To say Erskine College & Seminary is lukewarm is incontrovertible. Nevertheless, is that not what we in the ARP Church deserve? Does not the lukewarm condition of Erskine reflect the condition of the ARP Church? Are we not lukewarm? Has Erskine learned to be lukewarm from us?!?
On Thursday and Friday (October 17 and 18, 2013) the Erskine College & Seminary board met on the Erskine campus in Due West, South Carolina, making it clear for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) there is NO RELATIONSHIP between Erskine College & Seminary and the EC Foundation. SACS has ruled the EC Foundation is an “outside influence” and a clear and present danger to Erskine’s accreditation by SACS – the most dangerous threat to Erskine’s accreditation in the last 50 years.
As I opened the first chapter of Romans, I was met once again with how shockingly counter-cultural and politically incorrect the message of the Christian “gospel of God” is. Take away our modern contraptions and our post-modern, twenty-first century world and the ancient, Greco-Roman world are not so different. As a member of my study group put it: “Sin doesn’t change much!”
As a result of Biblical ignorance and unbelief, evangelical congregations are suffering division. And nowadays it is astounding some of the things put forward for reclaiming unity in evangelical congregations. Don’t you think it is time to return to the things which are foundational and fundamental? Apart from a clear understanding of the person and work of Jesus Christ and experiential and transformational faith in Him, there is no basis for unity in the church, for the church is the church of the Lord Jesus Christ!
Finally, there is something good to write about Erskine. At the August 15th and 16th meeting of the Erskine board, the Erskine board embraced Erskine’s historic evangelical and reformed Christian heritage. It demonstrated faithfulness to its evangelically Christian documents of governance, and faithfulness to the ARP Church.
Despite our Presbyterianism, most are unaware the ARP Church has an ecclesiastic who sits de facto as a bishop over a board and agency of General Synod. The chairman of the Erskine board sits without ecclesiastical parallel in the history of the ARP Church. And he, as was his two predecessors, is unparalleled in the use of his office to resist the will and directives of General Synod.
Featured here are two letters. The first letter is an “Open Letter” by Mr. Scott Cook to Rev. Matt Miller, the Pastor of the Greenville ARP Church. The second letter is Rev. Bill Marsh’s response to Rev. Clint Davis’ reflections on the 2013 meeting of the ARP Synod. Both Marsh and Davis’ letters were originally posted on the Aquila Report.
Like Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities, the meeting of the 2013 General Synod was A TALE OF TWO SYNODS. Indeed, it was both the best of times and the worst of times. It was a time of significant gain, it was a time of feeling good about ourselves, it was a time of ecclesiastical foolishness, it was a time of feeling bad about ourselves, it was a time of joining together to address old issues, it was a time of healing, and it was a time of wounding.
The Erskine board met on May 23 and 24. Once again the trustee removal policy was on the table. The motion passed overwhelmingly by the board. It looks as though the trustees have found General Synod’s removal policy is not only possible but desirable. Indeed, the identity of Erskine is what was asserted by the Moderator’s Commission at the 2010 “Snow” Synod.
With the meeting of the Erskine board Thursday and Friday, this is the question we in ARPdom are asking. Conner continues to demonstrate considerable ineptness in dealing with the issues of Erskine College & Seminary and the General Synod of the ARP Church.
Erskine College & Seminary President David Norman has been asked to resign by the Executive Committee of the board. Rumors of this began to circulate late Tuesday, April 9. The rumors were confirmed on April 11 by an e-mail to the board from Chairman David Conner.
Enjoy, if you will, this Easter 2012 sermon written by the Reverend Mark Wright, Pastor of the Unity Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Piedmont, South Carolina.
What did the Roman soldiers know about Jesus? A great deal, I think! What did the Roman soldiers think of the spectacle of the trial, condemnation, and crucifixion unfolding before them? How did they account for such hatred and rejection of Jesus by the mob and the religious authorities? Better still, how do we?
With a “G-O-L-L-Y!”, a “Shazam!”, and a “Sur-prise! Sur-prise! Sur-prise!”, a spark of hope still burns for the reformation of Erskine as the Erskine board now has an evangelical Christian majority! In the words of Bob Dylan: “Times they are a changin’!”
Since the initial news a month ago (December 10, 2012) of the accrediting agency SACS putting Erskine College & Seminary on “warning” status, not a word has been heard out of Radio Due West. Where is the transparency promised by the Erskine administrators and board leaders? Where is the open communication with the ARP Church promised by Erskine administrators and board leaders? The sound we are now hearing is recreant silence! And the recreant silence is deafening!
Understanding the limits of tolerance in an engine is of the utmost importance for the reaching of any performance goals. Despite the laws of physics, empirical evidence, and common sense, there is a deep underlying pseudo-scientific worldview exalting unlimited tolerance (multiculturalism) as the one rule to which all of life must be subject.
Erskine was audited and “failed.” There are 12 violations cited by SACS – a staggering indictment of Erskine’s leadership and indicative of systemic administrative failure. In spite of the scare tactics by the secular alums the past two years, decrying the ARP Church’s attempts to regain control over Erskine, the SACS commissioners did not note undue influence by the ARP Church as a citation.
Well, it’s the Christmas Season again. Erlene loves all things Christmas, and, somehow, her delight in Christmas has transformed her husband, a recovering Grinch, into a Christmas-lover. The story of Christmas is the story of a MIRACLE – the miracle of the Virgin Birth of Jesus. “Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel”.
The news coming out of Dallas at the meeting of SACS is calamitous for Erskine College. Erskine’s accreditation has not been renewed! The reason: administrative incompetence – the very warning given by the Moderator’s Commission at the 2010 “Snow Synod”.
When we in the ARP Church are confronted with the history of Erskine, what do we say? Have we hastened to obey God? Knowing the “right thing,” have we attempted to do it? The 2013 meeting of General Synod is the time for us to “Carpe Diem” and “hasten” to obey God.