Monday, January 6, 2014

Register Now for the GPTS Annual Spring Conference

January 31st cut-off for Early-bird rates.

The deadline for "Early Bird" registrations for Greenville Seminary's annual Spring Theology Conference is just days away. Do not miss this opportunity to save on admission to the conference to be held March 11-13, 2014, focusing on "God's Works of Providence." A distinguished roster of speakers has been compiled for this conference focusing on the Christian's assurance that all things are under the control of a loving, provident God. Click here to register now!

The conference will be held at a new location, Grace Baptist Church, Taylors, S.C. The church is located only a few miles from the seminary at 5020 Old Spartanburg Road, Taylors. 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 the 2014 conference.

View a conference brochure here.

The roster of speakers includes:
  • 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."
  • 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. James McGoldrick, professor of church history at GPTS. Topic: "Calling All Christians: Calvin's Doctrine of Vocation."
  • Dr. Benjamin Shaw, associate professor of Old Testament and Hebrew at GPTS. Topic: "Just a Lot of Noise: Providence and the Problem of Evil."

Visit 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. The early-bird rate deadline is Friday, January 31st.

JUST ANNOUNCED: Conference goers also have a special opportunity to hear two pre-conference lectures by Dr. O. Palmer Robertson on Tuesday morning (Mar. 11) at the seminary. Dr. Robertson will deliver both lectures on the subject of "The Flow of the Psalms." Lecture times: 9 a.m. and 11:15 a.m. The lectures which will be held in a second-floor classroom at the seminary, 200 E. Main St., Taylors, S.C.

Another major event associated with the conference is a gala banquet to be held on the eve of the conference, Monday, March 10, commemorating the retirement and 90th birthday of GPTS co-founder Dr. Morton H. Smith. Dr. Robertson will be speaking at that event as well. A silent auction will also be held at the banquet. Check out the items which have been donated so far.

Due to the change of conference location, it is anticipated that only one official meal will be available during the conference period, the Wednesday night barbecue dinner to be held in the Seminary Commons, 200 E. Main St., Taylors, S.C. 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.

Year-end Financial Report

Greenville Seminary closed out the first half of its 2013-2014 fiscal year on December 31st with a wonderful outpouring of support from our faithful contributors. The November-December 2013 year-end financial outreach raised nearly $132,000, some $33,000 short of our goal of $165,000, but still a noteworthy show of support. We deeply appreciate all who gave generously and sacrificially to help assure that the ministry of this unique theological school will go forward in 2014. Your gift this month will help us realize the year-end goal of $165,000 needed to see us through the often fiscally austere winter months.

General fund contributions from individuals and churches for calendar year 2013 totaled $1,061,874, compared with $1,060,879 during 2012. The 2013 donations were $108,175 above the $953,699 we had budgeted for that source of income during 2013. Income from all sources totaled $1,313,259 in 2013, compared with $1,322,923 in 2012. As can be seen, GPTS depends on contributions for the vast majority of our operating needs.

The tables below show our overall financial condition for the current fiscal year as of the end of December 2013. (These are preliminary numbers which are likely to increase as December postmarked contributions are received. Tables will be updated accordingly.) Unrestricted general fund donations in December of $119,740 from churches and individuals were $58,267 above the $61,473 December budget for these types of unrestricted contributions. Expenses of $92,322 were $4,320 above the $88,002 budgeted for expenses. (The seminary's current fiscal year runs from July 1, 2013 through June 30, 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 hereSee here for information about planning your last will and testament with the Kingdom of God in mind.

Donation Income (unrestricted)$119,740
Other Income$14,975
Total Income$134,715
Net Income$42,393

Donation Income$393,861
Other Income$126,310
Total Income$520,171
Net Income$11,116

Capital Campaign Goal*$3,500,000
Long-term Pledges Outstanding$570,531
Total Received and Pledged$3,843,600
Outstanding Obligations$35,000
Monthly Interest Payment$3,560
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

Propædeutic (proʊ pɪˈdyu tɪk), adj., n.

Don't know what propædeutic means? Many incoming seminarians don't either.

That's why Greenville Seminary has an introductory year of study dedicated to it.

Propædeutic (often plural in its noun usage: propædeutics, from Greek, propaideuein, to teach in advance) refers to preparatory instruction basic to further study of an art or science.

A seminary education at many institutions is a three-year affair. At GPTS, our complete program is normally a four-year undertaking. The reason is our Propædeutic or Foundations year. We take basics seriously.

As explained on our web site: "Recognizing that fewer men who graduate from college or university are prepared for a classical seminary education, we have introduced our Propædeutic, or Foundations, year. During this year, in addition to the Bible Survey courses, Introduction to Reformed Theology, and the beginning Greek and Hebrew courses, we teach Logic, Rhetoric, and the History of Philosophy. These courses enable men to profit more fully from the remainder of our curriculum. They also train our students to be more careful thinkers and articulate speakers."

There once was a time when an undergraduate education routinely included the classic liberal arts courses, Academic Dean Dr. Benjamin Shaw has noted. Many college or university programs no longer do so. Because of our strong emphasis on learning to use the original languages of Scripture, on church and theological history, and on the art of preaching, GPTS believes a foundation of classical knowledge and skills in philosophy, logic, rhetoric (the art of persuasion through effective and grammatically correct writing and oratory) is essential to the proper training of effective ministers. Experience has shown, even here at GPTS, that many incoming graduate students exhibit substantial deficiencies in clear, coherent and cogent communications. Without these skills, students may struggle later in their homiletic studies and practicum, for example.

As our web site and catalog further explain our distinctive emphasis on languages: "It is important for the Church to have ministers who have sufficient knowledge of the original languages in which the Scripture was written to be able to interpret the Word properly. A sad trend in modern seminary education is the decline of in-depth teaching of the original languages.

"GPTS emphasizes the importance of the languages, and keeps the student in these languages throughout their theological education. We believe this will be a blessing to the Church as men enter the pulpit with the authority that comes from having dealt with the text in the original language."

A further distinctive of traditional education at GPTS is our curricula aimed at preservation of our Christian heritage.

"Today’s society tends to de-emphasize history and considers the present as the only thing that is important. Even in theological education there has been a decline in emphasis on church history and historical theology. The GPTS curriculum emphasizes both the history of the Church, and the theological development of the Church. We do this because Christianity is based upon historical facts and the proper interpretation of those facts."

GPTS recognizes, nevertheless, that some students do come to seminary with a reasonable or substantial background in the classic disciplines. Such students may be given an opportunity, through evidence in their undergraduate transcripts, testing or other demonstration, to waive some or all of our propædeutic courses, thus shortening their time in pursuit of their M.Div. degree.

Questions? Contact Dr. Shaw ( or Registrar Kathleen Curto (

Winter Term Underway

Student William Hill (left) and volunteer chaplain Tom Ellis
 participated in the 2013 Presbyterian Church History tour.
The 2014 GPTS Winter Term began Jan. 6 and runs through Jan. 24, with 47 students registered for on-campus courses. Five courses are being offered during this term:
  • HT10 – Presbyterian Church History, Jan. 6-17, taught by Dr. C.N. Willborn. This course includes a two-day historical tour in Columbia and Charleston, S.C.
  • AT20 – Introduction to Homilectics, Jan. 7-10, taught by Dr. Joseph A. Pipa, Jr.
  • AT30 – Reformed Worship, Jan. 14-17, taught by Dr. Pipa.
  • OT32 – Old Testament Biblical Theology, Jan. 6-10, taught by Dr. Michael Morales.
  • AT40 – Reformed Pastor, Jan. 8-10 & 13-15, taught by Rev. William Shishko. 
"Reading week" and exams will take place Jan. 20-24.

We welcome many of our distance-learning students to campus during the winter term. The intensive schedule of classes provides these students an opportunity to satisfy part of the requirement for long-distance students to spend an equivalent of one year on campus.

Spring Semester classes begin on January 28. As of the date of this publication, 61 students were registered for the Spring Semester, with some additions possible before classes begin.

Students and other participants listen to Dr. Nick Willborn unfold
history at the old Columbia Seminary during the 2013 class tour.

Benefit Banquet to Honor Dr. Morton H. Smith

Reservations are now being accepted for a banquet celebration of Dr. Morton H. Smith to be held March 10 on the eve of Greenville Seminary's annual Spring Theology Conference. 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. (See the menu and other details here.)

A silent auction will be held to benefit the new Morton H. Smith Chair in Systematic Theology. A number of items have already been donated, including some exquisite diamond jewelry and some historic books. To preview the auction items donated so far, go here. To donate an item, fill our the form here.

Veteran theologian and missionary Dr. O. Palmer Robertson will be the keynote speaker at a banquet and celebration in honor of Dr. Morton H. Smith, professor of systematic theology (emeritus), to be held on March 10, 2014.

Dr. O. Palmer Robertson
Dr. Robertson is principal and director of African Bible College in Uganda and Malawi. He has served pastorates in several states, spoken at many conferences, taught at several seminaries and lectures in Africa, Europe, Asia and Latin America. His books include Christ of the Covenants, The Genesis of Sex, The Israel of God,and Understanding the Land of the Bible.

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 For a preview of the many tributes already given, go here.

To make a reservation to attend the March 10 banquet, complete the form here. The cost is $40 per person. After making your reservation, you will receive a confirmation message with a link to a payment page, using the individual or table sponsor options listed. You may choose to be a table sponsor for a contribution of $600. Indicate on the reservation form if you wish 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.

If you wish to donate a high quality item to be sold during the silent auction, please fill out a donation form here. Or 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 turned 90 on December 11, 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.

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 comfort and the merciful hand of God for GPTS student Jeremy Hill and his wife Stephanie, whose 6-month-old daughter Serenity died suddenly just before Christmas.
  • Rejoice with student Trevor Setzer and his wife Maria over the birth on Dec. 27 of their third covenant child, Lydia Jean. (7 lbs, 12 ounces, 21 inches). Mother and baby are doing well.
  • Pray that God will abundantly supply the seminary's financial needs in 2014 and bless and prosper all those who may be led to give in support of this work in God's Kingdom.
  • Pray for blessings on the 2014 Winter Term which began January 6 and continues through January 24. Seek travel protections for our distance students who are attending this term's classes on campus.
  • Praise God and thank Him for answering many prayers on behalf of the wife and children of one of our foreign students who have managed to make their way out of danger in their native land, travel through three neighboring counties and are soon to embark on their journey to the United States. 
  • Pray that God would guide preparations and registrations for our 2014 Spring Theology Conference. Pray that many would come to learn anew of the mighty providences of God.
  • Ask God to prepare the way for our senior students who are seeking internships, pastoring calls, and other avenues of ministry following their 2014 graduation.
  • On-going health concerns: Remember GPTS custodian John Jolly in prayer as he continues to struggle with knee pain. Please continue in prayer for Betty McGoldrick, wife of Professor James McGoldrick, as she continues to deal with her pain and disabilities.