Thursday, August 7, 2014

Seminary Prepares for Large Incoming Fall Class

Registration begins August 25th for the 2014 Fall Semester when a sizable new freshman class will be welcomed for their seminary studies.

As of the beginning of this month, 16 new students had been accepted for the incoming class, nine of whom will be studying on campus, six of whom will be participating in our mentored distance learning program, and one of whom will be taking classes in a combination of residential and distance methods. Three additional students were nearing completion of their admission processing. If all goes well, GPTS could be welcoming a near record 19 new students. We praise God for guiding these men toward fulfillment of their calling to train for Christian ministry at Greenville Seminary.

The new class includes candidates for Master of Divinity, Bachelor of Divinity, Master of Arts, and Master of Ministry for Ruling Elders degrees.

New students will be welcomed on campus for orientation and a banquet on Aug. 25. Convocation ceremonies will be held at 7 p.m., Aug. 26, with a reception to follow. Classes begin the following day. The public is welcome to attend the convocation service. Our convocation speaker this year is Arie van Eyk, pastor of Providence Orthodox Presbyterian Church in Greensboro, N.C. Pastor van Eyk is a 2003 graduate of Greenville Seminary.

Coming on campus for the fall semester are the following students:

Ethan Bolyard, Greenville, S.C., M.Div.
James Clark, Lynchburg,  V.A., B.Div.
Martin Dendekker, Woodstock, Ontario, Canada, M.Div.
Jon Dorton, Kingsport, Tenn., B.Div.
Melwin Isaac, Karnataka, India, M.A.
Stephen Richman, East Liverpool, Ohio, M.Div.
Anthony Rogers, Las Vegas, Nev., B.Div.
Terseer Shagba, Abuja, Nigeria, M.A. (pending travel documentation)
Andrew Wann, Sanford, Fla., M.Div.

Employing our state-of-the-art online distance learning program will be:

Bradley Chwastyk, Linthicum Heights, Md., M.Div.
Charles Deeg, Spring Hill, Fla., M.Div.
Gil Garcia, Pittsburg, Pa., M.Div.
Brian McCollough, Prattville, Ala., M.Div., (distance for a semester, then on site)
Donald Oliver, Rapid City, S.D., M.M.R.E.
Sadiq Zeeshan, Sahiwal, Punjab, Pakistan, M.A.

Taking both on-campus and online classes will be Timothy Rice, who lives in nearby Anderson, S.C., M.Div.

Get Smart!

Intensive Classes Open to the Public

Greenville Seminary is offering four intensive classes during the upcoming Fall Semester. These are compact instructional periods — a semester's work in a few days' time. You don't need to go through the regular admission process to participate. Students may simply register for a class as a listener (no credit) or as a special student (for credit) by contacting Registrar Kathleen Curto by email or calling (864) 322-2717 ext. 302.

To audit a class (no credit), the cost is $30 per credit hour. Classes taken for credit cost $180 per credit hour.

Courses being offered this semester are:

AP11 – History of Philosophy, 3 credit hours. Instructor: Adjunct Professor James D. "Bebo" Elkin

Dates and Hours: Aug. 18-22, 9 a.m. - 6 p.m.

This foundation level course includes studies in Ancient Greek, Medieval, Reformation, Renaissance, Modern, and Contemporary philosophical schools of thought; beginning with the Fall of Adam, continuing with emphasis upon such thinkers as Thales, the pre-Socratics, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Anselm, Aquinas, Scotus, Occam, Calvin, Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, Locke, Hobbes, Berkeley, Rousseau, Hume, Kant, Hegel, Darwin, Marx, Nietzsche, Bentham, Mill, James, Dewey, Whitehead, Russell, Wittgenstein, Sartre and others.

HT21 – Ancient Church History, 3 credit hours. Instructor: Adjunct Professor Dr. C.N. Willborn

Dates and Hours: Sept. 1-2, 15-16, 29-30; Oct. 20-21; Nov. 3-4, 17-18; Dec. 1-2. Mondays 6 p.m.-9 p.m.; Tuesdays 1 p.m.- 4 p.m.

Study of the early church from Pentecost through the age of Augustine and Gregory I; emphasis in the development of doctrine, worship, the growth of the church, and the emergence of the Papacy.

AP32 – Introduction to Islam, 2 credit hours. Instructor: Adjunct Professor Dr. Anees Zaka

Dates and Hours: Sept. 9-13. Tuesday 9-11 a.m. and 1-5 p.m.; Wednesday 9-11 a.m. and 3:30-5:30 p.m.; Thursday 9-11 a.m. and 1-6 p.m.; Friday 9-11 a.m. and 3:30-6:30 p.m.; Saturday 9-11 a.m.

A foundational course with an overview of the Islamic faith and life. Special attention will be given to comparisons with Biblical and Reformed Christianity from a presuppositional point of view. Reformed methodology of communicating Christ’s redemption to Muslims locally, nationally and globally will be emphasized.

AP42 – Ethics, 3 credit hours. Instructor: Adjunct Professor James D. "Bebo" Elkin

Dates and Hours: Sept. 29-Oct. 4. Monday 9-11 a.m. and 1-5 p.m.; Tuesday 9-11 a.m., 1-5 p.m. and 6-8 p.m.; Wednesday 1-5 p.m.; Thursday 1-5 p.m. and 6-8 p.m.; Friday 9-11 a.m. and 1-6 p.m.; Saturday 9 a.m. - 12 p.m.

The development of a Christian world-and-life view. Examination of the basis for Christian ethics as it is found in God’s Word; the role of God’s Law in the construction of Christian ethics. An examination of the application of Christian ethics in the modern world using the Ten Commandments as the foundation.

A Seminary for the World

By Kathleen Curto

So the three broke through the camp of the Philistines, drew water from the well of Bethlehem and brought it to David. Nevertheless, David would not drink it, but poured it out to the Lord. And he said, “Far be it from me, O my God, that I should do this! Shall I drink the blood of these men who have put their lives in jeopardy? For at the risk of their lives they brought it.” Therefore he would not drink it. These things were done by the three mighty men. (I Chronicles 11:18–19)

The passage above is probably very familiar to most of Christians. Pastor Peter Van Doodewaard, our speaker at Convocation last Fall, used this passage to highlight what qualities a minister of the Gospel should emulate as he serves Christ’s church. He highlighted three qualities that David’s mighty men had in common. They were men of great skill, enormous courage and immense love. In his sermon, he reminded the students that it was through diligent study at seminary that they would become skillful in handling the word of God. He challenged them to be men of courage who would stand for the truth no matter what the odds; and he encouraged them to show their love for Christ in their sacrificial service to his church and his people.

As I have reflected upon this message over the past year, it has reminded me of the great privilege we have here at Greenville Seminary in assisting young men from other countries to attend seminary. Most of these men do not have the means to travel abroad to study or may not have access to a faithful institution that would properly prepare them for ministry. It is Greenville Seminary’s desire to train skillful, courageous laborers for the Kingdom, and it is through your kind and faithful  giving that we are able to grant opportunities to these men. We have graduates in 14 different countries who are serving the Lord. Because of the generous giving of our donors, we have been able to provide opportunities to students  from Albania, Brazil, Peru, India and Haiti, all of whom have been given the opportunity to study at GPTS  through our International Students Scholarship Fund. These men are now skillfully, courageously and lovingly serving their churches in their home countries.
Grace, Crystal, Edward andJesse Liu

Currently we have Xing (Edward) Liu, from China, a fourth-year student whom we have rejoiced to see grow in his knowledge and understanding of God’s word.  He is a man who loves Christ and desires to serve the church in China upon his return. Edward needs $3,200 for tuition and fees. 

Steve and Laura Cliff
Steve Cliff, a second-year student from New Zealand, has had the opportunity this past year to study with us and come to a clearer understanding of the truths of the Reformed faith. We need $8,800 to cover tuition, fees and work-study wages.

We also have two students from Nigeria needing help. Isaac Koko has had to study from a distance due to inability  to obtain a student visa to study on campus. His need: $1,000 for tuition, fees and books. Also awaiting visa resolution is a new student Terseer Shagba. His pastor, Antiev Kurugh, who works closely with Dr. Pipa when he travels to Nigeria (see following article), has given him the following recommendation: “Terseer has no problem of communicating in English language for he received training in English from primary to tertiary level. What he needs is admission and your scholarship, please. You will train someone [in whom] you will never be disappointed. I therefore recommend him without reservations.” Need: $14,000 for tuition, fees and U.S. living expenses.

If you read Dr. Pipa’s report in the May edition of GPTS Online, you can imagine the impact of having well-trained gospel preachers in countries like Nigeria. We do have other students — from Singapore and Nigeria — all requesting help to be able to come and study at Greenville Seminary. Without your generous giving, it would not be possible for these men to come.

Our prayer is that you will partner with us in this great endeavor. Will you first pray that God will raise up mighty men as he did in David’s time – men whose heart’s desire is to carry the gospel to every nation, tribe and tongue; and, if possible, will you give to this international scholarship fund so that men  are enabled to come and study at Greenville Seminary.

You may donate online directly to the seminary, choosing one of the options on this page on our web site. Or you may donate (anonymously, if you choose) to our PCA Foundation International Student Scholarship Fund #4075. Information and instructions here.

Financial Report for July 2014

July 1st marked the beginning of our 2014-15 fiscal year at Greenville Seminary. The tables below show our overall financial condition as of the end of July. Summer months are always problematic for income as donations typically dwindle and the absence of classes means little or no tuition income. Your special contribution this month is urgently needed. Click the red button below and choose your best level of gift!

Unrestricted general fund donations during July of $53,435 from churches and individuals were $10,424 below the $63,859 July budget for these types of contributions. However, expenses of $87,957 were $4,592 below the $92,549 budgeted for expenses, as we continue to work diligently to make efficient use of what is given to us.

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)
Other Income
Total Income
Net Income
Donation Income
Other Income
Total Income
Net Income

Capital Campaign Goal*
Long-term Pledges Outstanding
Total Received and Pledged
Outstanding Obligations
Monthly Interest Payment
Remaining Mortgage

*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. (Click the tiny "M" or e-mail icon at the bottom of this post.) Thank you for your continued support for Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary.

The Italian Connection

By Dr. Joseph A. Pipa, Jr.
GPTS President

From June 20 to July 4 this year, my wife and I had to privilege to return to Italy to minister in Viterbo. Viterbo is a city of about 60,000 located 45 miles north of Rome. For the past five years Pastor Mike Cuneo (GPTS ’05) has been working there in a church work begun by Dr. Mario Forieri.

In June of 2006, my wife and I went to Viterbo, Italy to minister with a Greenville student, Mario Forieri. Mario is a chiropractor who pastored a small, independent congregation. As he became convicted of Presbyterian­­ism, he enrolled at Greenville Seminary as a distant student to prepare for ordination. Through this process, he came to the conviction that he should not administer the sacraments; therefore, the congregation rarely had communion. I went in 2006 to minister and to determine what we could do for oversight.

I returned from that visit to recruit a church planter. Mike is sent out by Calvary Presbytery, and I serve on his oversight Session. He has been in Viterbo for five years. The church has grown with new converts and others coming to the Reformed faith.  They currently have twelve communicant members (Mike has just married Ivana, who will join the church this summer) and seven non-communicant members. They also have another family of five visiting regularly.

Part of the congregation at the conference
This was my fourth trip to work with Mike. Each year I preach a conference at the church (two messages Saturday night and two on Sunday). The first year I preached on the End Times; 2012 the conference was on marriage and divorce; 2013 the conference was on the doctrine of Scripture. This year I preached on the other four solas of the Reformation (Sola Gratia, 1 Cor. 1:30, 32; Sola Fide, Romans 3:21-24; Solo Christo, Revelation 5:9, 10; and Soli Deo Gloria, Romans 11:33-36).

The next Thursday night I taught a class on family and child-rearing from Colossians 3:20, 21. We had a number of non-Christian visitors, among which were three Franciscan monks — all of whom heard the gospel.  It appears that the monks are visiting Protestant churches in order to demonstrate that there are no great differences between Roman Catholicism and Evangelical Christianity.

Pastors Cuneo, Puglia and Pipa serving communion
On the Tuesday to Thursday after the conference on the solas, I conducted our second conference for ministers and church leaders. This year we analyzed a number of modern preachers and discussed how to improve our preaching.

On Sunday, June 29, Pastor Joe Puglia (GPTS ’01), who came over for Mike’s wedding and attended the ministers’ conference, preached a very fine sermon. It was Joe’s first time to preach with translation.

On Monday, June 30, Joe, Mike, my wife and I flew down to Palermo for Mike’s wedding. Mike’s fiancé, Ivana Di Girolama, is from Palermo. We were joined by Joel and Jessica Rinn from Vinzcente, where Joel pastors a Presbyterian church. Three families also came down from Viterbo. The civil service was on Tuesday, and then we all drove out to a guest house where the Christian wedding was held on Wednesday. There were about a hundred people present. I preached on Genesis 2 and Col. 3:18, 19, on the institution and  purpose of marriage and the roles of wives and husbands—again a great opportunity to preach the gospel. My wife and I flew home on Friday, July 4.

The generosity of our donors to the GPTS Missions Fund enables us to go each year to minister in Italy and elsewhere in the world. Thank you very much.

Staff Comings and Goings

Last month's edition of the GPTS Online e-newsletter featured an article welcoming two new staffers, Office Manager/Bookkeeper Doug Watson and Administrative Assistant Sue Holmes.

This month we welcome Vernon Shoaf, a student who volunteers in our media services department. Vernon replaces May graduate Jeff Downs, who served as media director for several years by pursuing his M.Div. studies at GPTS. Mr. Shoaf has a varied background in media production and will take over the task of managing class and lecture audio recordings for our distance learning system, among other electronic media tasks.

Mr. Shoaf is a second-year student who is married to Rebecca Shoaf. They have four children and currently live in Greenville, S.C. He received his B.A. and M.B.A. from East Carolina University in Greenville, N.C. and served with the U.S. Navy.

Downs Family
The seminary is very grateful for the professional and faithful work done by Mr. Downs, who studied here from 2007 until 2014. He is currently serving as an intern pastor at Covenant Orthodox Presbyterian Church in Orland Park, Ill. He and his wife Diane have three children.

"My desire is to see the people under my care well fed," Mr. Downs says concerning his calling to the ministry. "When people leave church, my prayer will be that they know God has spoken to them through His word, and with the knowledge of how God would have them to live."

New Office Manager/Bookkeeper Doug Watson replaces long-time GPTS bookkeeper Michael Brown. Mr. Brown served the seminary in that capacity for
Michael Brown
many years and has been a valuable asset in a critical role in seminary operations. He retired from the Air National Guard after 20 years of service. He was commander of the 531st Air Force Band with the Texas Air National Guard. His rank there has led his co-workers at the seminary to regularly and affectionately refer to him as "Major Brown."

A native of Texas, he is a proud son of the South and continues to show interest in the history of the Confederacy. He moved to Greenville, S.C. in 2006, and has been a certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor for 20 years, specializing in work with non-profit organizations. He will continue part-time on staff in a limited role as an assistant to the office manager.

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 grant comfort to new Administrative Assistant Susan Holmes and her family following the recent death of her mother in Great Britain.
  • New Office Manager Doug Watson seeks prayer support as he acclimates himself to his complex new duties. Pray also that the Watsons will be able to sell their house in Pennsylvania quickly and complete their move to South Carolina.
  • Pray for a quick recovery for Josie Hoopes, daughter of incoming resident student Duncan Hoopes and his wife Debbie of Tampa, Fla. Josie was seriously injured in a bicycle accident while serving as a counselor at Ridge Haven camp. She was hospitalized in nearby Brevard, N.C.
  • Pray for our students and faculty as they begin a new semester later this month. Thank God for the large new class of incoming students both on campus and elsewhere in the country and world.
  • 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, enrich and refresh 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. Give thanks that our student's 19-year-old sister-in-law who escaped with the family but has 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.