Thursday, April 4, 2013

Building on an Old Foundation ... Looking to a New Foundation.

Capital Campaign: A Decade of Progress

Since 2008, the Greenville Seminary community of scholars has enjoyed the blessing of a beautiful learning center on Main Street in Taylors, S.C. Our campus home has provided a setting highly conducive to our seminarians' studies, faculty's instruction, staff operations, chapel and social gatherings.

This facility came about as a result of a Capital Funds Campaign which was launched 10 years ago with an initial goal of $3 million. As the capital project advanced, the funding goal was raised to $3.5 million. In this 10th year of the campaign, that goal has been exceeded, although financing and other expenses have required additional funds beyond what has already been received or pledged. Our remaining mortgage now stands at under $692,000, and we are eager to see that balance completely amortized. 

Income channeled into capital debt, of course, leaves less for our primary educational mission of training future generations of preachers to exalt the Word of God, serve Christ and serve His church. That is our prime motive for desiring to erase our building debt as soon as possible.

Our original capital campaign motto was "Building on an Old Foundation." This motto alludes to two facets of our campus life: 1) Our educational mission is rooted in eternal, ancient and historic truth, the foundation of Scripture and the framework of the Reformed confessions and creeds. 2) Our building was wonderfully renovated from the shell of a sound, old school structure in an historic Upstate South Carolina mill town now finding new life.

One of our key development objectives in 2013 is to revitalize our Capital Funds Campaign to hasten it to its conclusion, clearing the way for "Building on a New Foundation" — laying the groundwork for new initiatives to stabilize other funding programs. We recognize that requests for capital fund contributions may often off-set operational fund contributions, and that reserve accounts based on donations are subject to fluctuations. God's people have been very faithful in supporting our operational needs during the 26 years of our existence, and, despite periodic cash-flow difficulties, we have even been able during recent times to establish short-term reserves. Yet to stabilize our long-term financial footings, we need to build up operational reserves to keep us viable for as long as God allows us to minister in His name. Furthermore, we hope to encourage contributions to two existing, but underfunded academic chair endowments: The Smith Systematics Chair and the Singer Church History Chair. By funding these endowments, pressure would be lessened on operational funds now used for instruction in these areas. We also are making new efforts to encourage planned giving opportunities which benefit both the seminary and the heirs of donors long-term.

First, however, we must pay off our remaining building debt. There are a number of ways you can give if you desire to participate in our efforts to re-energize and conclude our Capital Fund Campaign:

  • Cash Contributions via check, money order, credit card or monthly donation
  • Pledges
  • Stocks/Properties
  • Company Matching Gifts or Employee Contributions
  • Life Insurance
  • Bequests
Mailing address: GPTS, PO Box 690, Taylors SC 29687. To make a one-time or on-going contribution to the Capital Fund, visit our web site Donate page. Or click the button below to make an immediate donation. E-mail our Development Office or call (865) 322-2717 ext. 319 for more information.

Thank you for your part in Building on an Old Foundation, with a vision toward a New Foundation for the future of GPTS and the Church of our Lord Jesus Christ.

In His Service,

Garry J. Moes

Director of Development & Recruiting

The Preacher Hall of Fame: The 2013 GPTS Summer Program

The Greenville Seminary Summer Institute was originally conceived as an educational opportunity for pastors. In recent years, topics have chosen with a broader appeal to Christian laymen and professionals. This year's Summer Institute, to be held Aug. 5-9, will again be of particular interest to pastors as we focus on effective preaching. Churchmen of all sorts will find this subject interesting, but if you are a minister of the Word, this five-day Institute will be a source of great inspiration and instruction. 

GPTS President Dr. Joseph A. Pipa, Jr. will lead an examination of the sermons of 10 great preachers who have been effective proclaimers of the Word of God. The template for our discussion will be sections out of R.L. Dabney's Sacred Eloquence and John Carrick's The Imperative of Preaching. 

Watch our web site ( in coming months for details and registration.

Breath of Life: Living in an Ecclesiastes World

Speaking of "the words of the Preacher," the GPTS summer program also includes our annual week-long intensive theology course, this year featuring a study of the Book of Ecclesiastes by Old Testament/Hebrew Associate Professor Dr. Benjamin Shaw. The class will be held the week prior to the Summer Institute, July 29-Aug. 2.

The course is entitled "The Breath of Life: Living in an Ecclesiastes World." This will be an exposition of the Book of Ecclesiastes based on the Hebrew text. 

"The first class session will be devoted to the discussion of introductory matters: who, what, when, where, and why. The remainder of the class will simply move through the book sequentially, with discussion focusing on preaching the book," says Dr. Shaw. He suggests that students read a couple of Ecclesiastes commentaries and, if possible, do a rough translation of the book for themselves before attending.

The class schedule is as follows: Monday 1-4 p.m., Tuesday-Thursday, 9 a.m.-12 p.m., 1:30 p.m.-4:30 p.m, and Friday 9 a.m.-12 p.m.

Pastors who take either course are eligible for 30 continuing education units. A certificate will be awarded at the end of the course upon its completion. GPTS students taking either course must register and pay tuition and fees at regular rates. Costs and registration deadlines to be announced soon.


Seminary to Host Campus Tour and Dinner During General Assembly

If you are attending the 41st General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Greenville June 17-21, you will have a golden opportunity to become better acquainted first-hand with Greenville Seminary by attending a special dinner and campus tour.

The seminary will host a Southern Barbecue Dinner at our campus for assembly-goers on Wednesday evening, June 19, at 6:30 p.m. Traditionally, GPTS sponsors a breakfast or lunch to provide an update on our ministry. This year, commissioners and their families are invited to have dinner on us at our Student Commons.

The seminary bookstore will be open during the event as well. So come prepared to shop for unique books.

Shuttle buses will be provided to bring guests to the campus at 200 E. Main Street, Taylors, from the TD Convention Center GA site (and back again).

Reservations are required for the dinner. Seating is limited, so reserve early. To submit your reservation, GO HERE.

If you are driving to the General Assembly, would you consider bringing any books you may have to donate to our Library. For more information about this, contact Librarian Andy Wortman.

2013 Spring Theology Conference Audio and Video Available

Missed our outstanding 2013 Spring Theology Conference? Listen to all the lectures now on SermonAudio.  The entire conference is available in audio format on the GPTS Mobile App also. To download and instsall the app, point your Android or Apple iOS smart device web browser to this address: Or scan this code: 

Audio recordings of the entire conference will be available shortly on the seminary web site. Watch for them on this page.

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View all the lectures on DVD! Click the button below to order the complete program. Lectures include:

  • 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"
  • 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"
  • 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"
NOTE: Initially produced DVDs had a technical problem. We believe we have this issue solved and will ship new copies to anyone who previously ordered.

The conference was very well attended, especially the evening sessions open to the public. To read one attendee's report on the conference, go here.

Financial Report for March 2013

The seminary entered the fourth quarter of its 2012-13 fiscal year on April 1 with our overall financial condition shown in the revised and updated tables below (as of the end of March 2013). For the month of March, contributions totaling $30,697 from churches and individuals were $43,386 below what was budgeted ($74,083). Total income for the month of $56,299 was $53,546 below the budget of $109,845. Expenses for the month were $14,938 below budget ($91,947). Your gifts in April are needed to overcome the March deficit. Remember, gifts to GPTS are tax-deductible and may include cash, securities, property or a variety of planned giving instruments. 

MARCH 2013
Donation Income$30,697
Other Income$25,602
Total Income$56,299
Net Income-$20,710

Donation Income$740,426
Other Income$223,039
Total Income$963,465
Net Income+$200,366

Capital Campaign Goal*$3,500,000
Long-term Pledges Outstanding$587,699
Total Received and Pledged$3,844,121
Outstanding Obligations$35,000
Monthly Note$3,620
Remaining Mortgage$691,794

*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 Online" button above. 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.

New at Katekōmen: Confession and Interpretation

Welsh Pastor Richard Holst explores the Westminster Confession's view of biblical interpretation.

"Our ability to 'rightly divide the word of truth' is predicated on a firm grasp of the scriptural faith in general, what the apostle Paul calls 'the whole counsel of God' and 'the sacred deposit' and then those elements of the doctrine contained in particular texts. Thus we compare text with text and doctrine with doctrine: the Westminster hermeneutic is coherent and consistent!"

Read the full article here.

Also new at Katekōmen is a book review by Dr. Benjamin Shaw of Paulin Bedard's devastating critique of the so-called "framework hypothesis" concerning Genesis 1-3. The book is In Six Days God Created. Read the review here.

Alumni News: Advancing GPTS in Your World

Alumni who missed the annual meeting during the 2013 Spring Theology Conference are invited to review what your GPTS Alumni Association is all about and how you can be advancing the cause of your alma mater.

The Alumni Association is designed to assist and advance the alumni in the pursuit of excellence, continue the friendships formed in the seminary, build strong and mutually beneficial ties between the seminary and its diverse alumni, promote goodwill in the community and create a dynamic alumni program that will stimulate interest, build loyalty, increase involvement and generate support for the seminary. 

Take a moment to review the Alumni Association prospectus here.

Calvin Translation Project in Albania

Berti and Jenny Kona
GPTS Alumnus Rev. Albert "Berti" Kona is working on translating John Calvin's Institutes of the Christian Religion into Albanian and is seeking financial support for this project.

Rev. Kona is a pastor on staff of Woodruff Road Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Simpsonville, S.C. and has returned to his native Albania to plant the first Reformed church in that country, which, during the Cold War, was known as the most militantly and officially atheistic countries in the world.

"This project is done with the gospel hope that the Lord of the Church will use this sharp tool in Albania as mightily as He has used it elsewhere," says GPTS truestee and Woodruff Road Pastor Carl Robbins.

Seminary President Dr. Joseph A. Pipa, Jr., adds, "Think how the Institutes will further reformation in
Albania. This project is worthy of your prayers and support."

Theologian J.I. Packer, in his endorsement of the project, calls the Institutes "one of the wonders of the literary world ... one of the wonders of the spiritual world — the world of doxology and devotion, of discipleship and discipline, of word-through-Spirit illumination and transformation of individuals."

Mission to Albania is seeking $21,900 to complete the translation project, which involves 1,824 pages and more than 4 million characters.

Checks may be written payable to  WRPC Missions and designated for "Institutes into Albanian." Mailing address: WRPC Missions, 2519 Woodruff Road, Simpsonville SC 29681. Information: and Cell phone: +355682121625.

Books for Africa Challenge Gift

The seminary has received a challenge gift of $500 to purchase and send copies of Dr. Joseph Pipa's study guide on the Westminster Confession of Faith to mission contacts in Africa. The donor is encouraging others to join in matching this gift.

Donors wishing to accept the challenge may send gifts to Greenville Seminary, PO Box 690, Taylors SC 29687. Write "Africa Book Project" in the memo line of your check.

This project parallels a similar one in which a challenge was issued during our recent Spring Theology Conference to send copies of Dr. Joel Beeke's book Puritan Theology to Africa. So far, 44 of those books have been sent. In discussing that project, Dr. Beeke has noted that the average pastor in Africa has nine books in his library.

"There are well over one million pastors in Africa who would love to have more training and more books, but don't know how to acquire either," he said. GPTS and its challenger-gift would like to respond to that need by putting Dr. Pipa's book into as many hands as possible, bringing the insights and truths embodied in the Westminster Confession to the knowledge of many brethren in Africa.

Attention Bookworms!

The seminary's 2013 Spring Book Sale will be held on May 10-11 in the Student Commons. Hours are 5 to 8 p.m. on Friday and 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Saturday. 

All proceeds from this sale will benefit the seminary’s Smith/Singer Library. Donations of theological literature as well as general literature (including children's books, homeschool materials, coffee-table books, etc.) are all welcome. We do not, however, have room for magazines and sets of general encyclopedias (World Book, National Geographic, etc.). 

We plan to make this an annual event, so if you are unable to contribute books at this time, please keep us in mind through the year for future donations. If you are willing to help with the sale (by collecting donations, setting up shelving and moving books the week of the sale, helping with checkout the day of the sale, etc.), please contact Andy Wortman at 864-322-2717 ext. 308 or

In any event, come and shop for some great book bargains!

Confessing our Hope Podcast

Listen to the GPTS Web-based radio broadcasts, with new interviews weekly as we resume our schedule for 2013! New programs are now available for listening or download. Among them:

#32 – Questions to Ask When Candidating 

This discussion centered around issues and questions that candidates for pastoral positions ought to consider when interviewed by a pastoral search committee or session. Dr. Robert Cathcart, the pastor of Friendship Presbyterian Church (PCA) was our guest.

Our 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). Available also through RSS (for instance, iTunes or Google Reader).

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.

Thanks for the Tee!

Small effort. Big success!

The first annual GPTS Golf Challenge raised some $5,000 in gifts and pledges, thanks to the help of a handful of friends of the seminary. With only three "ambassadors" chipping in for the sponsorship fund-raising effort, along with a few pay-to-play golfers and some generous business sponsors, the result was impressive.

Thanks to GPTS Golf Ambassadors John Way of Duncan, S.C.; Garry Moes of Greer, S.C.; and GPTS Alumnus Pastor Mark Marquis of Upton, Mass. for raising thousands in sponsorships from friends, associates and family. John Way earned a $100 prize for top tournament fund-raiser.

Special appreciation is expressed to Ron and Mary Reinink of Greenville, S.C.; David Leslie of D&J Associates International of Greer; Ed Deese from Rochester Insurance of Spartanburg, S.C.; Willis Meadows from Willis Meadows Insurance of Greenville; Michael Simpson from Bank of Tennessee, Kingsport, Tenn.; and Bruce Smith from Yeargins Potter Shackleford Construction Co. of Greenville for generous hole, event and player sponsorships.

Additional golfers contributing fees and gifts were Doug Watson of Kapolei, Hawaii;  Ken Zappone of Denver, N.C.; and B.J. Gorrell of Westminster, California. Thanks to them for their participation in the Mark Marquis-led foursome playing on March 14 at the Preserve at Verdae course. Wes Argabrite, playing for Bank of Tennessee, received two $50 prizes in the "longest drive" and "closest to the hole" contests. Lowest-score prizes went to the winning foursome of John Way, Garry Moes, Wes Argabrite and fellow Bank of Tennessee player Craig Denison.

John White
A big thanks goes to John White of Golf, for Goodness Sake, Inc. our tournament consultant and organizer, who worked above and beyond the call of duty to help make this small tournament a big success. With so few raising so much, think what could be done if we tripled or quadrupled the number of Ambassadors next time!

Conservative Churchman Questions PCA's "National Partnership"

Conservative Pastor Andrew Webb, an associated friend of Greenville Seminary, has called into question the motives and purposes of a so-called National Partnership initiative within the Presbyterian Church in America.

Rev. Webb says in an online evaluation that he suspects the movement is designed to blunt the influence of conservatives, including some aligned with Greenville Seminary, within the denomination — or perhaps purge them altogether.

"Despite the manifest failure of conservatives to move the PCA in a conservative direction in matters of critical importance like creation, the National Partnership represents the second major group formed by PCA liberals and moderates to attempt to overcome our supposed influence," Pastor Webb says in an "Open Letter" to the organizers of the National Partnership."If your objective is to force conservatives out of the PCA, you will probably succeed. Many of us are already teetering on the brink of leaving," he said. He added that if liberals succeed in "making it clear that we will never be allowed to influence the PCA ... to remain on what we believe to be a Biblical and confessional path or hold positions in the denominational leadership," such moves "would probably be all that it takes to force us out."

Read his complete Open Letter hereAndy Webb is a teaching elder in the Presbyterian Church America and serves as pastor of Providence Presbyterian Church in Fayetteville, N.C. 

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"Is the PCA big enough for Tim Keller and Joey Pipa? Is it big enough for me and (my new Facebook friend) Andy Webb?" See another perspective here.