Apr 13, 2010 | Comments 0
One of the hallmarks of the healthy church is vigilance. Without vigilance truth turns into syncretism, orthodoxy dilutes into heresy, love corrupts into license, discipline degrades into ecclesiastical anarchy, intellectual pursuit devolves into intellectual idolatry, and academic freedom transmogrifies into academic tyranny. Woe to the church that fails to be vigilant in the care of her agencies!
Well, the ruling of Judge Griffith has been made. The judge has overturned the actions of the General Synod in appointing the Interim Board at Erskine College and Seminary.
For 150 years, we in the ARP Church have operated under the impression that the land that ARPs had given for a college and seminary and the college and seminary that we had poured money and sweat and lives into was owned by and under the direction of the ARP Church. Certainly, the documents that we have and the various signs situated on the Erskine campus indicate that Erskine is the college and seminary of the ARP Church. Even recently, Drs. Ruble and Gaston have spoken of Erskine College and Seminary as belonging to and operated by the ARP Church.
Well, Judge Griffith said it ain’t so! What was most surprising for many of us was the chatter on Facebook. One was reminded of the scene from The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe where the ghouls howl and dance and sing in glee at the death of Aslan.
But, wait! Is there a greater and deeper magic here? Let us see what has happened.
- The opinion of ONE judge in these matters is rarely final. As often not, the ruling of the original judge is overturned. Legal matters, especially one such as this, take years.
- The attorneys for the plaintiffs went out “judge shopping.” Such is not unusual in these cases. The Facebook chatter even indicates this.
- As the Editor understands it, the judge informed the attorneys of the ARP Church that he was going to rule against them and that he had asked the attorneys of the plaintiffs to help him in crafting his ruling. Once again, the Editor is told that this is common. Indeed, the ruling reads like it was drafted by the attorneys of the plaintiffs.
- The ruling does not change much. It returns the relationship between the ARP Church and Erskine College and Seminary back to March 2, 2010. The General Synod still appoints and approves Erskine Trustees as before.
What can be done? Unfortunately, the ARP Church is now forced to defend herself in a legal dispute, and legal disputes are expensive. How is this to be done?
- Recognize that the mess at Erskine is the making of the ARP Church. We need to do something that Erskine administrators are loath to do, and that is to take responsibility for the mess at Erskine. Ours is the mea culpa! Prostrate before God, we need to repent and beg His forgiveness for our unwillingness to attend to Erskine for 30 years. And we also need to ask the forgiveness of these students who have been given a secular education instead of the evangelical Christian education that was advertised.
- We need to realize that God is in this. Our doctrine of providence has not changed in the least.
- DEFEND what is our institution! The money is available. Now is not the time to be wimps. Now is the time to STOP support of those who hate the church of Jesus. Why do we send Erskine College and Seminary $600,000 dollars a year? Erskine has $40,000,000 in the bank! Erskine had the money to spend over $600,000 on last year’s freshman class. Erskine has the money to spend over $50,000 on attorneys in a lawsuit against the ARP Church. Let us take the $600,000 that we usually give Erskine and set up a fund for lawyers to reclaim that which history says is ours and what rightly belongs to the ARP Church.
Because Erskine once was so good, we have allowed Erskine to be made into an idol. At this point in time, God has called us to deal with the Baal cult of Erskine. A good institution that was organized to advance the cause of the Gospel of the church of Jesus Christ has gone from being an agency of the church that advanced the mission of the church to being an object of worship and adoration that promotes unbelief.
For too long the ARP Church have erroneously looked on Erskine as the jewel in her crown! The ARP Church as a denomination has little reason for existence if Erskine is the jewel in her crown and the foundation stone upon which she stands. The jewel in our crown and the stone whereby we define ourselves is the Lord Jesus Christ. Erskine is just a tool. Erskine is simply wood, hay, and stubble and they will perish. Only the church of Jesus Christ lasts forever. THE EDITOR THANKS GOD FOR THE TRIAL THAT IS BEFORE THE ARP CHURCH! THIS TRIAL CALLS US TO REMEMBER THAT WE ARE THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST! That realization is not a bad thing. It calls us to repentance and courage and struggle.
These are my thoughts,
Charles W. Wilson
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