Wednesday, July 9, 2014

"If You Cannot Preach Like Peter...If You Cannot Pray Like Paul..."

Pastors: If you would like to learn how to incorporate the motivation of the inspired preaching of the apostles found in the Book of Acts into your sermons, you need to be a part of the 2014 Greenville Seminary Summer Institute, August 4-8. 

It's time to register now for this powerful week-long institute, which will provide you with three continuing education credits upon completion of the course.

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

The American South: A Calvinist Melting Pot

GPTS Summer Course to Include Historical Tours in South Carolina

A widely diverse group of European Presbyterians settled in the American South in the early days of this nation. According to Dr. Moses Hoge, these European Presbyterians eventually blended so as to make “a body of Christians, singularly homogeneous, conservative, truth-loving, and ardently devoted to right and liberty. The courtly and cultivated Huguenot, the stern and simple-hearted Highlander, the strong, earnest, faithful Scotch-Irish, the conscientious Puritan, and the frank, honest Teuton, contributed of the wealth of their character and the glory of their history. Devotion to principle was the guiding star of their action.”

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.

300-year-old Johns Island
Presbyterian Church
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 Johns 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. 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.

Fiscal Year-end Financial Report

June 30th marked the end of our 2013-14 fiscal year at Greenville Seminary. The tables below show our overall financial condition as of the end of June 2014. 

Unrestricted general fund donations during June of $51,463 from churches and individuals were $10,010 below the $61,473 June budget for these types of contributions. However, expenses of $73,102 were $10,079 below the $83,181 budgeted for expenses, as we continue to work diligently to make efficient use of what is given to us. 

We finished our fiscal year with net income from all sources of $100,011, which was just $1,189 below budget anticipations. The year concluded with general operating fund net income of $47,420. Total income of $1,129,623 in FY2013-14 compares with $1,013,369 for FY2012-13, an increase of $116,254. Expenses for the 2013-14 fiscal year of $1,082,203 were down slightly from the $1,089,331 of the previous fiscal year. Unrestricted donations of $759,374 toward general operations for the just-concluded fiscal year were $21,699 above the $737,675 budgeted for that category of giving for FY14 and were up compared to the $744,675 received in FY13. An additional $16,325 was given in non-capital contributions earmarked for such things as scholarships and specified student support, a faculty chair endowment, library grants, staff assistance, and missions travel. Further, $97,193 was received and disbursed to the Capital Fund during FY14. Total contributions for the year, therefore, came to $872,892, which was $15,987 over what was budgeted. The $1,129, 623 income from all sources was $1,322 above budget projections.

We extend our heartfelt thanks to supporters who responded to our Fiscal-Year-End financial appeal. Our goal of $95,000 was not realized, but individuals and churches provided more than $51,000 in response to our appeal to help us get started on our 2014-15 fiscal year. Individuals contributed $29,300 and churches $23,330 to the FY-end campaign.

An anticipated jump in enrollment for the fall semester will likely increase our level of non-contribution income from tuition and fees. Among other things, however, the addition of badly needed new faculty will place new demands on budgeted expenses. We are grateful for recent significant increases in giving by churches, but individual support has been lagging. Therefore, we earnestly ask our faithful supporters and those who appreciate our uncompromising stand for historical truth, but who have not given for a season, to prayerfully consider our needs in the next 12 months. The church of Jesus Christ cannot afford to see the role of GPTS diminished! Please help, with the grace of God, to guarantee its continued advance.

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)$51,463
Other Income$5,735
Total Income$57,198
Net Income-$15,904

Donation Income$759,374
Other Income$370,249
Total Income$1,129,623
Net Income$47,420

Capital Campaign Goal*$3,500,000
Long-term Pledges Outstanding488,219
Total Received and Pledged$3,847,879
Outstanding Obligations$35,000
Monthly Interest Payment$2,800
Remaining Mortgage$610,817

*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

GPTS in South Africa

By James F. Wright, President
Johannesburg, South Africa

James F. Wright
Lecturer in Old Testament,
Biblical Languages &
Systematic Theology
Our personal and prayerful interest with Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary dates back almost to its founding, when Dr. Morton Smith visited our country in 1988. We have very fond memories of that time, especially of taking him to Pretoria University, the official seminary of the Dutch Reformed Church, to speak to their students. He gave a memorable and clear lecture on the authority of the Holy Scripture. Many of the students confessed that they had never heard this view presented in such a way before. Some left the lecture shaken and upset. That particular denomination had come to a watershed on this vital question and sadly, several of the students who heard and agreed were later compelled to leave that church in the 1990’s. 

Recent history confirms that Dr. Smith's words went mostly unheeded. That incident serves as a cameo of the declension of faith and orthodoxy that the churches in our country have suffered in the past several decades. I was just a young pastor, and I remember our interrogating Professor Smith on a whole host of questions. Church government and the relationship between church and state were areas of particular interest in which he kindly shared his insights. Over the years, we have appreciated Greenville’s uncompromising stance; Reformed evangelical orthodoxy remains the great need, notwithstanding the clamor to accommodate our humanized age.

JWTC Campus
In the same period, Dr. Tony Curto visited Johannesburg. He stayed in my home and preached in a fledgling church in Ennerdale, where we had received permission to live during the apartheid years. I remember his passionate preaching, and his willingness to sleep on a mattress on the floor in our township home. This was exactly the time when serious plans to start John Wycliffe Theological College were forming in our hearts. Thus, it was encouraging to make contact with Greenville in August 2012, when we had a request for oversight from the student in Botswana wanting to further his studies at Greenville. Kathleen Curto (GPTS registrar) warmly corresponded with us, and we prayerfully suggested that a co-operative effort might enable us to do more for Southern Africa. Kathleen referred us to the president, Dr. Joey Pipa, and to the board of GPTS. Written and Skype correspondence soon followed.

Pastor Slabbert le Curnu with the Pipas in 2013
As a result, Dr. Joey and Mrs. Sissy Pipa visited us when they came to our country in March last year. Drs. Mark Herzer and Bob McKelvey, longstanding visiting faculty, were also present; and we discussed our desires at some length. Dr. Pipa also spoke at our graduation, preached for us, and gave a short series of lectures on The Holy Spirit and the Unique Power of Preaching,” for local pastors and students. This was over and above a very demanding speaking and preaching schedule arranged by Slabbert le Cornu, a Gereformeerde (Reformed) Church pastor [and friend of 2012 GPTS graduate Louis Cloete of South Africa]. We are hopeful in the Lord that there will be much fruit from those labors. We are also thankful that our hopes of future co-operation have reached the point where we are looking forward to Dr. Pipa’s teaching our first course in the GPTS Master of Arts in Theological Studies (MATS) program, which we will facilitate here in Johannesburg.

This will take place, Lord willing, in August when we will officially begin the MATS and sign a contract. We believe that our Lord’s hand is in this. Dr. Pipa will lecture on the “Introduction to Reformed Theology." Thinking back to Dr. Smith’s visit more than a quarter of a century ago, and the regression since then, how timeous this subject matter is. In JWTC’s proposal to GPTS last year we wrote:

It important to note that, by God’s grace, GPTS and JWTC share almost identical aims. We exist to prepare men to preach the riches of God’s mercy in Christ Jesus. We do this from a clear confessional foundation in the Westminster Standards; we are persuaded of the sufficiency of Scripture to equip God’s men for the work of ministry - an unashamed Calvinist theology and ecclesiology.

For the past 17 years, JWTC has provided ministerial training for men who evidence a call of God to pastoral ministry and awarded a Bachelor of Theology degree in terms of our contract with North-West University in Potchefstroom. We have used visiting lecturers, mostly from the USA, who share in our theological commitments. We have not charged our students (a very diverse body of men) any fees, and have sought to persuade them to embrace a properly biblical theology and ecclesiology, a uncompromising Calvinism, so unpopular in our day of cheapened grace.

There is a very definite and strategic need for on-going training at a MA level. There are many who have a first degree in theology, even among our own graduates, whose ministries will benefit from the on-going ministerial training and preparation for research post-graduate work at the M.Th. level that an MA will provide. Presently, for students with a bachelor’s degree, we offer a B.Th. Honors degree through North-West University. However, the GPTS degree is far superior in addressing our particular aims, and we wish to add it to the program.

May the Lord keep us and establish the work of our hands long after he has taken this generation home.

GPTS Alumnus Named First Missions Coordinator for URC

The United Reformed Churches in North America, at their 2014 Synod, named former Greenville Seminary graduate Rev. Richard Bout as its first missions coordinator.

Rev. Bout recently returned from Tepic, Mexico where he and his family had been serving as missionaries with Eternal Life Mission. Prior to coming to GPTS in 1997, Rev. Bout, a native of Ontario, had served as an intern in Mexico and missionary in Honduras.

The URC is a federation of churches which has scrupulously avoided creating a denominational bureaucracy. According to an article in Christian Renewal magazine, however, "churches were beginning to recognize the need, particularly in missions, of more organization and coordination. Up until now, congregations had worked in a freelance way, setting up and calling missionaries or supervising existing missionaries and asking for support from hither and yon." A missions committee was formed to "begin the work of coordination."

The Bout Family
Rev. Bout and his wife Angela said they decided to leave the mission field for the sake of their five growing children. They will live in Southern Ontario. Two Ontario churches have agreed to call Rev. Bout, son of former Mexico missionary Rev. Harry Bout, to his new position as federation mission coordinator, which he will undertake in the autumn.

"Praise God that we were able to find a qualified man with first-hand missions experience," said Dr. Brian Lee, a member of the new committee. "We are a small federation, qualified and interested missionaries are few, and it is a particular providence that Rev. Richard Bout was coming off the missions field and in search of a call at just the right time. In our context, his familiarity with the Spanish language is a wonderful blessing to both our domestic missions and our outreach throughout the Americas."

Confessing our Hope Podcast / Pipa at the BWSC

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:
  • #65 – Faith and Practice, segment #7 In this seventh edition of the “Faith and Practice” segment, Dr. Joseph Pipa interacts with questions from our listeners. Questions in this edition deal with the Lord's Day, Fundamentalism, same-sex attraction and much more.

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.

Dr. Pipa recently was the featured speaker at the 2014 Biblical Worldview Youth Conference near Johnson City, Tenn. His lectures are available for listening here.

Dr. Pipa Begins Teaching Sabbatical

By grant of the Board of Trustees, Greenville Seminary President Dr. Joseph A. Pipa Jr. began a semester-long sabbatical from his teaching duties on July 1. Dr. Pipa will maintain his presidential administrative duties during the period, however. He will work on his Job sermon series and new course preparations.

During the past academic year, Dr. Pipa assumed an extra load of classes, closing gaps left following the departure of Dr. John Carrick from the faculty. The addition of new faculty will allow him to gain some needed rest. He will continue with international teaching and speaking engagements, including lectures in August at John Wycliffe Theological Seminary in Johannesburg, South Africa, which is entering into a cooperative relationship with GPTS.

Dr. Pipa will also spend time on materials for his own dedicated presence on the Web. His new web site debuted in late June at The new web site includes his writings, research, sermons, lecutures and more.

Support by Shopping with Smile

Here's a reminder that when you shop on, always start your shopping at, and select Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary as your charity. The AmazonSmile web site is exactly the same as the regular Amazon site, except that Amazon will make a donation to GPTS for every purchase you make. Choose your charity only once; Amazon will remember which one you have chosen every time you log into thereafter.

GPTS Welcomes Two New Staffers

Greenville Seminary welcomes two new staff members, Susan Holmes as administrative assistant to the president and Douglas A. Watson as bookkeeper and office/property manager.

Mrs. Holmes will be replacing Emily Fearing, who is leaving with her 2014 graduate husband Ross Fearing to begin a new ministry to the military in San Antonio, Tex. Emily has been serving as administrative assistant since the resignation earlier this year of Gail Anderson.

Rev. Watson will be replacing Michael Brown in the GPTS business office. Mr. Brown will continue on a limited basis at the reception desk.

Rev. Watson, who recently retired to the Greenville area, was ordained in 1978. He pastored three churches in Delaware and New Jersey before coming to Trinity Orthodox Presbyterian Church, Hatboro, Penn. in 2000. In 2005, Doug was installed in the position of teacher at Trinity. Doug has been working for the Orthodox Presbyterian denomination as staff accountant and office manager. Before graduating from Westminster Theological Seminary in 1976, Doug worked as a data processor in a bank, developing his accounting skills. He is married to Betty, and they have five children and 12 grandchildren. (Doug is not to be confused with GPTS alumnus and former board member Doug Watson, who pastors a church in Hawaii.)

Mrs. Holmes grew up in South Africa where, by God’s grace, she was saved at the age of seventeen. After completing her high-school years, she trained as a teacher. It was at this time that she met and married her husband, Jim. Having worked as an English and French teacher to high-school students for ten years, she joined her husband in running a discount mail-order book service, selling God-centered, reformed literature. In the late 1990s, she and her husband moved to Great Britain, where she worked as an editor and proof-reader for Christian publishers. In 2010, her husband’s work brought them to the United States where they now live. She, Jim, and their son, Matthew, regularly worship at Faith Free Presbyterian Church in Greenville. Her interests include reading and listening to classical music. She says she is looking forward to being involved in the work of the seminary and serving the Lord in this ministry.

New Book on John Owen Published by GPTS Professor

A new book on the theology of the Puritan scholar John Owen, by newly appointed Greenville Seminary Professor of Systematic Theology Dr. Ryan M. McGraw, has been published in Germany.

A Heavenly Directory: Trinitarian Piety, Public Worship and a Reassessment of John Owen's Theology is the author's doctoral thesis as published by Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht's academic publication division V&R Unipress.

"There is a growing body of historical literature on the importance of John Owen," the publisher reports. "Ryan M. McGraw seeks to reassess Owen’s theology in light of the way in which he connected his trinitarian piety to his views of public worship. McGraw argues that Owen´s teaching on communion with God as triune was the foundation of his views of public worship and that he regarded public worship as the highest expression of communion with the triune God."

Dr. McGraw says, "This represents the fruits of much prayer and the Spirit's blessing beyond measure and expectation. Though the book is expensive, I pray that ministers in particular would make good use of free inter-library loan services to use it to profit from Owen's practical trinitarian theology."

The book sells for 89.99€ ($122,35) and can be ordered here.It is available as a PDF e-book for 74.99€ ($101.96).

Dr. McGraw is an alumnus of GPTS, has been serving as adjunct professor of systematic theology, and will be joining the resident faculty full-time in 2015. He is also a research associate of the Jonathan Edwards Centre in South Africa. He is currently pastor of First Orthodox Presbyterian Church in Sunnyvale, Calif. Previously, he served as pastor of Grace Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Conway, S.C.

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 

  • Ask God to bestow His gracious blessing on new staff members Susan Holmes and Doug Watson as they undertake their new callings. 
  • 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 custodian John Jolly's progress in recovering from knee-replacement surgery.
  • Ask God to bless Dr. Pipa during his 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.
  • Please persist in prayer for Betty McGoldrick, wife of Professor James McGoldrick, as she continues to deal with her pain and disabilities.