Rhodesian Bible Institute

Rhodesian Bible Institute

The Rhodesian Bible Institute was opened by Mr. and Mrs. George Bates circa 1953 in the Seki Township outside of Salisbury, Southern Rhodesia (Harare, Zimbabwe). It was initially associated with the “Assemblies of God”.

The Bates were graduates of the South African Bible Institute in Brakpan, Transvaal, operated by the “Assemblies of God in South Africa.”  Rev. H. B Garlock was principal of the school from 1950 to at least 1959.  After graduation, the Bates “felt led to open a Bible School” in Southern Rhodesia.  “He and Mrs. Bates launched out in faith, and after three years of hard work and much personal sacrifice a fine building to house the Bible School had been erected in the new Seki Township.”  The first graduating class of two students took place in November 1956.

The history of the Assemblies of God of South Africa dates back to 1908-10 with the arrival of two American Pentecostal missionaries. When the Assemblies of God was formed in the United States in 1914 a number of South African churches, which had developed from the efforts of the two missionaries, affiliated with the American Assemblies.  The Assemblies of God of South Africa formed as a separate church in 1932.  It became the Assemblies of God Fellowship in 1981.

In 1976, the Bible Institute “had been brought formally under the wing” of the Full Gospel Church of God (now Full Gospel Church of God – Zimbabwe).  George Bates served as church overseer 1978 – 1984.  Their website suggests “it was beneficial for Pastor Bates to join with the Full Gospel Church of God in order to have denominational support and budget for his private Bible School.  It was also helpful for the church to have a leader who was used to living in the volatile political environment.”

The bible institute was eventually sold with the Bates estate upon his death.


  • Mark Loomis