Tuesday, May 7, 2013

23rd Annual Commencement

Degrees will be conferred upon eight graduates as Greenville Seminary's 23rd Annual Commencement Ceremony is held on May 24. The ceremony will begin at 6 p.m. in the auditorium of The Academy of Arts, adjacent to the seminary campus. Please note the change in time (previously 7 p.m.) The public is invited. A reception will follow in the GPTS Student Commons.

Dr. David B. McWilliams
The commencement address, "The Conquering Word: A Revival Sermon," will be delivered by Dr. David B. McWilliams, senior pastor of Covenant Presbyterian Church in Lakeland, Florida.

Receiving Master of Divinity degrees will be Christopher Cashen, Robert Dykes, Mark Kozak, Jeremy Logan, Michael Myers, and Joshua Sparkman. Master of Arts degrees will be awarded to Caleb Nelson and MargaretLee Wilkins.

The annual Graduation Banquet for graduates and their families and friends is scheduled for the evening of May 23 in the Student Commons.

Christopher Bryan Cashen, M.Div. — Grace Ann and I praise the Lord for bringing us to Greenville Seminary. As a distance student for the first two years, I was able to begin my studies from Virginia but missed the more intimate learning, fellowship, and interaction taking place “on campus.” However, during these last two years, I not only have had the privilege of sitting at the feet of God-fearing men of integrity and wisdom, but we have also experienced and established long-lasting relationships with the staff, faculty, and, importantly, fellow students and their families. Our Lord and Savior has blessed Greenville Seminary, and we pray that He will continue to use it as an instrument in His hand to prepare men and their families for the fields white for harvest.

Robert E. Dykes, M.Div. — Perhaps one may think it a sacrifice to quit his job, say goodbye to his family, and move to the other side of the world to study. To me, however, leaving the United Kingdom to study at Greenville Seminary was a privilege rather than a sacrifice! Should I mention the sterling education, godly and gifted faculty, helpful and caring staff, luxurious building, or warm-hearted seminary family? What about the array of local Reformed churches from which one can choose to join, or the pleasant and affordable environment of Greenville? Surely I ought to mention, at least, that as well as being grounded in the Reformed faith, in having one’s worldview shaped by orthodox theology and presuppositional apologetics, one is most definitely equipped with the tools to exegete Scripture well. But on top of all that one thing sticks out: the privilege to sit at the feet of Dr. Joseph A. Pipa, and to hear him preach and teach about Christ. GPTS is life-changing.

Mark A. Kozak, M.Div. — It was the providence of God that brought me to and got me through Greenville Seminary, made evident in so many ways: employers who allowed me to work part time, then freed me to attend seminary full time, my church (Mt. Calvary) that prayed for and assisted me financially, my pastor's mentoring, even going back to career decisions as a former CPA that brought my wife and me to Upstate South Carolina. The curriculum is well-rounded for ministerial preparation, with a focus on faithfully preaching God's Word. Perhaps the thing I am most thankful for with regard to GPTS is the professors, through whose diligence and patience God has continued to round out my theology to a more fully covenantal understanding of God and His Word. In all this, I say with the Psalmist: "O LORD, how many are your works! In wisdom You have made them all" (Psalm 104:24).

Jeremy Jon Logan, M.Div. — GPTS has all the right ingredients that a Reformed seminary should, a staunch dedication to biblical orthodoxy, an uncompromising commitment to the Westminster Standards, experimental Calvinism, Presbyterianism, and of preparing men to be effective preachers and faithful pastors. May God continue to bless GPTS in years to come as it remains faithful to this end. I thank the Lord for the privilege of being taught by such godly fathers of the faith, for the rich fellowship I've experienced and the relationships I've made with all the faculty, staff, and fellow students at GPTS.

Michael L. Myers, M.Div. — Reflecting upon the four years the Lord has granted me at Greenville Seminary has brought to mind several major themes that have been deeply impressed upon my heart. Through both the instruction and example of the professors here, I leave with heightened zeal for the glory of Christ, a sense of the great privilege and responsibility of serving His Church, deep desire for holiness, and great appreciation for the rich Reformed heritage of which we are a part. I praise the Lord of the harvest for guiding this school and pray that He will continue to use it as a hand-maiden of His Church for the glory of God and benefit of the saints.

Joshua David Sparkman, M.Div. — When the Lord Jesus Christ ascended to the throne in heaven, He gave church officers as ascension gifts to the church. Greenville Seminary understands and teaches the high calling of the elder who shepherds the church under the reign of King Jesus. I praise the Lord for the privilege of having studied with these professors and their seeking to help equip me and my brothers for the high work of serving the Lord in the church. They helped to foster a sharpening in our theology, a brotherly camaraderie, and a sensitive heart for the glory of Christ in the local church. I thank the living and true God for GPTS.

Caleb Theodore Nelson, M.A. — My school is a low-budget, small conservative seminary in a low-budget, small conservative town. That sounds rather equivocal. But I mean every word positively. I came to Greenville aware of how much theology I knew; I leave aware of how little I know. In college, I learned what it means to be an educated person. But here, I have learned to identify myself with a deeply particular tradition of thought in the broader stream of western civilization. Greenville Seminary has given my faith a resting place in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and the Westminster Confession. There is no view from nowhere — but there is a “God’s-eye view.” Oh, to see as He sees, and proclaim it to the nations! 

MargaretLee Wilkins, M.A. — Being a student here at GPTS has been a catalyst for my understanding of covenant theology. Studying these doctrines as a woman under and around kind and godly men has compelled and equipped me to better pray for my session, deacons, and denomination.  I praise our Lord for giving me such a privilege!

Summer Studies at GPTS

"The words of the Preacher... Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity."

So begins the curious Book of Ecclesiastes, which will be the focus of Greenville Seminary's week-long intensive theology course by Old Testament/Hebrew Associate Professor Dr. Benjamin Shaw. The class will be held 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.

Following on the heels of the summer theology course is our annual Summer Institute.

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. 

Visit our web site (gpts.edu) for details and registration. To read a brochure about both programs, go here. Download a brochure with registration form from here.

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. Cost for the Summer Institute is $225.Tuition for the summer theology class on Ecclesiastes is $380.00 (tuition and fees), or $60 to audit. Please register by Friday, June 28th for both the Summer Institute and the Summer Theology Course. Enrolled GPTS students must register by May 17.

Book and Library News

Crick Library Offerings

Former adjunct professor and GPTS alumnus, the late Dr. Jerry Crick, left a legacy of a large library when he went to be with the Lord last year. His widow Sherri is offering his library to friends of Greenville Seminary at exceptional prices. Click here for a new/updated list of items available from Dr. Crick's library. 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. Condition is noted on the listing. 

The books in this list are mostly the individual volumes that are remaining, though sets that are available are included. The prices DO NOT include shipping. To purchase an item or to request information about the condition of specific volumes, please include your last name in the subject line of an e-mail message, follow the instructions given on the list about book numbers, etc., and send your request to Mrs. Crick via e-mail at theologybooks@charter.net. She will respond with information about what is still available, the cost of shipping, and how payment may be made. If you desire to insure your shipment, please let her know in your initial e-mail message 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. 

Outreach to South Africa

By Dr. Joseph A. Pipa, Jr.

My wife and I had the privilege of flying to South Africa on Thursday afternoon, March 14, for two packed
Pipas with Pastor Slabbert le Cornu (left)
weeks of ministry in a land with a rich history in the Reformed Faith. Pastor Slabbert le Cornu, whom we met through our 2012 South African graduate Louis Cloete, organized the trip.

The first week, I was very busy. We stayed in Pretoria with a very sweet couple, Andries and Mandi Opperman.  Both of their fathers are pastors in the Reformed Church of South Africa (GKSA). Sunday morning, I preached on 1 Cor. 1:30-31, “The Glory of Grace,” at Rietvallei Reformed church, an English language congregation that belongs to the GKSA. Our friend Brian Wingard is one of the pastors there.  Sunday night, I spoke at an Afrikaner language congregation, Bet-el , after the evening service on “The Confederates and the Slavery Issue.” The GKSA is the mainline Afrikaner denomination, known by some through its university, Potchefstroom. Unfortunately, the denomination is beginning to wrestle with issues like women’s ordination. Some churches already have approved women deacons and some have begun to ordain women elders. We met many godly pastors, as well as many godly laymen and women in that denomination.

Monday, I gave two lectures at the college of the Afrikaner Protestant Church, a smaller Afrikaner denomination that is very committed to Afrikaner language and culture. I lectured first on the biblical basis for seminaries and related that to the work of Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. The second lecture was on the need for piety in the life of the theological professor and student. Sissy and I had a delightful lunch with the members of the faculty.

Monday evening, I delivered a lecture for Juventus , a program to train primary school teachers with a Reformed Worldview. I lectured on “Reformed Theological Training and Education in the 21st Century.”

Tuesday, Slabbert and I left at 5 a.m. to drive to Potchefstroom. Prof. Stoker was our host. I lectured on “The New Covenant Sabbath – Sunday” (see photo left) and “The Place of Children in the Covenant.” It was a great experience to visit this famous Reformed university and divinity school. We arrived back in Pretoria at 10 p.m.

From left, Sissy Pipa, Dr. Sonya Miskin, Dr. Pipa
Wednesday morning, we drove to Mukanyo Theological Seminary. The principle is Dr. Brian Devries, and Dr. Brian Wingard teaches theology there. This school has been developed to minister to black African students and pastors. I preached at their chapel on “Prayer in the Life of the Minister.” We visited Nekela, a clinic for terminally ill AIDS and cancer patients. The clinic is operated by 
Dr. Sonya Miskin (see photo, right), wife of Dr. Aurthur Miskin, who pastors the English-language congregation where we were on Sunday morning. He also teaches at Mukanyo. We also visited THEMBALETHU Christian Community Center (see photo below), an after-school center for orphans. Both the clinic and the center are operated by a nonprofit ministry that also runs the seminary.

Thursday we drove to Randburg (suburb of Johannesburg), where I lectured on “The Holy Spirit and the Unique Power of Preaching” at John Wycliffe Theological Hall. Jim Wright is the principal, and our good friend Dr. Mark Herzer, who is an adjunct professor at GPTS, serves as an adjunct at Wycliffe and was there while we were.

Friday morning, we visited the Afrikaner Memorial, that depicts the Great Trek (Afrikaners migrated north from the Cape Town area to found a Christian state). Friday night, we began a conference at Bet-el congregation. I spoke twice Friday night and three times Saturday morning. I spoke on the “Uniqueness of Reformed Preaching,“ “The Qualifications and Duties of Elders” (addressing as well women in office), “The Spirituality of the Church, Psalm 87” (also critiquing missional strategies), “Church Government and the Marks of the Church,” (with discussion on criteria for leaving a denomination, and “The Law of God and the Sabbath Today.” The messages at Bet-el are on SermonAudio, posted April 16, nos. 1-5.

Saturday afternoon, we drove back to Randburg, where we stayed with Jim and Pat Wright. Jim is the principle of Wycliffe Theological Hall. Sunday morning, I preached on 1 Cor. 1:30-31 on the “Glory of Grace,” at Grace Family Church ( a church plant of the English Reformed Church that operates a college and is pastored by Chester Chummie. Garth and Kate Randall, who work at the college, also aid at the church; and Sunday afternoon I preached on Psalm 100, “The Purpose of Worship,” at a combined service of the church and the college (see photo, right).

The second week, we rested and did some site-seeing. The two most notable things were visiting a Lion Park and touring Soweto, the famed Johannesburg suburb which was the site of violent protests in the 1970s and 1980s in the black struggle against Afrikaner culture and apartheid.

God was very gracious to us; we came away with many new friends and a great love for their country. Sissy and I want to thank all of you who prayed for us, as well as those who gave to the seminary’s mission travel fund.

Financial Report for April 2013

The preliminary tables below show our overall financial condition as of the end of April 2013. For the month of April, contributions totaling $52,824 from churches and individuals were $21,259 below what was budgeted ($74,083). Total income for the month of $59,039 was $35,932 below the budget of $94,971. Expenses for the month were $5,695 above budget ($90,446). 

Deficit net income trends for the past several months have rapidly depleted our hitherto positive position for the fiscal year which ends June 30, and if continued, will jeopardize our financial standing as we close out the fiscal year. Our budget for the last two months anticipates a large annual gift during that period which would improve the outlook. However, your gifts in May and June are urgently needed to help us conclude our 2012-13 fiscal year and carry on our summer program in a fiscally sound manner.  

Remember, gifts to GPTS are tax-deductible and may include cash, securities, property or a variety of planned giving instruments. 

APRIL 2013
Donation Income$52,824
Other Income$6,215
Total Income$59,039
Net Income-$37,477

Donation Income$754,195
Other Income$207,702
Total Income$961,897
Disbursed to Capital Fund$135,000
Net Income-$69,690

Capital Campaign Goal*$3,500,000
Long-term Pledges Outstanding$587,485
Total Received and Pledged$3,845,171
Outstanding Obligations$35,000
Monthly Note$3,327
Remaining Mortgage$691,090

*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.

Attending PCA General Assembly? Join GPTS for Dinner

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.

Confessing Our Hope Podcast: Pipa on Paedocommunion

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

#33 – Paedocommunion 

Dr. Joseph Pipa, president of Greenville Seminary was our guest as we discussed the topic of paedocommunion — children partaking of the Lord's Supper. This discussion is a result of articles that were posted on the ByFaith Online website on the topic, one by Dr. Pipa.

#34 – By Good and Necessary Consequence

Rev. Ryan McGraw was our guest as we discussed his book By Good and Necessary Consequence. Pastor McGraw is pastor of First Orthodox Presbyterian Church, Sunnyvale, Calif.  He is a graduate of Greenville Seminary. He is the author of The Day of Worship: Reassessing the Christian Life in Light of the Sabbath; By Good and Necessary Consequence; and Christ’s Glory, Your Good: Redemption Planned, Promised, Accomplished, and Applied. Pastor McGraw has contributed numerous articles and book reviews to a variety of publications. He is currently pursuing Ph.D. studies at the University of the Free State (Bloemfontein, South Africa) with respect to John Owen’s practical Trinitarian theology in relation to public worship.

#35 – Reflections on Seminary Life

On this broadcast, we welcomed two students who graduated from Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary on May 24 after four years of study. Mr. Joshua Sparkman and Mr. Mike Myers were our guests as we discussed life as seminary students and reflected back over the time spent here at GPTS. This was a very helpful, edifying and challenging discussion from two men who have lived the grueling, yet edifying life as seminarians. Listen in as they share their heart and perspective of the last four years.

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.

New Student Body Officers Elected

The GPTS Student Body Association officers for the next academic year have been chosen. They are:

President: Thomas Van Maanen
Fourth-year Representative: Jeffrey Carter
Third-year Representative: James Norris
Second-year Representative: Adam Harris

The Student Body Association is charged with "supporting, encouraging and strengthening the relationship between the faculty and student body, and promoting unity and piety within the student body." The SBA provides service for a variety of seminary functions, including the annual Spring Theology Conference and various social activities.

GPTS Recommends Youth Worldview Conference

Greenville Seminary is pleased once again to endorse the Biblical Worldview Student Conference (BWSC) held annually at Milligan College near Johnson City, Tenn. This year’s conference will be held June 3-8. Sponsored by Westminster Presbyterian Church in Kingsport, Tenn., the conference is designed to train young men and women for leadership roles in society and the church.


“Christian students know life is more than fun and games,” say conference organizers. “They need and
welcome access to answers to life’s issues through God’s wisdom. Increasingly the favorite sport of many college professors and those speaking loudest in society is to ridicule the Christian faith and its application to all of life. Through the BWSC, Christian young people will be better trained to be discerning, thoughtful, ready and able to handle the intellectual warfare of a culture increasingly hostile to Christianity. God’s Spirit is working to prepare the next generation to use God’s Word toward building God-honoring change in the world.”

Each year, outstanding instructors with the gift of communication challenge students. Their desire is to equip and encourage youth, not only with answers of truth, but a life walk abiding in the Truth, the Lord Jesus Christ. The keynote speaker for this year is Dr. Joel Beeke, who will be speaking on “Living Fully for Christ.” Also speaking is Douglas Bond, author of more than 20 books, including many acclaimed works of historical fiction. Sye Ten Bruggencate is an Christian apologist from Ontario, Canada, who runs the website  www.proofthatgodexists.org and will be lecturing on engaging unbelievers. Dr.Del Bailey will speak on medical ethics. Also on the speaker roster is Matt Bell, associate editor at Sound Mind Investing, a Christian company providing biblical counsel on a range of financial topics and investment advice.

“Students profit through personal interaction with instructors and fellowship with those their own age from across North America,” says Debby Bailey, assistant to the conference director. “Quality friendships are formed that will last a lifetime.”

Get more information about BWSC at www.westminsterkpt.org/bwsc or phone 423-247-7341. E-mail: bwsctn@gmail.com

Attendees: Be sure to visit the GPTS information table during the conference. The sponsoring church, Westminster Presbyterian in Kingsport, is a major supporter of Greenville Seminary.

Banner of Truth Conference to Feature GPTS Speakers

Greenville Seminary Trustee and Adjunct Professor Ian Hamilton of England and alumnus Ryan McGraw of California will be among the speakers at the Banner of Truth U.S. Ministers' Conference May 28-30 in Elizabethtown, Penn.

The conference is a unique gathering of men in ministry or training — pastors, elders, deacons, missionaries, chaplains, seminary students, those considering the ministry — for the purpose of hearing the Word of God preached, and enjoying Christian fellowship with like-minded men, says Patrick Daly, recent GPTS graduate and manager of sales, marketing and operations for the U.S. branch of the Banner of Truth Trust.

The theme for this year's conference is "The Gospel: What It Is and Why It Matters." For more information and a schedule, go here. To download a conference brochure, go here.

Ian Hamilton serves as pastor of Cambridge Presbyterian Church in Cambridge, England. He has ministered the Word in Brazil, South Africa, Morocco, Canada and the United States, and pastored a church in Scotland for 19 years prior to his present work in Cambridge. He is the author of the recently published Banner of Truth title, Let’s Study the Letters of John, and has another Banner book, The Faith Shaped Life, coming out this spring. Pastor Hamilton serves on the boards of Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary and London Theological Seminary. He is a trustee of the Banner of Truth Trust.

Ryan M. McGraw is the pastor of First Orthodox Presbyterian Church in Sunnyvale, Calif., and was formerly the pastor of Grace Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Conway, S.C. He is a graduate of Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary (MDiv and ThM). He is the author of The Day of Worship: Reassessing the Christian Life in Light of the Sabbath; By Good and Necessary Consequence; and Christ's Glory, Your Good: Redemption Planned, Promised, Accomplished, and Applied. Pastor McGraw has contributed numerous articles and book reviews to publications such as Puritan Reformed Journal, The Confessional Presbyterian, Westminster Theological Journal, Banner of Truth, Calvin Theological Journal, Katekōmen (GPTS's online journal), and the Website, meetthepuritans.com. He is currently pursuing Ph.D. studies at the University of the Free State (Bloemfontein, South Africa) with respect to John Owen's practical Trinitarian theology in relation to public worship.