Monday, June 6, 2016

A Mighty Army: Mid-year Report from President Pipa

“The hand of the LORD was upon me, and he brought me out in the Spirit of the LORD and set me down in the middle of the valley, it was full of bones. And he led me around among them, and behold, there were very many on the surface of the valley, and behold, they were very dry.  And he said to me, ‘Son of man, can these bones live.’ And I answered, ‘O Lord GOD, you know.’ Then he said to me, ‘Prophesy over these bones, and say to them, O dry bones, hear the word of the LORD. Thus says the Lord GOD to these bones: Behold, I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live.  And I will lay sinews upon you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live, and you shall know that I am the LORD.’ … So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army.” — Ezekiel 37:1-6,10

Dear Friends of GPTS,

In this passage, Ezekiel goes on to quote God as saying that these dry bones “are the whole house of Israel.” It is stunning to realize how apt this vision still is concerning the “whole house of Israel” — today’s church, and how timely, even now, are the expressed means of reviving dry bones rattling around in the spiritually dead valley of this world. The means Ezekiel was instructed to use was “prophesying,” and through these means God will again do a work of revival that will raise up a mighty army for the Kingdom of Christ.

We are Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary seek to be 21st century Ezekiels, employing the tools of preaching the Gospel to awaken a bone-dry church, thus using the ordinary means of grace to proclaim the Good News of Life to a dead and dying world. As we have often said, preaching is our focus here at GPTS, and it has been thrilling to see another class of seniors recently presenting their “senior sermons” with passion and extraordinary understanding of the Word of God. How we give thanks to God for giving us the high calling of training these new recruits for the spiritual army of the Lord.

One of them, Adam Harris, in a reminiscence of his time at GPTS, recalled how his class had been challenged to train for service in the army of the Lord:

“I still remember my first convocation at GPTS. The ceremony as a whole struck me as a solemn and weighty charge to ‘a few good men’ to take up the cause of the gospel and fight the good fight of the faith. Seminary would be a boot-camp; your friends would be your comrades on the battlefield; Christ would be your gracious Captain; Scripture would be your marching orders. I've had a lot of fun at seminary, but when it comes to gospel ministry, there is no playing around at GPTS — you're no longer a civilian but an officer-in-training and a soldier in the great spiritual battle of the ages (2 Timothy 2:4). May the Lord grant his officers grace to defend the church and advance the Kingdom of Christ.”

Training up a spiritual army takes careful logistics and tremendous resources, as with temporal armies. To accomplish our mission and build further on our vision in our 30th year, we need to raise at least $372,300 in additional funds before the fiscal year ends on June 30. This will allow us to do what we have been called to do in the next couple of months and provide a foundation for the coming academic/fiscal year and beyond, during which we hope by God’s grace and your help to:
  • hire a new homiletics professor (2017), 
  • further develop our Biblical studies program through additional adjunct faculty, 
  • expand our extension program in England, and
  • upgrade our technical systems
  • replenish crucial reserves needed as a buffer against monthly income fluctuations.
Will you prayerfully consider investing in our work of answering God’s call to raise up “prophets” to speak to the valley of dry bones? Together we will witness the breath of God reviving the church through His chosen means of grace.

Humbly in Our Captain’s Service,

Dr. Joseph A. Pipa, Jr.

For your one-time gift of $500 or more in June, we would like to send you a copy of Dr. Michael Morales's powerful new book, Who Shall Ascend the Mountain of the Lord: A Biblical Theology of the Book of Leviticus. As one reader has said, "This is an amazing work of biblical theology that reveals God's plan to bring fallen man back to communion with Him. The truths revealed in this work unveil aspects of man's redemption that inspire awe, wonder and worship. This is an incredible unveiling of Christ's person and work in the scriptures. Insights gained through the reading of this book have shed light upon many verses of scripture that had previously been hidden to me. Many thanks to the author for writing this wonder filled book."

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