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Greenville Seminary Hosts End Times Conference

Category Articles
Date June 20, 2008

On March 11-13, 2008 Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary (GPTS) hosted its 11th annual Spring Theology Conference: this year exploring ‘A Reformed View of the End Times.‘ About 420 people attended the conference, held at Woodruff Road Presbyterian Church in Simpsonville, SC.

‘Our Spring Theology Conference aims to equip Christian ministers and lay persons with sound. Biblical instruction concerning important contemporary events.’ says the Seminary’s Director of Development, Lou Veiga. ‘The Conference is a great place to interact with our conference speakers and authors, meet other thoughtful Christians, and hone your theology.’

This year’s conference was timed to follow the dedication of the Seminary’s new facility or March 10, with the conference beginning on the afternoon of Tuesday, March 11.

In the first session, Dr. Morton Smith presented ‘An Overview of Millennialism.’ Dr. Smith is a founding professor of GPTS and remains the Professor of Systematic and Biblical Theology. The afternoon continued with Dr. Benjamin Shaw speaking on ‘Old Testament Eschatology: A People, a Place, and a Time.’ Dr. Shaw is the Academic Dean and the Assistant Professor of Hebrew and Old Testament at GPTS.

Dr. Derek Thomas gave the evening presentation on ‘Hell: Whatever Happened to It?’ Dr. Thomas is the Minister of Teaching at First Presbyterian Church and is the John E. Richards Professor of Systematic and Practical Theology at Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, MS. He is the author of several books including Taken up to Heaven: The Ascension of Christ (Evangelical Press) and two titles in the Banner of Truth’s ‘Let’s Study’ series – Let’s Study Galatians and Let’s Study Revelation.

The morning sessions on Wednesday, March 12, began with Dr. Sidney Dyer discussing ‘New Testament Eschatology. A Reason to Live.’ Dr. Dyer is the Dean of Students and the Associate Professor of Greek and New Testament at GPTS. Dr. C.N. Willbom, the Seminary’s Associate Professor of Church History, then spoke about ‘The Westminster Confession & Eschatology.’

After lunch, Dr. Cornelis Venema presented ‘Isms in Eschatology Critiqued.” Dr. Venema is the President and Professor of Doctrinal Studies at Mid-America Reformed Seminary in Dyer, Indiana. Dr. Venema has written a comprehensive and accessible eschatological study, The Promise of the Future [and two books, also published by the Trust, defending the gospel against the ‘New Perspective on Paul’ – Getting the Gospel Right and The Gospel of Free Acceptance in Christ].

Greenville’s President, Dr. Joseph A. Pipa, gave Wednesday evening’s presentation on ‘Heaven: The Saints’ Rest and Victory.’

When the conference continued on Thursday, two of the speakers presented differing perspectives on ‘Romans 11: Who is Israel?’ Dr. Shaw presented a view he described as ‘essentially that of Dr. O. Palmer Robertson’ in Chapter 6 of The Israel of God (P&R) ‘with some additional points,’ while Dr. Venema presented the view he takes in The Promise of the Future, which he describes as ‘the one John Murray argues in his commentary on Romans.’ Among the various points made by the speakers, Dr. Shaw noted that since there has been no ‘ethnic Israel’ in the biblical sense since AD 70, ‘we expect no mass conversions of Jews yet to come.’ Dr. Venema noted Paul’s argument that conversion of the Gentiles will provoke Israel to jealousy and lead to a future reversal when the ‘fullness’ of ethnic Israel will enjoy an enlarged blessing of salvation through faith in Christ.

According to Mr. Veiga, about 60 students attend classes on campus at GPTS and another 30 are distance students. GPTS is not associated with a specific denomination; its Board of Trustees is comprised of ministers and ruling elders from the PCA, the OPC, the URCNA, and the Bible Presbyterian Church.

During the previous ten years, Greenville Spring Theology Conference has focused on the following subjects: Southern Presbyterianism, the Worship of God, Did God Create in 6 Days?, the Covenant, the Missionary Enterprise of the Church, the Sufficiency of scripture, the Doctrine of the Church, Christian Worldview, Sanctification, and Reformed Spirituality.

A collection of MP3 CDs that includes all of the previous ten conferences is available for $99. This year’s conference is available in MP3 CDs for $30, full audio CDs for $60, and cassette tapes for $60. Conference media are available from GPTS by calling 864-322-2717 or emailing bookstore@gpts.edu.

Christian Renewal, May 28, 2008, with permission.

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