The work of Bible printing and distribution by local Baptist churches is proof that God’s churches can work together. For a long time, we got our Bibles from the Bible societies or secular printing companies. That all changed due to a great extent to Donald M. Fraser, founder of the Bearing Precious Seed ministry. Dr. Fraser was born August 18, 1926, in Toronto, Canada. His father, Bill Fraser, was a Scottish immigrant and an early fundamentalist who worked with T.T. Shields in Toronto and J. Frank Norris in Texas.
Don graduated from Texas Christian University with a double major in history and religion. He became the president of Cardat Leather Goods (which later became Radio Shack). However, he also had a strong conviction that we are commanded to give God’s Word to those who don’t have it so that they can be obedient to the faith (Romans 16:26). Brother Fraser surrendered to be a missionary and made a survey trip with a veteran missionary into the mountains of Mexico. He asked, “Where are the people’s Bibles?” It troubled him to hear that they were too poor to buy any. He returned home and began raising money for Scriptures. Along with his wife, Sybil, he began sending New Testaments to Mexico and other places such as Ghana and Ivory Coast. Don also visited churches and encouraged the members to personally get involved in giving to this project. He shared his convictions and vision with anyone who would listen and had an unusual ability to motivate others. In fact, the full measure of his success in ministry is not so much what he personally accomplished, but what others have done because they were directly influenced by him.
Don Fraser lived by convictions, or the “commandments of Christ” as he called them. He was a kind, gentle man, but when it came to the Bible, there was no bend to him! He was absolutely convinced that God’s churches are the guardians of God’s Word, and as such should be publishing the Scriptures. He began preaching this message around the country. Pastors told him, “But, Brother Don, we can buy King James Bibles and good Bibles in other languages at a reasonable price from the secular printing companies and Bible societies. Why should we print them?”
About this time Brother Fraser realized that a large portion of the money he was paying for the New Testaments that he distributed was being used to print modern Bibles based on the corrupt Critical Text—and also Playboy magazine! His strong conviction that God has preserved His Word through the Received Text caused him to break all ties with those who were providing him with Scriptures. If this meant the death of Bearing Precious Seed, then so be it. Then a wonderful thing happened!
God gave other preachers the same conviction. They set up simple print shops and began printing Scripture portions. Men whose lives Brother Fraser touched went to work. Some ran printing equipment; others went from church to church raising funds to buy paper. Churches began working together. Sometimes one church would print signatures and send them to another church where they would collate and bind them. Retired people and young alike have volunteered their time to assemble Scripture. Millions of portions and whole Bibles have been sent to missionaries for FREE distribution. (That was another of Brother Fraser’s convictions; you don’t sell God’s Word.) Brother Fraser was careful not to copyright the name Bearing Precious Seed and made it clear that Bearing Precious Seed is a ministry, not an organization. Many churches have a Bearing Precious Seed ministry, but there is no governing authority outside each local church. God only knows how many souls have been saved because a missionary gave them a free copy of God’s Word printed by one of these churches.
Don Fraser and George Anderson, founder of Baptist Bible Translators Institute (BBTI), were members of the same church in Fort Worth, Texas. Brother Fraser’s emphasis was on publishing existing, Received Text Scriptures, while Brother Anderson’s was on translating the Bible into languages where it does not exist. These are two parts of the same vision and both necessary ministries. When a BBTI graduate, for instance, translates a portion of God’s Word, he can take it to a local independent Baptist church where holy hands will print it, bind it, box it and ship it to his mission field for free distribution. The cooperation of many churches makes this possible.
Don and Sybil Fraser lived their last years in a trailer on BBTI property. The Frasers had no wealth or possessions and drove old cars. (Brother Fraser loathed the idea of spending God’s money on interest payments to banks.) They are gone, but their memory and their ministry live on. “He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.” Psalms 126:6.