Monday, December 8, 2014

Registration Opens for 2015 Theology Conference

Online registration is now available for Greenville Seminary's 2015 Spring Theology Conference. Plans have been finalized for the three-day annual program on the timely and much-debated theme "The Law of God in a Lawless Age."

The conference will be held from Tuesday, March 10th, through Thursday, March 12th, at Woodruff Road Presbyterian Church in Simpsonville, S.C. Register by Jan. 30th to take advantage of the early-bird rate of $85 ($115 after Jan. 30). You may also make reservations for a Tuesday evening dinner ($12) and Wednesday lunch ($9), both opportunities to fellowship and renew acquaintances with other conference-goers.

The issue of the law of God is critical in the church today. The conference will seek to answer such questions as: What is the relationship between the Law and the Gospel? What is the place of the Ten Commandments in church and society today? More particularly, what is the role of the law in your life as a Christian? 
The moral law doth forever bind all, as well justified persons as others, to the obedience thereof; and that, not only in regard of the matter contained in it, but also in respect of the authority of God the Creator, who gave it. Neither doth Christ, in the gospel, any way dissolve, but much strengthen this obligation ... So as, a man’s doing good, and refraining from evil, because the law encourageth to the one, and deterreth from the other, is no evidence of his being under the law; and, not under grace.
Westminster Confession of Faith 19:5,6

Speakers and their lecture subjects will include:
  • Dr. Richard Barcellos —  New Covenant Theology and The Law of God
  • Dr. Mark Jones — Antinomianism: The Golden White Devil
  • Dr. Ian Hamilton — What the Law Could Not Do (Rom. 8:3) (Tues. evening sermon)
  • Dr. Joseph Pipa Jr. — Third Use of the Law (Wed. evening sermon)
  • Dr. Pipa — Critique of Klinian Republication
  • Dr. Tony Curto — No Gospel Without the Law
  • Mr. Breno Macedo — Robert Rollock and the Covenant of Works
  • Dr. Sidney Dyer — Paul and Law in Galatians 3
  • Dr. George Scipione — The Principle of Equity and Counseling

Dr. Barcellos is pastor of Grace Reformed Baptist Church in Palmdale, Calif. He is the author of four books, co-author of another book and managing editor of the Journal of the Institute of Reformed Baptist Studies. Dr. Jones is pastor of Faith Vancouver Presbyterian Church of Vancouver, B.C. His latest book is Antinomianism: Reformed Theology's Unwelcome Guest?

The other speakers are faculty members or adjunct faculty at GPTS. Dr. Pipa is the seminary president. Dr. Curto is associate professor of practical theology in missions and apologetics at GPTS. Dr. Hamilton is a member of the GPTS Board of Trustees and pastor of Cambridge Presbyterian Church in England. Mr. Macedo is a 2011 graduate of GPTS and minister in the Presbyterian Church of Brazil. He is coordinator of historical theology at the Theological Seminary of Nordeste, Brazil. Dr. Dyer is professor of Greek and New Testament at GPTS. Dr. Scipione is adjunct professor of applied theology at GPTS, director of the Biblical Counseling Institute and adjunct professor of pastoral theology at Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Pittsburgh, Penn.

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A special pre-conference Open House for prospective students will be held on Monday and Tuesday before the main conference opens. For details on this opportunity, see the separate story in this e-newsletter. To register for the Open House, go here. If you are a prospective student attending the Open House, you may register for the main conference free of charge using this special dedicated link. (Do not use the regular conference registration form or you will be charged.)

Pre-conference Open House for Prospective Students Planned

Each year in advance of Greenville Seminary’s annual spring theology conference, we set aside some time to welcome and orient prospective students who may be considering GPTS for their theological education. In 2015, we are expanding this gathering to include a number of new activities and opportunities to learn what Greenville Seminary is all about. This special campus preview and orientation will be held Monday, March 9 and Tuesday morning, March 10.

In addition to the usual campus tour and welcome luncheon in the Student Commons, you will have the opportunity to:

  • Attend a variety of classes.
  • Participate in a panel discussion.
  • Attend a special Chapel service.
  • Attend the full theology conference as a special guest.

This is a unique opportunity to enhance your understanding about a seminary education and guide your decision-making. Keep a record of your travel costs; if you later enroll in the seminary, your travel costs will be applied as a tuition credit. 

Go here to sign up for this Special Open House. Your confirmation notice will include a link to register for the main conference free of charge. Check our web site for Spring Conference information. 

Welcome Prospective Students to a Special Campus Preview Open House, March 9-10, 2015

Year-end Message from President Pipa

Dr. Pipa
These are difficult times for the church, as the culture plunges into God-hating perversions. I do not need to highlight for you the declensions that have taken place in this past year. 

Hazael of Aram
However, in light of this fact, I am greatly encouraged by the comment of the inspired historian in 2 Kings 13:22, 25, "Now Hazael king of Aram had oppressed Israel all the days of Jehoahaz. But the Lord was gracious to them and had compassion on them because of His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and would not destroy them or cast them from His presence until now." For the sake of His covenant, God was willing to spare the apostate Northern Kingdom for a period of time. How much more willing might He be to revive and reform His church in the United States, Canada, and Britain in these days? Although there are apostate churches in our lands, there are many Bible-believing denominations.

Join with me in praying for God's covenant mercy to His church. Pray as well that we at Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary might have some role in the reformation of the church. Although we are small, we believe we continue to play a role in the reformation of the church of the Lord Jesus Christ. We are greatly encouraged by the caliber of men applying to study here over the last few years.

We rely on the benevolent giving of our supporters to fulfill our mission. Your support for our ministry enables us to continue to serve the church and labor for reformation. Our dependence on the partnership of individuals like you is intentional: with your gifts to Greenville Seminary you help to underwrite about 70% of our annual costs. In a day of rising educational costs, the Seminary remains committed to affordable, accessible theological education. Our students are burdened to preach the Gospel; we do not want them to graduate with a burden of financial debt.

As you may have heard already we are very encouraged to be adding two new faculty members (Dr. Michael Morales, January, 2015 in Biblical Studies; and Dr. Ryan McGraw, July 2015 in Systematic Theology). Both these men have excellent reputations as scholars and will complement the expertise of our current faculty. We are seeking to raise $170,000 by the end of the year to continue meeting our budget, covering our expenses, and preparing for the needs of the coming year. Your gift at this time also will help us replenish our contingency fund to ease cash flow fluctuations. Will you prayerfully consider partnering with us and become a regular supporter? The investment you make now can be used of God to reach future generations with men trained in the richness of the historic Christian faith.

Whether or not you are able to send a gift before the end of the year, please pray that God will bless our ministry and that He will continue to provide funds for the work. We are keenly aware of our dependence on God’s blessing, not only for financial provision but for wisdom, strength and integrity in every aspect of this ministry. As a token of my appreciation for a year-end gift of $200 or more, I will send you a copy of Dr. Ryan McGraw’s new book described in our monthly financial report. Thank you and God bless.

For the glory of God, I am

Joseph A. Pipa Jr.

Dr. Joseph A. Pipa, Jr. 


Visit Easy Fundraising Ideas

Financial Report for November 2014

The tables below indicate our financial situation as of the end of November 2014. Unrestricted general fund donations during November of $60,196 from churches and individuals were $3,663 below the $63,859 November budget for these types of contributions. Expenses of $47,471 were $42,444 below the $89,915 budgeted for expenses. We are grateful for a second consecutive month with a positive net balance. Our thanks to all who gave generously in November. In addition, we received $913 toward our Capital Fund in November.

Our annual year-end financial campaign has begun. See here for a ministry progress report from President Pipa, and prayerfully consider what you might do to help sustain GPTS through the end of 2014.

fundraising ideas for schools, churches, and youth sports teams
Graph shows donation income (lower figure) vs. budget for November 2014

 Donation Income (unrestricted)
 Other Income
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 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


Special offer: 

For your special donation of $200 or more before the end of this year, GPTS would be pleased to send you a complimentary copy of Dr. Ryan M. McGraw’s new book, The Foundation of Communion with God: The Trinitarian Piety of John Owen. (Allow 4-6 weeks for delivery.)

Dr. McGraw, an adjunct professor at GPTS who will be joining the faculty full-time in 2015 teaching systematic theology, is a recognized expert on the Puritan theologian John Owen.

If you would like to make a convenient online donation to Greenville Seminary, click the "Donate" button above. Gifts may also be mailed to: Greenville Seminary, PO Box 690, Taylors SC 29687.


From now until the end of 2015, Greenville Seminary urges you to join in our critical-needs Advancement Initiative by donating and enlisting a team of fellow supporters. Here's how it works:

Click on this link and then either select the orange DONATE TO YOUR CHARITY box to make a donation or, better yet, click on the black FUNDRAISE FOR YOUR CHARITY box to start your own peer-to-peer fund-raising campaign on behalf of GPTS. Once you have created your campaign, click on the "Manage Team" tab on your fund-raiser campaign page, then on the "Invite Team Members" box to create an e-mail message notifying your contacts about your fund-raising efforts on behalf of Greenville Seminary. In turn, they will have the opportunity to give or start a campaign of their own.

As you reach out, or even if you do not participate in this effort, we would appreciate knowing about your contacts. We are asking you to provide the names of five prospective donors from among your friends and acquaintances. To make your pledge and referrals, please fill out and submit the form here.
Most of all, be fervent in prayer that God would provide all that is needed for us to do what He has called us to do in this ministry which the church so badly needs in these uncommon times.

Remember, gifts to GPTS are tax-deductible and may include cash, securities, property or a variety of planned giving instruments. (The tax deduction is reduced by the fair market value of any premium received in return for a donation.) See here for information about planning your last will and testament with the Kingdom of God in mind.

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" e-mail icon at the bottom of this post.) Thank you for your continued support for Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary.

Fall Finals and Winter Term at GPTS

Fall Semester final examinations get underway at Greenville Seminary during the week of Dec. 15-19. Pray that our students would have excellent recall of all they have learned and would present themselves as successful scholars to the glory of God.

Intensive classes for the 2015 Winter Term at Greenville Seminary begin January 5. Dr. Joseph A. Pipa, Jr. returns from his teaching sabbatical for the Winter Term. Five courses are being offered by five instructors, including:

  • HT10 - Presbyterian Church History
    Jan 12-16 - Dr. C.N. Willborn
    9:00 am - 5:00 pm
    (Includes 2-day [Tues. & Wed.] tour of historic sites in Columbia & Charleston)
    Hours: 2

  • AT20 - Introduction to Homiletics
    Jan 5-9 & 12-16 - Breno Macedo
    Jan. 5: 1:30-4:30 pm; Jan. 6: 9:00 am - 12:00 pm & 1:30 pm - 4:30 pm; Jan. 12-16: TBA
    Hours: 3

  • AT30 - Reformed Worship
    Jan. 5-9 - Dr. Joseph A. Pipa, Jr.
    Jan. 5: 1:30-9:00 pm; Jan. 6-9: 9:00 am - 12:00 pm & 1:30 pm - 4:30 pm
    Hours: 2

  • NT41 - New Testament Biblical Theology
    Jan 19-23 - Dr. Michael Morales
    Jan. 19: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm; Jan. 20-13: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
    Hours: 3

  • AT40 - Reformed Pastor
    Jan 7-9 & 12-14 - Dr. William Shishko
    9:00 am - 6:00 pm
    Hours: 4

The 2015 Spring Semester begins January 27. The class schedule may be viewed and downloaded here

GPTS Welcomes New Media Director

Martin and Lisa Dendekker
Greenville Seminary is blessed with state-of-the-art electronic classrooms where students around the nation and the world can participate in lectures in real time or download audio recordings of their classes. Directing this system along with other media services, such as our SermonAudio channel, is new international student Martin Dendekker, who assumed his position as media director earlier this semester, replacing Vernon Shoaf.

Mr. Dendekker hails from Woodstock, Ontario, where he and his wife Lisa are members of Grace Presbyterian Church (ARP), pastored by GPTS Board Chairman Jeff Kingswood. He credits Pastor Kingswood's guidance in helping clarify in his mind that he was being called to study theology at the seminary level. "Where or how I serve the church post-seminary is not clear at this point," he said when applying to GPTS. "I trust that God will make His way for us clear at His appointed time." The Dendekkers were married in May 2013.

Martin is a 2010 graduate (magna cum laude) from the University of Ottawa, where he was awarded an Honours Bachelor of Social Sciences degree. He majored in political science and history. From 2011 until he came to GPTS, Martin served as a special assistant to Ontario Provincial Parliament Member Randy Pettapiece in the Legislative Assembly. Prior to that he held a similar post in the office of Assembly Member Ernie Hardeman. While in college, he worked for Aecon Group, Inc. within the University of Ottawa's student co-op.

"I grew up in a Reformed environment with a strong Biblical foundation," he says. "I didn't come to faith, however, until 2008 when I was half-way through my studies at the University of Ottawa. The Lord worked in me during one of the most difficult periods of my life when everything I held close was falling apart. Since then, God through His Spirit has sanctified my head knowledge to my heart, reteaching me many things as well as teaching me many new things. I have been maturing in faith over the past six years."

Little Things, Big Help

Many online enterprises have begun offering ways for supporters of non-profit organizations to raise funds easily for their favorite charities. We've introduced you to some of these over the past few years, such as Amazon Smile and GoodSearch/GoodShop (see the bottom of this page).

One long-time supporter of the seminary, Sylvia Fincham, has taken these opportunities a step further by encouraging her friends to join her in using these opportunities. Recently, she sent an e-mail message to her friends which said:
Dear Friends:
 I wanted to let you know about a program Amazon has introduced, if you are not already using it.
 This is the season when a lot more purchases are made online at Amazon. I am asking, if you would consider signing up for “AMAZON SMILE,” a program that allows you to chose a donation site to support.

Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, in Greenville S.C is one of the organizations that could use our support. It costs you nothing. 
Amazon Smile has agreed to send a percentage of your order to the charity of your choice because you are using their link.
 It only takes a second, before you place your “already-planned-on-making-purchase”.

Please consider making this an organization to support. 
In doing so, you will be helping a great seminary build and train men for the ministry of Jesus Christ.
 Fondly in Christ,
Sylvia A.Fincham
Pastor Dan and Sylvia Fincham
In a message to us as we continue to promote these opportunities, Mrs. Fincham, wife of OPC Pastor Daniel Fincham in New Bern, N.C., added: "So many people may not even be aware of this program, or about the “Good Search” engine. I don’t make any search on the web without it. One penny is 1 more penny….times thousands of searches."
Laboring along side of you,
Sylvia Fincham 
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AmazonSmile is easy to use. Instead of shopping at the regular Amazon web site, go to instead, Everything's the same, except, after you pick Greenville Presbyterian Seminary as your favorite charity, Amazon sends a portion of your purchase price as a gift to GPTS.

GoodShop also sends support to GPTS when customers chose us as their charity and shop at hundreds of affiliated online sites. So far $475 has been raised for GPTS by users of GoodShop and GoodSearch. Make GoodSearch your web search engine, and every search will result in a contribution to GPTS.

You can also double your experience by getting promo codes and coupons at GoodShop and using them at Amazon. Go here to make your really big deals!

Join the fun and ask your friends to help also, as Mrs. Fincham has done. Thanks, Sylvia, for "laboring alongside" us. (That's a precious phrase!) Little things like this, when multiplied, are a big help!

Book Notes

How Do Preaching and Corporate Prayer Work Together? - Dr. Ryan McGraw, adjunct professor of systematic theology at Greenville Seminary

This 32-page booklet is part of Reformation Heritage Books' Cultivating Biblical Godliness Series. It is available in paperback, 10-pack, and e-book versions. For other booklets in this series, go here.

“Can there be any more profound expression of unbelief than prayerlessness in our churches? This booklet by Dr. McGraw, How Do Preaching and Corporate Prayer Work Together?, is a biblically grounded exhortation on the need for corporate prayer meetings in the church and why you should be involved if your church has one. It is my prayer that God will use this booklet to call many churches back to the practice of the corporate prayer meeting. If you share this desire, read this booklet and distribute it widely in your congregation.” 
— Joseph A. Pipa Jr., president, Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary 

Confessing Our Hope Podcast & SermonAudio Resources

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. Recent programs are now available for listening or download at Newest among them:
  • #71 – Church Membership. Dr. Ryan McGraw and Rev. Ryan Speck were our guests as we discussed the important topic of church membership. What is church membership? Is it biblical?  Why is it so important in the life of the believer and the church?  Perhaps you have had these questions or have heard them from others.  If so, this broadcast will be very helpful to you. 

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The popular and informative "Faith and Practice" segments feature answers by GPTS President Joseph A. Pipa, Jr. to questions submitted by listeners. You may submit your questions by using the form on the podcast web site here or by emailing your question to (include your name, address and email address).

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.

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You'll be blessed by sermons available on our SermonAudio channel. Check out our chapel service messages there, along with many other resources. Among the outstanding chapel sermons in November was "The Pulsebeat of God-honoring Religion," by GPTS Trustee Ian Hamilton, a pastor in Cambridge, England.

Athanasius: On the Incarnation

Editor's Note: Athanasius stood contra mundum ("against the world") in defense of the biblical doctrine of Christ. He opposed Arius when it seemed all the world would follow Arius's heresy. Athanasius's work remains even today one of the definitive statements of orthodox Trinitarianism. These excerpts are from his work De Incarnatione Verbi Dei (The Incarnation of the Word of God).


[God] made all things out of nothing through His own Word, our Lord Jesus Christ, and of all these His earthly creatures He reserved especial mercy for the race of men. Upon them ... He bestowed a grace which other creatures lacked — namely the impress of His own Image, a share in the reasonable being of the very Word Himself, so that, reflecting Him and themselves becoming reasonable and expressing the Mind of God even as He does, though in limited degree they might continue for ever in the blessed and only true life of the saints in paradise. But since the will of man could turn either way, God secured this grace that He had given by making it conditional from the first upon two things—namely, a law and a place. He set them in His own paradise, and laid upon them a single prohibition. If they guarded the grace and retained the loveliness of their original innocence, then the life of paradise should be theirs, without sorrow, pain or care, and after it the assurance of immortality in heaven. But if they went astray and became vile, throwing away their birthright of beauty, then they would come under the natural law of death and live no longer in paradise, but, dying outside of it, continue in death and in corruption.

* * *
You may be wondering why we are discussing the origin of men when we set out to talk about the Word's becoming Man. The former subject is relevant to the latter for this reason: it was our sorry case that caused the Word to come down, our transgression that called out His love for us, so that He made haste to help us and to appear among us. It is we who were the cause of His taking human form, and for our salvation that in His great love He was both born and manifested in a human body. For God had made man thus (that is, as an embodied spirit), and had willed that he should remain in incorruption. But men, having turned from the contemplation of God to evil of their own devising, had come inevitably under the law of death. Instead of remaining in the state in which God had created them, they were in process of becoming corrupted entirely, and death had them completely under its dominion.

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Adam and Eve After the Expulsion from ParadisePaulo Veronese
[B]ecause death and corruption were gaining ever firmer hold on them, the human race was in process of destruction. Man, who was created in God's image and in his possession of reason reflected the very Word Himself, was disappearing, and the work of God was being undone. The law of death, which followed from the Transgression, prevailed upon us, and from it there was no escape. The thing that was happening was in truth both monstrous and unfitting. It would, of course, have been unthinkable that God should go back upon His word and that man, having transgressed, should not die; but it was equally monstrous that beings which once had shared the nature of the Word should perish and turn back again into non-existence through corruption. 

* * *
What—or rather Who was it that was needed for such grace and such recall as we required? Who, save the Word of God Himself, Who also in the beginning had made all things out of nothing? His part it was, and His alone, both to bring again the corruptible to incorruption and to maintain for the Father His consistency of character with all. For He alone, being Word of the Father and above all, was in consequence both able to recreate all, and worthy to suffer on behalf of all and to be an ambassador for all with the Father.

Adoration of the Shepherds, Jacopo Bassano (detail)
For this purpose, then, the incorporeal and incorruptible and immaterial Word of God entered our world. In one sense, indeed, He was not far from it before, for no part of creation had ever been without Him Who, while ever abiding in union with the Father, yet fills all things that are. But now He entered the world in a new way, stooping to our level in His love and Self-revealing to us. He saw the reasonable race, the race of men that, like Himself, expressed the Father's Mind, wasting out of existence, and death reigning over all in corruption. He saw that corruption held us all the closer, because it was the penalty for the Transgression; He saw, too, how unthinkable it would be for the law to be repealed before it was fulfilled. He saw how unseemly it was that the very things of which He Himself was the Artificer should be disappearing. He saw how the surpassing wickedness of men was mounting up against them; He saw also their universal liability to death. All this He saw and, pitying our race, moved with compassion for our limitation, unable to endure that death should have the mastery, rather than that His creatures should perish and the work of His Father for us men come to nought, He took to Himself a body, a human body even as our own. Nor did He will merely to become embodied or merely to appear; had that been so, He could have revealed His divine majesty in some other and better way. No, He took our body, and not only so, but He took it directly from a spotless, stainless virgin, without the agency of human father—a pure body, untainted by intercourse with man. He, the Mighty One, the Artificer of all, Himself prepared this body in the virgin as a temple for Himself, and took it for His very own, as the instrument through which He was known and in which He dwelt. Thus, taking a body like our own, because all our bodies were liable to the corruption of death, He surrendered His body to death instead of all, and offered it to the Father. This He did out of sheer love for us, so that in His death all might die, and the law of death thereby be abolished because, having fulfilled in His body that for which it was appointed, it was thereafter voided of its power for men. This He did that He might turn again to incorruption men who had turned back to corruption, and make them alive through death by the appropriation of His body and by the grace of His resurrection. Thus He would make death to disappear from them as utterly as straw from fire.

The Word perceived that corruption could not be got rid of otherwise than through death; yet He Himself, as the Word, being immortal and the Father's Son, was such as could not die. For this reason, therefore, He assumed a body capable of death, in order that it, through belonging to the Word Who is above all, might become in dying a sufficient exchange for all, and, itself remaining incorruptible through His indwelling, might thereafter put an end to corruption for all others as well, by the grace of the resurrection. It was by surrendering to death the body which He had taken, as an offering and sacrifice free from every stain, that He forthwith abolished death for His human brethren by the offering of the equivalent. For naturally, since the Word of God was above all, when He offered His own temple and bodily instrument as a substitute for the life of all, He fulfilled in death all that was required..., and in consequence the designs of the enemy against mankind have been foiled and the corruption of death, which formerly held them in its power, has simply ceased to be. For the human race would have perished utterly had not the Lord and Savior of all, the Son of God, come among us to put an end to death.

Excerpts from St. Athanasius: On the Incarntation, St. Vladimir's Orthodox Seminary Press, 1993, translation by "A Religious of C.S.M.V." (Sister Penelope Lawson of the Anglican Community of St. Mary the Virgin, Wantage, England)