Wednesday, November 6, 2013

God's Works of Providence: the 2014 Spring Theology Conference

Plans are underway for Greenville Seminary's annual Spring Theology Conference to be held March 11-13, 2014, focusing on "God's Works of Providence."

The conference will be held at a new location this year, Grace Baptist Church, Taylors, S.C. The church is located only a few miles from the seminary at 5020 Old Spartanburg Road, Taylors. Grace Baptist has been a friend of the seminary, and Pastor Bob Selph has been an occasional chapel speaker. For many years, the conference has been held at Woodruff Road Presbyterian Church in Simpsonville, S.C. Due to building renovations which will extend into our usual conference dates, WRPC will not be able to host next year's conference.

The roster of speakers has been announced by conference organizers. They include:
  • Dr. Derek Thomas, distinguished visiting professor of systematic and historical theology at Reformed Theological Seminary in Atlanta, Georgia. Topic: "Providence and the 'Middle Knowledge': A Question of 'Now You See It, Now You Don't."
  • Dr. Joel Beeke, president of Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary, Grand Rapids, Mich. Topic: "The Heidelberg Catechism: Its Gripping History and Teaching on Providence." Dr. Beeke will also preach during Tuesday's free public evening service on the subject, "The Definition and Beauty of Providence."
  • Dr. James McGoldrick, professor of church history at GPTS. Topic: "Calling All Christians: Calvin's Doctrine of Vocation."
  • Pastor Benjamin Miller, 2005 GPTS graduate and pastor of Trinity Orthodox Presbyterian Church in Huntington, N.Y. Topic: "Beautiful in Its Time: A Preacher's Journey through the Mists of Providence."
  • Dr. James N. Anderson, associate professor of Theology and Philosophy, Reformed Theological Seminary–Charlotte. Topic: "Calvinism & the Origin of Sin"
  • Dr. Joseph A. Pipa Jr., president of Greenville Seminary. Topic: "The Devil Made Me Do It." Dr. Pipa will also speak during the Wednesday evening free public service topic: "Providence or Fatalism." 
  • Dr. Benjamin Shaw, associate professor of Old Testament and Hebrew at GPTS. Topic: "Just a Lot of Noise: Providence and the Problem of Evil."

Watch the seminary's web site at for information about registering for this exciting conference. The cost will be $80 per person, spouses $35, and youths over age 12 for $20. GPTS graduates may attend for $55. These are "early bird" prices; later registrations will be higher. Online registration will be available beginning the first week of December. The early-bird rate deadline is Friday, January 31st.

Due to the change of location, it is anticipated that only one official meal will be available during the conference period, the Wednesday night barbecue dinner. Conference guests will be responsible for other meals.

Two evening sessions will again be open to the public to attend free of charge. The Tuesday and Wednesday evening services will also be streamed live on Listeners may click on the red "Live Webcast" icon near the top of the page at 7:00 p.m. (Eastern time) each day.

Conference-goers are invited to attend a pre-conference chapel service led by Dr. Pipa at the seminary at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, March 11.

Giving Thanks for God's Deliverance and Eternal Goodness

By Garry J. Moes
Director of Development & Recruiting

I have always been intrigued by Psalm 107 because of the unique way it admonishes all people to give thanks to the Lord and because of the simple rationale it uses for doing so. The psalmist tells four mini-stories about certain groups of people who find themselves in dire circumstances, who then cry out to God for deliverance, and who thereafter receive relief from God. The groups include the lost in general, rebellious prisoners, fools suffering physical distress because of their folly, and hard-working folks engaged in commerce yet threatened by their sea-going environment and circumstances.

In each case, following their deliverance, they are told to give thanks to the Lord because 1) He is good, and 2) His love is steadfast and eternal toward those who call upon His name. Verses 35-38 wax eloquent concerning the extent of God’s goodness and provision, reversing earlier curses for sinfulness:
He turns a desert into pools of water, a parched land into springs of water.
And there he lets the hungry dwell, and they establish a city to live in;
they sow fields and plant vineyards  and get a fruitful yield.
By his blessing they multiply greatly, and he does not let their livestock diminish.
During this Thanksgiving season and as we come to the close of another year, these verses resonate with special meaning as we contemplate the Lord’s provisions during 2013. Perhaps your circumstances during this year have been filled with trials and distresses. Perhaps this has been a year of restoration or continued blessing beyond your expectations or deserving.

We at Greenville Seminary have experienced times of both trial and blessing. We lost Trustee Doug Clark and several good friends and supporters unto death. We have also been overwhelmed at times by the generosity and godly praises of others. Our student body has grown; faculty changes have occurred; one of our co-founders and beloved professors Morton Smith is retiring; and more and more churchmen are seeing us as a bastion of biblical commitment in the face of growing drift in the church. These are but a few of the noteworthy factors of life at GPTS this year.

We may never be a wealthy or well-endowed institution. But we consider ourselves greatly blessed and privileged to have been called by God to raise up new generations of faithful preachers and Kingdom workers. And we have been doubly blessed by having the support of Christians who feel as strongly as we do about standing firm on the Word of God and the historic faith. We ask you to uphold us in prayers of intercession and thanksgiving.
“Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever! Let the redeemed of the Lord say so…” (Psalm 107:1-2).

Financial Report for October 2013

The tables below show our overall financial condition as of the end of October. Donations of $100,433 from churches and individuals were $38,960 above the $61,473 October budget for these types of unrestricted contributions. Expenses of $86,800 were $1,202 below the $88,002 budgeted for expenses. We praise God and thank His people for one of the best outpourings of support for any October. 

November and December are traditionally the months for our annual Thanksgiving and Year-end financial outreach. This year our goal is $165,000. We depend on God's people and faithful churches for a major portion of our yearly income during these two months. We seek, D.V., to replenish our reserve fund which is vital to easing seasonal cash flow fluctuations. Furthermore, funds are needed future faculty additions. Finally, we encourage churches at this time of year to consider keeping or adding GPTS to their external giving budgets for 2014.

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)$100,433
Other Income$6,782
Total Income$107,215
Net Income$20,415

Donation Income$249,914
Other Income$94,521
Total Income$344,435
Net Income$5,531

Capital Campaign Goal*$3,500,000
Long-term Pledges Outstanding$571,008
Total Received and Pledged$3,840,377
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. 

Morton Smith Banquet Reservations Now Open

Reservations are now being accepted for a banquet and celebration in honor of Dr. Morton H. Smith, professor of systematic theology (emeritus) 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.

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 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 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.

Campus Life at GPTS

Greenville Seminary, founded in 1987, is blessed with a beautiful and functional facility in Taylors, a residential suburb of Greenville, South Carolina. The seminary's quiet and gracious home, opened in 2007, is on the campus of a once-abandoned public high school on Taylors's Main Street. In this brick and colonnaded home, Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary seeks to realize our founders' vision to see an institution that focused on the historic Reformed faith without forcing men to incur debt in the process. The first is accomplished through our distinctives, the second through our tuition program.

Welcome to GPTS: The Entry Foyer
Greenville Seminary is set apart by both curriculum and style. We are committed to upholding the authority of Scripture and doctrinal integrity as embodied in the Westminster Confession of Faith. In addition to a strong focus on the original languages of Scripture, we also stress Christ-centered preaching and the preservation of our Christian heritage. We accomplish these goals by offering a classical curriculum (to form a strong learning foundation), an emphasis on preaching style and intense theological courses. The Board of Trustees has also set a cap on the number of resident students so that instructors can have a personalized mentoring relationship with future ministers.

While GPTS offers a state-of-the-art mentored distance learning program which is a benefit to students from around the nation and the world who cannot move to Greenville, we encourage on-campus studies as an even greater benefit for personal interaction with faculty, fellow students, and the overall GPTS community.

Class with Dr. George W. Knight III
earlier this year

Student Conduct

Students at Greenville Seminary are expected to conduct themselves at all times as mature Christians. The seminary believes the Westminster Standards are a sound exposition of the biblical principles of conduct as well as of faith and doctrine. The Seminary reserves the right to refuse or dismiss students whose conduct fails to meet the ethical principles set forth in the Bible and the Standards. Admission to Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary as a degree candidate assumes the desire on the part of the student to learn the Reformed Faith as understood by the Seminary.


Since the Seminary has very few housing facilities, students are responsible for arranging their own housing. A number of apartments and affordable homes in the Greenville area are within a reasonable driving distance from the Seminary. As far as is possible, the Seminary office will provide information about housing opportunities. More information on housing in the Greenville area is available here.


Chapel is held Tuesday through Thursday each week during the semester. On Tuesdays, ministers from many of the excellent area churches preach, providing students with edifying teaching from the Word of God and examples of quality preaching. On Wednesdays, seminary President Dr. Joseph A. Pipa Jr., generally preaches on-going series from books of the Bible or topical themes. Occasionally on Wednesdays, we hold mission-oriented chapels, followed by missionary presentations over pizza. Wednesdays are a favorite day for student families to attend (candy for the kids), along with visitors from the community. On Thursday, a faculty member or advanced student preaches. Attendance is required for all students, unless excused for valid reason.

Presbyterian Bookshop

Bookstore & Library

The Seminary operates a small campus bookstore and is able to make available most textbooks to the students.

The Smith-Singer Library

The Smith-Singer Library houses a select collection of materials, including approximately 7,000 volumes, that will meet most of the student’s academic needs. In addition, a local university library, 10 minutes away from campus and with approximately 300,000 volumes, has extended full lending privileges (including access to Interlibrary Loan) to GPTS students. The Department of History of the Presbyterian Church (USA), Montreat, North Carolina, is approximately two hours from the seminary and houses a large collection of books, periodicals, and manuscripts relating to Presbyterian history. Those interested in historical research are encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity. The South Caroliniana Library in Columbia, S.C. is 1½ hours from Greenville. Housed in its collection are several manuscripts related to the study of J.H. Thornwell and South Carolina and American Presbyterian history.

Computer Use

Students are encouraged to obtain a computer for use during their seminary career. Laptops are welcome in classrooms. Research computers are also available in the Library. We encourage students to have an active email account to facilitate Seminary/student communications. Our information technology staff provides advice and help with acquiring, installing and using the latest Bible-study software.

Chinese student Xing Liu and his
family take membership vows and
children receive baptism at
Fellowship Presbyterian Church
The Church Community

One of the most frequent questions asked is, “What are the churches like there?” Greenville is blessed to have over 20 Reformed and Presbyterian churches in the Upstate area. This provides good opportunities for our faculty and students to worship, serve, and be involved. These local churches provide a vital backbone to support our students during their stay at Greenville Seminary.

Prayer groups

The students meet in groups once a week for a time of prayer with their student advisers. Our desire is to minister to one another and to encourage students and graduates to be men of prayer.

Student Body Association

As a member of the student body, you automatically become a member of the Student Body Association. The Association gives you the opportunity to serve the seminary and your fellow students. If you are elected to an office, you will also have the opportunity to exercise and develop leadership skills.

Seminary Ladies Fellowship

This group for GPTS women fills the need for a prospective pastor's wife to be prepared for life after her husband's graduation. The seminary wives have created a four-year curriculum that is presented by those who share their experience, insights, and biblical perspective for equipping our seminary wives for their future roles. If you are married, your wife will be thrilled with this group. The Ladies Fellowship is also open to female students, staffers and other women associated with the seminary.
The Association gives you the opportunity to serve the seminary and your fellow students. If you are elected to an office, you will also have the opportunity to exercise and develop leadership skills.

More Campus Life Photos

The leaning continues outside the classroom
Ice cream day

Volunteers Sylvia George and Vicky Moody working 
on library projects in the Bookshop/Reception area
The Board Room with church publication archives

President's Office anteroom

Annual Fall Picnic
New students dinner, Fall 2013

Volunteer Karlinda Moes staffs the reception desk

Urgent Rescue Request

EDITOR'S NOTE: Due to the critical sensitivity of the following request and the attendant circumstances, we are not able to share identities or location details of the individuals involved. Please be in prayer for this family.

UPDATE 11/13/13: Since the report below was filed, the amount needed for obtaining and processing documents has been raised. Additional funds are still needed to provide for travel and living expenses.

The refugee family of an international student currently studying at GPTS recently escaped from their native country to begin a dangerous multistage journey to the United States to be reunited with their husband/father. The family remains in considerable danger of capture or abduction in their current temporary location, but need $15,000 to be able to proceed to the next stage of their journey. Funds received for this purpose are being administered by the diaconate of a North American Presbyterian and Reformed Council member church.

If you are able to provide funds for this need, send your gift to Greenville Seminary, PO Box 690, Taylors SC 29687. Mark your gift for "Z.A."

* * * * *

Sunday, Nov. 10 is the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. Believers in countries such as Egypt, Eritrea, India, Iran, Nigeria, Pakistan and Vietnam face violence, imprisonment and even death because of their faith in Jesus Christ. There are other places in the world such as North Korea where acts of persecution take place, but we don’t see or hear of it. IDOP is a time set apart for us to remember thousands of our Christian brothers and sisters around the world who suffer persecution, simply because they confess Jesus Christ as Lord.

Confessing Our Hope Podcast

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:

#46 The Reformed Presbyterian Church in North America and Sexual Orientation

On this broadcast, we sat down with Howard Huizing and Ken Smith, who were on the committee of the RPCNA that discussed and drafted the Contemporary Issues on Sexual Orientation report for the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America. This was a very important discussion given the impact of this issue on the church today. In this discussion we covered the bulk of this report including the all important section regarding “pastoral implications.” The report can be purchased here: The Gospel and Sexual Orientation

#47 – The Angel of the Reformation

For this program, we interviewed Tom Ertl, president of Zurich Publishing, on this book: Pierre Viret: The Angel of the Reformation. This was an excellent discussion about a man who is not as well-known as Calvin and Luther (and others). Yet, Viret was very influential in the life John Calvin. The book's author, R.A. Sheats, resides in Florida. She is currently engaged in the translation of Pierre Viret’s original works from 16th century.

#48 – ARP General Synod Report

Our guest for this broadcast was GPTS Board Chairman Jeff Kingswood, moderator of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church General Synod. We discussed news and events related to the ARP, particularly items considered at the 2013 General Synod. Mr. Kingswood is the pastor of Grace Presbyterian Church in Woodstock, Ontario.

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.

  • Ask God to bless and guide our Board of Trustees as they hold their annual fall meeting Nov. 14.
  • Pray that God will abundantly bless our year-end financial outreach and to bless and prosper all those who may be led to give in support of this work in God's Kingdom.
  • Thank the Lord that all of our 2013 graduates have now found positions of ministry.
  • Praise God that the family of a resident foreign student has been able to exit difficult circumstances in their native country. Ask God to intervene in their efforts to obtain new travel documents and funds to continue their complicated journey to the United States. Give high praise to God for the unconditional release from prison of another family member still in the native country.
  • Pray that God would guide us as plans get underway for our 2014 Spring Theology Conference.
  • Remember GPTS custodian John Jolly in prayer as he continues to struggle with knew pain.
  • 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. Remember Development Director Garry Moes through his ongoing treatments for prostate cancer, which are proving successful to date.