ARPTalk 29 – Subversion, Obstruction, and Rebellion at Erskine College

 
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Welcome to the twenty-ninth (29th) issue of ARPTalk. Featured in ARPTalk(29) are the following eight (8) articles. You may read through them sequentially, or click on a title below to jump straight to the article. You may also join in the conversation via the comment area at the bottom of this post.


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!


Aldon Knight Writes . . .

Editor: Mr. Knight is to be thanked for his candor. He gives witness to the FACT that Boards, Presidents, and administrators at Erskine College and Seminary have, for more than 30 years, systematically subverted and obstructed the directives of the General Synod of the ARP Church regarding the evangelical Christian mission and personnel policies at Erskine. If this is not a long story of prevarication and rebellion, how would this long story differ from what we have seen at Erskine?

The highlighting is by the Editor.

– Charles W. Wilson


Wow, Chuck. A feature. I am touched. Truly touched. More highlighting – you have gone way above and beyond the call! As an attempt to gain some more fame (gosh, I’m blushing Chuck), I’ll attempt to rebut a few of the points in “my extra” as I’m now calling it:

  1. It is not my reply that has made me “famous” as you say. It’s you Chuck! My reply just went to you – YOU, Chuck, chose to send that reply out to not only the hundreds you probably circulate to, but to the 5 or 6 that actually read it and believe it! Thank you, Chuck. Thank you.
  2. YOUR STATEMENT: He said “they . . . made me sign” a stack of papers and he did so in order to receive a paycheck. Is this what Mr. Knight means by “Knowledge joined with Morals”? Or is this instead arrogant deception, mental reservation, and equivocation joined with immorality? In any case, this statement by Mr. Knight is not what people of integrity would regard as an example of “Knowledge joined with Morals!” People of integrity are not associated with you, Chuck. You’d have no way of knowing what they would regard as an example of integrity or morals. To be fair, there [sic] are things I do also that some may regard as lacking in the area of integrity or morality. I don’t know. I’m not perfect, you know. But see, my employment at Erskine for five years was essentially to work against the oppressive, narrow-minded theological opinions of the minority of power-hungry people who have temporarily usurped control of Synod. I congratulate you guys on a good run. You were well organized and did a great job with your messages, craftily deceiving the majority of the ARP membership so that they could not see the whole picture of what you guys were interested in doing. You knew, of course, that the masses would never go along with EVERYTHING you were trying to get accomplished. Ah, those were the good old days, weren’t they Chuck. [sic] Pretty soon, a by-gone era.
  3. YOUR STATEMENT: For years, many of us have been saying that the Erskine Board leaders, presidents, and other administrators in both the college and seminary have no regard for the theological opinions of the ARP Church. While I don’t disagree that the majority of Erskine has been essentially opposed to your type for a very long time, and proudly so I might add, I would correct one of your assertions. It isn’t the “theological opinions of the ARP Church” that we have been opposed to. My granddad was an elder in the ARP Church for many years. He and his ministers had wonderful “theological opinions” and did a great job actually living their ministry. I wasn’t opposed to those opinions at all. It is the “theological opinions” of a bunch of narrow-minded, unenlightened right-wingers that have temporarily taken over the ARP church that at least I was (and am) opposed to. That’s probably more representative of what folks at Erskine have been opposed to. Get your facts straight, Chuck.
  4. YOUR STATEMENT: Well, the ARP Church crafted a statement on Christian higher education and a statement on what evangelical Christianity is. We naively expected that the “good people” at Erskine would implement both. According to Mr. Knight, they gave “spotty homage” to them, at best. At this point, Mr. Knight should know. Both he and his father were Erskine administrators who participated in this duplicity. First, I was being kind with “spotty homage.” That’s probably a gross overstatement of what at least I did. Dad was of course at Erskine for longer and in a higher role than I (that has to just eat at you Chuck). ‘Course, I can see your point. What Dad did for twelve years as VP and dean was to recruit nationally known faculty with world-class pedigrees who, as a team, then came into Erskine and literally made it the nationally ranked liberal arts institution that it is. Together, Dad and this group of faculty have educated some folks who are now quite successful in a variety of fields – medicine, law, higher ed, ministry, business, and many others. Oh, and the majority of them are also very good citizens, active church members, parents, you know – good people in addition to being good professionals. They gained a lot of knowledge and conjoined that with high moral character. I can see how you wouldn’t want that kind of thing happening at Erskine – you know helping people gain “knowledge, joined with morals” or anything. I, on the other hand, spent five years working with alums to keep them engaged and encourage them to give money to Erskine. Given that your buddy Wingate conveniently left alumni out on the witness stand when he was talking about Erskine’s stakeholders, my role in keeping alums engaged is probably of particular concern to you guys. You certainly wouldn’t want a bunch of successful, highly moral folks having anything to do with Erskine, would you?

That’s probably good for this issue. I don’t need to point out the great job Randy Ruble has done as president, or what a fine individual Neely Gaston is. Your slander of them publicly will continue to speak volumes for how great they are. Please continue if you will. Not sure they enjoy the spotlight as much as I obviously do, but hey, all publicity is good.

Thanks again for your help spreading the word. We really appreciate it.

Cheers!


Editor: Below is a recounting by Mr. Knight of his “long” generosity to Erskine. Indeed, he writes much, but does his giving equal his words? A lot of words and no show!

Once again, the highlighting is the Editor’s.

– Charles W. Wilson


Good points David [the person to whom Knight writes]. Since I have not given to Erskine over the past 10 years because of the great divide I see between the alumni association and Synod, increasing won’t be a problem! I will absolutely give to Erskine upon a successful conclusion to all of this. I define successful including the item you point out about the teaching of sciences. Though not a scientist myself, I work in higher ed and regard STEM education as the single most important element in education today and for the foreseeable future. My version of a successful outcome also has (a) Erskine clearly “owning” itself, and (b) Synod banned from the trustee process in all ways.

As for the 501c3, it is in process. I can’t say a lot about it here but will ask that folks trust me and continue to be patient. Thank you all for all of that so far. I wish it could be done yesterday, but the administrative process is somewhat time consuming, AND there are political issues associated with the lawsuit that we are navigating carefully. It is, however, on the way. Once it is running, we’ll post guidelines for giving to it and for earmarking contributions appropriately. We ultimately want to set it up so folks can give how they want to. Giving for the legal fund will be one option but want folks to have an array of choices so all can be included.

For now, I would also ask folks to share your ideas about how such a 501c3 should run. The alumni board (which I am not on, but whose authority I respect) will have the final say in how it is set up, but as this is new ground for Erskine, we need all good ideas. If you have ideas you don’t want to post, feel free to share them with me privately and I’ll get them to the right people.

David, thank you for good points and a great suggestion on future contributions.


A Response To Aldon Knight…

Editor: The Editor does not know Mr. Robert L. Smith. Mr. Smith sent the e-mail below and asked that it be forwarded to Mr. Knight. Mr. Smith also gave permission to publish his e-mail.


Dear Mr. Knight,

You probably know Mr. Wilson’s ARPTalk circulates beyond ARP eyes. As I see it, while Mr. Wilson is frequently a bit heavy-handed in his commentary, one thing is clear: his foremost interest is the integrity of the revelation of the Bible and especially the Gospel. I have no doubt that the same is true of those who support him and the action of the ARP Synod.

With that said, I observe that you show yourself to be a person willing to compromise his integrity and subject himself to scrutiny by publicly and in writing misrepresenting yourself on official, legally binding documents of employment. Is this not fraud on some level: misrepresentation for gaining a good [salaried employment] from another?

Moreover, you have, in your comments, approved of and encouraged (aided and abetted?) gentlemen who have sworn before man and God obedience to a profession and calling to violate their oath. In so doing, you have also approved and encouraged women and men of other professions (medical, legal, and instructional) to defraud for their personal reasons? You have shown yourself to be one of the many scoundrels who weaken our nation’s fabric at its core. And your arrogance in doing so! You have shown yourself to be a living example of what is wrong with humanity! And your arrogance in doing so! One can only admire and praise all those who have high standards and implement them, if only “spottily.” Lest you do not remember: the Bible urges all men to higher standards than they will ever achieve. You ought to pray for their success for fear the scoundrels you aid and abet will consume you and yours.

What is worse, you have named, encouraged, implicated, and subjected to condemnation some (and others by association) of those ordained gentlemen whose actions you approve at Erskine College and Seminary and in the ARP Church who have actually participated in what can only be called rebellion. And you have done so with arrogant glee. You, sir, are an embarrassment to yourself, your kin, and to your employer.

Very sincerely from the sidelines,

Robert L. Smith


Jason Peevey Writes…

Editor: Mr. Peevey gives a big “Amen” to what Mr. Knight writes. When the ARP Church thought the “good people of integrity” at Erskine were seeking to implement the directives of the ARP Church, those thought-to-be-good-people were ignoring and subverting the directives and will of the ARP Church, which they were sworn to uphold and obey.

– Charles W. Wilson


. . . This is hilarious, but spot on. I grew up a Methodist, with a great female pastor. Years later it seemed odd to me to see a man in the pulpit. Anyway, you and I started at Erskine at the same time. I didn’t sign anything. I was asked if I was a Christian and that was enough to be hired. And I feel thankful and blessed to have had the opportunity to live and work in that community. The people that truly know Erskine, that are in that community, are not on board with the ideals some of these radicals have for a cookie-cutter, preacher making machine. We did a lot of good there, and the times I worked alongside you were some of my favorite professional years. The very people this guy says need to be run out of town are my friends, mentors, and people who helped me more spiritually than ANY church I have ever attended (and I was a regular Sunday schooler at Due West ARP). In all honesty, I think the relationship with the church has hurt Erskine. While Wofford, Furman, Presbyterian, etc., have all gone on to bigger and better things, the church has held Erskine back, maybe not intentionally, but it has nonetheless. Even Lander and Anderson, in many ways, have caught up with Erskine. Remove church politics from Erskine. Let the school blossom. Synod had the reigns [sic] for long enough and they have failed. And alienated good Christian men and women. Take a break for a decade and see what happens. If I’m wrong, we can all go to Bonclarken and beg for the $600k a year that Chuck Wilson threatens to withhold. Like it is his own money. As an outsider who cares, this is so funny and sad at the same time…


Jay West Writes…

Editor: Dr. Jay West is the former Chaplain at Erskine College and Seminary and a former Vice President in development.

The Editor does not know who Ms. Janis Cunningham is. However, Ms. Cunningham has engaged Dr. West and others in a Facebook discussion. She asked questions regarding Biblical data and interpretation. Dr. West’s response speaks for itself.

– Charles W. Wilson


Janis,

I have refrained from making comments as of late, but your reference to the historical Adam and Eve sparks my interest. Your comments and the comments of others have become decidedly more fundamental in nature. Therefore, I would like to ask you and John the following questions:

  1. If you accept that Adam and Eve were historical “real” people, how is this verified? Some argue against evolution because it is theoretical from their perspective. What is the difference? Better yet, is it even necessary? Is the Bible a science book? is [sic] the purpose of Genesis to provide us with a fundamental lesson in science or to demonstrate God’s relationship to humankind? Did you know that the word for “man” in the hebrew [sic] is “ADAMAH?” Sounds a lot like Adam to me.
  2. Where did Cain and Abel’s wives come from? Is this to mean that incest is approved of in Scripture?

This fundamental approach causes much discontent for people wrestling with the Christian faith. The Bible is not a science book. Actually it is much more.

The problem for most is that young earth creationists use the same argument [sic] as evolutionists- but they simply have no hard evidence due to oral tradition.

It is this type of dialogue in the church that pushes people away.

Finally, to use the word inerrant forces one to abandon truth for the sake of peer acceptance. Should we stone prostitutes or an adultress [sic]? In quoting the Old Testament, even Jesus said, “you have heard, but I say this…” sounds to me like he is saying the Old Terstament [sic] teaches this- but I say this.


Editor: At the forefront of the discussion that is now before the ARP Church is the integrity of the administrators of Erskine College and Seminary. As noted earlier, Dr. West is a former Erskine administrator.

The Editor finds Dr. West’s responses to Ms. Cunningham troubling. Has Dr. West changed his views? It seems that Dr. West is confessing his doubts in the face of Ms. Cunningham’s certainties. However, when Dr. West was examined for ordination by Second Presbytery, he affirmed the historicity of Adam and Eve and the first eleven chapters of Genesis. As memory serves, he also affirmed the inerrancy of the Scriptures either using the word “inerrancy” or the phrase “without error in all that the Bible teaches” and that phrase followed with an explanation that is an inerrantist’s explanation.

Dr. West’s treatments of the Biblical issues that he addresses are appalling. No wonder he had to take the ordination examination twice. One wonders, did he think he had to abandon “truth for the sake of peer acceptance” before Second Presbytery?

– Charles W. Wilson


Bill Crenshaw Writes…

Editor: For those who do not know, Dr. Bill Crenshaw is a senior faculty member at Erskine College. He is an English professor. It would be no exaggeration to say that he is the leading voice at Erskine for a “secular Erskine with no relationship to the ARP Church.” Below is a photograph of his office door. The bumper sticker needs no explanation.

– Charles W. Wilson


Editor: In the recent Facebook discussion initiated by Ms. Janis Cunningham on the historicity of certain Biblical data, Dr. Crenshaw responded in the post below. Once again, Dr. Crenshaw is to be commended for his candor. Dr. Crenshaw knows of what he speaks. The Editor is certain that he is telling the truth. Dr. Crenshaw is not the enemy. The enemies are the Erskine administrators who hired him and who have protected and encouraged him for more than 30 years, the same people we thought were honoring and protecting the name and the cause and the direction of the ARP Church.

– Charles W. Wilson:


Janis — You can probably count on one hand with fingers left over the number of professors and administrators at Erskine who believe that Adam and Eve and a talking snake are historical, or that the Flood was historical, or that — the list goes on. If that’s what you mean by inerrant, you want find many takers in the faculty and admin at Erskine.

Erskine is not a fundy college.


Editor: There was much rejoicing in the ARP Church when Erskine applied and was received into the membership of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU). Now, according to Dr. Crenshaw, the action by the college administrators was a sham. The Editor believes Dr. Crenshaw. He has no reason to lie.

– Charles W. Wilson


We joined the CCCU under Strobel under false pretences — to ourselves. The faculty were assured that we were just joining to test the waters out and that it didn’t mean anything. Of course, we weren’t consulted and many of us didn’t believe the assurances.

This is about time we started calling ourselves a “Christian College” — and we did it as… See More a marketing tool. Consultants told us we needed to be branded — as is a brand name. We branded ourselves a Christian College. An advertising ploy. Advertising.

Good Lord.


Dean Turbeville Writes…

Editor: Dr. Dean Turbeville, a former Erskine Board member, is well known in the ARP Church. He is the Pastor of the All Saints Presbyterian Church (ARP), Charlotte, NC.

– Charles W. Wilson


Dear Chuck,

As men like to say in the South, you and I have “knocked heads” at times over tactical issues in our common concern to see our denomination and her agencies reformed according to God’s Word. However, I don’t write to you today to criticize you, but to thank you. Your reportage, while occasionally spiked with colorful language and humor, has been indispensable in keeping the men of our Synod informed regarding the mischief that has been done in our name at Erskine College and Seminary.

And you and I both know these are not trivial matters. In an age soaked in media-hyped scandal – scandals involving athletes, TV personalities, and politicians – we now have a real Scandal of the first order. While we might all but expect unbelievers to fall into wicked behavior, we now have a case involving ordained officers of the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ.

As far as the civil court goes, it is true that the lower court judge’s legally inexplicable decision will certainly delay the reform of our college. Still, whether by legal appeal or by sheer persistence through a much slower process, it would seem that our Synod yet has the ability to recover these institutions for the Kingdom. However, I am not most concerned about the issues surrounding the civil-court decision now, or even the ongoing issues on the campuses of the schools.

Of much more concern to any faithful ARP minister or elder must be what happens in the courts of the Lord’s Church. And what word can we use for what has happened but “scandal?” For over thirty years, faithful men in our Synod labored entirely within our form of government to see changes at Erskine. Questions were raised, prayers were uttered, memorials were passed, and admonishments were made. While much of it proved ineffective, it was honorable and constitutional action. Yet, within a week of losing their effective control of the college, liberals in the ARP Church trampled upon the scriptures by suing their own denomination in civil court! Again, we might have expected as much from unbelievers. But that officers of the church would even consider doing such a thing is almost unthinkable to me. Each of these elders (and a minister at the seminary) took these or similar vows, among others:

  • Do you accept the government, discipline, and worship of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church?
  • Do you promise to submit in the spirit of love to the authority of the session and to the higher courts of the church?
  • Do you promise in all things to promote the unity, peace, purity and prosperity of the church?

Of course, beyond the scandal that these solemn ordination vows were shattered is the even greater scandal that Holy Scripture was violated. I am struck by the Apostle’s aggrieved tone in his language in 1 Corinthians 6: When one of you has a grievance against another, does he dare go to law before the unrighteous instead of the saints?…So if you have such cases, why do you lay them before those who have no standing in the church? I say this to your shame. (emphasis added)

Yet, our own seminary professor had no shame in doing just this! As for his public defense of his actions, we note that the Apostle’s reference to “trivial cases” does not refer to those cases which the seminary professor deems trivial (thus allowing him to sue the saints for those reasons he deems important enough). No, Paul is clearly contrasting the comparatively trivial matters over which brothers sometimes argue with the weightiness of those matters which will be judged when the saints “judge the world,” verse 2, and “judge angels,” verse 3.

Our seminary professor should have known better than to try to carve out an exception for himself. Neither do elders have any right to do so. Chuck, back when I was in the PCUSA, I worked with several evangelical renewal groups within the liberal denomination to try to see change come. We were fighting grotesque distortions of the Gospel: same sex marriage, endorsement of partial birth abortion, open worship of the “goddess” Sophia, and a complete denial of substitutionary atonement in presbytery examinations. Yet in all those years of laboring for change, I cannot recall a single instance in which taking the denomination to civil court over any of these heresies was even discussed, much less done. Yet in our self-confessed “conservative, reformed” denomination, the “sue-the-church carousel” began spinning within a matter of days after the overwhelming decision of Synod to change the Erskine Board of Trustees, as the suit progressed with three different sets of plaintiffs. What an unwarranted effort this was to undo the will of God as expressed by his appointed church court! If a prophet were in our midst, perhaps he would say what another once did: Be appalled, O heavens, at this; be shocked, be utterly desolate.(Jeremiah 2:12). Jeremiah was known as the weeping prophet, and there is a heart-breaking aspect to this as well; namely, what a low and unspiritual view of the church is operative in these actions by supposed servants of God’s people! The Lord’s view of the church is that it is “the Bride, the wife of the Lamb” (Rev. 21:9). To view your own church as an adversary at law instead of the Bride of Christ whom you are sworn to protect and nurture is deeply ignorant at best, and in all cases blasphemous toward the Bride’s Groom (James 2:6-7). Moreover, it is also rebellion against the King of Kings, and as such constitutes ecclesiastical treason when done by one of His sworn servants. And that would include those ordained men who administer these institutions and who allow (encourage?) this counter-insurgency against the church to be led by people they are in a position to check.

Chuck, we must pray now for the repentance of these men, for as you correctly asserted in your last issue of ARPTalk, at root, this is an issue of idolatry. And we are all subject to the danger of idolatry, not just those who worship at the shrine of “old (liberal) Erskine” or “academic respectability.” I must guard against making my own ministry an idol, and you with your on-line publications. Yet, we would want others to warn us if we evidenced signs of distorted loyalties and personal pride. And so we as a Synod should do no less for these rebellious men. And if, after such loving confrontation, they still will not repent of their sins and lay down their arms, they must be removed from the church and its leadership (1 Corinthians 5:5,13). If we are willing to discipline local sinners in our congregations, we must be no less willing to discipline men who hold positions of authority in the church or those who have “Dr.” in front of their names.

Thank you again for not letting the church slide into forgetfulness regarding her mission in the world and the stewardship of her own agencies. May God refine our gold in this crucible of struggle and crisis!

These are my thoughts,

Dean Turbeville


The Canadian Presbytery Speaks…

Dear brothers,

At the close of the 2010 Stated Spring meeting yesterday, the Canadian Presbytery adopted the following resolutions to be communicated to the General Synod and included in the bulletins of the Canadian churches.

  • That the Canadian Presbytery go on record as supporting the actions of the Moderator’s Commission on Erskine College and Seminary, urging the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Synod to stand fast on truth and love, continuing to uphold the full inerrancy and authority of the Word of God in all her presbyteries, congregations and ministries.
  • That the aforesaid motion be communicated to Moderator de Witt personally, to the Synod as communication through the Principal Clerk of Synod (Rev. Ron Beard); and further that it published in the bulletins of the congregations of the Canadian Presbytery.

Please let me know if there is anything you need.

In Christ,

Bill McKay
Stated Clerk,
Canadian Presbytery

Matthew Wilson Writes…

Editor: Mr. Wilson is a life-long ARP. He is a member and Deacon in the White Oak Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church, Moreland, GA. He responds to Dr. Richard Burnett’s screed on inerrancy; however, the Editor is of the opinion that Mr. Wilson covers the whole subject that is currently before the ARP Church.


According to Webster’s, the word “sarcasm” derives from a Greek verb that means “to tear flesh.” Dr. Burnett writes a 22 page paper of sarcasm. Obviously, he has a lot of time on his hands to waste. Does he teach? Does he have students? I teach and I have students. How does he have such time at this time of the school year?

I was once told that any paper that is lengthy and wordy is camouflage for deceit. Psalm 5:6 states, “You destroy those who speak lies; the Lord abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man.” Is Burnett’s sarcasm meant to edify? What are his intentions? What is it that Burnett wants to tear apart?

This critique of Dr. Burnett’s paper is not intended to be a warning to him – he can’t be warned! This is a warning to those who are yoked to him. Paul gives us a warning in 2 Thessalonians 3:6: “Now we command you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is walking in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us.” Burnett’s paper is evidence to his idleness and his excommunication is called for. It is time to be wise as a serpent because a wolf is in our midst.

The question was, What is Dr. Burnett trying to tear apart? The answer is the church. Jesus once walked into the temple and he noticed people trying to destroy the temple. If this were to occur today, it would look something like what Burnett is doing.

Consider this story. Once upon a time, Jesus entered White Oak ARP Church and he noticed lawyers and professors selling their lies and deceit and, if the people of the church would not buy their lies and deceit, the lawyers and professors sued the congregants and took their land and church buildings from them. The church members did not have the leadership or the courage to drive out these evil men. The church leaders and members would not fight the evil lawyers and professors. The task was too hard. The struggle was too expensive and long. Their attitude was acquiescence. They said, “Let the evil lawyers and professors have whatever they want. We can go naked.”

Where was the faith of the White Oak Presbyterians? Where was the courage of the White Oak Presbyterians? Had Jesus failed them? At this point, Jesus was appalled at both the evil lawyers and professors and White Oak Presbyterians. He turned over the pulpit, broke the stain glass windows, and threw the lawyers and professors through the broken windows. Nor was he happy with the White Oak Presbyterians – those cowardly and faithless people.

So, Jesus left the White Oak Presbyterians a warning: “My house shall be called a house of prayer, but you make it a den of robbers.”

Burnett’s sarcasm is meant to tear the church apart. He is a robber. He is a robber. My sarcasm is meant to tear the church away from the deceit of such evil men.

Matt Wilson


Daniel Wells Writes…

Dear Rev. Dr. Wilson,

I am an alumnus of Erskine College who recently attended the 2010 Alumni Day at my beloved alma mater. As one who much of the time dislikes your rhetoric and who did not believe that the recommendations of the commission were the best possible solution for Erskine (I wonder if anyone could come up with a perfect solution for an imperfection situation), I still write this letter with conviction.

My experience at Alumni Day was expected to be one thing, but it turned out to be something different. I have given money to Erskine and have supported her through thick and thin, but my patience is what is growing thin at this point. The Saturday morning meeting of the Alumni Association may be aptly described as an immature pep rally to bash the leadership of the church and to praise the actions of Dr. Young, Dr. Taylor, and the Alumni Association without criticism. Many who spoke such as President Ruble, Dr. Alston, Buddy Ferguson, Wes McCallister, Steve Southwell, and others seemed to carry on this high school routine. McCallister began his brief talk in stating, “Our home is being threatened.” David Chestnut tried to justify his actions in stating that the lawsuit was not related to “church doctrine” but only to a matter of legality. The representatives of the class of 1960 stated, “Erskine is a private, Christian liberal arts college…but not too narrow now!” (cue applause and hollering)

I shook my head in disbelief as my own peers and fellow alumni berated the sponsoring denomination and took an opportunity to further bury the reputation of men in the church.

Again, my own opinion is nuanced concerning the matters of the Erskine and the Synod, but it is plain and clear that there is a lack of character and integrity in some of these individuals. I question whether I will give money to Erskine again or whether I will attend another Alumni Weekend.

Cordially,

Daniel F. Wells (08′)

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  1. David Danehower says:

    Mr. Wilson,

    I find your latest issue of ARPTalk to be quite surprising and disrespectful following as it does on the heels of a request from Mr. Scott Mitchell and Joseph Patrick, III of the Erskine BoT for restraint from both sides as talks get underway to reconcile this matter.. Both men are Ruling Elders of their respective ARP Churches – is their request not worthy of respect from both EC Alumni and ARP Church members? One might think you and the others who have posted here are trying to disrupt those discussions.

    I was also in attendance at the Erskine Alumni day activities and, contrary to Mr. Well’s statement, I did not here anyone “bash” the leadership of the ARP Church. Yes, there were voices in support of what many alumni desire – a Christian Erskine College that is not too narrow. And yes, we do feel that Erskine is threatened, just as there are those who side with you who feel it is threatened. So, in fact, Erskine is indeed threatened!

    Can you and those who read your blog, show that you are supportive and respectful of the attempt by the Erskine BoT and members of the ARP Church to seek reconciliation? This does not mean either you or I are caving in on our principles, what it means is we believe that a quiet dialog on this matter is worthy of our mutual respect. Let both our sides take this time to ask God for his guidance and forgiveness in this matter!

     
    • Chuck Wilson says:

      Mr. Danehower,
       
      It is not my custom to respond to comments; however, I will make an exception here.
       
      1.  For the record, ARPTalk(28) was distributed and posted before the letter by Mitchell and Patrick was sent out or, at least, before I received their letter. I did not receive their letter until mid-day, Friday, April 30. ARPTalk(28) was sent and posted the evening of April 29.
       
      2. The opinions of the writers of the articles of ARPTalk are the opinions of the writers. I don’t speak for them. The writers of the articles take full responsibility for their words. That’s why all articles are signed. If you disagree with one of the writers, you need to address him/her. I don’t speak for them.
       
      3. Now, regarding showing respect for Mitchell, Patrick, and the BoT of Erskine. I had an uncle who land in Normandy on D-Day plus one in 1944. He was a tanker. During the battle for the hedgerows Germany soldiers would hide and wait for a tank to come down the hedgerow. A German soldier would jump up and fire a one-shot bazooka round into the tracks of the tank and disable or destroy the tank. The soldier would then throw down his weapon and cry out the following words: “Comrades! Surrender!” My uncle said that those German soldiers were never taken prisoner. Well, Mitchell is responsible for the first suit against the ARP Church. Patrick’s father-in-law, Richard Taylor, is one of three BoT members who are continuing the suit against the ARP Church. These are acts of terrorism against the ARP Church in which the church has been taken into the captivity of the secular court system. Now, are you suggesting that we in the ARP Church sit down and talk peace with these people who bombed the ARP Church in March? NO! See ARPTalk(E-Mail-5) for the rest of my opinion. This issue will be distributed and posted this evening.
       
      Charles W. Wilson

       
  2. I am wondering, do Mr Mitchell and Patrick, both ruling elders, have an opinion on the ARP elders who violated their vows before the Lord and their respective congregations as elders and in direct contrast to the teaching of 1Corinthians 6 that Mr. Turbeville points out above?

    As members of the BoT they should ask *those* men to restrain themselves from fleeing to the courts of the Gentiles when they could not submit to the court of their own church they swore to defend and put an end to this foolishness. They need to be called to repentance, and be reconciled to the people they made an oath before the Lord to love, submit, and to serve. Their behavior in this matter brings no glory to Christ to whom they will ultimately answer the question “Have you fed my sheep?”

     
  3. Peter G. Rambo, Sr. '89 says:

    Chuck,

    Thanks again for another excellent installment of ARPTalk. Frankly, like so many other issues, it made my head and heart hurt both for Erskine and for the ARP/Bride of Christ.

    As I pondered this issue during the day on Friday, a phrase began to ring in my head. “They are naked and they don’t even know it.” Seemed a strange one, but last night I pulled out the concordance to figure out what/why and almost fell out of my chair.

    Mr. Knight’s multiple references to a desire for ‘moderate’ Christianity is an echo of what has happened at EC for a long time… I guess the Southern Genteel version is more palatable, but it is decidedly NOT what Christ called us to. If one bears the name of Christ, it is an ALL OR NOTHING proposition… not a smorgasbord that we can choose from. The ARP and EC (a ministry arm of the ARP) are called to the highest standards of Christ.

    So what was the passage that the phrase came from? I’ll quote the whole thing as it is PERFECTLY apropos both for EC, the ARP and all believers… me included.

    Revelation 3:14-22 (New American Standard Bible)

    Message to Laodicea

    14″To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God, says this:

    15’I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot.

    16’So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth.

    17’Because you say, “I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,” and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked,

    18I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see.

    19’Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent.

    20’Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.

    21’He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.

    22’He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.'”

    CLEARLY a DIRE warning against being ‘moderate,’ however, also a wonderful promise for being fully committed.

    This passage is my prayer for myself, our denomination, and my dear brothers at Erskine.

    May God be glorified.

    Pete Rambo