Thursday, December 6, 2012

They Rejoiced Exceedingly...

James Tissot - The Magi Journeying (Les rois mages en
voyage) - Brooklyn Museum
And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.

A Year-end Message from GPTS President Joseph A. Pipa, Jr.

Hazael, King of Aram

As I have pondered the results of the recent presidential election, I am all the more aware of a major spiritual shift in our country and the need for revival. In light of this fact, I am greatly encouraged by the comment of the inspired historian in 2 Kings 13:22, 25, "Now Hazael king of Aram had oppressed Israel all the days of Jehoahaz. But the Lord was gracious to them and had compassion on them because of His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and would not destroy them or cast them from His presence until now." For the sake of His covenant, God was willing to spare the apostate Northern Kingdom for a period of time. How much more willing is He to revive and reform His church in the United States, Canada, and Britain in these days? Although there are apostate churches in our lands, there are many Bible-believing denominations. Join with me in praying for God's covenant mercy to His church. Pray as well that we at Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary might have some role in the reformation of the church.

We rely on the benevolent giving of supporters to fulfill our mission. Your support for our ministry enables us to continue to serve the church and labor for reformation. Our dependence on the partnership of individuals like you is intentional: with your gifts to Greenville Seminary you help to underwrite about 70 per cent of our annual costs. In a day of rising educational costs, the Seminary remains committed to affordable, accessible theological education. Our students are burdened to preach the Gospel; we do not want them to graduate with a burden of financial debt.

Normally, we receive about 25 per cent of our individual gifts in the month of December. Our goal this December is to receive at least $180,000. As you may have read in our November e-newsletter, we are also making a concerted effort this year to increase giving from those who are able to give monthly. This will help significantly with evening out our cash flow. We've set an initial goal of increasing monthly gifts from an average of $11,000 to $22,000 by the end of this fiscal year (June 30). I am writing to ask you prayerfully to consider helping. The investment you make now can be used of God to reach future generations with men trained in the richness of the historic Christian faith. Keep in mind that we are a non-profit organization; therefore, every gift is tax-deductible. As a token of appreciation for any year-end gift, I will send you a copy of a DVD containing a lecture I gave this fall on "What the Rest of the Bible Says about Genesis." This lecture was born out of my own private study and has been a great encouragement to me, as I hope it will be to others.

Whether or not you are able to send a gift before the end of the year, please pray that God will bless our ministry and that He will continue to provide funds for the work. We are keenly aware of our dependence on God’s blessing, not only for financial provision but for wisdom, strength and integrity in every aspect of this ministry. We appreciate your care and concern for this school. Thank you and God bless. With warm regards and for the glory of God, I am

Yours in Christ,

Dr. Joseph A. Pipa, Jr.

P.S. Shortly after the election, we recorded a session of our weekly podcast centered on the spiritual and cultural shift of our nation. I hope that the information will be helpful to many. You can access the podcast from the GPTS podcast website: It is the one dated, November 13, 2012.

Financial Report for November 2012

The tables below show our financial condition as of the end of November 2012. For the month of November, contributions from churches and individuals were $13,007 above what was budgeted. Expenses were $6,015 below budget. We are grateful for this upturn in our financial picture, but we note that for the first five months of our fiscal year, overall contributions are still $157,020 below budget. Pray with us that our December "Impact 2012" campaign will close this shortfall.

The "IMPACT 2012" Challenge

Please prayerfully consider how you might help the seminary finish 2012 with a solid financial foundation for the new year. We encourage you to read the special message from Dr. Pipa elsewhere in this month's GPTS Online newsletter and consider becoming a regular monthly patron of this seminary. Of the 400 supporters who have sent gifts so far this year, more than a quarter have given on a monthly basis. Our goal for 2013 is to see that percentage at least doubled. Nearly a third of our supporters give on an occasional basis. Some 18 per cent give annually. Others give quarterly, semiannually or have given for special purposes and projects or through foundations. 

Meanwhile, your immediate contribution to our "Impact 2012" year-end financial campaign is vital to our ability to proceed into the new year with assurance. Our goal is to receive $180,000 by the end of this calendar year. Below is a graph showing progress toward that goal.

fundraiser ideas
The GPTS "Impact 2012" Challenge

Donation Income$87,090
Other Income$9,928
Total Income$97,018
Net Income+$11,088

Donation Income$280,693
Other Income$101,276
Total Income$381,969
Net Income-$56,858

Capital Campaign Goal*$3,500,000
Long-term Pledges Outstanding$589,056
Total Received and Pledged$3,639,870
Outstanding Obligations$35,000
Monthly Note$4,264
Remaining Mortgage$889,794

*Although the formal fund-raising campaign goal has been more than realized, additional funds are needed to amortize the balance of our mortgage.

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.

Register NOW for the 2013 Theology Conference

One of the most profound truths of the Christian faith is the creation of humankind in "the image of God." Theologians, preachers, teachers and students of the Bible of all sorts have pondered the significance and meaning of this staggering tenet of the doctrine of man.

Dr. Nelson Kloosterman will explore this topic during the 2013 Greenville Seminary Spring Theology Conference on The Doctrine of Man. His lecture will be entitled "Man as Imago Dei in the Thought of Herman Bavinck." This message will explicate key ideas in the teaching of the Dutch theologian Herman Bavinck, regarding the essential unity of humanity, the necessary value of the incarnation of Jesus Christ, and the destiny of humanity. These notions continue to play an important role in preaching the gospel, in Christian living, and in the church's hope for the future of the world, according to Dr. Kloosterman, ethics consultant for Worldview Resources International of St. John, Indiana.

Dr. Kloosterman's second lecture is "Cultural Mandate and Great Commission: An Integrationist Model," will answer how Genesis 1:26-31 and Matthew 28:18-20 are related. This message will open up these passages with a view to enhance understanding of the integration of nature and grace, of creation and redemption, and of time and eternity, all of which can be expressed as "the church's calling to missional cultural obedience."

Registration is now open for this timely and significant conference. For full information about the conference, visit our web site conference pages. Online registration is available at this web address. Tap the blue circle to register at Early Bird Registration Rates, which end Feb. 1. Tuesday and Wednesday evening sessions are open to the public and will be broadcast on the Internet through SermonAudio facilities.

The full roster of speakers and their topics is 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 — "Red in Tooth and Claw? An Exegetical Evaluation of the Doctrine of 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"
We see the Doctrine of Man as an increasingly important topic at this time as the biblical understanding of man's origins, nature and purposes is under concerted attack. It is critical for all believers and especially leaders in the church to examine these issues thoughtfully. We hope to see many turn out for this conference and ask that you please encourage your pastors and elders to consider attending. 

The First Annual GPTS Golf Challenge

Plans are underway for the First Annual GPTS Golf Challenge, a fund-raising tournament to be held on the afternoon of March 14, 2013, following the close of our Spring Theology Conference. In past years, a handful friends of the seminary have joined President Pipa for a recreational round of golf following the conference. This year we are working with a professional consultant to stage a blockbuster golf outing designed to raise both new friends and new funds for the seminary. Our goal is to net $20,000 or more!

The GPTS Golf Challenge will be held at The Preserve at Verdae Greens, a prestigious championship course in Greenville, S.C. Carved into a lush Carolina Forest with hills and mountain-like brooks, The Preserve at Verdae is both scenic and challenging to play.

The first step in creating this event will be identifying 5-10 select influential "Captains" with a circle of golf-enthusiast friends to invite to play in the tournament. Tournament Captains will be asked to attend an orientation meeting in the seminary Board Room at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, January 14, 2013. Captains, among other things, will recruit up to 20 players to be invited to participate in the "shotgun-style" tournament. The invited players, known as GPTS "Ambassadors," will in turn find individual and corporate sponsors for their round. The tournament may also be opened to a number of "pay-to-play" golfers.

The day's tournament will be followed by a buffet dinner at the adjacent Embassy Suites Greenville Golf Resort and Conference Center. Guests will have an opportunity to learn more about the ministry and impact of Greenville Seminary. Also at the dinner, valuable prizes (e.g. iPods to ocean cruises) will be awarded for top fund-raisers and for various contests which will be featured during the tournament, such as "lowest score," "longest drive" and "closest to the pin."

To help us gauge interest in the tournament, would you be so kind as to participate in the brief poll in the right column of this newsletter.

More information about the 2013 GPTS Golf Challenge will be forthcoming in the near future. If you are contacted by one of our Captains or Ambassadors, please give careful consideration to how you might be able to support this "friending and funding" effort.

What the Rest of the Bible Says About Genesis

GPTS President Dr. Joseph A. Pipa, Jr. recently delivered a well researched lecture on "What the Rest of the Bible Says About Genesis." The lecture, presented by the Greenville Area Creation Study Group is now available for viewing at the CSG web site.

"This lecture was born out of my own private study and has been a great encouragement to me, as I hope it will be to others," Dr. Pipa noted.

A customized DVD of this lecture has been prepared and will be sent as a token of appreciation for financial gifts provided to the seminary during our current year-end support campaign. See Dr. Pipa's year-end message elsewhere in this e-newsletter.

Library/Bookstore Notes

The 2012 edition of The Confessional Presbyterian will feature a look at Princeton Seminary with articles by speakers at the 2012 Greenville Seminary Spring Theology Conference. These include James Garretson, Andrew Webb, Benjamin Shaw, C.N. Willborn, Paul Helseth, Fred Zaspel, Carl Trueman, and D.G. Hart.

Also included are reviews by GPTS student Caleb Nelson and alumnus Ryan McGraw.

For information on content and subscriptions, go here.

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Quantity Discount Offer!

Dr. Pipa's discipleship manual and Dr. Smith's "harmony" book are now back in print!

When ordered in quantities of 10 or more, Dr. Pipa's Westminster Confession of Faith Study Book and Dr. Smith's Harmony of the Westminster Standards are available at these prices:

To receive discounted prices for quantities, please send your check to the attention of the GPTS Bookstore, P.O. Box 770, Taylors SC 29687 or call 864-322-2717 to order by phone. Titles may be mixed for the discounted price. The standard shipping and handling charge for this discount offer is $1 per item ordered (e.g., if 15 books are ordered, shipping will be $15.00 via USPS media mail). For additional information please e-mail

If you wish to order single copies online, use the links on the titles above.

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Jerry Crick Library Sale

The late Rev. Jerry Crick was one of Greenville’s first students, part of the first graduating class, and served as an adjunct faculty member (see the article in the seminary’s May e-newsletter here). His widow Sherri is seeking to sell books from Jerry’s library (see list here). 

The vast majority are in pristine condition; but quite a number have his name stamped or written in them, and some may have notes or underlining. The books in this list are sets (individual volumes to be offered at a later date), and the prices (which are quite reasonable) include shipping via USPS Media Mail.

To purchase an item or to request information about the condition of specific volumes, please send your request to, and we will forward your e-mail. Mrs. Crick will respond with information about what is still available and how payment may be made (PayPal is preferred). If you desire to insure your shipment, please let her know in your initial e-mail so that she might add that to the invoice.

The books will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis. Depending on circumstances, items may take about 7-10 days to be processed. Please be patient, since the world of book sales is new to Sherri and she has several other matters that she has to tend to in the midst of this! 

More Jerry Crick Resources: Lectures in the Philosophy of Science

Pipa-Blomberg Debate on the Sabbath

Should Christians still observe the Sabbath? Greenville Seminary President Joseph A. Pipa Jr. recently debated Denver Seminary New Testament Professor Craig Blomberg on the Sabbath is part of the timeless moral law of God or no longer part of New Testament observance. Their exchange on the Moody Bible Institute's Up for Debate web cast can be heard here. Dr. Pipa is author of several works on the Sabbath, including The Lord's Day.

Dr. Dyer's Greek Grammar Now Available at Logos Bible Software

Dr. Sidney D. Dyer's A Preparatory Grammar for New Testament Greek is now available through Logos Bible Software. The work is an introductory grammar to the Greek language. It follows a traditional approach to learning the language fostering a firm foundation of elementary grammatical concepts. With the idea in mind that proficiency in a language is gained through constant practice and repetition, Dyer provides us with a textbook heavy on practical application. It includes conjugation charts, a glossary of grammatical terms, and a diagramming manual to further aid language acquisition.

In the Logos edition, A Preparatory Grammar for New Testament Greek is more powerful and easier to access than ever before. You can not only read and search the book as a whole but also type the verse you are studying in the search bar and have an instant list of the sections with grammatical discussion appropriate to your verse—just click a link to go directly to a section. Integrated with other language resources in your Logos library, the Logos edition will help you unlock the Greek language with ease.

To order this software, go to the Logos Bible Software web site.

Dr. Dyer is professor of Greek and New Testament and serves as dean of students at 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:

#28 - The 2012 Election: Observations and Exhortations for God's People. Dr. Joseph Pipa, president of Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, was our guest as we discussed the recent general election that was held in the United States. This discussion centered on the spiritual and cultural shift of our nation, a failure of the mega-church model, a need for reformation in the church and some practical and helpful exhortations from God’s Word. You will not want to miss this discussion. Listen here.

#27 - The Timeless Nature of the Bible's Social Mandates. Dr. Joseph Pipa was our guest as we discussed social issues such as homosexuality, women's ordination, head coverings and other  such issues in light of properly understood biblical hermeneutics. This was a very informative and practical discussion. Dr. Pipa is the president of Greenville Presbyterian Theological SeminaryListen here.

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 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.

From the Board of Trustees

In its November meeting, the Board of Trustees decided not to renew Dr. John Carrick’s contract. Please join with us in thanking the Lord for Dr. Carrick’s eighteen years of service to the Seminary and remember Dr. Carrick in your prayers as he seeks another place of service in Christ’s kingdom.

A native of England, Dr. Carrick has served as professor of homelitics during his tenure at GPTS.

Board of Trustees also accepted the resignation of Dr. George W. Knight III as its chairman. Dr. Knight requested to be relieved of his chairmanship for health reasons. He will remain a member of the board.

Named to chair the board was member Rev. Jeffrey Kingswood, pastor of Grace Presbyterian Church (ARP) in Woodstock, Ontario, Canada. He is the moderator-elect of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian denomination for the year starting in July 2013.

Rev. Kingswood received his B.A. from the University of Guelph, and his M.Div. from Knox College, University of Toronto. He was ordained in 1988. Rev. Kingswood has authored many articles, edited denominational periodicals, and is the author of From the Lips of Little Ones, published by Crown and Covenant Publications. Rev. Kingswood is married, and he and his wife Joan have 6 children, three of whom are married. They have been blessed with five grandchildren.

The board, administration and seminary community express their gratitude and appreciation to Dr. Knight for his years of outstanding service to the seminary.

Dr. Knight has served as board chairman since 2005. He is also a member of the adjunct teaching faculty at GPTS. Dr. Knight has served as associate pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Charlotte, N. C. since 2006. He received his B.D. and Th.M. from Westminster Theological Seminary and Th.D. from the Free University of Amsterdam in 1968. In recent years, he has been undergoing treatment for prostate cancer.

New Additions to the Seminary Family

God continues to expand the scope of His covenant family within the seminary community.

Isaiah, Elijah and Audiela
Student Tim Marinelli and his wife Renita were unexpectedly blessed recently with a call announcing the availability of a baby boy for adoption. Isaiah has joined the Marinelli family as little brother to previously adopted children Adiella and Elijah. UPDATE 12/102012: Isaiah was taken to the hospital with a high fever as this newsletter was being released. Doctors expected him to remain in hospital for at least 48 hours. Pray for his recovery.

Tim and Renita Marinelli
Kellen, Lori and Josh Sparkman
Senior student Joshua Sparkman and his wife Lori have been blessed with their first child. By God's grace and goodness, Kellen William Sparkman was born December 2. He weighed 5 lbs and was 18 inches long. He is a strong healthy baby, especially for his size!

"We continue to give thanks and praise to God for his blessings towards us throughout the whole pregnancy and now with having our son here with us. What a glorious God we serve!" Joshua and Lori said in their announcement.

Ava Ingram

Here's a new photo of Ava Ingram, born in October to distance student Jared Ingram and his wife Stephanie (below) of Crossville, Tennessee.

Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him. — Psalm 127:3


Rev. Thomas Barnes

The Greenville Seminary community commemorates the life and service of Rev. Thomas Barnes of Robertsdale, Ala., a charter member of the GPTS Board of Trustees. Rev. Barnes passed away at the age of 77 on Nov. 29, 2012, surrounded by his family.

Rev. Barnes was one of the original organizers of Greenville Seminary and served for several years as vice president of the board.

Born in Bells, Tenn., he was a man who loved the Lord, his wife and family. Rev. Barnes served in Presbyterian Church in America congregations in Itta Bena and Morgan City, Miss., Opelika, Ala., Greenville, S.C. and Robertsdale and Loxley, Ala. He touched the lives of everyone he met, from the pulpit and in schools and hospitals where he ministered.

He is survived by his wife of 56 years, Mary Barnes, who is suffering from illness at this time. Please remember Mary in your prayers as mourns Tom's passing and deals with her own illness. Tom is also survived by two sons, Thomas of St. Simons Island, Ga., and Robert of Pensacola, Fla.; a daughter, Claire Barnes Ahern of Olive Branch, Miss.; and his eight grandchildren, Gary, Josh, Bryce, Trey and Will Barnes, and Jon Thomas, Helen Claire and Mary Morgan Ahern.

Funeral services were held Monday, Dec. 2 at the McIlwain Presbyterian Church in Pensacola, Fla. Graveside services were held on Wednesday, Dec. 4, at Belleview Cemetery in Bells, Tenn.

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Marti Gibble

Long-time supporter Marti (Martha J.) Gibble, 62, of Ephrata, Pa., passed away at home on Tuesday, October 30, 2012 after a long struggle with cancer. She was married to her husband, Alan Gibble, for 35 years.

Marti came to faith in Christ in her college years. Her greatest desire was that others, like herself, would come to realize that they had nothing good or meritorious in themselves to be worthy of heaven and that they, like herself, deserved God's eternal condemnation. She desired that all would know that God has secured a way of  ­forgiveness for sins and ­reconciliation with Him through the person and work of his Son, Jesus Christ.

Her husband Alan tells the seminary, "I would simply add three things: One, she really was an faithful evangelist in her own sphere where the Lord put her. If someone was around Marti long enough or often enough, they eventually heard the gospel. Two, she was a faithful and devoted Christian wife to me, a model of the ideal wife in Proverbs. Three, she was ill a long time and the end was not pleasant, but she bore it well by God's grace and accepted what he in his providence laid out for her."

"A couple of things that endeared GPTS to us, in addition to its commitment to the Reformed faith, is the affordable tuition for your students and the seminary's viewpoint on Creation," said Mr. Gibble. "The latter issue I found most troubling at other Reformed seminaries."

The Gibbles have listed Greenville Seminary as one of several beneficiaries for any memorial gifts which friends and family may wish to give in Marti's honor. Gifts may be sent to: GPTS, PO Box 690, Taylors SC 29687. You can also donate online by going here.

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Dr. Robert Cameron

Another friend of Greenville Seminary, Pastor Emeritus Robert Cameron passed from death to life on Thursday, December 6, 2012 following a struggle with colon cancer. Dr. Cameron founded and pastored Mt. Carmel Orthodox Presbyterian Church in Somerset, N.J., for 31 years.

Author of Last Pew on the Left: America's Lost Potential, Dr. Cameron was known to be critical of Dr. Martin Luther King's view of the Christian Gospel, characterizing it as a "gospel of social equality" rather than pure biblical gospel. He led his church out of the Presbyterian Church of America into the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, largely over what he said was a reluctance on the part of the PCA to take a firm stand on a historical biblical position on a literal, six-day Creation.

In this book Dr. Cameron took the bold and politically incorrect stance to urge both black and white Christians to repent of the evils of racism, which he sees as a "sin problem," not a "skin problem," that pollutes the hearts of people of all races, ethnicities and socio-economic statuses.