History of Dallas Bible Theological Institute
D. Edwin Johnson Theological Institute
D. Edwin Johnson Baptist Institute was born in the heart of Roger W. Wynn who was led to Lord by a white missionary woman. He began preaching on the streets, in the jails, and working with the sick and shut in.
Rev. Wynn recognized the need for building in order to be more effective in doing the work of the Lord. With the supports of several women form the National Baptist Convention he pushed toward funds for the building. Rev. Wynn was led to make a special appeal to the Southern Baptist Convention for financial support in this project.
The brethren were moved to purchase a building for mission work. The mission work was under the direction of Rev. Wynn. The name was given was Open Door Mission. The building was deeded to the Home Mission Board and later re-deeded to the Dallas Baptist Association with the understanding that it should be used for educating the Black Ministers.
It was declared that the Dallas Baptist Association would pay the salary of the director. It was declared that the school would be operated by a joint board which would consist of the brethren from National Baptist and Southern Baptist, who would be responsible for giving direction to the school.
Rev. Wynn was retained as the first Director and in the late 1940’s he resigned. The Board selected Rev. Marvin C. Griffin to succeed Rev. Wynn, in the early 1950’s. He continued to move the school forward and to reach more young ministers in preparing them for the work of kingdom.
After about a year and a half as director, Rev. Griffin was called to a church in Waco, Texas and had to resign as Director.
October 15, 1951, the Board of Directors elected Dr. D. Edwin Johnson as the next Director. Afterward the Home Mission Board changed the title from Director to Dean.
The real purpose in the mind of Dr. Johnson was to reach students who were not academically qualified of financially able to enroll in a four-year program at other institutions of higher learning. Dr. Johnson arranged in cooperation with Dr. Miller of the Christian Life Commission to meet the authorities of Southwest Seminary at Baylor University in Waco, Texas to discuss the possibilities of adopting the Open Door Mission as its extension school. The officers of the school voted to accept Open Door Mission as an extension.
Upon the recommendation of Dean Johnson to the board of directors the name of the school was changed from Open Door Mission to that of Inter-Racial Baptist Fellowship Institute. Through the president efforts of Dean Johnson, and two faculty members, Dr. G. A. Burke and Dr. D. B. Brown, in cooperation with Dallas Baptist Minister’s Union, 48 students enrolled in the Inter-Racial Baptist Fellowship Institute.
In 1963, Dean Johnson coordinated the efforts of six Baptist groups to construct a much needed building which was completed in 1963. It was located at 2212 Third Avenue. The name of the street was later changed to Robert B. Cullum. A chapel, dining facilities, offices, library, and six classrooms are housed in it. Funds are contributed from the Dallas Baptist Minister’s Union, three national Baptist Conventions, Dallas Baptist Association, and Home Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention in cooperation with Direct Mission Department of the Texas Convention. Dean Johnson served with distinction from 1950 until 1969. His whole heart and soul was devoted to the work of the institute. His very presence and service lifted the school to new heights and broadened her horizons. Under his leadership, the school became nation-wide as an institution for preparing both ministers and laymen to be better witnesses for our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. It was at this time the committee and faculty recommended to the board that the name of the school be changed to honor the memory and sacrificial service that was rendered to the school and community by D. Edwin Johnson. The board voted unanimously to change the name form Inter-Racial Baptist Fellowship to D. Edwin Johnson Baptist Institute.
In 1969, Rev. Harvey L. Hollmon was elected by the board to carry on the work. Under the leadership of Dean Hollmon, the school continued to grow. In the spring of 1978, Dean Hollmon resigned for a lack of support from the community and the school remained closed for one year.
In 1979, Rev. J. R. Allen, along with other pastors, was inspired to organize and launch a financial campaign to raise funds sufficient to re-open the school after a committee consulted with officials from the Dallas Baptist Association. This committee accepted the challenge from the Dallas Baptist Association to raise ten thousand dollars by a designated date and the committee through faith and hard work responded to the challenge by raising $10,326.26, and the school was reopened in the spring of 1979.
Rev. T. E. Brown was elected Dean of the school on February 13, 1979. The school reopened with 51 students and the school moved forward in a great way. Rev. Brown served as dean from 1979 to 1982.
In 1982, the Rev. L. E. Robertson was elected as Dean. Rev. Robertson served faithfully until his death on October 27, 1983.
In January of 1984, Dr. Fred C. Parker was elected as Dean. Dr. Parker was the first dean instrumental in leading the school to enroll 100 students. Dr. Parker gave his best in service until his wife’s health declined and he felt the need to spend more time with her. He served until May of 1991.
In September of 1991, Chris Simmons was elected to serve as Dean. Under the leadership of Dean Simmons, great strides were made and the curriculum improved. Dean Simmons demonstrated outstanding administrative ability.
August 1996, Rev. Hardin L. Ward became the interim Dean and in January 1997, he was named Dean. He served as the 9th Dean of the school and established several satellite locations. D. Edwin Johnson Baptist Institute had an additional location at Mt. Hebron Baptist Church in Garland, Texas and St. John Baptist Church in Grand Prairie, Texas. D. Edwin Johnson has established a website and continues to train men and women to serve in the local church.
From June 2007- June 2011, Alfred J. Brown served as full-time Dean of the school with a desire to train preachers to be more effective communicators. In July 2011, Willie Range became the interim Dean and served until December 2012. In December 2012, the Board of Directors voted unanimously to change the name of the institute to Dallas Bible Theological Institute (DBTI) and Johnnie R. Bradley became and currently serves as its president. His vision for DBTI is to establish local church ministry leaders and teachers with practical and foundation biblical truths.