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Covenant Mercy and Reformation: A Special Year-end Message from President Joseph Pipa

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As I pray for the revival and reformation of the church, I am greatly encouraged by the comment of the inspired historian in 2 Kings 13:22, 25, "Now Hazael king of Aram had oppressed Israel all the days of Jehoahaz. But the Lord was gracious to them and had compassion on them because of His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and would not destroy them or cast them from His presence until now."

 

For the sake of His covenant, God was willing to spare the apostate Northern Kingdom for a period of time. How much more willing is He to revive and reform His church in the United States, Canada, and Britain in these days. Although there are apostate churches in our lands, there are many Bible-believing denominations. Join with me in praying for God's covenant mercy to His church. Pray as well that we at Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary might have some role in the reformation of the church.

 

We rely on the benevolent giving of supporters to fulfill our mission. Your support for our ministry enables us to continue to serve the church and labor for reformation. Our dependence on the partnership of individuals like you is intentional: with your gifts to Greenville Seminary you help to underwrite about 70% of our annual expenses.

 

In a day of rising educational costs, the Seminary remains committed to affordable, accessible theological education. Our students are burdened to preach the Gospel; we do not want them to graduate with a burden of financial debt.

 

By God’s grace, our financial circumstances continue to improve, but in the first five months of the fiscal year (July-November), we often have cash-flow problems. Normally, we receive about 25% of our individual gifts for the year in the month of December. Our goal this December is to receive at least $125,000. I am writing to ask you prayerfully to consider helping. Would you consider pledging $50 a month or giving an end-of-year gift?

 

The investment you make now can be used of God to reach future generations with men trained in the richness of the historic Christian faith. Keep in mind that we are a non-profit organization; therefore every gift is tax-deductible.

 

For all who commit to giving $50 a month to our General Fund or make a year-end gift of up to $750, we would like to give a copy of the twenty-fifth anniversary edition of R.C. Sproul's The Holiness of God. We appreciate Ligonier Ministries making this book available to us for our twenty-fifth anniversary. I know you will profit from reading this book.

 

For those who give a year-end gift of more than $750, we offer either our special MP3 CD package that includes 13 conferences, or Confessing Our Hope, a book written in honor of Dr. Morton H. Smith, or Dr. Sproul’s The Holiness of God book.

 

Whether or not you are able to send a gift before the end of the year, please pray that the Lord will open doors for us to press on with our ministry. We are keenly aware of our dependence on God’s blessing, not only for financial provision but for wisdom, strength and integrity in every aspect of this ministry. We appreciate your care and concern for this school. Thank you and God bless. With warm regards and for the glory of God, I am

Yours in Christ,

Joseph A. Pipa, Jr., President

P.S. Please indicate your gift choice when you send your donation. Or download and print this document and indicate your choices on page 2.

 

 
 
 
 
 
  Sovereign Grace in the Incarnation of the Son of God  
 
 
 

In his classic treatise on the Sovereignty of God, Arthur W. Pink notes that God's sovereignty is manifest in a multitude of His works and ways: in the exercise of His power, the delegation of His power, and the exercise of His mercy, love and grace.

 

Pink observes that God's sovereign, elective decisions on where and how to extend His grace are notably evidenced in the circumstances related to the Incarnation of Christ.

 

"In a remarkable manner Divine grace was exercised at the time of the Saviour's birth," says Pink. "The incarnation of God's Son was one of the greatest events in the history of the universe, and yet its actual occurrence was not made known to all mankind; instead, it was specially revealed to the Bethlehem shepherds and wise men of the East. And this was prophetic and indicative of the entire course of this dispensation, for even today Christ is not made known to all. It would have been an easy matter for God to have sent a company of angels to every nation and to have announced the birth of His Son. But He did not. God could have readily attracted the attention of all mankind to the 'star'; but He did not. Why? Because God is Sovereign and dispenses His favors as He pleases.

 

"Note particularly the two classes to whom the birth of the Saviour was made known, namely, the most unlikely classes — illiterate shepherds and heathen from a far country. No angel stood before the Sanhedrin and announced the advent of Israel's Messiah! No 'star' appeared unto the scribes and lawyers as they, in their pride and self-righteousness, searched the Scriptures! They searched diligently to find out where He should be born, and yet it was not made known to them when He was actually come. What a display of Divine Sovereignty — the illiterate shepherds singled out for peculiar honor, and the learned and eminent passed by! And why was the birth of the Saviour revealed to these foreigners, and not to those in whose midst He was born? See in this a wonderful foreshadowing of God's dealings with our race throughout the entire Christian dispensation — Sovereign in the exercise of His grace, bestowing His favors on whom He pleases, often on the most unlikely and unworthy.

 

"It has been pointed out to us that God's Sovereignty was signally displayed in His choice of the place where His Son was born. Not to Greece or Italy did the Lord of Glory come, but to the insignificant land of Palestine! Not in Jerusalem — the royal city — was Immanuel born, but in Bethlehem, which was 'little among the thousands (of towns and villages) in Judah' (Micah 5:2)! And it was in despised Nazareth that He grew up!! Truly, God's ways are not ours."

 

Pink notes that grace has been defined as the unmerited favor of God, and probably would be better described as favor shown where there is positive de-merit in the one receiving it.

 

"...If unmerited, then none can claim it as their inalienable right. If grace is unearned and undeserved, then none are entitled to it. If grace is a gift, then none can demand it," he said. " Therefore, as salvation is by grace, the free gift of God, then He bestows it on whom He pleases. Because salvation is by grace, the very chief of sinners is not beyond the reach of Divine mercy. Because salvation is by grace, boasting is excluded and God gets all the glory."

 

May this understanding of Divine grace be at the center of our celebration of the Incarnation during this season. Sola gratia! Solo Christo! Soli Deo gloria!

 
   
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25th Anniversary Feature  
 

A Celebration of Providence: The GPTS Silver Anniversary Dinner

 
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For a quarter of a century, God has blessed the vision of the founding fathers of Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. During this special 25th school year, the seminary community plans to memorialize those blessings with a feast of gladness.

 

On Monday, March 12, 2012, a Silver Anniversary Dinner will be held in the refined surroundings of the Poinsett Club (left) in downtown Greenville. We invite our 2012 Spring Theology Conference-goers and others to attend this dinner on the eve of the conference, which begins March 13.

 

The dinner will be an elegant and God-glorifying affair with two key purposes:

  1. Commemoration of God's Providence in the ministry of GPTS past, present and future. Professor Morton Smith, one of the original visionaries who gave birth to Greenville Seminary, will recount the vision and history of GPTS. President Joseph A. Pipa Jr. will address the present and future opportunities which we believe God may be leading us to.

  2. Building upon the foundation of God's Providence through the offering of gifts in support of the ministry. The Board of Trustees has determined to keep ticket prices at $35, only slightly above cost, to encourage widespread attendance. We are therefore appealing to special individual and business patrons to contribute to Dinner Sponsorships and Table Sponsorships. Dinner sponsorships are one-time gifts to help defray costs of the celebration, thus giving regular ticket sales additional profitability. Table sponsors may purchase a table consisting of 10 place settings per table. Table sponsors may distribute their 10 tickets at will or donate them to the seminary to benefit persons who may not be able to attend otherwise. Sponsors will be acknowledged in the dinner program. In addition, the evening will include a Silent Auction of quality goods and services, proceeds of which will go toward support of the seminary. For information on how you can help prepare for this auction, go here. If you are willing to visit businesses to solicit donation of auction items, click here for an introduction letter you may print, sign and present.

Music will be provided by well known contemporary Christian music artist Judy Rogers and classical guitarist William Dale Smith.

 

Dress will be formal or semi-formal.

 

For more information or reservations, call 864.322.2717 ext. 319 or go to the online form here for reservations or sponsoring a table.

 

 

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  The Bicentennial of Princeton Seminary, the model for GPTS Old School Instruction, Sets Theme for 2012 Spring Theology Conference
 
 
Assessing a theological landmark, with practical lessons for the church today

Old School Presbyterians such as Princeton theologians Archibald Alexander and Charles Hodge believed that doctrinal orthodoxy was of primary importance in Christian faith. They were convinced that their theology faithfully reflected Reformed doctrines and this orthodoxy should be central in American Presbyterianism, indeed in all Christian teaching and preaching.

 

"They contended that their Calvinism was historically aligned with the Westminster Confession of Faith, John Calvin, Augustine, and the Bible itself," says W.A. Hoffecker in the Elwell Evangelical Dictionary.

 

"The very term 'Old School theology' indicates that its adherents wanted to retain traditional Reformed doctrines. They wanted a 'consistent Calvinism' and developed distinct views on confessionalism, revivalism, and church polity."

 

The founders of Greenville Seminary consciously adopted Princeton's Old School model as the foundation of instruction at GPTS. For this reason, the 2012 GPTS Spring Theology Conference (coinciding with the 200th anniversary of Princeton's founding and the 25th anniversary of Greenville Seminary's founding) will be devoted to an assessment of Princeton and the practical lessons for the church today. The aim is to shape the discussion in a functional way that will benefit all who attend.

 

Believing that doctrinal orthodoxy was paramount, Old School men desired a strict confessionalism or subscription to the Westminster Confession, Hoffecker says. Many Old School men, including Alexander and Hodge, condemned emotional excesses of revivalist preaching  and demanded that true revivals be carried out within the church guided by its confessional stance on God's sovereignty and human inability.

 

The Old School party also strongly supported Presbyterian polity as most consistent with a Reformed view of the church and a matter of faith. They also repudiated the social activism of voluntary societies, preferring that education and mission activities take place within the institutional church, where it also could be guided by the church's confession.*

 

The GPTS Spring Theology Conference will be held on March 13-15, 2012 at Woodruff Road Presbyterian Church in Simpsonville, S.C. Early Bird registration is February 3, for discounted prices. For complete information and registration, visit the conference pages of the GPTS web site.

 

Among the scholars speaking at the conference is Dr. Paul K. Helseth, associate professor of Christian Thought at Northwestern College in St. Paul, Minn. Dr. Helseth received his Ph.D. from Marquette University, his M.A. and B.A. from Wheaton College, and did additional studies at Reformed Theological Seminary. Among his many publications is his 2010 book Right Reason and the Princeton Mind: An Unorthodox Proposal. He has written articles and presentations on other Princeton related subjects, as well.

 

Dr. Helseth and Dr. Joseph Pipa Jr. will be the featured speakers at the Tuesday and Wednesday evening services that are open to the public.

 

Topics and speakers for the conference include:

  • Princeton: A Brief History of Origin and Contributions of Archibald Alexander – Dr. James Garretson

  • Samuel Miller’s Pastoral Theology – Pastor Andrew Webb

  • Scripture, Inerrancy, and the Role of Reason at Princeton – Dr. Paul K. Helseth (Tuesday evening)

  • Princeton and the Old Testament – Dr. Benjamin Shaw

  • Princeton and Missions – Dr. Tony Curto

  • Ecclesiology: The Hodge/Thornwell Exchange – Dr. Nick Willborn

  • Princeton and 19th Century Crosscurrents: Hodge, Finney, and Nevin – Dr. Darryl G. Hart

  • Biblical Rationale for a Reformed Seminary – Dr. Joseph Pipa Jr. (Wednesday evening)

  • Princeton and Evolution/Creation – Dr. Fred Zaspel

  • Theological Assessment of Warfield (with brief biographical sketch) – Dr. Carl Trueman

  • Machen and the End of Old Princeton – Dr. Darryl G. Hart

 

Visit our online Presbyterian Bookshop for books related to the Princeton Commemoration.

*Portions of the report above were adapted from BELIEVE Religious Information Source.

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

A new three-part series on Forgiveness, by GPTS Alumnus Rev. Daniel Wilson of New Zealand, has been published at Katekōmen, the Online Journal of Greenville Seminary. Read them here. (PDF versions available for download.)

 
   
 

 
  FINANCIAL REPORT

The tables below show our General Fund and Capital Fund financial condition as of the end of November 2011. Please read Dr. Pipa's message at the top of this page concerning our end-of-year financial needs and goals and how they relate to our mission. We are asking God to lead His people who share our vision to provide the $125,000 needed to begin 2012 on a firm financial foundation.

 

In this gift-giving season of the year, would you prayerfully consider remembering GPTS with an expression of your kinship with our ministry and of your gratitude for the gift of God's Son to those "on whom His favor rests" (Luke 2:14)? 

Fundraising Thermometer
The "thermometer" above indicates giving in December to date.
 
 
General Fund for November 2011
  November Budget November Actual November Actual v. Budget
Expenses $80,252
$74,528
-$5,724
Donation
Income
$62,123
$29,373
-$32,761
Other Income
$18,191
$6.441 -$11,750
Total Income
$80.325
$35,814
-$44,511
Net Income
+$73
-$38,713 -$38,786
  Fiscal Year to Date Budget Fiscal Year to Date Actual Fiscal Year to Date Actual v. Budget
Expenses $401,271 $398,288 -$2,983
Donation
Income
$310,667 $281,512 -$29,155
Other Income $90,945 $80,467 -$10,478
Total Income $401,612 $361,979 -$39,633
Net Income +$341 -$36,308 -$36,649
 
 
Capital Fund Update
Goal $3,500,000
Received $2,593,662
Outstanding Pledges $613,800
New Income Needed $292,538
Outstanding Bills $55,000
Monthly Note $6,559
Remaining Mortgage $1,081,794
 
 

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.

 

 
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For books related to the Princeton Seminary Commemoration, go here.

 

 
 

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

 

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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