Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Whose Seminary Are We?

One of the mottoes Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary has used over its 30-year history is "Serving Christ, Serving His Church."

Seminary staff and faculty are often asked what denominational affiliation GPTS has. It's a difficult question to answer, because, although we are independently governed by our own Board of Trustees and not the official arm of any denomination, we believe strongly in accountability to the church. Indeed, because of this commitment, we have formal sponsoring agreements with a number of local churches, presbyteries and denominations. Therefore, the term "independent seminary" doesn't quite fit.

One way to answer the question is to point out where our 181 ordained alumni are serving as pastors or ruling elders. Here is a list, indicating the largest GPTS representation is in the Presbyterian Church in America and Orthodox Presbyterian Church:

Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church — 7 (4%)
Communion of Reformed Evangelical Churches — 4 (2%)
Evangelical Presbyterian Church of England and Wales — 2 (1%)
Orthodox Presbyterian Church — 45 (25%)
Presbyterian Church in America — 70 (39%)
Presbyterian Church of Brazil — 4 (2%)
Reformed Church in the United States — 4 (2%)
Reformed Presbyterian Church - Hanover — 4 (2%)
United Reformed Church of North America — 8 (4.4%)
Various Baptist denominations — 10 (5.5%)

The other 14 per cent are serving in a variety of other denominations or independent churches, seeking calls, or are involved in other ministries or vocations. A number of alumni are military chaplains, missionaries, or serving in ethnic (e.g. Korean or Chinese) or indigenous churches domestically (United States and Canada) or elsewhere internationally (Czech Republic, Albania, South Korea, Germany, Haiti, Brazil, India, United Kingdom, New Zealand, Uruguay, Australia, Malawi, etc.). The status of some of our alumni is unknown, and our female graduates who are not in ordained ministry serve in various capacities in their respective churches.