Pastor Jimmy Gid Tharpe (May12, 1930 – November 25, 2008), the long-time pastor of Baptist Tabernacle in Shreveport, LA., and Chancellor of five colleges under the authority of that church, had a vision in the 1960’s to create a purely scriptural curricula for use in Baptist Christian University, one of the schools under the authority of Baptist Tabernacle.
Dr. Tharpe commissioned Donald McLeod Fraser (August 8, 1926 – December 9, 2003) in 1972 to create a fully Bible-based curricula for the university. The program that took over 20 years to organize and prove, was and still is, intended to be used world-wide, in any culture and at any time, with the express goal of faithfully fulfilling the Great Commission of Jesus Christ by training men to be ministers (or, sowers) of the word of God. The university-level programs had to be scriptural not only in content and order of teaching, but also in practice. Furthermore, the men involved had to be proven ensamples to follow.
D. M. Fraser, a missionary sent out of First Baptist Church, Fort Worth – the same church that his father served in as a missionary under J. Frank Norris – spent nearly twenty years to faithfully execute the task.
Dr. Fraser was the right man for the work because he had recently realized the need for scripture distribution after a trip to Mexico. Bro Fraser had been burdened by God to get the word to the world. He also had a great gift of vision, understanding, and passion.
Shortly after starting the work commissioned by Pastor Tharpe, Dr. Fraser began showing churches the need to fulfill their God-commanded responsibility to keep, publish, and distribute the word of God. Dr. Fraser – the father of Bearing Precious Seed – now used this work of helping churches to publish the scriptures to prove and adjust the curricula.
In the years following, Don Fraser continued testing and proving the curricula by starting scripture publishing works in a number of churches. He realized that not only doing the work is important, but one must also reproduce the work through teaching others. After doing, one must teach.
In 1977 Dr. Fraser submitted his dissertation in fulfillment of his Ph.D. to Baptist Christian University showing he accomplished this task (see images below). Since that time the men and churches involved in the work of Bearing Precious Seed and the School of the Scriptures have distributed hundreds of thousands of tons of scriptures world-wide. Additionally, a multitude of men have been trained in the process.
As completed, the curricula are known as the School of the Scriptures, and the university is known as Baptist International.
In 1989, when D. M. Fraser finished polishing the work, he turned over the entire project to Dr. Tharpe in Shreveport, intending to retire from the work and care for his wife. Pastor Tharpe then asked Dr. N. S. Desent the same hour to assume the presidency of the school and to take responsibility for the curricula. At that time the S. O. S. curricula were under Baptist Christian University International.
The university changed its name to Baptist International in 1990 due to accreditation rules in respect to Baptist Christian University. For two years, Dr. Desent was mentored by Dr. Fraser and learned as much as possible about the curricula. In May, 1991, Pastor Desent was sent from Baptist Tabernacle to start Historic Baptist Church in Rhode Island. The church when granted independence and upon its organization, initiated Rhode Island Baptist Seminary and its scripture publishing ministry.
Shortly thereafter, because of his excellent translation and B. P. S. work, Dr. Francisco Guerrero, a faithful brother and co-laborer, assumed the vice-presidency of Baptist International and R. I. B. S. He also heads the Spanish work. Dr. Guerrero is the chief translator for the B. P. S. New Testament is Spanish.
Dr. Guerrero first met Dr. Fraser and Carlos Demarest in Mexico City in 1971, when Dr. Fraser realized the need for scriptures.
From 1991 until today, R. I. B. S. has faithfully kept, taught, and practiced the School of the Scriptures. After fifty years, we still offer the program to any sound Baptist free of charge.
We invite men of like passion to help in the work and be involved in our world vision.