Luther Rice always considered himself primarily a missionary; his all-encompassing concern was missions; his persistent purpose was to facilitate mission advance. Only against this background of mission dedication was he an educator. For him education was but a means to forward the missionary enterprise.
Soon after Luther Rice returned to the United States from India, he was confronted by two areas of educational need: Baptist of America had no school to train missionary candidates, and poorly educated ministers often recognized no mission responsibility, faced with these hindrances to missionary progress, Rice seized upon every opportunities to plead with Baptist leaders for the establishment of a seminary or college for the training of missionaries and other ministers.
Largely at Rice's insistence the Triennial Convention of 1817 amended its constitution to establish a classical and theological seminary, in 1820 the Convention decided to found Columbian College, a National Baptist School at Washington. Luther Rice was the agent of the Triennial Convention to raise funds for the College as well as for missions.
Although Columbian College (now George Washington University) soon ran into financial difficulties and was finally lost from Baptist control, Baptists were awakened during this period to the
importance of Christian education. The beginning of many Baptist colleges in the South can be traced to an interest in education stimulated by Luther Rice.
Because he was dedicated to God's purpose of winning the world unto himself, Rice was dedicated to the establishment of Christian education by Baptists.
First Baptist Church