Restraining Order Withdrawn… Or Has It?

 

March 15, 2010

E-mail to the Readers of ARPTalk

The readers of ARPTalk need to be aware of the following:

1. The restraining order filed by Mr. Scott Mitchell, the former Chairman of the Erskine Board, has been withdrawn. However, the legal maneuvering has been Byzantine in complexity. Three former members of the Board, Mr. David Chesnutt (President of the Alumni Association), Drs. Richard Taylor, and Parker Young have continued the restraining order. However, in order to make sure that there was no gap between the two restraining orders, Erskine Seminary faculty members, Drs. Jay Hering, Richard Burnett, and Michael Bush along with Mr. David Chesnutt also filed a temporary restraining order. The following is from the Greenwood Index-Journal:

On Friday, upon hearing of the executive committee’s vote, Erskine’s Michael Bush, vice president for seminary development, seminary faculty members James Hering and Richard Burnett and Chesnutt filed a motion to intervene in the lawsuit brought by Mitchell as additional plaintiffs to maintain the temporary restraining order. The four “filled the gap” between the two parties’ legal actions, allowing the restraining order to stay in place.

Drs. Taylor and Young are ARP elders and Dr. Hering is an ARP minister. The votes at General Synod on the Erskine resolutions were overwhelming. The Editor wonders if Drs. Taylor, Young, and Hering took the same ordination vows that he did, that is, for elders, “Do you promise to submit in the spirit of love to the authority of the session and to the higher courts of the Church?” and for ministers, “Do you promise to submit in the spirit of love to the authority of the Presbytery in subordination to General synod, and to promote the unity, peace, purity, and prosperity of the Church?” Something is amiss here. Do these vows mean that only so long as the cause that one espouses prevails? Are we in the ARPChurch on the verge of ecclesiastical anarchy?

2. Rumors are abounding. One of the more bizarre rumors is that at the General Synod Executive Board meeting this Thursday in Greenville, SC, an attempt is going to be made to get the Executive Board to take action to overturn the recent action of General Synod regarding ErskineCollege and Seminary. The Editor does not usually take such rumors seriously; however, this idea is being buzzed about on FACEBOOK and, other sources, from our Tennessee-Alabama Presbytery, to our Mississippi Valley Presbytery, and to South Carolina, are concerned that such a reckless action may be attempted. The repercussions of such an unwarranted action are staggering! Amazingly, the Interim Board has never met. No one knows what the Interim Board will do. Sadly, there are those who are attributing ill intent to the Interim Board even before it meets. Yet, when it does meet, it will meet with an overwhelming vote of confidence by the General Synod. Let us pray that what the Editor has spoken of is just a rumor. Such a thing would be disastrous for both Erskine and the ARPChurch.

These are my thoughts,

Chuck Wilson

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