The Voices of the Baal of Erskine


Aldon KnightMr. Aldon Knight is not only an Erskine alum, but he is also a former Alumni Director. When Mr. Knight was hired to work at Erskine, he was asked (or, at least, he was supposed to have been asked) if he could affirm our statement on what an evangelical Christian is and the mission of Erskine. Obviously, he crossed his fingers. The postings below reveal religious fervor. Is the fervor for the Christ of the Church or the Baal of a secular Erskine? You be the judge of the matter.

The Editor is responsible for the highlighting.

– Charles W. Wilson

Aldon Knight:

Folks, as just one small example of why the ARP church is not fit to even be affiliated with Erskine any more, read the following question and direct quote from Bill Marsh. Then I’ll debunk his rediculous (sic) assertions:

Question: Can a compromise be reached between Synod and the Alumni Association?

Answer from Commission Member Bill Marsh: Though your question is a fair one, we must question one of its premises: The Synod has been the owner and sponsor of Erskine College and Seminary for about 170 years. While the alumni are a valued constituency in the larger Erskine community, they are not equal stakeholders. Also, the board of the Alumni Association does not represent every alumnus or alumna of Erskine College or Erskine Theological Seminary. I do not deny that they are a significant constituency, but it is not as monolithic as Facebook would lead one to believe.

Sadly, the board of the Alumni Association has made clear their contempt for the ARP Church, the deliberative processes of its courts, and its vision for Erskine. While I hope that some repair of that breach is possible, as one member of the General Synod, I don’t see what the Synod needs to do to compromise.

Number 1: The court on Thursday heard no argument on the “ownership” of Erskine from either side. Even Synod’s lawyer had no argument of the fact that Synod DOES NOT own Erskine. Erskine, as it was argued and agreed with, has its own charter. It is owned by itself and governed by its board of trustee. Ken Wingate even had to stammer around on the witness stand and try to backpedal on what was meant by the term “owned” in the synod minutes and commission report.

Number 2: The board of the alumni association does not represent every alumnus, and the alumni are not as monolithic as FB would have you believe. Granted, every alumnus is not on our side. However, every member of every group is not on the same side of every issue in any scenario. This country is run by majority rule, not “fixed” or “rigged” majority rule like Synod is run on.

We don’t have everyone on our side in the alumni association, but of the people who have spoken out through FB (a total of 1288 on our side + 330 on their side = 1628 in all), exactly 80% support us and 20% support them. Conversations on a daily basis that I am having suggest that there are folks watching and supporting our FB site who have not joined because they simply are not into computers that much. Our side also has significantly more money behind it due simply to the numbers and caliber of people that support us. Not an equal stakeholder, Mr. Marsh? You’re right. We’re a way more important stakeholder than Synod. Don’t believe it. You’re about to see it.

Number 3: I agree. Synod does not need to compromise. In the end of this thing, we won’t even allow you to. We do not want a repair of the breach that you allude to. We want you gone and we’ll see to it that it happens. The lawsuit will establish whatever legal realities there are in Erskine’s life. After that, the politics will take over. We don’t want to compromise with you. We want you gone and absolutely intend to make that happen. The ARP church and its courts are a farce.

Summary: We do not recognize the validity or significance of the Commission in the life of Erskine. You are simply a problem that needs a swift solution, a cancer that needs a quick surgical removal. The doctors are scrubbed up and the operating room is ready. Enjoy your last days associated with Erskine in any way.

Sorry to preach, but why are we still engaging these numbnuts? Why are we still trying to understand their rediculous (sic) premises? Why are we still treating these idiots as though they actually have something substantive to say? Are we debating them still hoping to change their minds? One more time: THERE IS NO COMMON GROUND. THERE IS NO NEED TO COMMUNICATE ANY FURTHER. Every time we seek to understand, we unintentionally concede small amounts of credibility to their arguments. There is time for debate in almost any circumstance, provided that both sides regard the other as a group with which they would like or need to find commonality. We are beyond that here. They don’t want common ground with us and we do not want it with them. There is exactly one thing left to do here: rip Erskine away from them and move on. To continue to seek information from them is just an exercise in making yourself miserable.

Mr. David Dangerfield is an Erskine College alum and a graduate student at the University of South Carolina. As the posting below reveals, Mr. Dangerfield is fond of encouraging people to give to the defense of Erskine. In an earlier posting, in celebration of the 1839 founding of Erskine, he wrote that he had sent a check for $18.39. In a conversation with the Editor, he asked the Editor if he could send a check for $18.39 in honor of the Editor. The Editor acquiesced to Mr. Dangerfield’s offer. Such is the nobility of the sacrificial generosity of the cult of the Baal of Erskine! One wonders, how much scholarship money was given to Mr. Dangerfield for his education at Erskine. One wonders, how much of that money was given by ARPs. One wonders, until this present conflict, how much Mr. Dangerfield contributed to Erskine College.

The Editor is responsible for the highlighting.

– Charles W. Wilson

David Dangerfield:

Please forgive the lateness of this message. I was in class when the official word came out, but…

We have confirmed that the judge has ruled in favor of Drs. Young and Taylor and the Alumni Association. As I understand it, the ruling grants an injunction and bars the actions taken by the ARP Synod and the Moderator’s Commission until things can be further sorted out.

For my part, this is an incredible day for Erskine! I really hated to see it have to go to court, but I am thankful that EC was given a fair chance to defend itself at the hearing and now has the continued opportunity to defend itself. I am not sure what the next legal steps and ramifications will be, but I can say . . . so far, so good. But, there is more work to be done, I’m sure.

Now . . . as for what we have to do next. . . The most pressing issues are two-fold. First, the reinstated board of trustees must be encouraged to do the right thing for Erskine’s future. I have been told from two very reliable sources that members of the Moderator’s Commission are actively contacting members of the Board of Trustees in an attempt to influence some sort of mediation or compromise.

Normally, I would favor compromise . . . but given the actions taken by the Commission, the Court’s ruling against the legality of those actions, and my lingering doubts about the Commission’s real motivations I am not inclined to favor compromising with these folks.  For my part, I am fearful those who have acted to hurt Erskine will only seek a reprieve so they can “hit us again” sometime in the future. I want to be clear, personally, I am not demanding a “split.” But, for my part, I hope that the EC Board can be freed from undue influence and political pressures from those tho would use EC for their own political gain.

Erskine has taken a serious stand, and I urge you to contact members of the Board of Trustees now that matters have been placed back into their hands. Thank them for their service AND ASK THEM NOT TO BACK DOWN. Commission supporter have vowed early to continue to fight, so we must beseech the Board to fight back and stand up for the truth!

Howard Wagler has set up a link on the “Erskine For Everyone” site that will allow you to email ALL board members with one link. This email address will forward to ALL members of the Board of Trustees. As soon as everything is finalized with that, I will pass along the link and the “email address.” So be on the lookout for that.

Second, the bills have to be paid.  I won’t ask you to give, but I will tell you how important it is. I donated to “The Legal Fund” directly through Erskine. This fight isn’t just about Erskine for me, but it is also about the people who work there who I love deeply. These are people who had a formative influence on me as a Christian and as a young man – and people who were unfairly attacked and criticized. I believed, and still believe, those folks deserve my support. Folks like Robyn and Dr. Crenshaw and so many others mean a great deal to me – and they are worth my donation.

Aldon Knight also has information on donating through the official 501 (c) (3) organization of Alumni who are actively raising money to donate for legal fees.

Thank you all for your continued prayers and support for Erskine. Again, I’m sorry it took me a bit to get this info out, but as I hear more and can pass it along – I will.

Dr. Gid Alston is the acting Academic Dean of the college. Formerly, Dr. Alston was a Coach and the head of athletic programs at Erskine. Very few colleges have an Academic Dean who is a Coach. Erskine is probably the only college in the US that has an Academic Dean who is an Advisor for The Jump Rope Institute. According to President Randy Ruble, after Dr. Don Weatherman resigned as Academic Dean to take the position of President at Lyon College, he asked Dr. Alston to serve as Academic Dean because no one else would serve. The following from the Old Testament Book of Judges seems to fit this story:

One day the trees went out to anoint a king for themselves. They said to the olive tree, ‘Be our king.’  “But the olive tree answered, ‘Should I give up my oil, by which both gods and men are honored, to hold sway over the trees?’ “Next, the trees said to the fig tree, ‘Come and be our king. “But the fig tree replied, ‘Should I give up my fruit, so good and sweet, to hold sway over the trees?’ “Then the trees said to the vine, ‘Come and be our king.’ “But the vine answered, ‘Should I give up my wine, which cheers both gods and men, to hold sway over the trees?’ “Finally all the trees said to the thornbush, ‘Come and be our king.’ “The thornbush said to the trees, ‘If you really want to anoint me king over you, come and take refuge in my shade; but if not, then let fire come out of the thornbush and consume the cedars of Lebanon!’ (Judges 9:8- 15).

Ironically, this parable involved Jothan, the son of Gideon. Dr. Alston goes by “Gid,” which is short for Gideon. As much as Dr. Alston has written against the ARP Church in newspapers and elsewhere, it seems that he has become the Aaron of the Baal of Erskine.

The Editor is responsible for the highlighting.

Gid Alston:

I thank God for David Chestnut, Scott Mitchell, our wonderful alumni, and those members of the Board of Trustees who are true Erskine supporters. These people had the guts to stand up and do the right thing. The legal action they have initiated is absolutely necessary to save our beloved college.

The current members of the Synod and Commission have proven to be arrogant, un-Christian, and self-serving. It is clear that they are not seeking God’s will, and the ARP Church should remove them from office.

Postscript: Does Dr. Alston not know that the General Synod is the ARP Church in session?

The following are some miscellaneous postings that were sent to the Editor. The Editor is responsible for the highlighting.

William Epps:

I agree with Mark. If we let our guard down we are only harming ourselves. The Synod will soon approach the Board like a Trojan Horse. When the Board is not looking they will be in control. This might take years but if we rest now they will have their way. We must get the Board to change the by-laws to protect our interest. One of those should be that the Synod can RECOMMEND new Board members but only the Board can appoint new members. If we allow the Synod to continue to appoint Board members we will be in the same place in 4 or 5 years. As Board members rotate off the Synod will appoint more and more conservative members. The Synod will work every angle. They may be ministers but please do not think you can trust them.

For the General Synod
Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church

Subject: Relationship between Erskine College and Seminary and the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church

Whereas, Erskine College was founded and 1839 and Erskine Theological Seminary was founded in 1837 and became a separate institution in 1858, and

Whereas, Erskine College and Erskine Theological Seminary have contributed greatly to accomplishments of the Christian Church at large and the ARP Church in particular, and

Whereas, Erskine College and Erskine Theological Seminary (hereafter referred to simply as “Erskine”) have sought to share the love of God through the Grace of the Cross with all who have matriculated for their higher education, and

Whereas, Erskine has a dynamic reputation as an outstanding academic institution with students consistently accepted to the nations most prominent graduate and professional schools, and

Whereas, Erskine is consistently ranked by various national publications as one of the leading liberal arts institutions in the United States of America, and

Whereas, the alumni of Erskine are a very diverse group representing many Christian denominations, and

Whereas, Erskine has an extremely loyal and very dedicated alumni base, and

Whereas, Erskine has been a place where Christians of all denominations as well as Non-Christians have been welcomed so that the Love of God and Grace of the Cross might be shared with all, and

Whereas, many have come to know Christ at Erskine and others have grown much more deeply in their faith, and

Whereas, the ARP Church since its inception has prided itself on a well educated freely thinking clergy, and

Whereas, Erskine has created a loyal and very dedicated group of Alumni very equipped in Christian Apologetics as a result of training by very highly qualified Professors who have challenged students to think critically, reason abstractly, defend their faith through appropriately challenged and reasoned arguments, and

Whereas, Erskine students have presented themselves not as vessels to be filled with knowledge but as small fires to be flamed to think for themselves, love God, respect their fellow man, and do good throughout the world, and

Whereas, recently the ARP Synod has expressed concerns about the appropriate integration of Christianity and Knowledge at Erskine, and

Whereas, the ARP Synod appointed a commission to examine Erskine at the 2009 meeting of the General Synod, and

Whereas, a meeting of the General Synod of the ARP church was held in March of 2010 to hear the report, and

Whereas there were four recommendations that were adopted at this meeting, and

Whereas, this action has caused division in the ARP Church in particular, and

Whereas, this same action has caused an outpouring of alumni support and very vocal disagreement with the report of the commission, and

Whereas, the results of this action has placed the ARP Church and Erskine both in grave danger of further division with the likely improbability of either institution being able to carry out its mission, and

Whereas, giving to the Annual Fund at Erskine has all but ceased at this point in time, and

Whereas, numerous loyal benefactors of Erskine have notified the Erskine Advancement Office that very large gifts through estate plans and Wills and Trusts valued in the millions of dollars are now on hold due to the actions of the ARP General Synod, and

Whereas, the financial support from the ARP Church only accounts for approximately two percent of the institutions operating budget and giving from the Alumni accounts for eleven percent of the operating budget, and

Whereas, God has a purpose for both Erskine and the ARP Church in his predestined plan, and

Whereas, there comes a time when it is better for two institutions to walk side by side rather than hand in hand, and

Whereas, there are numerous examples where such separations have occurred and both organizations have become much stronger and even been of more benefit oneto another as separate organizations rather than linked organizations,

BE IT RESOLVED THROUGH ADOPTION OF THIS MEMORIAL at the 2010 meeting of the General Synod of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church that:

  1. The Synod of the ARP Church relinquishes its right to appoint Trustees to the Erskine College and Seminary Board of Trustees.
  2. The General Synod of the ARP Church recognizes the Board of Trustees duly in force at the close of the regular meeting of the 2009 General Synod as the governing board of Erskine College and Seminary at the adoption of this resolution.
  3. The Erskine College and Seminary Board of Trustees will become a self perpetuating Board of Trustees.
  4. The General Synod of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church makes no claim on any property or assets of the College or Seminary.
  5. The General Synod of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church covenants to hold Erskine College and Seminary up in prayer at all times and specifically annually at the meeting of General Synod.
  6. The General Synod does respectfully request that the Board of Trustees appoint a group to work with a group of the same size of members of the General Synod to form a covenant between Erskine and the ARP Synod.
  7. The General Synod does request that Erskine bear the cost of any necessary legal fees to carry out this action.
  8. Through this action the General Synod of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church does hope that healing and reconciliation between the Synod, the College (Faculty, Staff, Administration, and Students) and the Alumni can begin in earnest.
  9. Both the ARP Church and Erskine College and Seminary do give thanks to Almighty God for His love and grace throughout the history and request from Him His grace, mercy and blessings on both as they move forward.

Editor’s Response: Good grief! All hail the Baal of Erskine! This really is about religion. There are two competing views of faith. On the one hand, it is the evangelical Christian faith of the Bible, and, on the other hand, it is a man-made Baal of Erskine. It is God or the golden calf!

Sadly, these graduates of a so-called evangelical Christian liberal arts college know little or nothing of the Bible, the ARP Church, the evangelical Christian faith, or the debate between the Christian worldview and the secular worldview. It is also clear that they struggle with critical thinking skills, English grammar, and spelling. All that they know is sentimental anger that the Baal of Erskine is threatened by the God of the Bible.

-Charles W. Wilson

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  1. Chuck — I’m shocked, shocked, I tell you that you left out one of the most terrible members of this dangerous group Baalists.