Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Nine Men to Receive Degrees at 27th Commencement

Dr. Neil Stewart
The 27th Commencement exercises for nine senior Greenville Seminary students will be held at 6 p.m. Friday, May 19 at Fellowship Presbyterian Church, 1105 Old Spartanburg Rd. in Greer, S.C. We would be delighted to have you with us as we celebrate the Lord's work in the lives of our nine graduates. For more information (or if you have any questions), please call 864-322-2717, or email A reception will follow the ceremonies.

Dr. Neil Stewart, pastor of Christ Covenant Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Greensboro, N.C. will deliver the commencement address.

Meet the Graduates

Ethan Jeffrey Bolyard, M.Div.

Hometown: Greenville, S.C.
College: Bob Jones University
Wife: Catherine Bolyard
Children: Isaac and Noah Bolyard
Memories of GPTS: During my studies at GPTS, I have grown in a number of ways. Doctrinally, I have gained a deeper understanding of the Christian faith as it is summarized in the Reformed confessions and catechisms. Practically, I have learned the primacy of Christ-centered expository preaching in the ecclesial context of the ordinary means of grace. Experientially, I have grown in my personal commitment to and communion with the Triune God.
Plans: After graduation, I hope to pursue pastoral ministry in a confessional and Presbyterian church.

Christopher J. Campbell, M.Div.

Hometown: Platte City, Missouri
Wife: Megan
Children: Elise, Noah, Lilliann, Ethan
Memories of GPTS: My time at Greenville has prepared me to fulfill the call which God has given to me, not only by providing me with the necessary biblical training but also with the practical tools and principles required to serve the people of God. Every professor is able to do this because he has served in the church, and therefore brings his ministry experience directly into the classroom. I appreciate these godly men who are called to serve the church by teaching the next generation of pastors. My prayer is that, by implementing what they have taught to me, I will be a useful servant in Christ’s Church unto the glory of God.
Plans: I received a call as pastor of Northland Reformed Church (RCUS) in Kansas City, Missouri, and began preaching full-time in January 2017. Lord willing, I will be ordained to the gospel ministry after graduation, and continue to serve the saints in Kansas City.

J. Scott Creel, M.Div.

Hometown: Orange Park, Fla.
College: University of Florida
Wife: Elizabeth M. Creel
Child: J. Preacley Creel
Memories of GPTS: GPTS is a special place; the staff and students quickly become a family even to those of us who are distance students. GPTS is a strong hold of orthodoxy in uncertain times; its commitment to the Word of God, historic Reformed Faith, and classical education lays a solid foundation for the men it trains for the ministry. I am grateful for her service to me and will miss studying under such godly men.
Plans: I have two internships beginning in June. A summer internship at Calvary OPC in Tallahassee, Fla. and a year-long internship at Redemption OPC in Gainesville, Fla. 

W. Joshua Hinson, M.Div.

Hometown: Jacksonville, Florida
Wife: Christen
Children: Camdyn, Cayde, Carsyn, Carolyne
Memories of GPTS: What I most appreciate about GPTS is its biblical commitment, confessional fidelity, and pastoral emphasis. I'm thankful for the seminary, the well-rounded curriculum, the professors, and the brothers I've met over the years — even as a distance student. I believe I'm leaving seminary, by God's grace, equipped for the task to which God has called me.  
Plans: For the last year and a half I've served as a pastoral intern at Ortega Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Jacksonville, Florida. Ortega recently called me to serve as their next senior pastor, beginning shortly after graduation on June 1st.  

Samuel Joseph Ketcham, M.Div.

Hometown: Birmingham, Alabama
College of Prior Study: United States Military Academy, West Point
Wife: Dorsey
Children: Seaborn, Sarah James, Thomas, and Benaiah
Memories of GPTS: It is difficult to sum up all my fond memories at Greenville Seminary.  I will miss the spiritual community (i.e. prayer meetings and chapels). I grow more and more thankful for the quality education and foundation that my professors have given me each day. I pray that many more students will come to GPTS and that it will continue to give a quality product to Christ’s Church.
Plans: In the short term, I hope to receive a call in the RPCNA and serve as a pastor. In the long term, I would like to plant an RPCNA in the South and move my family back towards home.

Aldis Matthew Lamos, M.Div.

Home area: South Jersey
College: University of Istanbul
Memories of GPTS: Greenville Seminary will give you extensive work in the original languages and with that a vision for how exegesis informs both theology and preaching. The professors seek to pass on a classically Reformed understanding of pastoral ministry and to help students begin a life-time journey of preaching the Biblical text with accuracy and passion. Along with this the student will get a thorough and solid grounding in systematic theology and an introduction to top level biblical-theological scholarship. As important as the class-room lectures are, it has been the atmosphere of this school — a community of pastors training pastors, with all that that entails  — that has helped me to see how, in actual practice, Reformed theology makes us into mirrors of Jesus Christ, the Friend of sinners.
Plans: After graduation, I hope to explore opportunities to work with Reformed churches in Dutch-speaking Europe, having previously served as a translator at a refugee relief organization.

John R. McCravy IV, M.A.

Hometown: Greenwood, S.C.
College: Lander University
Wife: Amy McCravy
Children: Ian, Ruth
Memories of GPTS: Amy and I are thankful for the legacy of GPTS in our lives. We've learned to trust the Triune God better in all things, and we've grown in our dependence on prayer and the Scriptures. Even if these years at GPTS were at times difficult, we will remember them as wonderfully sanctifying.
Plans: My plans for right now are to remain in Christian education at the high school level. I am currently teaching and serve as director of student life at Greenwood Christian School.

Tiantang Peng, M.Div.

Hometown: Minneapolis, Minn.
College: University of Rochester
Wife: Lianfang Liu
Children: Jing Peng, and Moriel Peng
Memories of GPTS: Every class was transformative, both exposing my errors and providing necessary corrections.
Plans: I will work on training among Chinese churches. 

Michael Thomas Spangler, M.Div.

Hometown: Winston-Salem, N.C.
College: Davidson College
Wife: Melissa
Child: Michael Jr.
Memories of GPTS: I came to Greenville because its graduates are some of the most faithful preachers and pastors that I know, and in my four years here I am grateful to have received a serious, thorough, and Christ-centered preparation for gospel ministry. As graduation approaches I pray that the Lord will continue to use what I studied to shape me into a herald of Christ's kingdom and a shepherd of Christ's sheep, and that he will continue to strengthen the seminary in its service to Christ and his church.
Plans: Internship, doctoral study, then ministry in the OPC

Stewardship Report for April 2017

Our academic year is ending in a few days and with less than two months remaining in our 2016-17 fiscal year, staff and faculty are currently preparing budget proposals for the new fiscal year beginning July 1. We are grateful that God has sustained us through your generous giving thus far through this fiscal and academic year.

Financial Report for April 2017

The tables below indicate our monthly general operating fund financial situation as of the end of April and thus far in 2016-17 fiscal year, which ends June 30. Unrestricted donations of $71,906 were $6,004 under the $78,000 budgeted for this month. Total fiscal-year revenues are $290,692 ahead of where we were at this time last year. This year’s net income is positive at $58,990. Thank you for your generous support.

Actual Income and Expenses:

Donation Income (Unrestricted)



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

Income and Expenses at a Glance:

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

To financially support Greenville Seminary, contact Zack Groff at or call the Seminary at (864) 322-2717. You can also make your tax-deductible gift online here. Gifts may be mailed to: Greenville Seminary, PO Box 690, Taylors SC 29687.
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.

Thank you for your continued support for Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary.

Fall Explore GPTS 2017 Event Set for September

Is the Lord calling you to ministry? Are you looking for a seminary for solid biblical training?

Please consider accepting our invitation for the Explore GPTS Fall 2017 open house for prospective students. This is your opportunity of tour our campus, attend classes and chapel, engage with faculty, meet students and alumni and explore our beautiful community of Greenville, S.C. It's all free. Go here to RSVP.

What separates a GPTS education from that of other Reformed seminaries? That was among the questions raised when fifteen prospective students visited Greenville Seminary for our annual spring Explore GPTS Open House.

The men and their wives had an opportunity to participate in a panel discussion with faculty members who fielded a host of questions on topics such as the pros and cons of resident vs. distance learning studies; the scope of intensive classes; international student requirements; the GPTS emphasis on preaching; the benefits of a four-year program at GPTS vs. three years at other seminaries; and how might a prospective student prepare for Greek and Hebrew studies.

Regarding the key question seeking comparisons between GPTS and other seminaries, Dr. Ryan McGraw, professor of systematic theology, provided an answer which we believe reflects the long-standing consensus of the faculty. He later summarized it this way:
"Just over 50 years ago, there were very few options for Reformed theological education. I praise the Lord for what he has done since then. While we believe that the education we offer at GPTS is distinctive and valuable to the church, we do not want to denigrate the work of others. As Reformed Christians, we must be narrow in our convictions while remaining broad in our affections. Rather than merely comparing ourselves with others, we aim to labor prayerfully in dependence on the Spirit in order to excel in what we do in training gospel ministers. As Paul exhorted the Corinthians to excel in their gifts for the edification of the church (1 Cor. 14:12), so we desire to work through the church and for the church with all our hearts, minds, souls, and strength."
For a detailed understanding of Greenville Seminary's "distinctives," see our web site here.

Panel discussion with faculty

Prospective student luncheon

Getting acquainted with students and faculty

Campus tour

If you have questions about our program, e-mail us at or call (864) 322-2717. You may also use the form below.

Have Breakfast on Us

PCA General Assembly

Are you attending the Presbyterian Church in America General Assembly? We are looking forward to seeing many of our graduates, distance-student mentors, partners, and friends in an atmosphere of fraternal re-connection, even in the midst of denominational business. This year, we will be able to accommodate up to 200 elders and guests for a hot breakfast, celebration, updates, and prayer. Please accept this invitation to join us for what promises to be a restful and joyous time together.

Breakfast will be served in the Blue Ashe Room on Level 3 of the Khoury Convention Center in Greensboro, N.C. The event is free, but registration is required.


OPC General Assembly

Once again we will be offering a breakfast get-together during the 84th General Assembly of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church being held May 31–June 6, 2017 at Trinity Christian College, Palos Heights, Illinois.

The breakfast will be Friday, June 2, at 8:15 a.m. Location will be announced.

Dr. Tony Curto, associate professor of practical theology in missions and apologetics, and GPTS business manager Mr. Doug Watson will be providing an update on the work of the seminary.

If you plan to attend, contact Zack Groff at zgroff@gptsedu.

GPTS President's Book Resourcing Prison Ministry

Greenville Seminary President Joseph Pipa's study book on the Westminster Confession of Faith is making an impact in Texas prisons. Recently he received the following message from Steven Simmons, pastor of Fifth Sreet Presbyterian Church in Tyler, Tex.

Just wanted you to know that you are in demand in the Texas Department of Justice…that just sounded good saying it that way. Seriously, I thought you would want to know that your study guide of the Confession continues to be a blessing to men we minister to in prison. One of the men who was part of our Monday Bible study was accepted in the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary program and was transferred to the unit where SWBTS does their seminary program. He went with a copy of your study guide. Now (after finishing three years of the program) he asks for 15 additional copies of your book for the other students who it seems have some interest in the study.

It is a good work, and works well in the prison situation for those men who want to learn. Just wanted you to know it was useful here, and again thank you for your labors in putting it together.

The study guide is available here.

GPTS Alumnus Lowell Ivey spoke at Fifth Street PCA in 2015 about prison ministry. Lowell came to faith in Christ while in prison and has a helpful prospective on ministry to men in prison and how the church can reach out and include inmates when they are released.

Podcast Pioneer Host Bill Hill Honored

Bill Hill, the premier host of Greenville Seminary's podcast Confessing Our Hope, was recently honored for his service on the web broadcast program during his time at GPTS. Bill graduated in 2016 and has since been serving as pastor of Landis Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Marion, N.C.

Seminary President Dr. Joseph Pipa, Jr. presented Bill with an award at the 30th Anniversary banquet in March in Greenville. We offer our thanks to Mr. Hill for his vision and skilled hosting of the podcast over the years.

A native of New York, he began broadcasting the podcast more than five years ago. His last broadcast was in January 2017. He has been succeeded by Zack Groff, director of advancement and admissions.

 Visit the podcast web site for the latest broadcasts

Moes Recovering from Massive Heart Surgery

Days before discovery of my
life-threatening heart issues.
By Garry J. Moes
Director of Communications

The Lord protects and preserves them—they are counted among the blessed in the land—he does not give them over to the desire of their foes.The Lord sustains them on their sickbed and restores them from their bed of illness. — Psalm 41:2-3

Shortly after surgery
That scripture verse was one of several great promises penned by my daughter Marijke Joubert onto a "heart pillow" given to me by the Greenville Health System's Heart Institute in the wake of open heart surgery on March 25th. The verses were particularly comforting as I struggled to recover from emergency surgery that include seven coronary bypasses and insertion of a mechanical heart valve.

I have been invited to provide an account of my surgery and recovery, and I do so here with gratitude for the many prayers offered up on my behalf.

The surgery lasted eight hours, and I spent the next six days on life support in a medically induced coma before being awakened for another week in Greenville Memorial Hospital's cardiac intensive care unit. After spending a further week in regular hospital care and a week in rehabilitation, I was blessed to have been released to go home for additional recovery.

In God's curious providence, however, within days, our household goods were being packed and removed for our planned relocation from Greer, S.C. to northern California. Early this year, my wife Karlinda and I had decided to return to the West Coast, where all five of our children and 26 grandchildren live. Our house sale closed in late April. The ordeal reinforced our belief in the importance of having family more directly in our lives. My amazing wife Karlinda has been an absolute stalwart through this crisis as she has overseen my medical care and supervised our move. I am blessed beyond words to have this wise and skillful woman at my side. Four of our five children, Shiloh Hand, Marijke Joubert, Graham Moes and Brook Moes, came to South Carolina in successive weeks to offer their unique gifts to us at just the right stages in my recovery. (Our other daughter, Brittany Duggan, gladdened our hearts by giving birth to our latest granddaughter, Annaliese, during this time.) In addition, my sister Patricia Dys and her husband Peter of Ft. Myers, Fla, came to Greer to transport us, following the closing of our house sale, to their beautiful home at Shell Point Retirement Community, a sprawling life-care community which Peter served as president and CEO until his recent retirement. Another sister, Gloria Oostema of Grand Rapids, Mich. has gone to California to set up our household there.

For the past year or more, I had begun to experience chest pains following any physical exertion. The problem became critical in March and prompted me to seek medical attention. What I believed to be a form of angina which might require moderate surgery proved instead, through a heart catheterization, to be massive coronary artery blockages. A heart defect was also discovered requiring the artificial valve.

Garry and Karlinda in Florida
At this writing, Karlinda and I are in Florida being overwhelmed by the graciousness and provisions of Peter and Pat Dys. We have also been blessed beyond measure by our church family in Greer, Fellowship Presbyterian (PCA), which poured out prayers, encouragement, and sacrificial financial support and hosted a wonderful farewell reception for us on our last Lord's Day there.

My recovery has been remarkable, surprising my medical caregivers and rehab specialists. I am able to walk more than a half-mile at a time and carry on many normal activities. God has answered thousands of prayers from around the world on my behalf, including those from my seminary colleagues and GPTS supporters. Financial support has poured in from many sources, provisions which have greatly blessed and humbled us. God has wisely and skillfully arranged all the details of our complicated cross-country move and many life changes throughout this trial. (Thanks also to United Health Care insurance company for outstanding service in covering our needs in South Carolina, Florida and California.)

I expect to be in California by late May or early June and to resume my responsibilities as GPTS communications director from our new West Coast home office in Murphys, Calif.