Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Banquet to Honor Dr. Morton Smith

Dr. Morton H. Smith, professor of systematic theology (emeritus), will be honored for his service to Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary and the church of Christ at a banquet and celebration to be held on March 10, 2014.

The seminary community is cordially invited to attend this celebration to be held on the eve of our annual Spring Theology Conference (March 11-13). The event will be held in the elegant Poinsett Ballroom at the historic Westin Poinsett Hotel, 120 S. Main St., in downtown Greenville, S.C. Speaker and entertainment will be announced in the near future. See the menu and other details here.

The banquet will also serve as the kick-off for a campaign to raise funds to endow a new Morton H. Smith Chair in Systematic Theology at Greenville Seminary. A special web site has been created to detail the Smith Chair and to publish tributes to this servant of God. A book of tributes will be published for the occasion. Friends, acquaintances, colleagues, students and especially alumni of Dr. Smith's classes are encouraged to submit tributes and remembrances to Development Director Garry Moes at gmoes@gpts.edu by Nov. 15.

To make a reservation to attend the March 10 banquet, complete the form here. The cost is $40 per person. To pay for your reservations, use the options listed on this page of the special web site. You may also choose to be a table sponsor for a contribution of $600. Indicate on the reservation form if you with to sponsor a table for 10 of your guests or for guests chosen by the seminary. Table sponsors will be acknowledged; this is a good opportunity for advertising your business or organization.

Plans are underway for a silent auction to be held in conjunction with the banquet. If you wish to donate a high quality item to be sold during the auction, please contact Garry Moes at gmoes@gpts.edu or 864-322-2717 ext. 319. Quality artwork and crafts, jewelry, rare collectibles, travel and vacation opportunities, quality books, special gift baskets, and similar items are sought. (No discards or rummage sale items please.) Visit local merchants to request donations. Anyone interested in serving as auction coordinator should contact Mr. Moes.

Dr. Smith, who turns 90 in December, is a co-founder of Greenville Seminary and a recognized authority on Southern Presbyterian history and doctrine. Dr. Smith has taught Biblical and Systematic theology at the college and seminary level for nearly 60 years. He was instrumental in the founding of the Presbyterian Church in America and served that denomination as stated clerk for 15 years. He was moderator of the PCA General Assembly in 2000. In 1966, he was instrumental in the founding of Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, Miss., and in 1987 he joined others in creating Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, where he served as dean of faculty until 1998. He served as pastor in Maryland in the mid-1950's and later taught at Belhaven College, Reformed Theological Institute, Reformed Theological Seminary, Westminster Theological Seminary and Covenant Theological Seminary. He was a long-time pilot and served as a flight instructor during World War II.

The GPTS Board of Trustees recently announced the retirement of Dr. Smith from active teaching, although he continues to teach one course, Introduction to Reformed Theology, during the current fall semester.

Creation of the Morton H. Smith Chair in Systematic Theology will be part of Greenville Seminary’s faculty support and development program. To ensure that Greenville Seminary continues to offer strong academic programs, we seek to honor our distinguished teacher/scholars' commitment to dedicate their lives to the service of Christ in this institution.

Endowed academic chairs are important tools for recognizing and rewarding outstanding teaching, scholarship, and service to the seminary. Our Systematic Theology Program is a vital and fundamental component of our Divinity and Master of Arts studies. For this reason, the seminary is committed to ensuring that the finest theologians and scholars available serve in this discipline and are compensated commensurately.

GPTS Commended for Six-Day Creation Stance

Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, along with Mid-America Reformed Seminary, has been cited for commendation by iconic Presbyterian minister and author G.I. Williamson for its strong stand in defense of the historic interpretation of the six-day creation account of Genesis 1 and 2.

Writing in The Aquila Report, Williamson, a retired minister of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, said that Presbyterian and Reformed churches have "lost credibility" concerning the authority of scripture by abandoning the historic view and seeking to accommodate ever-changing modern scientific views.

"We still say we believe every word of the Bible including what it says about creation. We also say that we subscribe to the Westminster Standards. But the truth is that we are no longer united in what we mean when we say this. And it is my conviction that this has seriously weakened our testimony to unbelievers," Williamson said.

He said many in Presbyterian and Reformed circles are regrettably seeking respectability among "intellectuals" and "scientific people" by tolerating "day-age," "analogical," and "framework" interpretations of creation and have gone so far as ridicule those who seek to uphold and defend a literal reading of the six-day creation account.

Williamson laid much of the blame for the departure at the feet of Reformed seminaries.

"I have thought for some time that it is a pity that our Reformed Seminaries are failing to extricate us from the effects of the mistaken concession made by some truly great men in recent history, but I’m also heartened to see a clear stand being taken for six-day creation at Mid-America Reformed Seminary — and even more since the Greenville Presbyterian Seminary has been willing to openly state its rejection of the concession of faith which has produced such bitter fruit."

The GPTS faculty is perhaps unique in having created and published a formal statement of allegiance to the historic, literal view of creation.

The statement, "6 Days are 6 Days," says that members of the GPTS faculty share "the exegesis of the Westminster divines that led them to affirm that God created all things 'in the space of six days' by the word of his power. We also believe that this clear meaning of confessional language should be taught in our churches and pulpits, and that departures from it should be properly safeguarded."

Williamson said, "I am more and more convinced that what seminary professors, pastors, and elders need today is a good dose of Job and Ecclesiastes, because (if they did have that) they would again be able to teach and defend what the Westminster Standards say about creation. The Standards say God 'created all things of nothing, by the word of his power, in the space of six days, and all very good.' But in spite of some ‘fancy footwork’ by adherents of these different views, what our standards clearly say is no longer what we really believe and uphold in all our Orthodox Presbyterian Churches and Presbyterian Church in America congregations. And I think the reason is that too many who profess adherence to the Westminster Standards have been seduced by the cultural consensus which says modern scientific people now know better than our Reformation fathers. They think modern science has now made that part of our Reformation creed (taken in its obvious sense) obsolete. I believe they need to consider is what God said to Job many centuries ago.

"Job [was] asked in 11:7, 'Can you find out the deep things of God? Can you find out the limit of the Almighty? It is higher than heaven—what can you do? Deeper than Sheol—what can you know?

"And again in 38:4,'Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements—surely you know!

"I take the last three words to be sarcastic! And the sarcasm was well deserved. We see this from the response of Job who was deservedly chastened!

"42:1-6: 'Then Job answered the Lord and said: "I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted. 'Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?' Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. 'Hear, and I will speak; I will question you, and you make it known to me.' I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes."'

"What Job needed to learn was the infinite difference between man (the mere creature) and his creator. And that being true it will never be the case that man knows enough to dispute what God says about his own work of creation. As wise Solomon said, God 'made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end' (Eccles. 3:11)."

Read full article.

Financial Report for September 2013

The tables below show our overall financial condition as of the end of September. Donations of $52,193 from churches and individuals were $9,280 below the $61,473 September budget for these types of unrestricted contributions. Expenses of $88,605 were $603 above the $88,002 budgeted for expenses. For the first quarter of our current fiscal year (July-September), unrestricted contributions fell $43,884 short of budgeted expectations.

We are grateful to the many who responded generously to last month's call for support. You made an absolute difference in our ability to carry on. We are so impressed by how God guides His people to provide for the advancement of His Kingdom's work, growing and edifying the church of Christ. As we meet people from around the country, it is increasingly apparent that Greenville Seminary is filling a vacuum for those who long for a return to solidly biblical and confessional theological education. If we cannot fill this need due to lack of resources, few will remain who can. You can make a difference for the future of the church by being our partners in what God has called us to do.

Remember, gifts to GPTS are tax-deductible and may include cash, securities, property or a variety of planned giving instruments. SENIORS PLEASE NOTE information about IRA Charitable Rollovers in 2013, as explained here.

Donation Income (unrestricted)$52,193
Other Income$19,697
Total Income$71,890
Net Income–$16,715

Donation Income$140,535
Other Income$76,489
Total Income$217,024
Net Income–$44,826

Capital Campaign Goal*$3,500,000
Long-term Pledges Outstanding$571,172
Total Received and Pledged$3,839,642
Outstanding Obligations$35,000
Monthly Interest Payment$3,350
Remaining Mortgage$691,442

*Although the formal fund-raising campaign goal has been more than realized when combining receipts to date with pledges outstanding, 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. Gifts may also be mailed to: Greenville Seminary, PO Box 690, Taylors SC 29687. Whether or not you can contribute financially, here is another way you can help the seminary: Spread the Word! Do you know someone that would be interested in learning more about our organization or supporting us? If so, share a link to this newsletter or our website. Thank you for your continued support for Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. 

Save the Dates: The 2014 Spring Theology Conference

Confessing Our Hope: New Broadcasts on Homosexuality, Family Worship and the OPC General Assembly

Listen to the GPTS Web-based radio broadcasts, with new interviews by host William Hill periodically! Read more about this broadcast ministry at the Confession Our Home web site. New programs are now available for listening or download. Among them:

#41 The OPC General Assembly Report

On this broadcast we sat down with Rev. Jonathan Holst to discuss the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, her most recent General Assembly and other related items.

#42 – A Neglected Grace

Our guest this week was Rev. Jason Helopoulos, as we discussed his book A Neglected Grace: Family Worship in the Christian Home.  This was an outstanding and edifying conversation on a subject of great importance. From the publisher: "Whether your home includes a single mother with her children, three generations of a family, the immediate family and Uncle Bob, who is living in the spare room, or the traditional mother, father, and 2.5 kids, it is our joyful responsibility to lead our home in worshiping the Lord. In the history of the church, family worship has been one of the Christian family’s strongest characteristics. In the last century, however, this great tradition of the faith is vanishing. In A Neglected Grace Pastor Jason Helopoulos graciously calls church leaders and individual members to reclaim the practice of family worship as a glorious expression of our Christian faith. This indispensable means of grace directs our families to seek and enjoy the love and beauty of Christ daily."

#43 – Love into Light

On this broadcast we sat down with Rev. Peter Hubbard as we discussed his book Love Into Light: The Gospel, The Homosexual and the ChurchFrom Amazon: "Homosexuality is one of most controversial moral issues of our day. Headlines teem with stories of athletes 'coming out,' politicians changing positions and courts handing down same-sex marriage rulings. Sadly the church has often been afraid to talk about homosexuality. Many Christians feel confused and divided between the call to love and the call for truth. And many who struggle with unwanted same-sex attraction feel alone and alienated by the church. The time is ripe for God’s people to think and speak about same-sex attraction in a way that is both biblical and beneficial. We must reject our fears and misunderstandings and see ourselves together in need of the grace of Jesus. Love Into Light is designed to move the church toward that end. Written from the heart of a pastor with a love for people and a sensitivity to our culture, Love Into Light is your next step toward becoming more faithfully and helpfully engaged with people in your families, in your church and in your neighborhood."

#44 – Faith and Practice #3

This is the third edition of our new feature in which Greenville Seminary President Dr. Joseph A. Pipa Jr. answers listeners' questions.

#45 – Engaging with Keller

We welcome Dr. William Schweitzer, editor of the book Engaging With Keller: Thinking Through the Theology of an Influential Evangelical. This is a very important discussion for the church today due to the giant influence of Pastor Tim Keller on a large number of Christians.

A Note of Thankgiving

The seminary has received the following message from GPTS Board Chairman Jeff Kingswood and his wife Joan, whose 15-year-old son Philip was badly burned in a kitchen fire at his grandfather's house August 25 in Ontario.

Joan and I would like to thank all of you for your prayers and expressions of concern over the last five weeks. We are pleased to report that Philip is doing very well. Later today (Oct. 1) he is having his final fitting for the pressure garments which he will have to wear for the next year or so to ensure that the grafts heal properly. He is back to his schooling and hopes to start his piano lessons again this week. His swim team activities will have to wait just a little longer. The doctors have expressed delight in the speed and quality of Philip's healing, and we rejoice to give glory to God for answered prayer.
Yours in Christ, 
Jeff Kingswood 

Thomas Hawkins Called to Glory

Greenville Seminary extends condolences to the family of long-time supporter Thomas E. Hawkins of Lexington, N.C., who passed away at the age of 74 on Sunday, September 29. Mr. Hawkins, who had been in declining health for about a year, is survived by his wife Joyce and two sons, David Hawkins and Dr. Thomas A. Hawkins. "The Lord was very gracious to us in the manner of his passing, the circumstances, etc.," Mrs. Hawkins related in a message to the seminary.

Thomas and Joyce have faithfully and generously supported Greenville Seminary for the past 10 years, for which we are most grateful. Pray that God will be a comfort and source of encouragement to Joyce and her family. The family suggests that memorial gifts be given to Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, PO Box 690, Taylors SC 29687. Donations may also be given electronically from the seminary's web site. Go HERE.

Pray with Us

"The power of prayer is not resident in the prayer itself or in those praying, but in the eternal purpose of God that incorporates our prayer for His ends. Prayer does work, not as an outside influence but in purposed congruence in God's eternal plan." — Stanley D. Gale, in byFaith.

  • Pray for a new outpouring of contributions to support the seminary financially this month.
  • Ask God for provide financial and other resources for some prospective students from Africa and China who desire to study at GPTS.
  • Praise God that the family of a resident foreign student has been able to exit difficult circumstances in their native country and are making their complex way to further freedom with hopes of reuniting in the United States.
  • Remember GPTS custodian John Jolly in prayer as he recovers from knee surgery last month. Thank God for the excellent progress that has been made and that John has been able to return to limited work at the seminary.
  • Pray for longtime GPTS supporter Jean Coleman as she struggles with facial cancer. Please pray with us that God would continue to provide her with the grace and strength she has reflected so well so far.
  • Ongoing requests: Please continue in prayer for Betty McGoldrick, wife of Professor James McGoldrick, as she continues to deal with her pain and disabilities. Pray also for Dr. Doug Anderson, husband of Administrative Assistant Gail Anderson, as he continues to deal with multiple sclerosis.

Faculty Speaking Engagements

October 9 — Dr. Pipa, Patrick Henry College, Purcellville, Va.

October 11-13 — Dr. Shaw, 3rd Annual Charleston Reformed Theology Conference at Church Creek PCA, Charleston, S.C.

October 17 — Dr. Pipa, Reformation Bible College, Sanford, Fla.

Oct. 20 and 27 — Dr. Pipa, Grace Presbyterian Church (PCA), Douglasville, Ga.

Ongoing — Dr. McGoldrick, available for preaching.

Help Build the GPTS Library

Would you like to buy a book to help grow the GPTS Smith-Singer Library? Here are some suggested titles:

A Book Note from Ryan M. McGraw

Katekōmen's chief book reviewer Ryan M. McGraw, a member of the Greenville Seminary adjunct faculty, has sent the following note concerning his own recent book, The Day of Worship.

"I just learned that my book on the Sabbath (The Day of Worship) has gone into a second printing. I rejoice and thank the Holy Spirit for the extent to which he has blessed this work already. I wrote this book because the Sabbath is a great weak point in modern Christianity. Sabbath breaking is indicative of far greater and more fundamental deficiencies in our Christian lives. Put more positively, God has designed the Sabbath to stretch our spiritual muscles, to make us long for heaven more fervently, to practice self-denial, to flee worldliness, and to better equip us to keep all of the rest of God's commandments. The Lord's Day is one of the best means in the Christian life to help us focus on the central realities of the life, death, and, especially the resurrection of Christ. It declares the Father's love to  us openly and it is to our spiritual detriment that our worldly employments and recreations have so come to dominate our lives that we refuse to suffer persecution for Christ's sake by honoring his holy day.

"I believe that the triune God blessed the writing of this book beyond my natural abilities. I praise him for using it thus far. I have prayed, and I still pray, that the Lord would use this book as one means among many to bring true revival to his church. Since RHB does not indicate or advertise when a book has been reprinted, there is a link to the book below. If this issue is dear to your heart, then please pray for the book and tell others about it."