in 1889, and the first building was erected. The school now has about 1,000 day students with night and correspondence schools, radio, science films, and other ministries. Other schools followed these in rapid succession, with the greatest growth coming between 1941 and 1960. There are now over 250 such schools in Canada and the USA. Two-thirds of these are denominational. These schools have a Bible-centered curriculum. They seek to cultivate the spiritual life by developing prayer, faith, and self-denial. All demand some practical work, such as teaching Sunday school, street meetings, or personal witnessing. They, unlike seminaries, accept high school graduates, and, unlike liberal arts colleges, train for lay church vocations and Christian ministries rather than for the professions. Many graduates later attend college, seminary, or graduate school. Large numbers become missionaries. This Bible school movement helped to swell what had been called the “Third Force,” those evangelicals loyal to the Scriptures as God's fully inspired Word, and to Christ as Savior and Lord.