THE AUTHORITY OF SCRIPTURES
Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary is passionately committed to the authority of Scripture. GPTS has maintained its identity as an Old School Presbyterian seminary.
While both "Old School" and "New School" Presbyterianism claim to hold to the full authority of Scripture, it was the Old School theologians of old Princeton who further developed the original concept of the inerrancy of Scripture. This doctrine has become a part of the ordination vows of the Presbyterian Church of America and the Orthodox Presbyterian Church.
GPTS is unequivocally committed to the inerrancy of Scripture as its foundational theological principle. The broad evangelicalism that often arises within Reformed churches points to a failure of her leaders to grasp fully the implications of this foundational doctrine. At GPTS we seek to work out this great doctrine in every area of our instruction.
The debate between the Old and New School Presbyterians of the past century centered on the question of all Church officers’ subscription to the Westminster Standards. In 1729, the Presbyterian Church adopted the Westminster Standards in all of its doctrinal teachings. In the beginning of the 19th century, an attempt was made to integrate New England Congregationalism with Presbyterianism. The congregational elements that entered the Presbyterian Church were not based upon full subscription to the Westminster Standards. The result was the development by New School Presbyterianism of the idea of loose or system subscription, thus opening the door for all kinds of exceptions to the Standards.
GPTS holds to the historic position of American Presbyterianism, namely, to strict or full subscription to the Westminster Standards. All faculty and board members are required to hold to full subscription, and we seek to inculcate this position in our students by requiring them to memorize the entire Shorter Catechism or the Heidelberg Catechism. It is our conviction that the modern Church must preserve orthodoxy by returning to full subscription, and that ministers and elders must uphold their ordination vows of full subscription. It is with this in mind that GPTS teaches the Biblical faith as set forth in the Westminster Standards.
THE USE OF THE ORIGINAL LANGUAGES
It is important for the Church to have ministers who have sufficient knowledge of the original languages in which the Scripture was written to be able to interpret the Word properly. A sad trend in modern seminary education is the decline of in-depth teaching of the original languages.
GPTS emphasizes the importance of the languages, and keeps the student in these languages throughout their theological education. We believe this will be a blessing to the Church as men enter the pulpit with the authority that comes from having dealt with the text in the original language.
THE PRESERVATION OF OUR CHRISTIAN HERITAGE
Today’s society tends to de-emphasize history and considers the present as the only thing that is important. Even in theological education there has been a decline in emphasis on church history and historical theology. The GPTS curriculum emphasizes both the history of the Church, and the theological development of the Church. We do this because Christianity is based upon historical facts and the proper interpretation of those facts.
CHRIST-CENTERED HEART PREACHING
Because the preaching of the Word is the God-ordained means for the spread of the Gospel, the priority of preaching is one of the main thrusts of a GPTS education. We believe that one of the great needs of the modern Church is strong preaching accompanied by the same humility of spirit that the Apostle Paul showed in Acts 20:18-21. In our mission to produce strong, godly preachers, we teach courses in logic and rhetoric, and design our curriculum to equip men to be effective preachers.
A CLASSICAL CURRICULUM
Recognizing that fewer men who graduate from the College or University are prepared for a classical seminary education, we have introduced our Propædeutic, or foundations, year. During this year, in addition to the Introduction to Reformed Theology and the beginning Greek and Hebrew courses, we teach Logic, Rhetoric, and the History of Philosophy. These courses enable men to profit more fully from the remainder of our curriculum. They also train our students to be more careful thinkers and articulate speakers.
ACCOUNTABILITY TO THE CHURCH
We are a trans-denominational Reformed seminary operating under a Board of Trustees. Additionally, we are committed to ecclesiastical accountability, and therefore enter into support and oversight agreements with church sessions and presbyteries that are in agreement with our mission. In light of this commitment, we seek our accreditation from ecclesiastical bodies.
Students shouldn't leave seminary with a mountain of debt. Therefore, our tuition is one half to a third less than other historically Presbyterian seminaries. Moreover, students who come from GPTS-supporting churches or Presbyteries often have their tuition waived.