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space The Pivotal Issue of Divine Creation


What parent or grandparent of Presbyterian heritage has not been thrilled to hear a tiny tot answer the three initial questions of "The First Catechism" in sweet childlike assurance?:

  1. Q. Who made you? A. God

  2. Q. What else did God make? A. God made all things.

  3. Q. Why did God make you and all things? A. For His own glory.

This simple outline of the reality of divine creation and the attendant purpose of divine creation is fundamental to both the Christian doctrine of God and the doctrine of man. It leads directly to one of the best known and basic confessions of the mature Christian faith, the initial question of "The Larger Catechism":

  1. Q. What is the chief and highest end of man?
    A. Man's chief and highest end is to glorify God, and fully to enjoy him forever.

Child or adult, each of us is compelled by these confessions to affirm what a third historic catechism, "The Heidelberg," declares: "I am not my own but belong to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ," by Whom and through Whom all things were made.


It is the compulsion of these facts that leads unregenerate and autonomous man to so violently despise the Doctrine of Divine Creation, for if God made me, He has a claim on me; and my highest duty is to worship and glorify Him. This is precisely what creatures in rebellion against God refuse to do. And this rebellion leads the rebel to suppress the "very light of nature in man" and to defy the scientific truths and testimony of the "works of God" (to use the Larger Catechism's formulations). The result is a theoretical "science" that will go to any subjective length to deny the simple objective realities that even a redeemed child can confidently confess.


Thus Creation has become a seminal issue in virtually every discipline, from apologetics and theology to biology and geology. It threatens to rip the fabric of secular education apart, and it drives some of the world's most learned men to rage. Even among those who purport to accept divine design and origination of the created order, vast differences exist as to the details.


This year's Summer Institute  at Greenville Seminary will tackle this great issue, which also lies at the heart of the question of the Authority of Scripture. GPTS uniquely has adopted an official faculty statement on creation, affirming a literal, historical six-day creation as described in Genesis.


The Institute will include a free evening presentation for the public on Monday, Aug. 1, 7 p.m., featuring the internationally renowned Creationist Dr. Jonathan D. Sarfati, a physical chemist, spectroscopist, and chess master,  formerly of Brisbane, Australia, now living in Georgia. Dr. Sarfati, editor of publications for Creation Ministries International, is noted for taking an uncompromising stance on the origins of the universe, the earth, and life, and for defending Scripture in a straightforward manner against any attempt to "reconcile" it with "scientific data" that contradict it.


Also teaching during the Institute along with Dr. Sarfati will be Dr. Joseph A. Pipa, Jr., president of Greenville Seminary and professor of historical and systematic theology. Dr. Pipa has been an outspoken defender of a literal six-day creation view and is co-author of the book Did God Create in Six Days?


For complete information and online registration, click here or on the banner below.



The great Southern Presbyterian thinker R.L. Dabney saw the clash of science with theology in 1892, when he wrote: "We hear the physicists, again, very condescendingly, lamenting the imprudence of the theologians in thrusting the Scriptures into collision with their sciences. They regret, they tell us, the damage which is thus inevitably done to the credit of religion. They are, indeed, quite willing to patronize the Christian religion as a useful affair, provided it is sufficiently submissive in its behaviour. But their conception about the collision between it and physical science is just that of the engine-driver upon the collision between a child and his mighty locomotive: it was a catastrophe much to be lamented, but only on the child's account!"




A Valuable History Lesson for Today's Church: Our Summer  Theology Course on Southern Presbyterianism


Registrations are now open for the 2011 Summer Course on "Studies in Southern Presbyterian Theology," July 25-29.

The always popular course will again feature Dr. Morton Smith's "Studies in Southern Presbyterian Theology." Dr. Smith has lectured for nearly 50 years on the topic of Southern Presbyterianism and its theology, and these lectures continue to be a favorite among students, elders, and Christians of all ages. The course is popular because it covers a wide range of topics through the instrumentality of those most interesting and sometimes controversial Southern Presbyterians. More information here.







Enabling Grace: Praying for Greenville Seminary


By George W. Knight III, chairman of the Board of Trustees


The Westminster Shorter Catechism in its answer ninety-eight aptly describes prayer by saying it “is an offering up of our desires unto God, for things agreeable to his will, in the name of Christ, with confession of our sins, and thankful acknowledgement of his mercies.”


We boldly ask of you, our beloved friends and fellow believers, that you pray for us as one of your desires just as the apostle Paul asked the Ephesian Christians that they would pray for him (Eph. 6:18-19). We know that in all our activities, whether teaching, preaching, or in the day to day running of our school, we are completely dependent upon the enabling grace of God’s presence and Spirit (just as our Lord said in John 15:5, “apart from me you can do nothing”).


And so we not only ask him directly for his enabling grace but also ask you to join with us in asking for that same provision. Our Lord Jesus Christ, in teaching that prayer which we call “the Lord’s,” taught his disciples, and also us, to pray for the hallowing of God’s name, the coming of his kingdom and the doing of his will, just as he reminded us to be thankful for our daily bread and to be kept by Him from the evil. He taught us in that prayer to rely upon God and seek his will in all things. Paul had learned well from his Lord that we must pray together (“our” Father, give “us”) and so he asks the churches to pray “at all times in the Spirit, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel” (Eph. 6:18-19).


So since in training men for the gospel ministry we do so with a clear conscience, we may ask you again with the words of Hebrews 13:18, “Pray for us, for we are sure that we have a clear conscience, desiring to act honorably in all things.” We are seeking to prepare men for the ministry, whether at home or abroad, and we have seen men go out from this school ready to be under-shepherds to God’s people or to reach the lost. Pray with us that this service of Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary to the gospel may continue and flourish – to the glory of God! And we will continue to pray for you and your marriages, families, and churches as well.



Islam Course Open to the Public


Most everyone is aware that one of the key influences shaping today's world is the rise of Islam. It impacts virtually every aspect of society, culture and world affairs. It also demands a response by the Christian church.


Greenville Seminary's new course on Islam is designed to prepare Christians for an appropriate biblical response as part of an effective apologetic (defense) of our faith and an evangelistic outreach.


The course will be taught again this fall at GPTS on an intensive schedule by Dr. Anees Zaka of Church Without Walls, Philadelphia. Classes will be held as follows:


Monday, Sept. 12 - 6-10 p.m.

Tuesday & Wednesday, Sept. 13 & 14 - 8:30 - 11 a.m.

Thursday, Sept. 15 - 6-10 p.m.

Friday, Sept. 16 - 9 a.m. - 9 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 17 - 9 a.m. - 12 noon


The course is available for enrollment by the public on an audit basis. Contact Registrar Kathleen Curto (registrar@gpts.edu) for details.

  Financial Report and Appeal


The tables below show our financial condition as of the end of May 2011. Most heartening are the monthly and fiscal-year figures on general-fund giving to the seminary. The $753,286 donated this fiscal year through the end of May is more than $150,000 above contributions during the comparable period last fiscal year. How we praise and thank God for our increasingly faithful supporters!


June is the final month of our current fiscal year, the time during which we annually seek to lay a firm financial foundation for the summer and our new school year. Please read the following year-end message and request from Dr. Joseph A. Pipa, Jr., president:


"We are very thankful to the many people God has raised up to support this ministry in prayer and giving. Would you prayerfully consider making a donation to the on-going work of Greenville Seminary? Because we really have unparalleled opportunities before us, we would like to raise $100,000.00 by June 30. Whether or not you are able to send a gift at this time, please pray that the Lord will provide for our needs. Please also pray for our students and alumni that they will continue to grow in faithfulness to the Word of God. We appreciate your care and concern for this school."


General Fund for May 2011
  May Budget May Actual May Actual v. Budget
Expenses $73,103
Other Income
- $11,792
Total Income
Net Income
$36,001 +$35,657
  Fiscal Year to Date Budget Fiscal Year to Date Actual Fiscal Year to Date Actual v. Budget
Expenses $804,163 $878,763 + $74,600
$618,108 $753,286 +$135,178
Other Income $190,180 $177,109 - $13,071
Total Income $808,288 $930,395 +$122,107
Net Income $4,125 $51,632 +$47,507
Capital Fund Update
Goal $3,500,000
Received $2,480,507
Outstanding Pledges $716,432
New Income Needed $303,061
Outstanding Bills $39,000
Monthly Note $6,446
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.



NOTICE TO OUR SUPPORTERS: The Internal Revenue Service has published the first Automatic Revocation of Exemption List. It lists approximately 275,000 nonprofits whose tax-exempt status has been revoked because they failed to file a Form 990, 990-N, 990-EZ, or 990-PF for three consecutive years. GPTS is NOT on that list and remains in good standing. Your gifts to Greenville Seminary continue to be tax-exempt.


Visit our new Amazon.com Seminary Bookstore



Perspectives on the Sabbath presents in point-counterpoint form the four most common views of the Sabbath commandment that have arisen throughout church history, representing the major positions held among Christians today.

Greenville Seminary President Dr. Joseph A. Pipa Jr. backs the Christian Sabbath view which reasons that ever since the resurrection of Christ, the one day in seven to be kept holy is the first day of the week.

Skip MacCarty (Andrews University) defends the Seventh-day view which argues the fourth commandment is a moral law of God requiring us to keep the seventh day (Saturday) holy.


Craig L. Blomberg (Denver Seminary) supports the Fulfillment view which says that since Christ has brought the true Sabbath rest into the present, the Sabbath commands of the Old Testament are no longer binding on believers.

Charles P. Arand (Concordia Seminary) upholds the Lutheran view that the Sabbath commandment was given to Jews alone and does not concern Christians. Rest and worship are still required but not tied to a particular day.

Order this book from our Amazon store here:



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