Cincinnati Bible Institute started on Oct. 1, 1923, and McGarvey Bible College in Louisville, Ky., opened a day later.
In less than a year, the two colleges merged, as reported in the March 22, 1924, issue of Christian Standard. The institution’s new name became Cincinnati Bible Seminary.
“The new seminary,” the editor wrote, “will embody all the virtues of each of the merging institutions, and, as each was the complement of the other, it will become one of the most ideal schools of learning that the cause of restoration of primitive Christianity has ever produced.”
Many will agree those words were prophetic. And that is a major reason the announcement this week that Cincinnati Christian University (same institution, different name) will close in a few weeks after 95 years of operation is terribly sad for so many. (Click on these links to read our news story about the school’s impending closure, plus a personal column by editor Michael Mack, a CCU alum, about “responding wisely” to the announcement.)
Throughout the spring and into the summer of 1924, there was a campaign to raise $100,000 for the seminary “to conserve [the many] wonderful fruits of a year’s operation and to guarantee the larger program of Cincinnati Bible Seminary.”
A few weeks before the opening of the “combined” seminary, Christian Standard reported the following major news story on its front page.
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Cincinnati Bible Seminary Purchases Campus and Dormitories
Sept. 6, 1924; p. 1
A great host of contributors and friends will rejoice at the announcement that the Cincinnati Bible Seminary has secured a permanent location and will open September 22 in its own buildings.
Since the merger of the Cincinnati Bible Institute, of Cincinnati, with the McGarvey Bible College, of Louisville, Ky., a canvass for friends has been in progress for the newly organized institution.
Over two thousand brethren have responded to the appeal, and every day brings new evidence of increasing and broadening interest in Cincinnati Bible Seminary. While the brethren have very largely underwritten the salaries of the professors and made possible loans and scholarships to students, they have not been correspondingly liberal in providing funds for building and equipment.
Up until August 20 the location of the seminary has been in doubt. The quarters leased last year by Cincinnati Bible Institute at 425-429 West Eighth Street had proved unsatisfactory in location and arrangement. Cincinnati has had an unusual shortage of available institutional property, and, in spite of appeals to civic bodies and real-estate concerns, no suitable location could be found. Then, through a providential chain of circumstances, a residence property on Price Hill, the largest and most populous suburb in the city, was offered the Seminary at a very reasonable figure. The deal for this property has been closed, and Cincinnati Bible Seminary will be permanently located at Grand, Chateau, Summit and Maryland Avenues, Price Hill. There are two large residences on the grounds—one containing twenty rooms and the other thirteen—which will be used for dormitory and classroom purposes. An assembly-hall has been provided within a block or two of the buildings. In addition to the acre of ground in the plot purchased by the Clarke Fund, an option has been secured on an acre and one-half, where additional new and adequate buildings can be constructed. The properties are within twenty minutes of the business center of Cincinnati, and yet enjoy all the light, air and beauty of the hilltop suburbs. It is interesting to note that a portion of one of the properties secured was at one time willed to the U. C. M. S. [United Christian Missionary Society] for an old people’s home, but failed to be conveyed to that organization on account of a technicality in the State laws. While the buildings will not be ideal, they will serve the immediate needs of the Seminary. Plans will be laid later for the erection of a modern educational plant.
Brethren who read this are urged to send their contributions to increase the equity of the Clarke Fund in the property. Without the handicap of a mortgage the Seminary would be able to make rapid headway toward the realization of its plans for the future.
More than seventy actual advance registrations from a score of States, Mexico and Canada were in the hands of the registrar August 20. New names are being added daily, and the opening day is a month away. Conservative estimates by observers of the past year’s work point toward a registration list double that of 1923-24.
Thus one of the most promising ventures in a loyal brotherhood goes to victory.
L. G. T.
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Finally, here is an editorial published just a few weeks after the first classes were held at Cincinnati Bible Seminary.
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Cincinnati Bible Seminary
Oct. 11, 1924; p. 10
In our news columns this week is a modest account of a meeting which will take rank among the great historic events of the Restoration movement—the first convocation service of Cincinnati Bible Seminary. The assembly was held in old Richmond Street Church, and was presided over by Ralph L. Records, dean of the seminary, Ira M. Boswell, of Georgetown, Ky., preaching the convocation sermon.
The college is delightfully situated in spacious, shaded grounds on one of Cincinnati’s beautiful hilltops, here at the national gateway between the North and the South, the East and the West. From all parts of our common country young men and women have poured in for the opening session, forming a student body of exceptionally high standard.
The mere naming of the Faculty is sufficient to guarantee thoroughness and soundness of instruction. It is not necessary for any one to bring out his surveying instruments in order to locate Ralph L. Records, Henry F. Lutz, Rupert C. Foster, W. C. Sayrs, Robert E. Elmore, Edwin W. Thornton, James DeForest Murch, Traverce Harrison, Edwin R. Errett, Florence Waterman, Henrietta Heron, and Lee G. Tomlinson. The institution stands for Christian scholarship, and is confessedly against so-called “modernism,” which, in its essence and fruits, is neither Christian nor scholarly. Parents who desire the Christian faith of their sons and daughters preserved and enriched, and young people seeking to prepare themselves for effective Christian service, will find their hopes fulfilled in Cincinnati Bible Seminary.
The hour had struck for such a school as this. We are nearing the centenary of that historic occasion when the pioneers, pleading for the return to primitive Christianity, united their forces in what has come to be known as the Restoration movement. The last quarter of a century has witnessed the dead halt of this movement, the allurement of its ministry and the corruption of its ideals and principles. As we approach the new century, we need a new birth of loyalty and enthusiasm. This revival must come through a newborn ministry, a ministry acquainted with the New Testament plea, and committed with all their heart to its faithful propagation.
Cincinnati Bible Seminary has come into the kingdom for such a time as this. Its sole aim is the creation of a select race of preachers who will rise above the deadly denominational average, and start again the Restoration plea upon its march of victory. The school desires as its patrons those who share its faith, and who are committed to its holy aims. We welcome it as a reinforcement to the very small company of Bible colleges which are actually producing preachers of the gospel.
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—Jim Nieman, managing editor, Christian Standard