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  25th Anniversary Feature  
  Training for Ministry: The Middle Ages, the Reformation Era and the New World

Part 2 in a Series

By Dr. Joseph A. Pipa Jr.

Early on, the post-apostolic church manifested a commitment to ministerial training. The most famous, early school was in Alexandria where Clement of Alexandria began the Catechetical School. Initially the purpose of the school was to train new converts. Eventually they began to train men for the ministry, and the Catechetical School of Alexandria became a theological center — unfortunately, a theological center with a deviant foundation that caused a great deal of damage because of its allegorical approach to Scripture and compromise with Greek philosophy. That school, to a great degree, shaped the direction of the church in the Middle Ages. Again we are reminded of the importance of theological education and the danger the seminary can be to the church. You must keep in mind that most error in a denomination comes from the place where she gets her ministers. All of our seminaries and educational institutions must be accountable to the churches, otherwise they will eventually subvert the church.


Hardly a day passes that I do not think about the fact that no Christian institution of learning has ever remained faithful to God, none even as long as Princeton Seminary, which was a model of biblical theological education for 117 years from 1812 to 1929. This fact is sobering. A number of reasons may be offered, but the two most important are seeking academic acclaim and failing to teach from an experimental (experiential) point of view – with love for God so that we do not turn our subject matter into abstractions. We must worship as we study, teach, and learn. Pray for us that we will be faithful, humble, and worshiping teachers.


In the Middle Ages, the educational level of the priests was abysmal, but the monasteries kept learning alive. The monks were, for the most part, better educated than the priests were. The monastic school tradition developed in Jerome’s Monastery School in Palestine and Cassiodorus’ Monastery School in Italy. Charlemagne and later Alfred the Great sponsored education reforms. Eventually schools developed around some of the great Cathedrals. In the twelfth century, the monastic schools and the cathedral schools coalesced into Universities. The European universities gave rise to the development of scholasticism and laid the foundation for the revival of learning called the Renaissance. But it was really the Reformation that captured the Universities and used them to prepare men for the ministry. Almost to a man, the reformers were university men and they all placed a great emphasis on education.


With the Reformation came a whole system of Protestant universities following the pattern of Wittenberg. Initially the University of Wittenberg was the most significant powerhouse of the Reformation as men came from all over Europe to study with Luther and Melanchthon. In Geneva, one of Calvin’s life-long goals was to establish the Academy. Finally in 1559, five years before he died, he was able to see the Academy established. Its primary purpose was to train men for the ministry.


The Reformers emphasized Greek and Hebrew in their teaching. The commitment to study the Scriptures in the languages of the Scripture was essential to the Reformation. The commitment to studying the Bible in the original languages is illustrated in Zwingli’s method in Zurich. When he began his ministry, he entered the pulpit with his Hebrew and Greek Bible and began to expound the Scriptures. Today many ministers and seminaries disdain the possibility of a minister finishing seminary really knowing Greek and Hebrew. It was the knowledge of Greek and Hebrew that, in great part, the Spirit used to give birth to the Reformation.


Let me give a very simple illustration: When Jerome translated the Latin Vulgate, he translated the word "metanoeo," which means "repentance" with a Latin idiom that meant "do penance." And thus for centuries the church based its doctrine of penance on this faulty translation. It was only as men began to read the New Testament in Greek that they properly understand the biblical concept was repentance and not penance. We are almost as bad off today when faulty English translations go unchallenged and the Bible study notes are full of error. With respect to Greek and Hebrew, we have an illiterate ministry. The Westminster Confession of Faith insists that "in all controversies of religion, the Church is finally to appeal unto them" (original languages of the Bible — WCF 1.8). The Reformers understood this, and so they instructed men then in the languages as well as in biblical and systematic theology.


The Reformation also brought a shift in the instruction of homiletics (the study of preaching). Up to the time of the Reformation, homiletics had been taught, as a subset of classical rhetoric and Aristotelian logic. This approach destroyed preaching. With the Reformation, men began to understand the importance of preaching and that it should be taught distinct from rhetoric and logic (not to say that these subjects are unimportant). The Reformers insisted that homiletics be taught as a separate subject, according to its Biblically defined purposes and scriptural principles. On the Continent a man named Hyperius wrote a homiletics textbook that revolutionized preaching. While in England, William Perkins wrote a book to train English preachers how to preach.


As you understand history, you realize that there is nothing new under the sun. Today we find ourselves with the pre-reformation problem of teaching preaching as a subset, not of rhetoric, but of communication theory. Today in many seminaries, communication theory has usurped the role of classical homiletics. Though rhetoric and communication theory are helpful, we must teach homiletics as a distinct discipline.


For the most part the training of ministers was carried on through the universities through the eighteenth century. The Puritans made great use of Cambridge and Oxford to train young ministers, but they also used the concept of mentoring. Prospective ministers went to live with seasoned pastors to develop their pastoral skills.


When the Puritans came to New England, they brought this commitment to theological education. John Harvard gave the funds to establish Harvard University so that the colony would have a well-trained ministry. Fifty-two percent of the seventeenth-century Harvard graduates became ministers. When Harvard began to slip, Yale was formed. When Yale began to slip, Princeton developed. In fact, all but one of the Ivy League schools started as Christian schools. Dartmouth was started to train missionaries to send them overseas. William and Mary began for the propagation of the Gospel. This was the commitment that our Reformed forefathers – Congregational, Anglican, and Presbyterian – brought to our country. American Presbyterianism carried on this tradition in the nineteenth-century.


To be continued: Pastoral training developments in America


(The above article was adapted from one originally published in The Chalcedon Report. Themes herein were developed in Dr. Pipa's lecture at the March 2012 GPTS Spring Theology Conference.)


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  Derek Thomas to Address May 18th Commencement Service   

Greenville Seminary's 22nd Annual Commencement Service will be held on Friday, May 18, at 7 p.m. at the Academy of Arts Auditorium adjacent to the seminary. A reception will follow in the seminary's Student Commons.


The 2012 graduating class includes:

  • Bachelor of Divinity — Louis Cloete and Nick Napier

  • Master of Divinity — Jeremiah Montgomery, Kevin Olivier, Jim Stevenson and Steve Walton

  • Master of Arts — J.D. Crowley, Patrick Daly, Lee Miller and Michelle Sekuras

  • Doctor of Divinity — Rev. Ian Hamilton and Rev. Richard Phillips

Delivering this year's commencement address will be Dr. Derek Thomas, distinguished visiting professor of Systematic and Historical Theology at Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, Miss. and editorial director for the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals. He also serves as minister of preaching and teaching at First Presbyterian Church in Columbia, S.C. A native of Wales, Dr. Thomas pastored in Belfast, Northern Ireland for 17 years before coming to the United States in 1966. In addition to authoring or editing 15 books, he has served as editor of the Evangelical Presbyterian. He is a frequent speaker at Reformed conferences.

GPTS Grad Patrick Daly to Begin New Position at Banner of Truth  

Canadian student Patrick Daly has been appointed manager of sales and marketing/operations for international publisher Banner of Truth Trust, a position he will assume following graduation in May.


The Banner of Truth Trust, now based in Edinburgh, Scotland, was formed in London in 1957 to preserve and market a vast collection of theologically valuable Reformation and Puritan writings threatened with oblivion due to their perceived lack of mass market appeal in modern times. Banner of Truth now also publishes works by a variety of contemporary Reformed authors, including GPTS faculty.


Mr. Daly received his undergraduate degree in Management and Organizational Studies from the University of Western Ontario and will be awarded a Master of Arts in Theology from GPTS next month. He and his wife Esther have one son, Judah.

"After Esther and I got married, I knew I wanted to be heavily involved in the Church. Since I had only been a Christian for a few years (converted in university), I knew that I needed some more training if I was going to be useful to the Church as an elder or deacon later on in life," says Mr. Daly. "So, Esther and I prayed about it and decided that it would be a good decision to come to GPTS for a few years, as we had some savings set aside, and knew that this opportunity might not always be available later on in life. My plan was never to be a Gospel minister (unless the Lord called me to be, of course), but to prepare for the life of an elder or deacon, if the church ever needed me as such."


When the Banner of Truth Trust recently began its search for a person with both business and theological backgrounds for the position of manager of sales and marketing/operations at its North American office in Carlisle, Penn., Mr. Daly applied and was quickly appointed.


"It was certainly the good providence of the Lord who opened another door as the position at the Banner of Truth became available," he says.


"This certainly was a blessing from the Lord, as this position uniquely catered to my two great interests: business and theology. Together with the team there in Carlisle, I will be working to revamp some of the Banner's marketing strategies, keeping in mind the growing crowd of new Calvinists who would certainly benefit from the Banner of Truth books. I will also be responsible for many of the conferences which the Banner attends in North America, giving me the opportunity to meet many of the faithful Banner customers and, Lord willing, the opportunity to introduce some newcomers to the list of great titles that the Banner publishes."

  International Alumni Report  
  GPTS Alumnus Now Ministering in Brazil's Capital City  

By Emilio Garofelo Neto


My wife Anelise and I lived in Greenville from 2004 until 2008, when I graduated from the M.Div. program. Those were marvelous years of fellowship and learning. Studying abroad had been a dream for us, and our Lord opened the doors to South Carolina. We would not have been able to do that without the tuition waiver program. We began our seminary years in the old building, and I had the privilege of studying in the new one for about one semester. I was always challenged and encouraged by the serious scholarship and piety in the school. During those years, I got to work with Andy Wortman in the library.


In the final seminary year, I took an internship at Fellowship Presbyterian Church in Greer, S.C. that greatly served to develop my skills and ideas. After graduation, we moved to Jackson, Miss., to attend Reformed Theological Seminary and pursue another degree. While in Jackson, I began serving at Pear Orchard Presbyterian Church with an outreach ministry for foreigners in that area. We offered classes in English as a Second Language (ESL) and the international Sunday School class, and after a while we began services in Spanish. We had people from Mexico, Peru, Guatemala, Honduras, and many other countries. I would preach weekly in the services we held in Spanish. I was involved with the English part of the church as well. In the meantime, I was ordained by the Presbytery of Brasilia. The times in Mississippi were also very good and exciting. We from South America had a double dosage of Southern Americans! After graduating from the Ph.D. program in 2011, we prepared to return to Brazil.


For several years, an elder and some friends from our home church had the desire of planting a church in the downtown area of our city, Brasilia. They contacted me about the possibility of being their pastor, and in God’s kind mercies, He opened the doors. Since October 2011, we have been back in Brasilia working with this church plant. Just last week, the Presbytery voted for the particularization [formal organizational recognition] of our church, which will take place sometime in April. The church is growing in maturity, godliness and numbers. We are currently 75 members.


Now in Brasilia, we are re-adapting to the life in Brazil and enjoying it a lot. I am training officers, preaching twice on the Lord’s Day, counseling and, overall, staying quite busy — and loving almost every minute. The marks of GPTS keep showing up in every ministry task. Besides the church, I’m beginning to have opportunities at teaching in our denomination’s seminary here in Brasilia. Please pray that I would be of good use for Christ’s church. There are many challenges for a church plant in the urban center and many very interesting possibilities. Pray for us!

Anelise is doing well. She is working at an International Christian School in town. It is a very interesting place; they teach an American curriculum for the children of families from all over the world, since the embassies are here in the capital. Besides that, Anelise is working in translating into Portuguese a Reformed Sunday School curriculum for children called Investigating God’s Word from One Story Ministries.


The Lord has been exceedingly gracious to us, carried us through many dangers, toils and snares. He greatly used GPTS to prepare us and to encourage us in the work of the Lord. We bless his name for that. We miss you greatly, and it would be a privilege to receive any visitors any time.

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In a survey of GPTS alumni, the top issue the seminary was asked to address through continuing education was "Conflict Resolution."  That subject will be the topic of our 2012 Summer Institute. Dr. Kevin Backus, pastor of Grand Island Bible Church in New York, who has done much training and teaching in the area of biblical counseling and conflict resolution, will be teaching this week-long course. Mark your calendars now for July 30-August 3, and plan to join us for this informative time of training. Registration details coming soon.

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25th Anniversary Gala  

A Night of Remembrance and Hope: The GPTS Silver Anniversary Dinner and Silent Auction on March 12 attracted 172 guests at the elegant Poinsett Club in Greenville, hosted by club member and GPTS supporter Bill Johnson, who served as emcee for the evening's festivities.

Above: Board Chairman Dr. George W. Knight III offers the Invocation.

Above: GPTS Co-founder Dr. Morton Smith recalls the early history of Greenville Seminary, originally chartered as James Henley Thornwell Theological Seminary.

ABOVE: GPTS President Joseph Pipa Jr. (left), his wife Carolyn, and early seminary organizer Paul Settle greet guests.

Above: GPTS Administrative Assistant Gail Anderson was the winning bidder for this antique Persian rug during the silent auction. The auction raised $2,400 for the seminary.

Photos by Jim and Tricia Stevenson

  Auction Continues: Diamonds and the Ritz!   

A few luxury items donated for our Anniversary Gala Silent Auction remain available for public bidding. Currently featured are two gold diamond rings donated by Art and Joanne Batzig of Greer, S.C. Proceeds go to support the seminary's general fund. Bidding closes April 16.

Click Here to Bid Click Here to Bid
  Luxury Palm Beach Ritz/Photo Package

Also available: A night at the 5-Star / 5-Diamond Ritz-Carlton in Palm Beach, Florida, plus a family portrait session and 20" wall portrait on canvas with lavish artistry by internationally renown photographer Bradford at his luxurious Bradford Renaissance Portraits studio on world-famous Worth Avenue in Palm Beach. The donor values this package at $5,500 and requires a minimum bid of $500. See more information and available dates here. GPTS will award this package to the first individual to offer $500 by e-mail message to or by calling Garry Moes at (864) 322-2717, ext. 319.

TERMS: Portrait may be of a family or individual (no pets). Winning bidder must contact Bradford Portraits for a mutually agreed upon date and for hotel booking. GPTS will provide contact information and gift certificate. Package  does not include transportation.

  Beautification Project Completed  

Springtime arrived in the Carolinas just in time to display God's handiwork in these flowering trees, part of the new landscaping project now complete at our campus on Main Street, Taylors, S.C. Top photo below: rear view of campus. Bottom photo: landscaped front of our building.

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Listen to the GPTS Weekly Web-based Radio Broadcasts

Be sure to hear a very important message in Podcast #6, in which Dr. Pipa discusses the fundamental character of Greenville Seminary, its unique place in the broader church, how it can safeguard its long-term faithfulness, and its vision for the next 25 years!


  Library News  
  Book Sale Scheduled for April 28th, Donations Welcomed  


Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary is now receiving donations of books for a sale that it plans to hold at the seminary on Saturday, April 28th from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Donations that include theological literature as well as general literature (including children's books, home-school materials, coffee table books, etc.) are all welcome. We do not, however, have space for donations of magazines.


Donations will be received until Wednesday, April 25th. All proceeds will benefit the seminary’s Smith/Singer Library. The Seminary’s address is: 200 E. Main St., Taylors, SC 29687. Volunteers are also needed to help with the sale. Please call 864-322-2717 ext. 308 or e-mail for more details.


Churches: Your help in promoting this sale would be greatly appreciated. For a printable poster, click here.


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Sunny Southern California Bequest Property for Sale


Greenville Seminary is the beneficiary of a Southern California estate bequest that  includes a townhouse/condo in an upscale gated golf community in the Pacific Coast city of Oceanside. The seminary is attempting to sell this property to help amortize our building mortgage. This lovely coastal Mediterranean-style home includes two bedrooms and two baths and a two-car garage. It is located 100 yards from the community's clubhouse. The city of Oceanside is a delightful beach community with close ties to Camp Pendleton Marine Base. If you are interested in this property or know someone who might be interested, contact President Joseph A. Pipa Jr.  Make an Offer!  •   MORE INFORMATION HERE, INCLUDING PHOTOS AND LISTING AGENT

κατέχω - Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering.... Hebrews 10:23

Check out a new book review at our online journal Katekōmen.


The first 2012 edition of our print newsletter Foundations is available for reading and/or printing here: FOUNDATIONS. Articles include "The Necessity and Nature of a Seminary Education," by Dr. Joseph A. Pipa Jr., and "Finding True North," by Garry J. Moes.

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The tables below show our General Fund and Capital Fund financial condition as of the end of March 2012. We are grateful to those who generously supported us in March. Needless to say, growing expenses and the $37,246 general fund deficit for March, the second monthly shortfall in a row, is a matter of  concern and prayer, even though our fiscal-year financial picture remains positive. Please consider a generous gift as we continue operations during the final quarter of our 2011-2012 fiscal year. Pray that God will be pleased to bless our annual fiscal year-end funding appeal in late May.

General Fund for March 2012
  March Budget March Actual March Actual v. Budget
Expenses $80,251 $87,761 +$7,510
$62,133 $36,339 -$25,794
Other Income $18,189 $14,176 -$4,013
Total Income $80,322 $50,515 -$29,807
Net Income $71 -$37,246 -$37,317
  Fiscal Year to Date Budget Fiscal Year to Date Actual Fiscal Year to Date Actual v. Budget
Expenses $722,728 $854,479 -$131,751
$559,200 $740,349 +$181,149
Other Income $163,701 $190,631 +$26,930
Total Income $722,901 $930,980 +$208,079
Net Income $173 $76,501 +$76,328
Capital Fund Update
Goal $3,500,000
Received $2,789,244
Long-term Pledges Outstanding $612,948
Total Received and Pledged $3,402,192
Additional Income Needed $97,808
Outstanding Obligations $37,000
Monthly Note $6,600
Remaining Mortgage $1,021,794

If you would like to make a convenient online donation to Greenville Seminary, click the  "Donate" button below. Whether or not you can contribute financially, here is another way you can help the seminary: Do you know someone that would be interested in learning more about our organization or supporting us? If so, fill out the form here and an e-mail message with a link to our website will be sent to them. Thank you for your continued support for Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary.



Sharing in the Advancement of GPTS

Visit the GPTS Development Office web site for information on ways to support and spread the word about Greenville Seminary:

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Visit the GPTS Presbyterian Bookshop at

Visit our online Gift Shop to purchase GPTS golf shirts, sweatshirts, coffee mugs, and travel mugs. All net proceeds help support the seminary.


The 2011 GPTS Summer Institute is now available on DVD from our Gift Shop. More info and ordering here


The family film More than Diamonds is now being offered on DVD to friends of the seminary. By special arrangement with the producers, each purchase made online through a special web page will generate a donation to GPTS. More info here.

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Earn money for GPTS while you shop or search the web. Make "GoodSearch" your Internet search engine and shop through "GoodShop" at thousands of online stores that give a portion of purchase proceeds to GPTS: More Here. There are currently 53 people registered as GPTS supporters with GoodSearch, and there have been more than 1,000 searches benefiting GPTS. Your online shopping is also contributing to our earnings, which reached about $130 by April 1. We need hundreds more! Begin shopping or searching now by using the device in the right column above.


To add a new all-in-one GoodApp toolbar to your Firefox or Internet Explorer web browser, go HERE. Do this during April and give GPTS an opportunity to earn $1,000.


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