Tag Archives: Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary

African American Preaching at RPTS

The Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary where I teach is blessed to have local African Americans from the Pittsburgh area studying here. Serving in a denomination that is historically a predominantly Anglo-Saxon one, the presence of these students has been a rich blessing to our community as the Lord helps us see the greatness of his kingdom in its diversity and power. We rejoice that the dividing walls are broken down in Christ where “there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female,” for we are all one in Christ (Gal 3:28). Yet we can also discuss, appreciate, and laugh good-naturedly over our different backgrounds, traditions, and races as we learn from one another.

I love having these men in my preaching classes. Many of them have been preaching a long time before they arrive here, and they often do more teaching with their own preaching than I can hope to impart to them. More than once a brother a few shades darker than me has asked after witnessing a typical Presbyterian-style sermon, “Do I have to preach like that?” I usually like to respond, “Please don’t!”

For one of the lessons we do learn […]

Reflections on Dr. Bruce Stewart

Last Friday, I attended the quietly glorious memorial service of Bruce Stewart. Dr. Stewart served faithfully and well at the Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary as Professor of Pastoral Theology and also as President (you can see an article about his life here). One of the remaining living professors from my years at RPTS, Dr. Wayne Spear, preached with his customary dignity and insight from the words of Simeon on seeing the Savior in Luke 2, highlighting in his message qualities Dr. Stewart had embodied. As Dr. Spear spoke, memories of his ministry and influence on me swirled together with the phrases I was hearing. Here are a few of my reflections.

“Compassionate and gracious like his Savior.” When the Lord called me into the ministry and I knew I was heading toward seminary, everything in my life already felt new at that time. Miriam and I were newly married, living in a new city, had just become parents, were brand new to the church and the Reformed faith, and were now scheduled to head away from our first home after less then three years of being there. Moving to Pittsburgh and entering into a whole new field of study seemed daunting to us. […]

Browse Worthy: Seminary

After writing on the importance of coming to seminary earlier this week, I noticed several other articles on theological education were shared.

Why Study Hebrew (or Greek)? – David Murray explains how the struggle inherent in language studies is the most beneficial part when it comes to studying the Bible.

Choosing the Right Seminary  – Kevin DeYoung gives seven important questions to ask for those wondering which theological school to attend.

Kevin DeYoung Appointed Chancellor’s Professor of Systematic and Historical Theology at RTS – The title says it all. Congratulations!

Am I a Pastor or a Scholar? – A little help from The Gospel Coalition in answering that question.

Reformed Presbyterian Theological Journal – In this sponsored post on Tim Challies website, you can see the details of what we hope is both a “scholarly and pastoral” online journal that will be beneficial to the church.

Seminary. Be Here!

One of the most exciting developments in seminary education is distance learning (DL). Taking courses online is becoming an increasingly popular means for students to pursue theological education. In seminaries accredited by ATS, more than a quarter of the students have taken at least one course online and this number is only expected to grow. At the Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary where I serve, the number of credits for online classes nearly tripled from the fall of last year to this year.

DL can be a blessing to the church for many reasons. Students can remain longer in their local ministry context without uprooting their families from their homes and congregations.  DL allows for flexibility to family and work schedules that the traditional classroom does not. Seminaries can reach students in foreign lands who otherwise would not be able to attend due to such things as visa restrictions or moving costs. People who may not want to be pastors but desire to deepen their theological knowledge can take or audit classes more easily. DL encourages the further connection and cooperation between the seminary and the local church, as pastors can work with students enrolled in online courses and see what they are learning.

However, […]

The RPTJ is Now Available!

Recently the faculty of the Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary published the first edition of a new journal. The Reformed Presbyterian Theological Journal will be an online publication in order to make it more readily available.  The plan is to publish two issues per year, and will be found on the resource page of the seminary’s website.

For a further explanation, read the opening column of the journal entitled “From Rutherford Hall” by our president.

As I write this column, I am sitting in my office in Rutherford Hall, the grand, former Horne Mansion situated on the small campus of the Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary (RPTS) in the East End of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. By God’s grace, the Seminary has a long and noble history like the building itself, dating back to its establishment in 1810. Given Rutherford Hall is the location where so much of the life of RPTS takes place – classes, chapel services, conferences, meals, fellowship – that is the name given to this column. We anticipate this feature being a regular part of this new journal being launched by RPTS. The journal, to no one’s surprise, will be called the Reformed Presbyterian Theological Journal.

I believe you will find the Reformed Presbyterian Theological […]

A Hidden Treasure

One of the blessings I experience daily in my work at the Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary is chapel.  Each day, we pause from work and classes for a half hour to sing, pray, and hear God’s Word read and preached.  As we have more students from other nations than anytime in RPTS history, many of the wives and children of students living near the seminary attend, and there is a great spirit of fellowship in our community, chapel feels more than ever like a slice of heaven.

I realized recently that this is a blessing I could and should share with others.  RPTS has a its own YouTube channel of the messages that are preached each day, with the videos archived here. This relatively unknown site is a great resource to hear messages given by professors and students alike, helping the church hear what’s on the heart of the men that serve at RPTS as well as becoming familiar with up and coming preachers.  And given that the length of the messages are about twenty minutes or so, you can enjoy hearing these devotionals without a huge time commitment.

I thought I would provide a little sampling.  Immediately below is a wonderful […]

The Shepherding Seminary

A year ago this month I was inaugurated into my position at the Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary.  In reflecting on my time teaching here, I looked over recently what I said that evening and thought it might be an encouragement to some of you, especially in light of the podcast we did the other day on distance education and the seminary.  The address follows below.

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“I will feed My flock and I will lead them to rest,” declares the Lord God. 

“I will seek the lost, bring back the scattered, bind up the broken and strengthen the sick;

but the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them with judgment.”

-Ezekiel 34:15-16

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President O’Neill, Esteemed Board, Distinguished Colleagues, Faithful Predecessor, Wonderful Administrative Staff, Supportive Students, and my Loving Family & Friends:

With a grateful and humbled heart I thank each of you for this evening and for blessing it with your presence.  I would not be here without God using your counsel, guidance, and support as confirmation.  The honor I feel in my heart is only outweighed by the sense of my unworthiness of it all.  Let this evening stand as a testimony that our […]

Podcast: Distance Education and the Seminary

Online education is dramatically changing the playing field in higher education.  In 2011, 89% of four-year public colleges and universities in the U.S. were reported to offer online classes. Though seminaries have lagged behind, in 2011-2012 nearly 20,000 of about 74,000 seminarians enrolled at accredited schools had completed at least one online course while still on campus.   Seminaries are having to learn how to navigate the strange, new world the Digital Age has brought in.

Recently Austin and I discussed with Dr. Jerry O’Neill, president of the Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary, and Aaron Sams*, Director of Distance Education at RPTS, the new online courses being offered at RPTS.  We heard about the incredible blessings as well as the intriguing challenges this form of education brings to the seminary.  Click below to listen along!

*Just wanted to add a congratulations to Aaron, who this past weekend was honored with his colleague Jon Bergmann for their work in using technology in the flipped classroom approach at the Bammy Awards in Washington, D.C.  The educational equivalent of the Grammy Awards, the Bammy Awards are sponsored by The Academy of Education Arts and Sciences and give recognition to dedicated and innovative educational leaders.

http://gentlereformation.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Distance-Education.mp3

 

 

 

 

Westminster Conference 2014

Another post today to give you yet another conference series!  Listening to the messages in both of these posts could keep you busy for quite a while!

The Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary hosted its eleventh annual Westminster Confession Conference this past weekend.  The subject this year was “The Law of God and Its Uses.”  The packed chapel at RPTS revealed a great deal of interest in this subject.

Below are the links to the messages.  Each session had a short question & answer period, so that link is included as well.

1. Conference Introduction by Jerry O’Neill

2. Not Under Law – Really?  The Law and Its Uses by Jack Kineer.  Q&A session.

3. The Law Leads Us to Christ: The Law and Its First Use by Barry York.  Q&A session.

4. The Law Restrains Evil: The Law and Its Second Use by Richard Gamble.  Q&A session.

5. The Law Guides Us in Gratitude: The Law and Its Third Use by John Tweeddale.  Q&A session.

6. The Heart of the Matter: Avoiding Legalism by C.J. Williams.  Q&A session.

My New Life at RPTS

As a new teacher at Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary, I have been asked often as of late “How do you like it?”

My answer is simple.  “I’m having a blast!”  To be honest, that has been a big surprise to me.

Transitioning from pastoral ministry to an academic setting was not easy heart-wise.  Having just visited Indiana this past weekend, I was reminded again of how I miss greatly the congregation I left, the personal interactions with the people we love, and regularly ministering God’s Word to a dear flock of His people.  God’s heart, Christ’s blood, and the Spirit’s presence are with the local church in a particular way.  The man who is set apart to administer God’s care to the church has a very special assignment.

Truly feeling that way, to be honest I just did not think I could be as joyful about ministry coming to a seminary.  I knew I would enjoy being around the godly and talented faculty and staff at RPTS.  I looked forward to interaction with the students in and outside the classroom.  Yet I was unsure I would be able to enjoy fully this ministry context.

However, I have been simply overwhelmed with gratitude and astonishment […]