Monday, August 10, 2015

GPTS Begins Twenty-ninth Year of Confessional Theological Education


Photo: 2014 Convocation Service

Fall Semester 2015 marks the beginning of the 29th year of instruction offered by one of America's most stalwartly conservative, confessional theological schools, Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. With its unswerving commitment to the authority of Scripture and all of its implications for the preservation of the historic Reformed faith, Greenville Seminary stands in the vanguard of Biblical orthodoxy in a world of drifting theological education and efficacious preaching.

Orientation for the new semester includes a number of kick-off events. New student orientation and class registrations will be held on Thursday and Friday, Aug. 20-21. A new student welcome banquet will be held on Thursday evening in the Student Commons. The annual Faculty Retreat is scheduled for Monday and Tuesday of Orientation Week. The annual Fall Seminary-wide Picnic will be held on Saturday, Aug. 22, at the Taylors First Baptist Church recreation area near the seminary.

Dr. McGraw
The 2015 Convocation ceremony will be held Friday, Aug. 21, at 7 p.m. at the Academy of Arts Auditorium adjacent to the seminary, followed by a reception. Dr. Ryan M. McGraw, the seminary's new Systematic Theology professor, will deliver the convocation address. Student Michael Spangler will deliver the charge to students. The convocation ceremony includes the affirmation of the seminary's Statement of Belief and Covenant pledging full subscription to the Westminster Standards by the faculty (see below). Students also affirm a statement of commitment to seminary standards of academic diligence and conduct.

Classes begin Wednesday, Aug. 26.

Dr. Morales
Dr. L. Michael Morales, the seminary's new professor of Biblical Studies, will deliver his inaugural lecture on "The Burnt Offering and Christ's Fulfillment" on Tuesday, Aug. 25, at 7 p.m. at Covenant Community Presbyterian Church, 418 East Main Street, Taylors, South Carolina (just east of the seminary). The public is invited. A reception will follow.

The incoming class includes 17 freshman students, including Master of Divinity students Michael Anderson, John Clair, Gil Garcia, Seth Gesin, Zachery Groff, Bradney Lopez, Ryan Klemmer, Shawn Spalti, Stephen Spinnenweber, and Curt Straeter; Master of Arts students Laura Cliff and Christopher Williams; Bachelor of Divinity students Jeremy Colon, Rick Hale and Justin Magdellini; and Doctor of Theology student Charles Oliveira and Master of Theology student Samuel Vitalino. International students in the group include Messers. Vitalino and Oliveira, from Brazil, on campus. Messrs. Lopez and Colon are distance-learning students from Puerto Rico. Two previously enrolled distance students, Michael Grasso of Cummings, Ga. and lately from work in China; and Benjamin Wontrop from Gateshead, England, will be transferring to on-campus studies. Additional applications for the Fall Semester are still in processing.

Overall enrollment for the Fall Semester in our Greenville-based program stands at 71, including 10 international students. Thirty-five are on-campus students, and 36 are studying through the seminary's state-of-the-art mentored distance-learning program which allows students to participate in classes in real time via video conferencing over the Internet as if they were sitting in the classroom or by downloading recorded class lectures. In addition, GPTS has nine master of arts students enrolled in our extension program at John Wycliffe Theological College in South Africa, bringing the total to 80 students.

* * * * *

Statement of Belief and Covenant

To guarantee that Greenville Seminary will maintain its theological position, each member of the Board of Trustees, Faculty, and Teaching Staff is required initially and annually to subscribe to the following Statement of Belief and Covenant:

“Believing that there is but one, the living and true God, and that there are three persons in the Godhead, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; and that these three are one God, the same in substance, equal in power and glory, and with solemn awareness of the accountability to Him in all that we feel, think, say, and do, the undersigned engages in and subscribes to this declaration:
  • “All Scripture is self-attesting, and being Truth, requires the human mind whole-heartedly to subject itself in all its activities to the authority of Scripture complete as the Word of God, standing written in the 66 books of the Holy Bible, all therein being verbally inspired by Almighty God, and therefore without error in the original autographs.
  • “Reformed Theology as set forth in the Westminster Confession of Faith & the Larger and Shorter Catechisms as adopted by the Presbyterian Church in America and the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, is the system of doctrine taught in Scripture, and therefore is to be learned, taught, and proclaimed for the edification and government of Christian people, for the propagation of the faith and for the evangelization of the world by the power of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
  • “And I do solemnly promise and engage not to inculcate, sanction, teach or insinuate anything which shall appear to me to contradict or contravene, either directly or implicitly, any element in that system of doctrine.
  • “Now, therefore, the undersigned, in the presence of God, states and signifies that he consents, agrees, and binds himself to all of the foregoing without any reservation whatsoever, and that he further obligates himself immediately to notify in writing the Board of Trustees should a change of any kind take place in his belief and feeling not in accord with this Statement. AMEN.”