Monday, June 9, 2014

Mid-year Progress Report from President Pipa

As Greenville Seminary completes her 27th academic year, we are very excited about the things God has done for us, as well as what lies ahead. We have enjoyed a good year. We are pleased with the spiritual maturity manifested in our students; we have enjoyed a harmony in our community; and we have just graduated seven men.

The coming academic year is brimming with potential. We already have accepted 12 new students and have several more in process; I am pleased to announce that the Board of Trustees have invited Dr. Ryan McGraw to serve as professor of Systematic Theology. Dr. McGraw is an alumnus of GPTS currently pastoring an Orthodox Presbyterian Church congregation in California. He began teaching this year as an adjunct professor and will join us full-time, Lord willing, in July, 2015. Another GPTS alumnus, Breno Macedo, has also been appointed to serve as adjunct professor in Homiletics. Those who have supported GPTS over the years may recognize that Mr. Macedo was one of several Brazilian students who attended the seminary on scholarship several years ago. We have maintained an ongoing collaboration with these men when I have been able to visit Brazil, and we are very thankful to now have this opportunity to have him teaching here.

Of course this work takes money. As you know, we deliberately keep our tuition and fees as low as feasible — training one man for ministry requires donor investment of approximately $10,000 a year. Thank you for your support; your partnership with us enables us to pursue our mission.

Our June appeal has two main key factors. First, as you may know, our new fiscal year begins on July 1. Your June donation helps us greatly during the normally meager summer months. And second, our budgeted benevolence receipts for the next fiscal year is based on what we have received in supporter contributions the previous fiscal year. 

With these two factors in mind, we are seeking $95,000 by the end of June ($30,000 from churches and $65,000 from individuals). We appreciate what you have already done in partnering with us financially and in prayer. Whether or not you are able to send a gift at this time, please pray that the Lord will provide for all essentials. Please also pray for our students and alumni, including the seven new graduates. Please pray that they will continue to grow in faithfulness to the Word of God. God uses the prayers and gifts of His people to sustain this work. We hope that you will continue to participate with us and to rejoice in that work, for which we desire to give Him all glory and honor.

With warm regards, I am

Yours in Christ, 

Dr. Joseph A. Pipa, Jr.

Or send your gift to Greenville Seminary, PO Box 690, Taylors SC 29687

Register Now for the GPTS Summer Institute

The 2014 Greenville Seminary Summer Institute is less than two months away, so it's time to register now! Although open to all, the institute is of particular usefulness to ministers of the Word, who will be awarded three continuing education credits upon completion of the course.

The theme for this year's program is: How to incorporate the motivation of the inspired preaching of the apostles found in the Book of Acts into your sermons

As Reformed believers, we know the Holy Spirit alone makes the preaching of God’s word effectual to save and sanctify sinners. Nevertheless, the preacher is still responsible to preach exhortative messages, in which he diligently and wisely aims at the conversion, edification, and salvation of sinners (see Westminster Larger Catechism 159). We should want to see people moved by our preaching!

Yet, how can we do so in a way that does not descend into some form of manipulation but is pleasing to God? Some of the worst preaching throughout history — from Tetzel to Finney to today’s health and wealth gospel and now hyper-grace antinomianism — has this in common: it all features unbiblical ways to motivate people.

This course will briefly examine various academic and religious theories of motivation and consider the motivating practices of church leaders and preachers from an assortment of theological persuasions, ending with a concentration on Reformed theology. From the knowledge gained in this examination, we will study five sermons in the Book of Acts, identifying the elements and method of motivation found therein, in order to show how preachers can incorporate them into their sermons today.

The Institute will be held August 4-8 at the seminary. Class schedule:
  • Monday: 6 p.m. - 9 p.m.
  • Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday: 9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m., 2 p.m. - 5 p.m.
  • Friday: 9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

This year's speaker is Dr. Ray E. Heiple, Jr., senior pastor of Providence Presbyterian Church in Robinson Township, Penn. He received his M.Div. and D.Min. degrees from Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary. His doctorate was based on a project in motivation in preaching.

Online registration now available here(A printable registration form is here.) Tuition for the summer institute is $225. Please register by June 27. After June 27, a $25 late registration fee will be applied. Take $25 off of additional registrations, should others in your church register to attend with you.

Special lodging arrangements for out-of-town guests have been made with the following hotels just minutes from the Seminary. To receive the special price, mention group code ‘GPTS Summer Institute’ when making your reservation.

Holiday Inn Express
1315 Wade Hampton Blvd (US 29), Greer, SC 29650
(864) 877 0076
Rate is $89 per night
2.9 miles from the Seminary

Wingate Hotel
33 Beacon Drive, Greenville, SC 29615
(864) 281 1281
Rate is $69 per night
5.8 miles from the Seminary

Contact the Seminary before June 25th to request to stay with a host family.

The Summer Theology Course: The Mantle is Transferred

Course to Include Historical Tours in South Carolina

For the past 50 years no one has taught more students about the theology of Southern Presbyterians than Dr. Morton H. Smith. This summer the legacy continues in South Carolina under the tutelage of Dr. C. N. Willborn, a student and colleague of Dr. Smith for the past several years.

Recognized for his own contributions to the history of American and Southern Presbyterianism, Dr. Willborn will survey the great doctrines of the Christian faith as set forth by the Southern luminaries. The contributions of R.L. Dabney, J.H. Thornwell, J.L. Girardeau, B.M. Palmer and Stuart Robinson will be highlighted along with those of their many students. These men were international Calvinists and continue to offer the church marvelous insight into the truths of God’s Holy Scriptures. Many of these studies will be offered on location in some of American Presbyterianism’s most historic sites, including two days in Columbia and Charleston. Consider this a vacation for those in love with truth.

The annual summer theology course is an elective for GPTS students and is open to members of the public. For complete information, visit the seminary web site.

The dates and times for the course are as follows:
·         Monday, July 28: 1-5 p.m.
·         Tuesday, July 29: 8:30 a.m. at First Presbyterian Columbia and ending at John Island Presbyterian on Johns Island.
·         Tuesday evening in Charleston (information available on housing)
·         Wednesday, July 30: all day in some of Charleston’s most historic Presbyterian sites.
·         Thursday, July 31: 9 a.m.-12 noon; 1-4 p.m.
·         Friday, August 1: 9 a.m.-12 noon.

Tuition for the summer theology class is $408.00 (tuition and fees), or $60 to audit. Please register by June 27. To register for the theology course, call the Registrar at 864-322-2717 ext. 302 or contact her by e-mail at Enrolled GPTS students taking the summer elective theology course must have registered by May 16.

Financial Report for May 2014

The tables below show our overall financial condition as of the end of May 2014. Unrestricted general fund donations in May of $29,284 from churches and individuals were $32,189 below the $61,473 May budget for these types of unrestricted contributions. Expenses of $96,795 were $13,614 above the $83,181 budgeted for expenses. 

June is the last month of our 2013-14 fiscal year. Your gift during this month is vital to helping us close out the fiscal year in positive territory and to give us a solid foundation as we enter the summer months and our 2014-15 fiscal year. Please read the special message from President Pipa elsewhere in this newsletter.

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)$29,284
Other Income$8,043
Total Income$37,327
Net Income-$59,468

GENERAL FUND - FISCAL YEAR 2013-14 (corrected)
Donation Income$707,020
Other Income$244,963
Total Income$958,868
Net Income$8,416

Capital Campaign Goal*$3,500,000
Long-term Pledges Outstanding488,533
Total Received and Pledged$3,847,230
Outstanding Obligations$35,000
Monthly Interest Payment$2,800
Remaining Mortgage$610,917

*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

Conservatives Organize Prayer Forum Concerning "Trends" Facing PCA General Assembly

A group of Southern conservative churchmen with long histories in the Presbyterian Church in America are inviting fellow PCA leaders to a time of prayer and "confessional concern" over four issues confronting the PCA. The invitation is to a special prayer forum at the outset of the upcoming PCA General Assembly in Houston, Tex.

The four conveners are expressing concern over recent trends in the denomination, namely:
  • The role and direction of the denomination's judicial commission which conservatives claim has failed recently to ferret out theological positions contrary to PCA confessional standards.
  • The role of women in church offices. The General Assembly this year is being asked to clarify the church's official documents on this subject.
  • Erroneous views of Creation. Of particular concern are views being advanced by an organization called BioLogos, which includes PCA leaders.
  • A movement in missions which tolerates continued Muslim identities for Christians who convert from Islam — the so-called Insider Movement.
The conveners are Dr. Richard Phillips, pastor of Second Presbyterian Church in Greenville, S.C.; Ruling Elder Melton Duncan, Sr., also of Second Presbyterian Church in Greenville; Geoff Gleason, pastor of Cliffwood Presbyterian Church, Augusta, Ga.; and Ken Pierce, pastor of Trinity Presbyterian Church, Jackson, Miss. The group has created a Facebook page called An Evening of Confessional Concern and Prayer to explain their objectives.

"Our objectives are simple," the organizers say. "First, we want to gather PCA elders who are concerned about trends that may threaten our confessional unity as a denomination. Second, we want to highlight and provide information about matters of significant concern to this year’s assembly in the form of overtures and study committee reports. Third, we want to pray to our sovereign, gracious God for the faithfulness, unity, and well-being of our denomination. By expressing concern, providing information, and praying to our Lord, we seek to promote the unity, soundness, and vitality of the PCA. Of these three actions, prayer is undoubtedly the most important and valuable, since, as Psalm 124:8 tells us, 'Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth.' With these aims in mind, we will be discussing four important issues that will come before the 42nd General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America."

Dr. Sean Lucas, pastor of First Presbyterian Church, Hattiesburg, Miss., will lead a discussion on the Standing Judicial Commission. Dr. Guy Waters, professor at Reformed Theological Seminary, Jackson, Miss. and an instructor with Ligonier Ministries, Sanford, Fla., will deal with the women-in-office issue. Dr. Phillips will summarize matters on the creation issue. And Rev. David Strain, senior pastor-elect of First Presbyterian Church, Jackson, Miss. will consider a report dealing with the Insider Movement.

The meeting will be held on Monday, June 16, 7-9 p.m., in Grand Ballroom J, at the Hilton Americas Houston Hotel in Houston, Tex. (More information)

Greenville Seminary officials have expressed concern over trends in these four areas also. Although seminary is not an institution of the PCA and affiliated with this event, many GPTS students, faculty, staff and supporters are PCA members, and a number of PCA churches regularly support the seminary. Dr. Phillips was granted an honorary doctorate from GPTS in 2012. Dr. Waters was a speaker at a recent GPTS conference.

The forum was discussed recently on the GPTS podcast Confessing our Hope. Click here to listen.

For information on issues to be considered by the PCA General Assembly, go here.

Last Call for Breakfast!

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.


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 Confessing Our Home web site. New programs are now available for listening or download at Newest among them:

  • #61 – Studies in Southern Presbyterian Theology. Dr. Nick Willborn was our guest as we discussed his upcoming class in Studies of Southern Presbyterian Theology. For the past 50 years no one has taught more students about the theology of Southern Presbyterians than Dr. Morton H. Smith. This summer the legacy continues in South Carolina under the tutelage of Dr. C. N. Willborn, a student and colleague of Dr. Smith for the past several years. Recognized for his own contributions to American and Southern Presbyterianism, Dr. Willborn will survey the great doctrines of the Christian faith as set forth by the Southern luminaries. The contributions of R.L. Dabney, J.H. Thornwell, J.L. Girardeau, B.M. Palmer and Stuart Robinson will be highlighted along with those of their many students. These men were international Calvinists and continue to offer the church marvelous insight into the truths of God’s Holy Scriptures. Many of these studies will be offered on location in some of American Presbyterianism’s most historic sites, including two days in Columbia and Charleston.
  • #62 – Faith and Practice, segment #6 In this sixth edition of the “Faith and Practice” segment Dr. Joseph Pipa interacts with questions from our listeners. Questions in this edition deal with church government, weddings on the Sabbath, head coverings for women, the Mosiac Covenant, campus ministries, communion service frequency, and women in the work force. 
  • #63 – Selected Writings of B.M. Palmer. Dr. Nick Willborn was again our guest as we discussed the book he edited on the writings of B.M. Palmer. Benjamin Morgan Palmer’s life and writings demonstrate that strong convictions regarding the inspiration, authority, and sufficiency of Holy Scripture will equip gospel servants with all things necessary to answer the requirements of their times.
  • #64 – Confessional Concern and Prayer. Pastor Geoff Gleason (Cliffwood Presbyterian Church, Augusta, Ga.) and Pastor Ken Pierce (Trinity Presbyterian Church, Jackson, Miss.) joined us for a candid discussion about an event that is scheduled to be held prior to this year’s 42nd General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America. They are two of the four men that are hosting “A Call for an Evening of Confessional Concern and Prayer.“ In this broadcast we have highlighted four of the more significant issues that will be considered at this G.A.: The Overtures on the Standing Judicial Commission, The Role of Women in Church Offices, Erroneous Views of Creation, and The Insider Movement. We also discussed the purpose and goals of this gathering.

 You can access all of these newly released broadcast on the website at or through RSS (iTunes, an RSS reader, etc.) or through the GPTS Mobile App

Spring Spruce Up

We love our volunteers. Recently a group of students, their families and other volunteers spent a day spreading mulch on the seminary campus landscape beds. Thanks to all (including kids and pregnant ladies) for your wonderful help! Lookin' good!

Tea Time

Seminary isn't entirely a male bastion. Here's a look at the Ladies Tea held May 3 at the home of Mrs. Sissy Pipa.

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 

  • Pray that God will abundantly supply the seminary's financial needs during the summer months and bless and prosper all those who may be led to give in support of this work in God's Kingdom.
  • Ask God to bless our students who are ministering through summer internships.
  • Thank God for the addition of two new faculty members, Dr. Ryan McGraw and Rev. Breno Macedo. Pray for blessings upon their teaching endeavors.
  • Ask God to bless Dr. Pipa during his upcoming teaching sabbatical.
  • Continue to pray for completion of the final steps for the wife and children of one of our foreign students, who escaped persecution in their native land, to embark on their journey to the United States. Intercede, especially, 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.
  • 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.