Nearly 100 Years Ago...
The Southern Bible Institute & College had its beginning in 1927 when Rev. L. G. Foster, Sr. who was an elevator operator at the Magnolia Building, Downtown Dallas, stated, “I was walking down Elm Street and I saw some white men who were there at Stone Place. They were preaching and I had never heard the Bible preached so profoundly. I waited and listened as I waited, because I wanted to know where they had gotten so much knowledge about the Bible”. Rev. Foster then said, “they told me that they were from Evangelical Theological College and the book they kept referring to was written by a man named C. I. Scofield called, RIGHTLY DIVIDING THE WORD OF TRUTH. I knew that I couldn’t attend that school because I was colored, but I asked them if they would teach me. Finally, after many days of listening and much persistence, they told me that they were going to introduce me to a man who might be able to help me. And they took me to Mr. Edmond H. Ironside, who was also a student of the Evangelical Theological College and who also owned a bookstore.”
Now all this took place just three years after the Dallas Theological Seminary (DTS) was organized. Rev. Foster met Rev. Ironside and they became friends. Rev. Foster was so impressed with what Rev. Ironside taught that he was prompted to contact many others. Many colored preachers criticized them because they had gotten this white man to teach them, but God revealed to them that this white man had knowledge of the Word, and thus DALLAS COLORED BIBLE SCHOOL was born.
First 30 Years: 1927 - 1957
After years of sacrificial service by Dr. Ironside, it is during this time that the name was changed from DALLAS COLORED BIBLE SCHOOL to SOUTHERN BIBLE TRAINING SCHOOL. In 1940, the school name was changed to SOUTHERN BIBLE INSTITUTE. In August of 1941 Dr. Edmond Ironside was called home by the Lord he loved and served.
In 1945 Dr. Henderson S. Fox was called to serve as the school’s President. In the summer of 1948 under the leadership of Dr. Fox land was purchased and a building was erected at 1415 Fleetwood Street. As the school grew, two additional lots were purchased. Classes met there three times a week, but only at night since most of the ministers worked a full- time job and as a pastor.
Although most students were men, there were several women who benefited from the first three decades of Southern Bible's history. One woman in particular was Ms. Dessie Webster who attended the school along with her husband and graduated in 1938. She later earned her doctorate and in 1953 opened the Fellowship Bible Institute in San Francisco, California.
Second 30 Years: 1958 - 1987
In June of 1971, Dr. Henderson S. Fox retired and in July of 1971 Dr. Gordon R. Mumford was appointed President. Some of those who taught under Dr. Fox and Dr. Mumford while at the Fleetwood location included, Dr. Martin Massinger, Dr. Aldon Gannett, Dr. Harold Hoener, Dr. Erwin Lutzer, Dr. Stan Orth, Dr. Paul Fink, Dr. Kenneth F. McKinley, Dr. Alfred Martin, and Prof. Ron Anderson.
In May of 1976 Southern Bible moved to a plot of land which tripled in size and building space at 830 South Buckner. It was there that the school began both day and evening classes and grew. This location served us well until such time that it precipitated a need to relocate. A number of Dallas Theological Seminary upper classmen and professors taught here. One person in particular was Dr. Anthony (Tony) Evans, who was a student at DTS.
After decades of sending upper classmen from Dallas Seminary, the school started using some of Southern Bible's own graduates to teach and Dr. Charles Reed became the first Black instructor and later became the Academic Dean and then a Board member. Dr. Robert Reed was an instructor and later became the first African American Chairman of the Board of Directors.
During this period of history, there was a young lady who attended and graduated from Southern Bible who had a great impact by the name of Ms. Lillie Foreman. She promoted and strongly supported the school until her death at the age of 96.
Third 30 Years: 1988 – 2017
In August of 1993, Southern Bible moved to their current location which consist of 12 acres of land and a building consisting of 27,000 square feet.
A major highlight of this period is the hiring of the College’s first African American president, Dr. Martin E. Hawkins in September of 2005. Early in his presidency, Dr. Hawkins began making defining statements of leadership. Among them was affirming Southern Bible’s commitment to the authority of God and His Word as the central focus of its educational philosophy and strategic initiatives. Some other major accomplishments during Dr. Hawkins’ early tenure included:
- Successfully updating and beautifying the aesthetics of the campus facilities and
- Transitioning the curriculum from a 1 credit hour system to a 3 credit hour
- Significantly increasing donor support and major fundraising events such as the Preach-A-Thon and the Annual Gala and Celebration which often included more than 1,000 guests.
- Tremendously increased donor giving and financial
Perhaps one of the most significant milestones of the Hawkins presidency to this point, is Southern Bible’s determinative pursuit of accreditation through the Association for Biblical Higher Education (ABHE). In tandem with this endeavor, and under Dr. Hawkins leadership, the College entered several distinguished academic partnerships. In February 2014, the Association of Biblical Higher Education granted Southern Bible Applicant status with the Commission representative’s affirmation that the institution was ready to do the work for achieving Candidacy, the middle status between Applicant and Initial Accreditation. In 2016, Southern Bible purchased a 9,000 volume library collection and in 2017 was bequeathed the personal library of Dr. Charles Ryrie at the time of his death. Dr. Hawkins’ legacy can also attest that in 2017 the name was once again changed from “Southern Bible Institute (SBI)” to “Southern Bible Institute & College (SBIC)”.
The Next Thirty Years: 2018 – Present. . .
SBIC celebrated its 91st year in 2018 with the launch of a short-term capital fund-raising campaign designated as next90. As a result, over two hundred new donors are now contributing regularly to the mission of the College. The active engagement of alumni was likewise increased. The academic programs were reorganized so that current general education courses were compiled for a new General Studies major in an Associate of Arts degree and minor in the existing Associate of Science degree. The current required general education courses in the Bachelor of Arts were organized to form a minor. All SBIC’s high quality Biblical and Theological studies courses remain the same. A new Certificate program, Digital Ministry, was added which give up-to-date training for ministry in the digital world in which we live and minister. The Women’s Ministry Leadership program was reviewed and improved to be more interactive. The new online library catalog serves all.
SBIC’s pursuit of accreditation moved a major step forward. The ABHE Commission on Accreditation granted SBIC Candidate status in February 2019. This recognition opened many new opportunities for SBIC to advance its mission. One such opportunity was an articulation agreement with Dallas Theological Seminary and positive progression towards additional academic agreements with other well-known, like-minded colleges and universities in the DFW metroplex. Bachelor of Arts degree graduates from SBIC now have a great benefit should they desire to pursue graduate level study. They are eligible for consideration to be enrolled with advanced standing Dallas Theological Seminary, which if granted reduces the total number of credit hours to finish the Master of Theology graduate degree program.
In 2020, the leadership migrated the next90 short-term plan into a new three-year funding plan, called The Jordan River Project. The purpose is to build a strong financial foundation as Dr. Martin Hawkins retired and Dr. Terrance Ford transitioned into the role as the new President & CEO. The capital goal for this three-year was $3,000,000. The President’s Advisory Council provided significant input and support to this three-year plan by focusing on interested people and organizations at local and national levels. This plan took action steps toward adding new major gifts from individuals and groups with a philanthropic zeal who looked to advance a Biblical worldview through higher education as stated in SBIC’s mission. Additionally, preparation to engage foundational sources through grant writing were taken and a professional grant writer was brought on for this purpose along with a professional advancement adviser.
SBIC’s responsiveness to the 2020-2021 COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated SBIC’s institutional stability and strength with an uninterrupted mission momentum. All curriculum was adjusted for offering through remote online learning. Multiple student assessments revealed that our proactive planning and flexibility did not lessened the academic quality and delivery as we continued our journey toward 100 years of servant leadership (in 2027) and drive for accreditation by the Association of Biblical Higher Education.
On July 1, 2021, Dr. Terrance A. Ford became the 5th president of Southern Bible Institute & College. Within the first year of his presidency, SBIC signed an articulation agreement with Criswell College, established the Pastors/Churches Network, launched the Martin E. Hawkins Center for Servant Leadership, debuted the SBIC Spirit Store, and established an unprecedented fiscal standing.
February 2023, Southern Bible Institute & College achieved its nine year journey, and was granted initial accreditation by the Association of Biblical Higher Education (ABHE), a national accrediting body, marking this as a momentous milestone for the College.
LOCATION AND FACILITIES
Southern Bible Institute & College is located at 7200 South Hampton Road in Dallas, Texas, and sits on twelve acres of scenic property in the southern sector of the city of Dallas. The campus consists of the main facility which houses all classrooms, Fox Chapel, student connection break room, computer lab, administrative offices, and reference library. This library exists to support the challenging learning outcomes of our rigorous academic program.
DFW presents great opportunities for SBIC’s biblical higher education growth. SBIC has proven stability for the long term with 90 years of uninterrupted operation and no factional splits over doctrinal matters or ministry practice. SBIC has never wavered from its biblical and theological stance. Faculty offer a traditional curriculum supportive of biblical higher education for those who hold the inerrant and infallible Word of God as their rule of faith and practice.
As one of the highest areas of ecclesiastical activity in the US among African American population centers, DFW offers multitudinous venues for servant leadership ministry skills growth and mentoring support. Currently, SBIC’s student body represents more than 165 area churches.
Since SBIC’s student population is primarily composed of adult learners, the statistical benchmarks for growth have been informative in our research. Among the leading benchmarks these facts standout: 46% of area high school graduates do not immediately attend a higher education institution; approximately 70% in the metroplex over age 25 do not have at least a bachelor’s level degree of education; the median age is 31; Dallas ranks in the top ten for low cost of living index indicators among 25 major metropolitan areas in the US. Accordingly, accreditation will lead to growth and ongoing institutional mission accomplishment given these general factors for looking at SBIC’s future.