Monday, January 9, 2017

Encouragement for a New Year

What happens in this coming year is not left to chance. God is in charge, and he promises to stay close: "The LORD your God will be with you wherever you go." Many years later, the Lord Jesus made the same promise when he said, "I am with you always" (Matthew 28:20). That's the reason we can wish each other a "Happy New Year!" — Arthur Schoonveld

We at Greenville Seminary hold fast to the confession of our hope in the Lord our Covenant God, who keeps His promises to His people. Standing on this solid ground, we both wish our partners in ministry a Happy New Year and pray confidently that the God we worship together will bless you in all your endeavors in 2017. Please pray for us as well, that we may remain faithful this year in all of our instruction and in our commitment to the Scriptures. Pray that we will be able to welcome many new students, that we will have the resources necessary to equip our students and that our impact on the church and the world will grow stronger in 2017.

Conference Early-bird Discount Deadline February 3rd!

From Ecclesiastical Tyranny to Gospel Freedom

"Martin Luther ushered in the Reformation, not by doctrinal criticism but by the imperative of religious experience. ... Luther presented Christianity as believing assurance of the living God, who reveals Himself and opens His heart in Christ to sinners. Luther thus became instrumental in releasing the sixteenth-century church from a systematic denial of salvation’s certainty and directed it toward the freedom of justification by gracious faith alone." — Dr. Joel Beeke, Conference Speaker.

Don't miss the deadline for Early-bird Discounts on registration rates for the 2017 Greenville Seminary Spring Theology Conference to be held March 14-16. Early-bird discounts end February 3!

Registrations are now open for this historic conference to commemorate the 500th anniversary Martin Luther's initiation of the Protestant Reformation under the theme “Trumpet Call: 500 years of Gospel Freedom.” The conference will be held at Woodruff Road Presbyterian Church, Simpsonville, S.C. Evening sessions (7 p.m.) are free and open to the public.

For complete information about the conference, including a schedule, travel and lodging information, meals, bookstore, child care and more, visit our conference web site.

Three noted Luther scholars are slated to deliver four lectures during the conference. In addition, five other speakers will address the so-called "Five Solas" of the Reformation.

Planned lectures include:

  • Luther’s Providential God (Dr. Robert Kolb)
  • Luther’s Preaching on the Parables (Dr. Robert Kolb)
  • The Law as Friend and Foe in the Theology of Luther (Dr. Michael Whiting)
  • Luther on Life without Dichotomy (Dr. James McGoldrick)
  • The “Solas” of the Reformation (Dr. Michael Morales, Rev. Cliff Blair, Dr. Joseph Pipa, Dr. Joel Beeke, and Rev. Carl Robbins)

Luther scholar Dr. Robert Kolb is emeritus missions professor of systematic theology and director of the Institute for Mission Studies at the Missouri Synod Lutheran Church's Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Mo. His publications include some twenty-five books, including Martin Luther: Confessor of the Faith; Luther and the Stories of God; and Martin Luther and the Enduring Word of God.

Dr. Michael Whiting is author of Luther in English, in which he argues that scholars have often oversimplified Luther's theology of Law and Gospel and have thus wrongly diminished his very significant, even principal, influence upon first-generation evangelicals William Tyndale, John Frith, and Robert Barnes during the English Reformation.

Dr. James McGoldrick will focus on Luther's doctrine of the priesthood of all believers, which, he says, Luther regarded as the proper basis for the understanding of the Christian life. Among Dr. McGoldrick's many publications is Luther's English Connection and Luther's Scottish Connection.

Addressing the "Five Solas" of the Reformation are:
  • Soli Deo Gloria: Life that Glorifies God — Dr. Michael Morales, professor of biblical studies at Greenville Seminary.
  • Sola Gratia — Dr. Joseph Pipa, Jr., president of Greenville Seminary.
  • Sola Scriptura — Dr. Joel Beeke, president of Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary
  • Solus Christus — Rev. Cliff Blair, GPTS alumnus; pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church, Charlotte, N.C.; and faculty member of Greyfriars Classical Academy, Matthews, N.C.
  • Sola Fide: What Saving Faith Will Do — Rev. Carl Robbins, pastor of conference host church Woodruff Road Presbyterian Church, Simpsonville, S.C.
Visit the GPTS web site for full details and registration opportunities. Discounts are available to members of churches that support Greenville Seminary (special discount code required; see your church office or leadership for the code).

Prospective students who attend the pre-conference GPTS Encounter 2017 open house may attend the main conference free (See story in this E-newsletter). Register here.

Encounter GPTS; Hurry! Reserve Your Place

Prospective Students: Don't miss this year's opportunity to visit the GPTS campus for our annual Encounter GPTS Campus Preview open house.

Each year in advance of the 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 2017, we are again offering activities and opportunities to learn what GPTS is all about. Attending Encounter GPTS on March 13-14 also entitles prospective students to participate in the main conference as our special guests with complimentary registration. This is a unique opportunity to enhance your understanding about a seminary education, aid in your decision-making. and renew your mind.

This pre-conference gathering for prospective students includes:

    ~ Campus Tour and Luncheon
    ~ Opportunities to Attend Classes
    ~ Meetings with Faculty and Students
    ~ An Informative Panel Discussion
    ~ Special Chapel Service
    ~ Spring Theology Conference Attendance

Why Should You Consider GPTS?

Our unique programs are designed to train passionate, articulate preachers of the Gospel in the doctrinal traditions of the historic faith of the Reformation. We train new generations to preach passionately and persuasively without compromising the claims of the Word of God and the time-honored Presbyterian and Reformed Confessions. Our distinctives include unswerving commitments to the Authority of Scripture, Doctrinal Integrity, Immersion in the Original Languages of the Bible, Preservation of our Christian Heritage, Christ-centered and Heartfelt Preaching, and Affordable Tuition.

Encounter GPTS Schedule

Monday, March 13

11:30 a.m. – Welcome Luncheon in the Student Commons
1:00 – 4:00 p.m. – Attend Classes
4:00 – 4:30 p.m. – Panel Discussion with Faculty and Leadership
6:00 – 8:00 p.m. – Evening Class

Tuesday, March 14

9:00 – 10:45 a.m. – Attend Classes
11:00 – 11:45 a.m. – Pre-conference Chapel
1:00 p.m. – Theology Conference at Woodruff Road Presbyterian Church Starts

To register, go here

To register for the main conference for free, follow the instructions in the confirmation message you will receive after submitting your Encounter GPTS 2017 registration.

Meanwhile, watch this brief video explaining why you should explore GPTS.

Do you know someone who may be considering a seminary education and might benefit from a visit to the GPTS campus to learn more about what we offer?

Refer a Student

Save the Date: 30th Anniversary Banquet

Mark your calendar and plan to attend Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary's elegant 30th Anniversary Banquet, 6:00 p.m., Thursday, March 16, at the close of the 2017 Spring Theology Conference.

The banquet will be held in the Poinsett Ballroom of the historic Westin Poinsett Hotel on Main Street in downtown Greenville, South Carolina. Ticket cost: $50

The evening will include guest speakers (TBA), musical entertainment, a gourmet meal (your choice of Braised Chicken Breast with Tomato Basil and Artichoke Sauce OR Ginger Crusted Salmon with Curry Lemongrass Sauce, plus salad and dessert), a retrospective on the history of the seminary, opportunities to invest in the seminary's mission, and more.

Reservations are required. Go here to reserve your seat. Table sponsorships are also available and can be purchased for $600 on this same reservation form. The deadline for reservations is March 9. For more information, go here.

Stewardship Report: Advancing into Year Thirty

Mission 30 Progress - $250,438
$0 $250,000

We rejoice that God has once again blessed the ministry of Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary with an outpouring of support from a faithful cadre of ministry partners during our Mission 30 year-end financial campaign. Having set a goal of $250,000 gifts from Thanksgiving through the end of the year, we were greatly blessed to have slightly exceeded that goal during that period. Thank you for your generous support!

This treasury of new resources lays a solid foundation for our 30th anniversary year. It reinforces our belief that there are many faithful Christians who long for a theological training school that will return the church to the fundamentals of historic orthodoxy built on the truths of the Word of God.

During calendar year 2016*, we received $1,015,849 in unrestricted general fund donations. That compares with $996,574 received during 2015. Contributions for all purposes totaled $1,040131 in 2016, compared with $1,060,132 in 2015.

(*The calendar year 2016 included the last half of fiscal year 2015-16 and the first half of FY 2016-17.)

Financial Report for December 2016

The tables below indicate our monthly general operating fund financial situation as of the end of December and first half of our 2016-17 fiscal year.

Budget Performance:

Unrestricted general fund donations from churches ($29,824) and individuals ($191,922) in December totaled $221,746, which was $143,746 above the $78,000 budgeted for such income. In addition, a bequest of $18,588 was received in December. Expenses of $112,793 in December were $13,941 above the $98,852 budgeted for expenses.

Actual Income and Expenses:

Donation Income (Unrestricted)
Other Income
Total Income
Net Income
Donation Income (Unrestricted)
Other Income
Total Income
Net Income

 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. So far this calendar year, nearly $25,900 has been donated fee-free through PayPal Giving Fund, some anonymously. Thank you so much!
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 and Schwab Charitable clients: Click here for Donor-Advised Fund direct deposit. Wells Fargo employees: check with your company about matching gifts to GPTS.
Do you work for a company that offers matching gifts when you contribute to a charity? Why not ask your employer about whether your gifts to GPTS can be matched. Here is a list of some of the top companies that offer matching gifts or reward your volunteer work for your charity. Many other companies do as well, to support employee charitable giving and extend corporate philanthropy.

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.

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.

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

Zack Groff Assumes Advancement Duties

Zack Groff
Greenville Seminary's new Director of Advancement and Admissions Zachary Groff officially joined the seminary staff Jan. 2. He relocated to the Greenville area from Pennsylvania in late December to accept the call issued by the Board of Trustees. He and his wife Jocelyn have three children.

Mr. Groff, a graduate of Temple University, now works alongside the seminary's veteran staff and administration to advance the GPTS mission through increasing fund development and student enrollment. Former Development Director Garry Moes will continue to support these and other efforts as director of communications.

The Office of Advancement and Admissions at GPTS consists of Mr. Groff, Mr. Moes, Advancement Associate Brenda Benson, Art Director Rob Dykes, Web Technician Christopher Campbell, and Podcast Host William Hill. Registrar Kathleen Curto works as a liaison with the Advancement Office on admissions matters.

Podcast News

The latest edition of Faith and Practice, the GPTS podcast's question and answer feature, is now available for listening. In this edition, Dr. Joseph Pipa deals with the following topics/questions: worship, careers that require employment on the Lord’s Day, prayer, divorce and remarriage, the exegesis of Matthew 13:24-30, church calendars and Halloween, the sacred name of God, and others. Visit the Confessing Our Hope webcast site for this new program and others. Also watch the GPTS Facebook page for notices of live broadcasts from time to time. Listen here.

In other podcasting news, Dr. Ryan McGraw, professor of systematic theology at Greenville Seminary, recently was interviewed on the Iron Sharpens Iron podcast, speaking on “Knowing the Trinity: Practical Thought for Daily Life” and “Christ’s Glory, Your Good: Salvation Planned, Promised, Accomplished & Applied.”

Dr. Michael Morales, professor of biblical theology at GPTS, discussed a recent book on the prophecy of Isaiah on his "New Books Network" podcast. Dr. Morales interviewed Andrew Abernathy, The Book of Isaiah: A Thematic-theological Approach.

"As with the other major prophets, the Book of Isaiah can be intimidating–its sheer length, its seemingly disjointed organization, its varied and distant historical context," says Dr. Morales. "While a few passages are familiar, like Isaiah’s call in chapter 6, the prince of peace in chapter 9, and the suffering servant in chapter 53, yet getting a handle on the logic and flow of the whole book remains a significant challenge to many."