Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Human Equation: 2013 Spring Theology Conference

Reformer John Calvin wrote that the two most important things for any person to know are who God is and who man is. In order to know God properly, one must know the truth about himself.

In our day, there is much confusion about who man is. Is the Bible correct that God made man in His image from the dust of the earth and Eve from the side of Adam, or is it possible, as some "Reformed" theologians have suggested, that Adam and Eve were made from primal hominids or that Adam was the head of a large people-group or tribe? Was there human death before the Fall? What role do the creation mandates have in the church today?

Because of the seriousness of these questions and others concerning mankind, the faculty and trustees of Greenville Seminary are devoting our 2013 Spring Theology Conference to the study of what the Bible says about man. Plan now to join us for this important discussion.

The roster of speakers and their topics are as follows:
  • Dr. Richard Belcher — "The Supernatural Creation of Man" (including examination of modern theories of theistic evolution)
  • Dr. Guy Waters — "The Covenant of Works"
  • Dr. Joel Beeke — "Temptation and Fall" (free Tuesday evening service)
  • Mr. Matthew Holst — "Death Before the Fall?"
  • Dr. Bill Vandoodewaard — "Thomas Boston and the Four-fold State"
  • Dr. Nelson Kloosterman — "Imago Dei – Man, the Image of God"
  • Dr. Joseph Pipa — "Original Sin" (free Wednesday evening service)
  • Dr. Nelson Kloosterman — "The Cultural Mandate and the Great Commission – An Integrationist Model"
  • Mr. Gabriel Fluhrer — "Beware Lest Any Man Spoil You: Questioning the Philosophy of Science Used to Question the Bible's Doctrine of Man"
Conference dates: March 12-14, 2013

Place: Woodruff Road Presbyterian Church, Simpsonville, S.C.

Exhibitors: If you or your organization is interested in exhibiting during our conference, contact Kathleen Curto, (864) 322-2717 ext. 302. The cost for a display table is $100. All exhibitors are subject to seminary approval. Space is limited.

God's Unchanging Word: Remembering The Reformation

Feelings come and feelings go,
And feelings are deceiving;
My warrant is the Word of God —
Naught else is worth believing.

Though all my heart should feel condemned
For want of some sweet token,
There is One greater than my heart
Whose Word cannot be broken.

I'll trust in God's unchanging Word
Till soul and body sever,
For, though all things shall pass away,
Martin Luther

Recommended October Events

Worship and Ministry: Means of Grace

Reformation Worship Conference, Oct. 18-21, Powder Springs, Ga.

The conference exists to encourage the Church to remember her rich Reformation heritage, particularly as it concerns Biblical, God-centered worship. This 3rd annual conference seeks to draw gifted scholars, pastors, elders, seminarians, music directors and congregants to a fuller understanding of the theology and practice of Reformed worship.

The three-day conference will include multiple lectures and seminars during the day and worship services in the evenings, providing a faith expression and model of Reformed worship for all who attend.

The conference will be held at Midway Presbyterian Church, Powder Springs, Ga. For more information, visit the conference web site.


What the Rest of the Bible Says About Genesis

Creation Study Group, Oct. 25, Greenville, S.C.

Join us as Dr. Joseph A. Pipa, Jr. helps us to understand and appreciate Genesis, to learn if it is a myth or a foundational document for the rest of scripture. Does Genesis contain any doctrines for the church of yesterday and today? Does it matter if the six days of creation are 24-hour days or just eons of time? Dr. Pipa will examine how the rest of scripture confirms a literal translation of Genesis 1:1-2:3.

Hosted by Second Presbyterian Church, 105 River St., Greenville, S.C. For more information, go here.

Science, Evil and the Environment

Raleigh Reformation Conference 2012, October 26-27, Raleigh, N.C.

The Protestant Reformation of the sixteenth century was based on ideas about authority and God. While the battle lines surely resist a neat division, certain things are nonetheless clear. On one side, there stood those who argued that God's word was the sole, inerrant authority over all matters of faith and life. On the other, there stood those who argued for another authority. So it is in our day. The choice remains the same: will we trust in God's word alone or the lesser authority of some one or something?  

With this question in mind, Shiloh Orthodox Presbyterian Church presents the Raleigh Reformation Conference 2012. This event aims to address this issue of authority in the same spirit as the Reformers. Two speakers, Dr. K. Scott Oliphint of Westminster Theological Seminary and Dr. James Wanliss, distinguished physicist and professor at Presbyterian College, will both commend and defend the authority of God's word in the face of three persistent contemporary challenges to the Christian faith: science, the problem of evil, and the rise of environmentalism. 

The Raleigh Reformation Conference will run Oct 26-27, 2012 in Raleigh, North Carolina at Pilgrim Orthodox Presbyterian Church. There is no cost and all are welcome. More information at the Conference Facebook page.

The Spirit and the spirit of the Reformation

Banner of Truth Reformation Conference 2012, October 26, Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania

Dr. Jonathan Master will speak on "The spirit of the Reformation." Dr. David Garner will speak on "The Holy Spirit and the Reformation."

The conference will be held from 7:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., October 26, at Proclamation Presbyterian Church, 278 S. Bryn Mawr Ave., Bryn Mawr, Pa. No registration is necessary; donations will be accepted. A large selection of discounted Banner of Truth books will be available.

For more information, go here.

U.K. Student and U.S. Wife Face Visa Obstacles

Fourth-year Scotch-Welsh student Rob Dykes and his American wife Ashley are facing a visa dilemma as they prepare to return to Wales following Rob's expected graduation from Greenville Seminary next spring.

Rob's vision for some years has been to become part of a revival in highly secularized Wales. In 2009, Rob researched the 1904-05 Welsh Revival, was deeply moved, and has felt the Lord calling him to serve in Wales ever since. Both Rob and Ashley say they want to see God move mightily in Wales again and have prayed to that end for several years. Now Immanuel Presbyterian Church in Cardiff has extended an offer for a two-year internship.

Having met and married in South Carolina during Rob's studies at GPTS, they now face a difficult situation stemming from visa requirements complicated by their financial situation. As of July 2012, a visa stipulation has restricted Ashley’s access to the United Kingdom unless Rob’s income exceeds an annual £18,600 ($28,980).

Immanuel is a relatively small church and lacks the resources to fund the internship, but the church has pledged to help raise $57,960 in contributions from God's people. The time-frame is critical: Rob’s student visa expires May 2013, and Ashley’s visa must be applied for in March 2013 to avoid her potential separation from Rob when he must return to the UK as his visa expires.

"Immanuel, on behalf of Rob and Ashley, would certainly value your prayer and financial support as we endeavour to honour Christ in a land which has forsaken her remarkable Christian heritage," the church says on a web site describing the situation.

Welsh Flag
"Wales, often called the ‘Land of Revivals,’ is moving away from the Light that once shone so brightly and is worshiping at a new alter; the alter of secularism. Britain was described by the Pope on his recent visit as becoming 'aggressively secular' while the church sleeps. The enemy is busy sowing tares among the wheat and nothing short of an outpouring of the Spirit from on high will uproot Satan’s tares and save our land from becoming spiritually barren," the church says.

"However, what is true of Wales today was also true in 1904 before our Sovereign God, in His grace and mercy, showed His mighty power by shaking this little land and gathering over a tenth of its population to himself through faith in Christ and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Oh that the Lord would revive us again!"

Caerphilly Castle (near Immanuel church)
Rob, 26, was born and raised in Scotland but moved with his Christian family to Wales when he was 17. In addition to his status as a student at GPTS, he has served on the staff as the seminary's graphic designer. Ashley (nee Stair) was born in Greenville and has lived there her entire life. Although raised in a Christian home under the sound of the gospel, she did not come to the Lord until the age of 19. Rob and Ashley were married in November 2010. They are members of Faith Free Presbyterian Church in Greenville, where they met. During the summer of 2012, Rob served locally as an intern at Fulton Presbyterian Church (PCA), where he was able to gain experience in preaching and teaching.

Greenville Seminary has a Foreign Internships Fund account to support students like Rob. If you wish to make a contribution, send a check to Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, with "Foreign Internships" written on the memo line or in an accompanying note. (Tax laws to not allow donors to receive a tax consideration if specific individuals are named in a donation.)

For more information and ways to help, visit the Gospel 2 Wales web site.

The Beauty and Glory of the Holy Spirit

Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary and Puritan Reformed Theological have joined to publish, through Reformation Heritage Books, a comprehensive new volume on the Holy Spirit. The Beauty and Glory of the Holy Spirit is a multi-authored work edited by GPTS President Dr. Joseph A. Pipa Jr. and PRTS President Dr. Joel Beeke. Among the 16 contributors are several GPTS faculty and board members and alumni, some of whom lectured on their subjects at the 2011 GPTS Spring Theology Conference on the Holy Spirit. To order the book, go here or click on the ad in the right column of this e-newsletter.

The essays in The Beauty and Glory of the Holy Spirit both exalt and revel in the third person of the Trinity. Through an assortment of studies categorized according to their biblical, doctrinal, historical, or pastoral focus, this book sets before readers the inestimable ministry of the blessed Holy Spirit. Contributors include David Murray, Geoffrey Thomas, John Thackway, Malcolm Watts, Gerald Bilkes, Michael Barrett, John Carrick, George Knight, Morton Smith, Ian Hamilton, William Shishko, William VanDoodewaard, Joel R. Beeke, Joseph Morecraft, Ryan McGraw, and Joseph Pipa.

Below are some excerpts from chapters by faculty and board members.

"There are those who think that the power of preaching lies in the persuasive power of the words. We know that in effectual calling God makes the Word persuasive, but the Word does not possess any persuasiveness apart from the work of the Holy Spirit. Others suggest that there is an inexorable spiritual law that the preached Word operates automatically apart from the Spirit. ... Such a position detracts from the sovereignty of the Holy Spirit in His work.

"The Bible clearly teaches that the efficacy of preaching depends on the Holy Spirit, who is sovereign in making the work of preaching efficacious. Jesus says, 'The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth; so is every one that is born of the Spirit' (John 3:8). The Spirit must join Himself to the preached Word and act with it."

• Joseph A. Pipa Jr., from Chapter 19, "The Holy Spirit and the Unique Power of Preaching"

"With the death, resurrection and ascension of the Lord Jesus, the church has received the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and every true believer has the Spirit of God dwelling in his body. Also, the church universal is seen as the temple of God. We thus have a special incentive to take care of our bodies, because they are the temple of the Holy Spirit. In addition, we should be concerned about the spiritual health of the church universal, since she is also the temple of the Holy Spirit, who dwells within her.

"Of particular significance to us who name the name of Christ are the words of the apostle Paul, warning us not to grieve or quench the Person of the Holy Spirit ... May the Lord assist us all to recognize the Person and personality of the Holy Spirit, who dwells within us, and to guard against grieving or quenching Him in His work of sanctifying us."

Morton H. Smith, from Chapter 9, "The Person of the Holy Spirit"

"Revival is something that God gives, something He sends. That means we can never organize a revival. ... We might as well speak of organizing a thunderstorm, earthquake, volcanic eruption, or tornado! These acts of God are analogous to times of revival, seasons of refreshing from the presence of the Lord No man knows the time, the place or even the instrumentalities that will be used.

"So, revival is, in the final analysis, a matter of the sovereignty of God. He chooses the men; He chooses the times; He chooses the places; He chooses the instruments. They are outside of our hands. All we can do is beseech Him. It is the sovereignty of the Spirit! ... He moves where He will. So, there is a sovereignty of the Spirit in revival in terms of time, place, and instrumentalities.

"Revival is, therefore, peculiarly a work of the Spirit of God. Yet characteristically, the Spirit does not focus on Himself. ... His aim is always to testify to and glorify the Lord Jesus Christ. To that end, He convicts and convinces men of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment to come."

John Carrick, from Chapter 18, "The Holy Spirit and Revival"

"The vitality of the Reformed faith is evidenced in the regenerating work of God immediately leading to the baptism of the Holy Spirit and the ongoing filling of that Spirit in God's people. This work of God enables His people to understand that God sovereignly founded His church in the apostolic age on the apostles and prophets with a display of extraordinary gifts, and also to understand that God continues to build His church on that foundation without those apostles and prophets by the ordinary, not extraordinary, spiritual gifts He still gives His church. This vitality and understanding enables those who embrace the Reformed faith to meet the challenge of the charismatic movement."
• George W. Knight III, from Chapter 7, "The Cessation of the Extraordinary Spiritual Gifts"

"The renewing, new-creation work of the Holy Spirit in our lives necessarily makes itself known. The Spirit leaves His 'fingerprints' unmistakably on every life He indwells. It is the Spirit in us who causes us to cry, 'Abba, Father" (Gal. 4:6). It is the Spirit in us who produces all-around likeness to Jesus Christ in our lives (cf. Gal. 5:22-23). It is the Spirit who helps us to 'mortify the deeds of the body' so that we might 'live' (cf. Rom. 8:13). It is the Spirit who helps us in 'our infirmities,' especially in prayer (cf. Rom. 8:26). We could go on. There are however, two evidences of the Spirit's renewing presence in our lives that are not often considered.

"First, the Spirit's new life within leaves us looking forward to the final 'regeneration' at the end of the age....

"Second, the Holy Spirit's regenerating presence and power create and inspire within us godly self-examination. A converted life is, at heart, a deeply penitent life...."

• Ian Hamilton, from Chapter 11, "Regeneration and Sanctification"

Financial Report for September 2012

Capital Campaign Goal Reached!

In 2003, Greenville Seminary launched "Building On an Old Foundation," our first capital campaign to raise funds for the purchase and renovation of Old Taylors High School, a dilapidated, abandoned but structurally sound landmark on Main Street in Taylors, S.C. By 2008, through God's grace and the generosity of His people, GPTS was able to occupy the elegant new campus where our theological education ministry now thrives.

The original goal for the campaign was $3 million, a figure that was later raised to $3.5 million as the true extent of the need became clearer and financing costs grew beyond expectations. God's people have responded wonderfully since the campaign began. We now rejoice to report that, when past receipts and outstanding long-term pledges are combined, the amended goal of the campaign has been reached!

You will note from the chart below, however, that although the campaign goal has been reached, the actual amount needed to completely amortize the mortgage has not yet been achieved, largely for the same reasons the original goal was extended. Recently our monthly payment has been significantly reduced, taking some pressures off our General Fund. As of the end of last month, our remaining mortgage stands at $889,794. Your help in alleviating this obligation would be greatly appreciated.

Taylors High School 1952

Taylors High School 2004
GPTS Today

President's Office Anteroom

Board Room

The tables below show our financial condition as of the end of September 2012. For the month of September, contributions from churches and individuals were $35,635 below what was budgeted. Expenses were $11,278 below budget. 

Please prayerfully consider how you might help provide the seminary with a solid financial foundation for this final quarter of 2012 (2nd quarter of our fiscal year).

Expenses $80,657
Donation Income $27,196
Other Income $29,025
Total Income $56,221
Net Income -$24,436

Expenses $266,141
Donation Income $140,609
Other Income $92,253
Total Income $232,862
Net Income -$33,279

Goal $3,500,000
Received $3,049,328
Long-term Pledges Outstanding $589,483
Total Received and Pledged $3,638,812
Outstanding Obligations $35,000
Monthly Note $4,400
Remaining Mortgage $889,794

If you would like to make a convenient online donation to Greenville Seminary, click the  "Donate" button below. 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, fill out the form here and an e-mail message with a link to our website will be sent to them. Thank you for your continued support for Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary


Sharing in the Advancement of GPTS

Visit the GPTS Development Office web site for information on ways to support and spread the word about Greenville Seminary.

Confessing Our Hope

Listen to the GPTS Web-based radio broadcasts, with new interviews weekly! Several new programs are now available for listening or download. Among them:

  • Dr. G.K. Beale discussed his book titled We Become What We Worship: A Biblical Theology of Idolatry. This was a very helpful and insightful discussion. The heart of the biblical understanding of idolatry, argues Dr. Beale, is that we take on the characteristics of what we worship. Employing Isaiah 6 as his interpretive lens, Beale demonstrates that this understanding of idolatry permeates the whole canon, from Genesis to Revelation. In his book, Dr. Beale concludes with an application of the biblical notion of idolatry to the challenges of contemporary life.

  • Dr. David Garner was our guest as we discussed a book he edited titled Did God Really Say?: Affirming the Truthfulness and Trustworthiness of Scripture.  David B. Garner has his Ph.D. from Westminster Theological Seminary and  is associate professor of Systematic Theology at Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia. Publisher’s Description: “Did God really say?” is a fundamental theological question. If God has not spoken clearly, truly, trustworthily, and in human words, then anything goes: believe what you will, act as you wish—no one can fault you. The church’s historical belief in the truthfulness and trustworthiness of Scripture as God’s written Word is being assaulted from without and from within. In this book, seven scholars from Covenant Theological Seminary, Reformed Theological Seminary, and Westminster Theological Seminary confront and repel many of these attacks. Reasoning clearly, cogently, and carefully, they show that the historical doctrine of Scripture is what Scripture teaches about itself and that this teaching can meet and defeat the ungodly intellectual schemes brought against it.

  • Our new GPTS "app" for smartphones and tablets provides a new avenue to access our podcast on the go. Get the app here or go to the iPhone App Store or Google Play from your device (not compatible with Amazon Kindle devices).

    Visit Host William Hill's new Confessing Our Hope Blog for news and information about the broadcast as well as access to all program recordings. Podcasts can also be accessed through our mobile web site.

    Another Child of the Covenant!

    Ava Grace Ingram minutes after arrival
    The seminary community rejoices with student Jared Ingram and his wife Stephanie over the birth of their second daughter, Ava Grace, born on October 1, 2012. Baby Ava weighed in at 7 lbs. 4 oz.

    Jared is enrolled in the mentored distance learning program at GPTS. The Ingrams live in Crossville, Tenn. Their oldest daughter is Abigail.

    This is the second newborn within the GPTS family in as many months.