Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Spring Conference Convenes March 8

Greenville Seminary's annual Spring Theology Conference opens March 8, and there is still opportunity to register at the door. The three-day conference will address the highly charged contemporary subject of "Marriage, Family and Sexuality."

The conference will be held again at Woodruff Road Presbyterian Church, 2519 Woodruff Rd, Simpsonville, S.C. Registration rates are as follows:
  • On-site registration rate of $120, GPTS, Graduate $90, Student $30.
  • Youth 12 and under attending with parents: Free; Over age 12: $20. *(SEE NOTE BELOW)
  • Prospective GPTS students who attend the pre-conference open house may attend the main conference without charge.
  • Those unable to attend the entire conference may register on-site for one day. Tuesday or Thursday rate: $35; Wednesday rate: $55; student, wife and/or child: $10. 

With marriage, family and sexuality severely under attack in America, Greenville Seminary has never offered a more timely conference. The church and the world need biblical answers to the sexual perversions rampant in our culture. More importantly, the church needs to demonstrate the powerful, biblical alternative.

In this conference, we will deal with some of the difficulties faced today: homosexuality, transgenderism, and pornography, but our main goal is to defend the biblical standards for marriage, courting, and relationships between husband and wife and parents and children. The godly home is a powerful antidote to the perversions of our day. Of course, the greatest antidote is the Gospel, and we will review the life and something of the thought of one of the great Gospel preachers and theologians of the past.

Tuesday and Wednesday evening services (7 p.m.) are free and open to the public. If you are unable to attend the Spring Theology Conference, you may listen to live webcasts of the Tuesday and Wednesday evening services on the GPTS Channel on SermonAudio. Look for the small red "Live Webcast" icon near the top of the page.

*PARENTS NOTE: Because of the nature of the topics to be discussed during some of the lectures, alternative programming will be available for children age 12 and under. Three of our speakers (Mr. Bates, Dr. Beeke, and Dr. Backus) have requested that during their lectures we provide an alternative activity for children 5-12 years of age. Here is the schedule of activities we have planned, which will be led by GPTS students, student wives, and community volunteers.

1. Wed, Mar 8, 3:00 p.m. - 4:15 p.m. Indoor Games & Crafts - Youth Room
2. Tue, Mar 9, 9:00 a.m.-10:15 a.m. Lesson & Singing - Choir Room
3. Tue, Mar 9, 10:35 a.m. - 11:50 a.m. Outdoor Games - Soccer Field

If you prefer, you are welcome to keep your children in the lectures. However, if you would like your children to join the activities, they should gather in the foyer of the sanctuary five minutes before the lecture begins, or simply meet in the indicated location once the lecture has begun. If you have any questions, feel free to contact Mrs. Kathleen Curto at

Listen to President Dr. Joseph A. Pipa Jr. preview this conference.

Also on tap is the second annual Encounter GPTS: Campus Preview for Prospective Students on March 7-8. Prospective students who attend the Encounter GPTS open house may attend the Spring Theology Conference for free.

Speakers and their topics for the main conference are:
  • God's Design for Marriage — Dr. Joseph A. Pipa, Jr., GPTS president
  • Gay Marriage: Right or Wrong? — Gary Bates, Creation Ministries International
  • The Maker's Instructions — Dr. Ian Hamilton, pastor Cambridge Presbyterian Church (UK), GPTS trustee and adjunct professor. (Evening worship service, free and open to the public. Live webcast on SermonAudio)
  • Nurturing Sexual Intimacy in Marriage — Dr. Joel Beeke, president, Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary
  • Free at Last: Counseling Those Dominated by the Sin of Pornography — Dr. Kevin Backus, pastor, Bible Presbyterian Church, Grand Island, N.Y.; Fellow - National Association of Nouthetic Counselors
  • Family Worship in the Reformed Tradition — Dr. Benjamin Shaw, GPTS associate professor
  • God's Nursery — Dr. Pipa. (Evening worship service, free and open to the public. Live webcast on SermonAudio)
  • Biblical Wisdom for Courtship and Dating — Dr. Richard Phillips, pastor, 2nd Presbyterian Church, Greenville
  • Special lecture on The Life and Theology of John Owen: A 400th Anniversary Appreciation — Dr. Ryan McGraw, GPTS associate professor and Owen scholar

Register Now for the GPTS Summer Program Offerings

What does the Westminster Confession have to say about pastoral care? Greenville Seminary 2016 Summer Institute, a week-long seminar for pastors and Christian laymen will delve into this unique topic.

Dr. Chad B. Van Dixhoorn will lecture on "The Westminster Confession and Pastoral Care." The study will be held on the GPTS campus Aug. 1-5.

Pastors who take the course are eligible for continuing education credits. Others may receive credits for an M.Div. degree. Tuition for the institute is $225. Take $25 off additional registrations should anyone from your church attend with you.

Register and pay individual tuition online here. For Group Rate registrations, call Registrar Kathleen Curto at (864) 322-2717 ext. 302.

Dr. Van Dixhoorn, a Canadian-born theologian and historian, is editor of the five-volume "The Minutes and Papers of the Westminster Assembly: 1643-1652," published by Oxford University Press in 2012.

He is a graduate of Westminster Theological Seminary (M.Div., Th.M.) and the University of Cambridge (Ph.D,). He has taught theology at the University of Nottingham and has held three fellowships at Cambridge, where he researched the history and theology of the Westminster Assembly and taught on the subject of Puritanism.

Dr. Van Dixhoorn has lectured since 2008 at Reformed Theological Seminary - Washington, where he teaches church history and practical theology. He has served as Associate Professor of Church History at RTS-Washington since 2013 and as Chancellor's Professor of Historical Theology since 2015. He has previously lectured at Greenville Seminary.

He served as pastor at Cambridge Presbyterian Church (UK) and then at Grace Presbyterian Church in Vienna, Va. for nine years.

Summer Theology Course

"A vacation for those in love with truth"

Also on the Summer Program is the annual Summer Theology Course elective, Aug. 8-12, open to both GPTS students and the public. This is another opportunity for pastors to gain continuing education credits. The program also includes a fascinating tour of historic Presbyterian sites in beautiful Charleston and Columbia, S.C.

Tuition for taking the course for credit is $448 or $60 to audit without credit. This summer's course again is Southern Presbyterian Theology, taught by Dr. C.N. Willborn. Use the link above to register and pay tuition.

Dr. Willborn is adjunct professor of church history at GPTS and pastor of Covenant Presbyterian Church in Oak Ridge, Tenn. He serves as co-editor of The Confessional Presbyterian.

"Enjoy the beauty of South Carolina from the Up Country to the Low Country," says Dr. Willborn, recognized for his contributions to American and Southern Presbyterianism. "We will study some of the great doctrines of the Christian faith as set forth by the Southern luminaries. Consider this a vacation for those in love with truth."

Historic Johns Island Presbyterian Church, Charleston
This is a unique course drawing from the contributions of international Calvinists like J. L. Girardeau, Charles Colcock Jones, B.M. Palmer, Stuart Robinson and J.H. Thornwell. Grand topics like Adoption, the Diaconate, Covenant theology, Biblical Theology and much more will be explored. In addition to the classroom lectures (which include generous Q&A times), the final two days will be on location in some of American Presbyterianism’s most historic sites, in Columbia and Charleston. In addition to Dr. Willborn, the course offers time with Dr. John R. de Witt, Mr. Graham Duncan (South Caroliniana Library Archivist), Dr. Pat Mellen (Senior Historian for Charleston Convention & Group Services), and Mr. Alphonso Brown (Gullah Tours).  

The dates and times for the course are as follows:
Monday, August 8: 1 p.m. - 5 p.m. 
Tuesday, August 9:  9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Wednesday, August 10: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Thursday, August 11: Tour in Columbia and Johns Island, South Carolina
Friday, August 12: Tour in Charleston, South Carolina
Details on Thursday and Friday tour available upon registration.

For many years, Morton H. Smith taught this course from his widely used textbook, Studies in Southern Presbyterian Theology. To learn more of his life work, listen to internationally acclaimed theologian and missionary Dr. O. Palmer Robertson in his recent “Tribute to Morton Smith” at Sermon Audio.

Select Program

Telling Our Story: New Informational Video Premiers

A long-overdue new informational video telling the Greenville Seminary story has been produced and is now available online and in DVD format.

"An Uncommon School for Uncommon Times" replaces an outdated video which was created well before the seminary moved into its present campus in 2008 and featured scenes, faculty, students and programs no longer relevant to our present ministry.

"This new presentation in high definition video carries over major themes from the previous video but features new faculty interviews and footage taken on our present campus," says Development Director Garry Moes, who served as executive producer. "The film describes our Foundation (the Bible), our Framework (the Reformed Confessions), our program Fundamentals, and opportunities for Family and Fellowship at GPTS. Scenes and dialogue describing our community and the unique nature of our ministry are included."

The video was produced by BClip Productions of Asheville, N.C. whose cameramen spent a full day on campus and downtown Greenville on Jan. 26th. Special thanks goes to Dr. and Mrs. James Clements of Mansfield, Ohio, who provided a substantial grant to finance the project. Thanks also to Mel Duncan, administrator of 2nd Presbyterian Church in Greenville, for arranging for filming of background video at that historic church.

You may have a DVD copy to show at your church, to friends, or other opportunities you may have to help GPTS spread the word about our ministry. Contact Mr. Moes at

Watch the new 12-minute video here and share a link to it: Click the arrow in the upper right corner.

A 2:46 minute version designed for quick sharing through social media is also available (see below). We encourage widespread sharing of these videos to help tell the story of the vital theological training ministry of Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary.

Friend-Raising: Financial Report for February 2016

Sharing our Story: Friend-raising for GPTS

One of the many satisfactions we experience here at GPTS is when key supporters share their thoughts about and commitment to our ministry with friends and colleagues and encourage them to join in their partnership with the seminary. We recently received a sizable gift from a "newcomer" to our fold of underwriters who noted how a friend had shared his burden for GPTS.

"He told me how proud he was of the school and what it accomplishes," our new donor related in a note with his $1,000 gift. "This is a small measure of the gratitude and esteem my wife ... and I hold for [our friend]. ... I hope you and your organization will stay in touch with us. Hopefully we can do more for the Seminary in the coming years."

Sharing our story with your acquaintances is a great way to help us build our financial foundation. Alternatively, you can help us with our friend-raising efforts by filling out the referral form hereWe rely on our partners for 70 per cent of our operating needs, and we therefore continue to depend on your help as the second semester proceeds! Your gifts and prayers are vital to the accomplishment of our mission. 

Will you give generously and pray earnestly for a continued strong financial foundation this month? We express our thanks to those who have already given.

The tables below indicate our general operating fund financial situation as of the end of February 2015 and for the 2015-16 fiscal year through Feb. 29. Unrestricted general fund donations from churches and individuals during February totaled $46,600, which was $21,358 below the $67,958 budgeted for such income. Total income for February was $83,678, including $16,667 from a reserve stemming from an unbudgeted bequest. Expenses of $129,713 were $28,227 above the $101,486 budgeted for expenses. For the fiscal year to date, net income remains on the positive side at $79,969, for which we are grateful.

February 2016 Donations
Budget vs. Actual

fundraising ideas for schools, churches, and youth sports teams

Graph shows Budget (upper figure) vs. Actual donation income during February 2016

 Donation Income (unrestricted)
 Other Income
 Total Income
 Net Income
Donation Income
Other Income (see note below)*
Total Income
Net Income

*Includes $16,667 monthly draft from 2015 bequest reserve (see graph below).

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

Donate to GPTS through the PayPal Giving Fund. Giving through this Fund means 100% of your gift will reach GPTS, without the usual processing fees deducted. You can also support the seminary by buying and selling through the eBay for Charity system.

Gifts may also be mailed to: Greenville Seminary, PO Box 690, Taylors SC 29687.

And don't forget to do your online shopping at AmazonSmile. Log on to and select Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary as your charity. Or click on the AmazonSmile banner at the very bottom of this e-newsletter. 

Fidelity Charitable Clients: Click here for Donor-Advised Fund direct deposit (available soon)

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

GPTS Conference: There's an App for That.

If you are attending the 2016 Spring Theology Conference, here's a new opportunity to connect with fellow conference goers: The Official Conference App! Download the app, sign up, search for our event: Greenville Seminary Spring Theology Conference, and enjoy sharing thoughts, photos, messages, and more with fellow conference-goers. If you registered for the conference, your name is already added to the app guest list. Check it out and update your profile as needed.

Podcast, Conference Previews, and More Audio/Video Resources

Another Spring Conference preview interview is among new broadcasts now available at Confessing Our Hope, Greenville Seminary's online broadcasting outreach, hosted by Bill Hill.

"Homosexual Marriage: Right or Wrong?" — Dr. Gary Bates of Creation Ministries International discusses his conference subject.

If you are unable to attend the Spring Theology Conference, you may listen to live webcasts of the Tuesday and Wednesday 7 p.m. evening services on the GPTS Channel on SermonAudio. Look for the small red "Live Webcast" icon near the top of the page.

Meanwhile, tune in to Confessing Our Hope to listen now to these archived broadcasts previewing the Spring Theology Conference:

"Courtship and Marriage" — Dr. Richard Phillips, senior pastor at Second Presbyterian Church in Greenville, S.C., discusses his topic to be presented at the 2016 GPTS Spring Theology Conference.

"History of Family Worship" — GPTS Associate Professor Dr. Benjamin Shaw gives a preview of his lecture scheduled for the 2016 GPTS Spring Theology Conference.

"Marriage, Family & Sexuality" — GPTS President Dr. Joseph Pipa provides an overview of the 2016 GPTS Spring Theology Conference. Don't miss this vital conference dealing with some of the hottest issues of our day.

Another new broadcast just aired is "Faith and Practice #21" — Dr. Joseph Pipa Jr. answers more listener questions, including some on Islam, the Nicene Creed, children, covenant baptism,

All broadcasts can be heard and/or downloaded at the Confessing Our Hope web site or from the GPTS channel at

Mr. Hill recently announced that some future podcasts will be broadcast live. To learn more about this exciting new option, go here.

In other resources:

Dr. Benjamin Shaw, associate professor of Hebrew and Old Testament, recently lectured at Lebonon Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Abbeville, S.C. on "Why Keep the Old (Testament) When We Have the New (Testament)?" Hear his lecture here.

Stay in touch with the GPTS channel on SermonAudio for a large variety of audio and video resources, including videos of Dr. Pipa's series of chapel sermons on Psalm 119.

GPTS to Host "Readiness for Ministry" Seminary

Greenville Seminary will host the Orthodox Presbyterian Church's "Readiness for Ministry" seminar on campus April 8-9.

The training and evaluation seminar is described as a networking opportunity for internships and ministry positions. It seeks to encourage future ministers in the pursuit of their call from God, provides an opportunity to get better acquainted with the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, and to be evaluated by OPC elders.

The seminar will be held Friday, April 8, from 7:00 to 9:30 p.m. and Saturday, April 9, from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Lunch will be provided on Saturday. There is no cost to attend, and the seminar is open to all interested persons.

To register, contact Sean Gregg,, 215-935-1015 or Al Tricarico,, 215-935-1014.

Can You Spare a Few Hours?

"Hello, this is Greenville Seminary. How may I help you?"

If you have a friendly voice that can say those words, we'd like to hear from you.

The seminary is seeking volunteers to staff our switchboard and reception desk this summer. The task is a generally quiet and simple one — answering the phone and directing callers to the appropriate staff or faculty office.

You may volunteer for as little or as much time as you are able to offer — generally no more than a couple of hours a week. Summer is generally a quiet time around campus. You will likely have time for reading, sipping coffee, or some other personal pursuit between calls. You may have a few other optional duties, such as checking out customers at our bookstore in the same room, or sorting library books, if you are willing. We will train you for any of these easy tasks.

Volunteers are SO valuable to us, saving the seminary considerable staffing costs. We have been very blessed over the years from the services freely given to GPTS by friends in our local area.

If you are willing to help, contact Administrative Assistant Sue Holmes at or (864) 322-2717, ext. 307.

Or use this form.

EBay for GPTS

Are you selling something on the popular auction site Ebay? You now have the opportunity to designate a portion of your proceeds as a donation to Greenville Seminary. You can also shop Ebay for Charity to support GPTS and make a direct donation through PayPal, all from the same starting point (click link below).

Alum to Speak at "Gay Christianity" Conference

Greenville Seminary alumnus Dr. Gabriel Fluhrer will be among the speakers at a fall conference on the growing inroads of homosexuality on the church.

Dr. Fluhrer will speak at the conference titled "The Two Loves: A Biblical Response to Gay Christianity" in  Escondido, Calif. October 7-9. The conference is sponsored by, headed by Dr. Peter Jones, who lectured recently at GPTS.

Conference sponsors say this about the issue to be examined:

"Facing a mounting cultural pressure to conform, Christians often receive accusations of bigotry and hate. The Bible offers us a positive, life-giving message of salvation, expressed, in particular, in a life of God-honoring heterosexuality. In view of the growing influence of "Gay Christianity" in our churches, do you feel able to speak about your beliefs to the people God has placed in your life?

"You will learn two basic truths to help you speak to the heart of gender and sexuality issues.

"First, the conference will deepen your understanding of why the collapse of our culture into pagan (Oneist) thinking leads naturally to the practice and theory of homosexuality. We will not deal with questions of politics, psychology or "gay" rights; nor will we offer a moralistic and defensive anti-homosexual stance.  At their core level, gender and sexual issues are theological questions.

"Second, the conference will equip you to articulate the Bible's holistic (Twoist) worldview: how God made the world distinct from himself and how the world witnesses to his Trinitarian character. On this basis, we will examine the beautiful and comprehensive calling of biblical wisdom and holiness."

Rev. Fluhrer (Ph.D. Westminster Theological Seminary) is minister of discipleship at the First Presbyterian Church of Jackson, Miss. Prior to coming to First Presbyterian Church, he served as the church planter and founding pastor of Shiloh Presbyterian Church in Raleigh, N.C. He is the editor of three books, Atonement (P&R 2010), These Last Days (P&R 2011), and Solid Ground (P&R 2012). In addition to his pastoral duties, he serves on the faculty of Reformed Theological Seminary's Global Campus.