Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Missed the GPTS Spring Conference?

Video and Audio Recordings Available

The 2014 Spring Theology Conference on "God's Works of Providence" held March 10-13 is over, many rating it one of the best ever. If you were not able to attend this outstanding conference, you may still be edified and blessed its messages.

DVD Set $69.95
Audio recordings of all conference sessions are now available for free listening at the seminary's SermonAudio channel. Listen to the sessions by clicking here. You can also access these audio files — and all former GPTS conferences — from the seminary's web site by clicking here.

If you would like to own audio CDs of the conference for your personal or church library, they may be ordered from the GPTS web site Gift Shop. Go here. Price, including shipping, is $60 for full audio CDs or $30 for MP3 CDs.

If you wish to order DVD video recordings of the entire conference for personal use or for a study group or church, the full conference is available for order from the seminary's web site Gift Shop. Go here. The entire set of DVD's is $69.95, including shipping.

Mobile App
You can also listen to the sessions from your mobile device if you have the GPTS Mobile App. Get the APP here if you do not have this service installed on your Apple or Android device. If you do, click on the Media menu option at the bottom of the screen, then on the Special Lectures tab. Also available on GPTS Mobile are video recordings of the Tuesday and Wednesday evening lectures, "The Definition and Beauty of Providence," by Dr. Joel Beeke, and "Providence or Fatalism?" by Dr. Joseph A. Pipa, Jr.

Conference related interviews with some of our speakers are available at the GPTS podcast "Confessing our Hope" web site.

Finally, if you missed being at the conference, you missed some outstanding congregational singing. Here's a sample. No, that's not a trained choir; it's just God's people joining in joyful chorus. Here's another.

Join the throng next year when our Spring Conference Theme will be "The Law God in a Lawless Age." Save the dates: March 10-12, 2015.

Invitation to Commencement 2014

You are cordially invited to attend our 24th Commencement Service on May 23, 2014, at 6:00 pm. Dr. John R. DeWitt will address the students. A reception in the student commons will follow.

The Class of 2014 includes eight students, five to receive Master of Divinity degrees and three to receive Master of Arts degrees. M.Div. students are John Brewer Ames III, Jeffrey Scott Carter, Jeffrey James Downs, Olin Ross Fearing, and Bryan Gregory Prouty. M.A. students are Santosh Kunar Bardhan, Brad M. Peppo, and Clarence Edward Veld.

Details about our 2014 graduating class will be included in the May E-newsletter.

Commencement speaker Dr. John R. DeWitt has been a minister for over 50 years and brings a wealth of experience and insight to the subject of pastoral ministry. He received his B.D. from Western Theological Seminary and an honorary degree of D.D. from Rhodes College. He was professor of church history and systematic theology at Reformed Theological Seminary-Jackson, from 1975-1982 and the senior minister of Second Presbyterian Church in Memphis for the following 10 years. He also was pastor at the First Presbyterian Church in Columbia, SC. In 2009, he was the moderator of the General Synod of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. Dr. DeWitt is the author of Jus Divinum: The Westminster Assembly and the Divine Right of Church Government, and the translator of the recently published English edition of Herman N. Ridderbos's Paul.

The 2014 GPTS Summer Program

The 2014 Summer Program has been announced, once again including an intensive theology course followed by our week-long Summer Institute, which this year will address "Motivation in Preaching from the Book of Acts."

Rev. Ray E. Heiple, Jr., senior pastor of Providence Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Robinson Township, Penn., will be this year's presenter.

The topic and instructor for the summer theology course are still being considered by the faculty. Watch for an update to this story in the near future. The course will be held July 28th through August 1st. 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.

The Summer Institute, to be held Aug. 4-8, will again be of particular interest to pastors as we focus on 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. Pastors who take either course are eligible for 3 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.

Registration will be available online soon. Watch the GPTS web site for details.

Cost for the Summer Institute is $225.Tuition for the summer theology class is $400.00 (tuition and fees), or $60 to audit. Please register by June 27 for both the Summer Institute and the Summer Theology Course. Enrolled GPTS students taking the summer elective theology course must register by May 16.

Financial Report for March 2014

The tables below show our overall financial condition as of the end of March 2014. We a grateful for the wonderful showing of support for our ministry last month. THANKS! Unrestricted general fund donations in March of $108,193 from churches and individuals were $46,720 above the $61,473 March budget for these types of unrestricted contributions. Expenses of $80,870 were $7,132 below the $88,002 budgeted for expenses. 

As we are now in the final quarter of our fiscal year (ending June 30), we are looking to God and His people to supply what is needed to see us through the summer months when charitable giving often takes a holiday. Your gift during this quarter would be greatly appreciated. 

Remember, gifts to GPTS are tax-deductible and may include cash, securities, property or a variety of planned giving instruments. See here for information about planning your last will and testament with the Kingdom of God in mind.

Donation Income (unrestricted)$108,193
Other Income$12,891
Total Income$121,084
Net Income$40,214

Donation Income$619,317
Other Income$227,753
Total Income$847,070
Net Income$76,978

Capital Campaign Goal*$3,500,000
Long-term Pledges Outstanding$570,111
Total Received and Pledged$3,845,982
Outstanding Obligations$35,000
Monthly Interest Payment$3,424
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

Dr. Pipa to Headline Youth Worldview Conference

Greenville Seminary President Dr. Joseph A. Pipa, Jr. will address several sessions of the annual Biblical Worldview Student Conference sponsored by Westminster Presbyterian Church at Milligan College near Johnson City, Tenn.

This year's conference will be held June 2-7. The conference is designed to train young men and women for leadership roles in society and the church. The conference includes five days of intensive instruction in diverse areas of the Christian life. Approximately 30 hours of lecture is provided by a world-class group of instructors who will challenge and broaden our students. Biblical teaching, along with fellowship of like minded young people, offers a unique opportunity for life changing learning as well as companionship and enjoyable activities during spare time. Sporting activities (volleyball, basketball, ultimate Frisbee, soccer etc), English Country dancing, and the conference ending talent show keep the conference from being all work.

“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.”

“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

Join GPTS for Breakfast at the 2014 PCA General Assembly

Greenville Seminary will again be hosting a breakfast for interested commissioners and guests attending the 2014 Presbyterian Church in America General Assembly in Houston.

The breakfast will be held in Grand Ballroom J of the Hilton Americas-Houston Hotel at 7 a.m. on Wednesday, June 18.

Reservations are required. You may make your reservation here.

We look forward to seeing you for food, fellowship and information about the progress of our ministry. Attendance is free.* Contact Garry Moes by e-mail or by phone at 864-322-2717 ext. 319 if you have any questions.

Hilton Americas-Houston
*As in the past, attendance is free. However, due to the unavoidably high cost of this year's event, voluntary contributions to defray expenses of the breakfast are welcome.

Clarity Sought on Women in the Office of Elder

The Philadelphia Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church in America is asking the denomination's General Assembly to appoint a study committee to clarify what Scripture teaches on women elders.

The presbytery has submitted an overture to the 42nd PCA General Assembly, which meets in Houston, Tex., June 17-20, asking for a study of the Book of Church Order's requirements on ordination vows.

"...[T]he third ordination vow requires a candidate for ordination or transfer to 'approve of the form of
government and discipline of the Presbyterian Church in America, in conformity with the general principles of biblical polity' ... and ... our constitution does not clearly delineate or define 'the general principles of biblical polity' or their relation to male only eldership," the overture states, adding that "some candidates for ordination or transfer may come forward who understand scripture to allow women to be ordained to the office of elder, contrary to BCO 7-2, but are willing to practice their ministry in accord with BCO 7-2, while not believing their view violates the general principles of biblical polity."

The overture asks the G.A. "to establish a study committee in order to clarify and define the general principles of biblical polity referenced in the third ordination vow (BCO 21-5, 3rd Vow), and their application to gender and the office of elder, and to evaluate whether or not the constitution should be amended and if necessary to recommend a constitutional process to that end."

2012 M.A. Graduate Michelle Sekuras
Greenville Seminary, which is not officially affiliated with the PCA but has faculty and many students from that denomination, holds that scripture limits all of the ordained offices (teaching elders [pastors], ruling elders, and deacons) to male members of Christ's church. For that reason, the seminary's divinity degree programs are limited to males. The seminary does admit women to its master of arts program but requires female students to subscribe to the following statement:
"Recognizing the clear Biblical teaching that a woman is not 'to teach or have authority' in the church, I do promise and affirm that I will not apply credit for course work taken at Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary in any program that would be used toward ordination, or for ordination, to any office in any church to which I belong. I understand and approve of the fact that this statement will be part of my transcript for any work taken in the seminary."
The Philadelphia Presbytery overture notes that "the first ordination vow requires a candidate for ordination or transfer 'to believe in the scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, as originally given, to be the inerrant Word of God, the only infallible rule of faith and practice' (BCO 21-5, 1st Vow); and ... the second ordination vow requires a candidate for ordination or transfer to 'sincerely receive and adopt the Confession of Faith and the Catechisms of this church, as containing the system of doctrine taught in the Holy Scriptures; (BCO 21-5, 2nd Vow)."

Adopt a Book (or Two or More)

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

Feeling Bookish?

May 16-17
The seminary's 2014 Spring Book Sale will be held on May 16-17 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.). 

This is 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 awortman@gpts.edu

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

Pray With Us

"Our prayer must not be self-centered. It must arise not only because we feel our own need as a burden we must lay upon God, but also because we are so bound up in love for our fellow men that we feel their need as acutely as our own. To make intercession for men is the most powerful and practical way in which we can express our love for them." — John Calvin 

  • Give praise to God for clearing the final steps of the way for the wife and children of one of our foreign students who escaped persecution in their native land, and are now ready to embark on their journey to the United States. Intercede further, however, for our student's 19-year-old sister-in-law who escaped with the family but has not yet been cleared to enter the United States.
  • Join us in thanking God for His mighty blessing on our 2014 Spring Theology Conference. May those who could not attend find edification in the available audio and video recordings.
  • Pray for our students and faculty as they draw near to the close of the current semester. Pray for understanding and stamina as they conclude their studiesduring the next six weeks.
  • Ask God to prepare the way for senior students who are seeking internships, pastoral calls, and other avenues of ministry following their 2014 graduation in May.
  • Pray for Dr. Anees Zaka, adjunct faculty member who teaches our courses in Islam, as he recovers from a recent heart attack which has restricted his activities. 
  • Thank God for Hiss mercy in protecting the Octavius Delfils family (GPTS alumnus, missionaries in Haiti) during their recent car accident. Pastor Delfils has been home from the hospital since Monday, April 7. The doctors have given him instruction to rest. Pray for wisdom for the doctors as they do further tests in the next few days. Continue to pray for the Delfils' children, Carlens and Farah, as they write exams this week.
  • Pray that God will abundantly supply the seminary's financial needs and bless and prosper all those who may be led to give in support of this work in God's Kingdom.
  •  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.