Monday, June 6, 2016

A Mighty Army: Mid-year Report from President Pipa


“The hand of the LORD was upon me, and he brought me out in the Spirit of the LORD and set me down in the middle of the valley, it was full of bones. And he led me around among them, and behold, there were very many on the surface of the valley, and behold, they were very dry.  And he said to me, ‘Son of man, can these bones live.’ And I answered, ‘O Lord GOD, you know.’ Then he said to me, ‘Prophesy over these bones, and say to them, O dry bones, hear the word of the LORD. Thus says the Lord GOD to these bones: Behold, I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live.  And I will lay sinews upon you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live, and you shall know that I am the LORD.’ … So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army.” — Ezekiel 37:1-6,10

Dear Friends of GPTS,

In this passage, Ezekiel goes on to quote God as saying that these dry bones “are the whole house of Israel.” It is stunning to realize how apt this vision still is concerning the “whole house of Israel” — today’s church, and how timely, even now, are the expressed means of reviving dry bones rattling around in the spiritually dead valley of this world. The means Ezekiel was instructed to use was “prophesying,” and through these means God will again do a work of revival that will raise up a mighty army for the Kingdom of Christ.

We are Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary seek to be 21st century Ezekiels, employing the tools of preaching the Gospel to awaken a bone-dry church, thus using the ordinary means of grace to proclaim the Good News of Life to a dead and dying world. As we have often said, preaching is our focus here at GPTS, and it has been thrilling to see another class of seniors recently presenting their “senior sermons” with passion and extraordinary understanding of the Word of God. How we give thanks to God for giving us the high calling of training these new recruits for the spiritual army of the Lord.

One of them, Adam Harris, in a reminiscence of his time at GPTS, recalled how his class had been challenged to train for service in the army of the Lord:

“I still remember my first convocation at GPTS. The ceremony as a whole struck me as a solemn and weighty charge to ‘a few good men’ to take up the cause of the gospel and fight the good fight of the faith. Seminary would be a boot-camp; your friends would be your comrades on the battlefield; Christ would be your gracious Captain; Scripture would be your marching orders. I've had a lot of fun at seminary, but when it comes to gospel ministry, there is no playing around at GPTS — you're no longer a civilian but an officer-in-training and a soldier in the great spiritual battle of the ages (2 Timothy 2:4). May the Lord grant his officers grace to defend the church and advance the Kingdom of Christ.”

Training up a spiritual army takes careful logistics and tremendous resources, as with temporal armies. To accomplish our mission and build further on our vision in our 30th year, we need to raise at least $372,300 in additional funds before the fiscal year ends on June 30. This will allow us to do what we have been called to do in the next couple of months and provide a foundation for the coming academic/fiscal year and beyond, during which we hope by God’s grace and your help to:
  • hire a new homiletics professor (2017), 
  • further develop our Biblical studies program through additional adjunct faculty, 
  • expand our extension program in England, and
  • upgrade our technical systems
  • replenish crucial reserves needed as a buffer against monthly income fluctuations.
Will you prayerfully consider investing in our work of answering God’s call to raise up “prophets” to speak to the valley of dry bones? Together we will witness the breath of God reviving the church through His chosen means of grace.

Humbly in Our Captain’s Service,

Dr. Joseph A. Pipa, Jr.
President




For your one-time gift of $500 or more in June, we would like to send you a copy of Dr. Michael Morales's powerful new book, Who Shall Ascend the Mountain of the Lord: A Biblical Theology of the Book of Leviticus. As one reader has said, "This is an amazing work of biblical theology that reveals God's plan to bring fallen man back to communion with Him. The truths revealed in this work unveil aspects of man's redemption that inspire awe, wonder and worship. This is an incredible unveiling of Christ's person and work in the scriptures. Insights gained through the reading of this book have shed light upon many verses of scripture that had previously been hidden to me. Many thanks to the author for writing this wonder filled book."


Donate with PayPal Giving Fund: 100% of your gift will reach GPTS


Or send your gift to: Greenville Seminary, PO Box 690, Taylors SC 29651-2358


Register Now for the GPTS Summer Institute

AMBASSADOR, PHYSICIAN, SHEPHERD: THE WESTMINSTER ASSEMBLY AND PASTORAL MINISTRY




The 2016 Greenville Seminary Summer Institute will focus on an important chapter in the history of pastoral care. The years 1643-1653 mark the one decade of English Puritanism where godly divines could serve as architects for the remodeling of a national church. Dr. Chad Van Dixhoorn will narrate the Westminster Assembly’s debates and discussions about preaching, pastoral care, and church governance. The class will examine the ideals and realities of the Puritan experiment and consider how lessons from the past can impact our ministries today.

Register now for Greenville Seminary's 2016 Summer Institute, a week-long seminar for pastors and Christian laymen that will delve into the unique topic, "Ambassador, Physician, Shepherd: The Westminster Assembly and Pastoral Ministry." The study will be held on the GPTS campus Aug. 1-5. The schedule is as follows:
  • Monday, August 1: 6:00–9:00 p.m.
  • Tuesday–Thursday, August  2–4: 9:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., 2:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
  • Friday, August 5: 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Pastors who take the course are eligible for continuing education credits. Others may receive credits for an M.Div. degree. Tuition for the institute is $225. Take $25 off additional registrations should anyone from your church attend with you. Designated GPTS presbytery representatives may receive a $50 discount. To become a presbytery rep, contact Garry Moes. Lunch will be offered to any presbytery reps attending the Institute on a day to be announced.

Register and pay individual tuition online here. For Group Rate registrations, call Registrar Kathleen Curto at (864) 322-2717 ext. 302.

Make a vacation out of this trip to South Carolina by tying this institute in with the seminary's course on Southern Presbyterian Theology, Aug. 8-12, which includes exciting excursions to historical sites in beautiful Charleston and Columbia.

Dr. Van Dixhoorn, a Canadian-born theologian and historian, is editor of the five-volume "The Minutes and Papers of the Westminster Assembly: 1643-1652," published by Oxford University Press in 2012.

He is a graduate of Westminster Theological Seminary (M.Div., Th.M.) and the University of Cambridge (Ph.D,). He has taught theology at the University of Nottingham and has held three fellowships at Cambridge, where he researched the history and theology of the Westminster Assembly and taught on the subject of Puritanism.

Dr. Van Dixhoorn has lectured since 2008 at Reformed Theological Seminary - Washington, where he teaches church history and practical theology. He has served as Associate Professor of Church History at RTS-Washington since 2013 and as Chancellor's Professor of Historical Theology since 2015. He has previously lectured at Greenville Seminary.

He served as pastor at Cambridge Presbyterian Church (UK) and then at Grace Presbyterian Church in Vienna, Va. for nine years.
Select Program
 

The Heritage and Legacy of Southern Presbyterian Theology

What role did antebellum and post-civil war Southern Presbyterians play in evangelizing and ministering to slaves? If this question intrigues you and you would like to see where and how that ministry took place more than 150 years ago, you should register now for the annual Greenville Seminary Summer Theology Course and "educational vacation" historical tour, Aug. 8-12, open to both GPTS students and the public.

This summer's course again is Southern Presbyterian Theology, taught by Dr. C.N. Willborn.

The course is another opportunity for pastors to gain continuing education credits. The program also includes a fascinating tour of historic Presbyterian sites in beautiful Charleston and Columbia, S.C. Historic churches, seminaries, homes, churchyards and grave sites will be among the fascinating places to be visited.

"Enjoy the beauty of South Carolina from the Up Country to the Low Country," says Dr. Willborn, recognized for his contributions to American and Southern Presbyterianism. "We will study some of the great doctrines of the Christian faith as set forth by the Southern luminaries. Consider this a vacation for those in love with truth."

Tuition for taking the course for M.Div. credit is $448 or to audit without credit it is $60. The tour alone is free. Lodging in Charleston is your responsibility, but we can make recommendations. Use this link to register and pay tuition.

If you are a pastor, elder or other person involved in Christian counseling, you may wish to combine this event with the GPTS Summer Institute, the preceding week. Topic: "The Westminster Confession and Pastoral Care."

Dr. Willborn is adjunct professor of church history at GPTS and pastor of Covenant Presbyterian Church in Oak Ridge, Tenn. He serves as co-editor of The Confessional Presbyterian.

This is a unique course drawing from the contributions of international Calvinists like J. L. Girardeau, Charles Colcock Jones, B.M. Palmer, Stuart Robinson and J.H. Thornwell. Grand topics like Adoption, the Diaconate, Covenant theology, Biblical Theology and much more will be explored. In addition to the classroom lectures (which include generous Q&A times), the final two days will be on location in some of American Presbyterianism’s most historic sites, in Columbia and Charleston. In addition to Dr. Willborn, the course offers time with Dr. John R. de Witt, Mr. Graham Duncan (South Caroliniana Library Archivist), Dr. Pat Mellen (Senior Historian for Charleston Convention & Group Services), and Mr. Alphonso Brown (Gullah Tours).  

The dates and times for the course are as follows:
Monday, August 8: 1 p.m. - 5 p.m. 
Tuesday, August 9:  9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Wednesday, August 10: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Thursday, August 11: Tour in Columbia and Johns Island, South Carolina
Friday, August 12: Tour in Charleston, South Carolina
Details on Thursday and Friday tour available upon registration.

For more information, contact the Registrar: registrar@gpts.edu.

Select Program
 
 

Countdown to Closeout: Financial Report

The 2015-16 academic year has come to an end, and this month also marks the closeout of our 2015-16 fiscal year at Greenville Seminary. Our faithful supporters have made extraordinary sacrifices to ensure that this singular institution remains a viable and powerful force within the church in these critical times. In the words of legendary hymn-writer Fanny Crosby, "To God be the glory, Great things He has done...."

Student Couple Steve and Laura Cliff
For one student, the "great things" included an the opportunity for in-depth study of Christian apologetics. Laura Cliff, one of our Master of Arts students and wife of student Steve Cliff from New Zealand, looks back at her past year at GPTS, saying, "I am so honored and blessed to have spent the whole year studying the life and apologetics of a humble man named Cornelius Van Til. I not only gained insurmountable wisdom for sharing the gospel, but a deep respect and confidence for the majesty, power and authority of God and his Word that I never even knew was possible. I'm no longer ashamed or intimidated to unleash this lion on every false pretense that puffs up against it in order to magnify the truth of my glorious Lord. May God continue to shine through this man's efforts."

As of the beginning of this final month of the fiscal year, GPTS supporters had donated $672,473 in FY2015-16. Our budget for this period anticipated that undesignated general fund contributions from churches and individuals would total $747,542. Our budget for income from all sources for the fiscal year through May was $1,010,592, whereas actual such income was slightly higher at $1,057,741.

fundraising ideas for schools, churches, and youth sports teamsOur total-income budget for the full current fiscal year, which ends June 30, is $1.23 million. As things stand, we need some $172,300 before the end of June to meet our budgeted obligations for the rest of FY2015-16. We will need an additional $200,000 above budget to replenish a reserve fund that we have tapped monthly during the current fiscal year. That fund is now depleted. Thus, in total, we need $372,300 from contributions and other income sources to finish the current fiscal year without a deficit and refill our reserve coffers which are so critical to cover monthly income fluctuations in the coming fiscal year.


The tables below indicate our general operating fund financial situation as of the end of May 2016 and the first 11 months of our 2015-16 fiscal year. Unrestricted general fund donations from churches and individuals during May totaled $69,002, which was $1,044 above the $67,958 budgeted for such income. Total income for May was $86,049, including $16,667 from a reserve stemming from an unbudgeted bequest. Expenses of $97,318 were $4,168 below the $101,486 budgeted for expenses.

GENERAL OPERATING FUND – MAY 2016
Donation Income (Unrestricted)
$69,002
Other Income*
$17,047
Total Income
$86,049
Expenses
$97,318
Net Income
($11,268)

GENERAL OPERATING FUND – FISCAL YEAR 2015-16
Donation Income (Unrestricted)
$672,473
Other Income*
$385,268
Total
$1,057,741
Expenses
$1,135,160
Net Income
($77,419)

*Includes a $16,667 monthly draft from a 2015 bequest reserve (see graph below).



 CAPITAL FUND
 Capital Campaign Goal
$3,500,000 
 Received
$3,463,680 
 Long-term Pledges Outstanding
$238,699 
 Total Received and Pledged
$3,702,358 
 Outstanding Obligations
$0 
 Monthly Payment (Interest Only)
$2,735 
 Remaining Mortgage
$570,817 


Donate to GPTS through the PayPal Giving Fund. Giving through this Fund means 100% of your gift will reach GPTS, without the usual processing fees deducted. You can also support the seminary by buying and selling through the eBay for Charity system.
Gifts may also be mailed to: Greenville Seminary, PO Box 690, Taylors SC 29687.

And don't forget to do your online shopping at AmazonSmile. Log on to smile.amazon.com and select Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary as your charity. Or click on the AmazonSmile banner at the very bottom of this e-newsletter. 
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Fidelity Charitable and Schwab Charitable clients: Click here for Donor-Advised Fund direct deposit. Wells Fargo employees: check with your company about matching gifts to GPTS.
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Most of all, be fervent in prayer that God would provide all that is needed for us to do what He has called us to do in this ministry which the church so badly needs in these uncommon times.

Remember, gifts to GPTS are tax-deductible and may include cash, securities, property or a variety of planned giving instruments. (The tax deduction is reduced by the fair market value of any premium received in return for a donation.) See here for information about planning your last will and testament with the Kingdom of God in mind.

Whether or not you can contribute financially, here is another way you can help the seminary: Spread the Word! Do you know someone that would be interested in learning more about our organization or supporting us? If so, share a link to this newsletter. (Click the tiny "M" e-mail icon at the bottom of this post.) Thank you for your continued support for Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary

The Heart of a Theological Education

Dr. Tony Curto huddling with his student prayer group

Greenville Seminary has always placed a premium on the training of passionate, articulate preachers, stemming from our belief that preaching of the Word of God is the primary means for the salvation of sinners and discipleship of redeemed saints. We believe further that if preaching is to be efficacious through the work of the Holy Spirit, the one who proclaims the Word of God must be a man of deep spiritual integrity.

Although we offer a theological education as scholarly as any, the emphasis of a GPTS education is also on personal piety, knowledge of the Word and application of the Word.

All programs emphasize these three fundamentals:

PERSONAL PIETY


Without personal piety, study is futile. The seminary expects students to have daily personal devotions and family worship led by the head of the household. Such tools as M'Cheyne's Calendar of Daily Readings and the 1647 Directory for Family Worship of the Church of Scotland are given to the students to encourage them in these exercises of piety.

KNOWLEDGE OF THE WORD


All instruction in the seminary is based on the conviction that the Bible is the infallible Word of God. Since the curriculum is to ground the student firmly in the Word, the study of the Bible in the original languages is central to all instruction. In the M.Div. program, the student is trained in the grammar of Biblical Greek and Hebrew, and is expected to be proficient in these languages upon completion of the program. M.A. and M.M.R.E. and M.M.D. degree candidates are not expected to learn these languages as part of their program of study, but they can expect that what they are taught reflects the use of them. In addition, the Seminary expects the student to read through a translation of the Bible each year.

APPLICATION OF THE WORD


It is the desire of the seminary not only to produce knowledgeable and godly men, but men of action and discernment. Since the Scriptures are "profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work," the curriculum shows students how to apply the Word of God. There is special emphasis on how to recognize, avoid, and remedy whims and fads that often sweep through the church to its detriment.

• from the GPTS web site

Twenty-sixth Commencement: Discipline for Ministry

President Pipa (l) and Dr. Johnson lead processional
One of the greatest needs of the modern church is "godly, disciplined ministers." So said Dr. Terry L. Johnson, long-time pastor of Independent Presbyterian Church of Savannah, Georgia, during his commencement address to the 2016 graduating class of Greenville Seminary.

The graduation ceremony took place at Woodruff Road Presbyterian Church in Simpsonville, S.C. on Friday, May 20.

Dr. Johnson's address "Discipline for Godliness," was based on I Timothy 4:7-16, in which, he said, the Apostle Paul urges ministers of the gospel to "put what remains in order."

Paul here and elsewhere called for a high degree of uniformity among the whole church, based on "universal" practices of biblical worship — regulated worship that has been normative throughout the ages, Dr. Johnson said, adding that this requirement was echoed by the early church fathers and the later leaders of the Reformation.

To maintain continuity with the teachings of the past, today's ministers will require discipline and commitment to these ancient practices, he said, noting that the vast portion of contemporary worship and church practice has abandoned these historically received principles.

He warned that the practices of prayer, preaching, hymn and psalm singing, and administration of the biblical sacraments in faithful churches will be seen as "strange to our civilization." So maintaining these practices will require active discipline by pastors, even if their churches constitute but a small remnant, he said.

He enumerated a number of disciplines to which the graduates should commit themselves as they pursue their calling as ministers of the gospel and shepherds of their churches. These included:
  1. Personal devotions — "secret communion with God" — including daily prayer and Bible reading. He recommended also reading of Puritan scholars of the 17th century.
  2. Private study. He recommended "thorough preparation" of at least one sermon per week by writing out a carefully constructed manuscript, then reducing that manuscript to an outline for taking into the pulpit. He said this will help prevent rambling "stream of consciousness" sermons.
  3. Thoughtful preparation for worship services, including a studied selection of hymns and points for public prayers. He lauded the use of the church's rich heritage of hymns, which he said are laced with 2,000 years of profound theology and significant melody.
  4. Maintaining the practice of two public worship services per week. He said this gives the minister 104 opportunities to meet face-to-face with his congregation, and he questioned why any pastor would want to cut those opportunities in half by conducting only one service per week.
  5. Commitment to the practice of reading and preaching through the whole Bible in an orderly fashion, using the expository method of preaching which, he said, helps the preacher to avoid "riding your hobby horse" by basing sermons on favorite or contemporary topics. People are saved and sanctified by the preaching of the Word of God, and the contemporary church's abandonment of expository preaching has been "catastrophic," he said.
  6. Long pastorates. He said ministers who stay for long years with a single congregation have the opportunity to minister to the "whole span of life" of many members.

Graduation Gallery

Click on photos to enlarge












 





A Good Breakfast!

It has been said that a good breakfast is the most important meal of the day. In June, you have two opportunities for a really important morning meal. Greenville Seminary is hosting breakfast get-togethers at two denominational general assemblies, and we would love to have you join us.

PCA General Assembly — Mobile


Join Dr. Joseph Pipa and other personnel and friends of Greenville Seminary for our annual breakfast at the 2016 General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America. The breakfast will be on Wednesday, June 22, at 7 a.m.

This annual gathering is a great time to get updated on the ministry of Greenville Seminary and to meet with like-minded friends and associates.

The General Assembly will be held in Mobile, Ala. at the Arthur R. Outlaw Convention Center June 20-24. The breakfast will be held in the East Ballroom on the Concourse Level.

The breakfast is free, but reservations are required. PLEASE REGISTER NOW, SINCE THE CONVENTION CENTER MUST BE NOTIFIED AS SOON AS POSSIBLE ABOUT EXPECTED ATTENDANCE FIGURES. DEADLINE: JUNE 9.


If you would like to help us host this event by making a donation to help defray the substantial cost of this event, you may do so by tapping the button below.

 
We hope you will join us for this time of food, fellowship and friend-raising. Also plan to visit our booth in the exhibit hall all week.


OPC General Assembly — Sandy Cove



Commissioners attending the 2016 General Assembly of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church are invited to have breakfast with Greenville Seminary on Friday, June 10, hosted by Dr. Tony Curto.

The General Assembly will be held at Sandy Cove Conference Center on Chesapeake Bay in North East, Maryland, June 8-14. Watch for announcements during the assembly for information about where the breakfast will be held at Sandy Cove.

No reservation is necessary, but it will be helpful to know how many guests we should expect in order to plan logistically. You may use the form here to let us know whether to expect you. Breakfast attendees will go through the breakfast food line with all other commissioners, but they will be directed to the room designated for the GPTS breakfast.

Come for fellowship and an update on the progress of our ministry presented by seminary personnel.

Knight Granted Emeritus Status

Seminary Receives Extensive Library

Student Adam Harris, Librarian Andy Wortman and Dr. Knight
Greenville Seminary and its extension campus in the United Kingdom are gratified and blessed to have acquired several thousand volumes from the library of Dr. George W. Knight III, who has been granted emeritus status as a member of the Board of Trustees and adjunct faculty at GPTS.

Dr. Knight, who lives with his wife Virginia in Lake Wylie, S.C., served from 2005 until 2013 as chairman of the board and continued on as a trustee and adjunct professor of New Testament until recently. He was granted emeritus status during the Board of Trustees meeting in May.

The Knight library consists of 1,500-1,800 volumes and is especially rich in New Testament exegetical literature, including many commentaries. Librarian Andy Wortman and students James Clark, Steve Cliff, Adam Harris, and Shawn Spalti traveled to the Knight home on May 11 to pick up the library. They were graciously hosted by the Knights while there.

Hauling crew with Dr. Knight (center)
The seminary is seeking $6,500 to cover the cost of the books and their transportation. We are grateful to other donors who have contributed to this acquisition. Many of the books are duplicates of volumes in the seminary's Smith-Singer Library, and these duplicates will be shipped to the seminary's extension campus in Gateshead, England or sold to students. The Gateshead campus and other donors are providing $3,000 for shipping of the volumes (140 boxes) heading to England. Student Benjamin Wontrop, who graduated from GPTS in May, is taking up ministry in England, and the seminary will be sharing the cost of a shipping container with the Wontrops. Additional books from other donors are also being shipped to the UK program.

Dr. Knight
Dr. Knight received his B.A. from Davidson College in 1953, B.Div. from Westminster Theological Seminary in 1956, Th.M. from WTS in 1957, and Th.D. from the Free University of Amsterdam in 1968.

He served as professor at Presbyterian Junior College (1959-60), Frederick College (1960-61), Covenant Theological Seminary (1970-89), Knox Theological Seminary (1989-93) and administrator and dean at Knox (1989-91). He was a visiting professor at the Near Eastern School of Archaeology in 1963.

He was pastor of Immanuel Orthodox Presbyterian Church in West Collingswood, N.J. (1961-65) and was stated supply pastor at Covenant Church (RPCES) in Naples, Fla. (1965-70). He served as assistant pastor at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church (PCA) from 1989 to 1993. From 1994 to 2004 he was teacher (associate pastor) for the Matthews Orthodox Presbyterian Church in North Carolina.

Dr. Knight is the author of The Faithful Sayings in the Pastoral Letters, The Role of Relationship of Men and Women, Abortion: How Does God's Word Regard the Unborn Child?, Prophecy in the New Testament, and Commentary on the the Pastoral Epistles.

He has been a contributor to Encyclopedia  of Christianity; Wycliffe Bible; Evangelical Dictionary of the Bible; Hermaneutics, Inerrancy & the Bible; Evangelical Commentary on the Bible; Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood: A Response to Evangelical Feminism; Written for our Instruction: The Sufficiency of Scripture for All of Life; and Tributes to John Calvin: A Celebration of His Quincentenary.

He has served many years as a leading member of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood which produced the so-called Danvers Statement on biblical views of manhood and womanhood in 1987, published in 1988. The statement was issued out of concerns about, among other things, "the widespread uncertainty and confusion in our culture regarding the complementary differences between masculinity and femininity" and "the terrible effect of this confusion in unraveling the fabric of marriage woven by God out of the beautiful and diverse strands of manhood and womanhood."

Dr. Knight also served on the OPC's Committee on Ecumenicity and Inter-Church Relations.

Reformed Scholasticism Course to be Offered in August

Synod of Dortrecht, 1618-19
Subject to sufficient enrollment, Associate Professor of Systematic Theology Dr. Ryan McGraw is planning to offer a special course late this summer entitled "An Introduction to Reformed Scholasticism."

The course would be held Aug. 16-19, just prior to the start of the Fall Semester at Greenville Seminary. This course is necessary for Th.M. students pursuing studies in the 16th through 18th centuries, Dr. McGraw said. It can also count for elective credit for M.Div. and B.Div. students. The course is open to auditors as well.

"This material covers the foundational period of Reformed systematic theology and is vital to understanding our Reformed confessions," Dr. McGraw said. "It will also greatly sharpen the research and writing skills of all students, since the course devotes a significant amount of time to these subjects."

Students interested in this course should contact Dr. Ryan McGraw at rmcgraw@gpts.edu or ryan.m.mcgraw@gmail.com as soon as possible. A course syllabus and course outline are available upon request. The grade for this 2 credit-hour course will be based exclusively on a required research paper.


"The lecture material, coupled with the required reading assignments, is designed to equip students with the resources needed to study and to write about Reformed Scholasticism," said Dr. McGraw. "In pursuit of the course thesis, the lecture material covers the Research Methodology of Reformed Scholasticism, the Nature of Reformed Scholasticism (definitions and method), the Character of Reformed Scholasticism (international character and emphases), and the Content of Reformed Scholasticism."


Course Description

This course introduces students to the theological method of historic Reformed orthodoxy and to research methodology. This was the most important period in history for the formulation and codification of Reformed theology. Studying it will better enable students to ground contemporary Reformed theology on a classic foundation. The course invites students into the subject through primary source reading, research, and writing, with heavy emphasis on Latin authors and texts in systematic theology. The course aims to train students to study Reformed scholasticism in its historical context and to express themselves well in writing on this topic.

Course Thesis Statement

A contextual study of Reformed Scholasticism is vital for understanding and developing Reformed systematic theology.

Course Objectives

  • To understand the significance of Reformed Scholastic theology for historical and contemporary theology.
  • To learn proper historiography and research methods.
  • To put proper methodology into practice through writing a major paper in historical theology.
  • To appreciate the value of a contextually oriented historical theology.
  • To distinguish and to separate historical theology from contemporary uses.
  • To develop the skill of learning from historical theology in order to make contemporary applications.
  • To recover Reformed theological method and not merely Reformed theological content.
  • To understand the content of the Westminster Standards in their international seventeenth century theological context.