It began with a prayer meeting in 1901 in the upstairs Ballard apartment of Tobias E. Tonneson. Eventually, 12 families who called themselves “Free People” formed what was to become the Scandinavian Pentecostal Mission. Later known as the Ballard Pentecostal Tabernacle and ultimately, the Philadelphia Church, the congregations grew in their love and practice of prayer. Pastor Roy Johnson was called to pastor the foreign group in 1947.
The early 50’s saw the days of revival and blessing at Philadelphia Church. Young people would gather around Pastor Johnson after meetings and ask him questions about the Bible. A petition found its way to his desk signs by around 20 people asking that a full-time Bible School be established. In January 1955, the board of the church endorsed the proposed school.
In September, 1955, 20 students gathered to study the Word in the annex of the Philadelphia Church. Seattle Bible Training School was born. Dr. Arthur Pertie, a unique Scot, who had served in the Queen’s armed forces in India, had been a missionary in Japan, an author, preacher, and professor at Simpson Bible Institute, was called to help build the framework, and to teach.
This was the beginning of the fulfillment of a ‘vision’ of Pastor Roy Johnson – a vision that came to him about five years before, Said Dr. Petrie.
From the perspective of years of teaching, Pertie add, “Looking backward, we can truly say, ‘Ebenezer,’ ‘Hitherto hath the Lord helped us,’ and looking forward we can say, ‘Jehovah-Jireh, the Lord will provide.”
Fifty years later we can say the Lord has helped us this far, and are confident of His far-reaching plans for the future.
From SBTS, SBC students have gone on to serve in all the continents of the world – except Antarctica. Missionaries have taken the message of the Gospel to thousands in Africa, to millions via radio, t.v., and cassettes, to lonely outposts in the high arctic, to lonely elderly in nursing homes. Jails have opened their doors to graduates, prisoners have been set free. Preachers who first practiced homiletics in SBC class now bring the Word to their congregations with facility and fervor.
Mothers have taught their children. Sunday school teachers are passing along what they learned. Builders have built their lives on the Solid Rock with the foundation they received. Nurses have ministered the healing love of Christ.
If all the lessons from all the classes were forgotten, some things will never be. The student at SBC learns to trust God in the untried way. He or she learns to allow the Holy Spirit free access to the heart’s recesses. And those lessons are the never-forgotten, the ones that translate into ordinary and extraordinary lives.