Email #5 – Erskine’s Egregiously Execrable Executives


Dear Readers of ARPTalk,

If the readers of ARPTalk have not seen it, below is a letter/e-mail that was sent out by the Executive Committee of the Board of Erskine College and Seminary. If you have not read it, please read it carefully.

Dear ARP and Erskine Communities:

Many of you are aware of and very concerned about the complicated situation at Erskine College and Seminary. There are serious challenges that cannot be ignored, even in the short run, if Erskine is to fulfill her missions to provide an excellent liberal arts education in a Christ-centered environment and to educate persons for service in the Christian Church.

The Board of Trustees of Erskine, as it was constituted prior to the March 3, 2010, action of General Synod, has the authority to continue to act as Erskine’s Board per the order of Judge Griffith. Given the gravity of the current situation, the Executive Committee of the Board met on Friday, April 23, to address the immediate issues confronting Erskine.

All members of the Executive Committee were in attendance. In our meeting, we had trustees who would have served on the Interim Board that General Synod named, had it been seated, and we had trustees who would have been removed and not seated on the Interim Board. We had in that meeting one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit and one of the members of the Executive Board of the General Synod who had also served on the Moderator’s Commission. The meeting was marked by a spirit of unity.

Our prayer is that this unity can be extended to include others involved in the dispute. We are hopeful that momentum from this meeting can begin a process to increase understanding and seek resolution. The Executive Committee has formed a subgroup to initiate such a process. We hope to work with those immediately involved in the situation to seek the Lord’s will in determining how it might be resolved to His glory. It is not the intent of this subgroup to speak for the will of the full Board but rather to engage in analyzing and communicating with willing parties on how this situation might be resolved.

We recognize that there is a legal process that is also attempting to resolve this issue on the basis of fact and law. The subgroup will not seek to intervene in the legal matter nor ask either side to take unilateral actions that would weaken their position. However, we hope part of reconciliation can take the form of an agreement between the parties that would involve a settlement of the legal matters.

Hopefully this process can begin quickly and be completed in such a manner that Erskine can move forward. We pray that all involved in the situation will open their hearts to the possibility of resolution and reconciliation. We also pray that all who are involved will refrain from actions that would make resolution and reconciliation more difficult. In particular, we hope that all would refrain from attacks on individuals or a group who may indeed be trying their best to do what they think is right.

We solicit your prayers and your support for this important process to glorify God.


D. Scott Mitchell
Chairman, Board of Trustees
Ruling Elder, Bethel ARP Church
Oak Hill, AL

Joseph H. Patrick, III
Vice-Chairman, Board of Trustees
Ruling Elder, First ARP Church
Rock Hill, SC


The dictionary defines egregious as “outstandingly bad, flagrant.” The dictionary defines disingenuous as “not straightforward or candid, insincere or calculating.”

The letter above that was sent out by the Executive Committee of the rebellious Erskine Board is EGREGIOUSLY DISINGENUOUS!

Have these people lost their minds? Scott Mitchell is the one who initially acted in contempt of the General Synod’s actions. Scott Mitchell is the one who opened the floodgates of legal actions. Scott Mitchell is the one who has incurred more than $50,000 of legal fees for Erskine by his insubordination and sedition. And do you understand that the $50,000 attorney’s fee was only for what he started and backed away from? There is much more to come! The broken relationship that now exists is not because of Judge Griffith but because of the unwillingness of Scott Mitchell and others of his ilk who hold Erskine above the Church of Jesus Christ and worship the Baal cult of Erskine.

Does it really matter who attended the Executive Committee meeting? Does it really matter what they say or desire? Scott Mitchell and the Erskine rebels are the ones who have poked their finger in the eyes of the ARP Church and now ask us in the ARP Church to see the wisdom of their ways. How can we see? They have blinded us to their “sweet ways”!

They speak of prayer. What prayer? How dare they speak of prayer in such a deceitful and manipulative manner? This is blasphemy! If they want to pray, let it be a prayer of repentance. Have they not read Psalm 66:18? The psalmist declares, “If I regard wickedness in my heart, / The Lord will not hear.” Until there is repentance, Scott Mitchell and those others who have sued the ARP Church are discredited. They are not brokers of peace; rather, they are HIGHHANDED WORKERS OF DISCORD AND DISUNITY in the church.

They want to work with the ARP Church! Good grief! Forgive the blunt language, but, in no uncertain terms, they told the ARP Church [to go to hell – or to go to perdition – or where to go]! Yes they did! That is exactly what they did!

Now they want to find the Lord’s will! What rascals! Are we not Presbyterian? Ours is a court system. On such matters, we say that we seek the will of God by working though the courts of the church. What did the highest court of the ARP Church do in March? It is Erskine that is in open rebellion against the court of the ARP Church. Indeed, we in the ARP Church in our deliberations sought the will of God and so voted. Frankly, these Erskine rebels will never find the will of God apart from remorse and repentance and asking the forgiveness of the ARP Church.

They want “resolution and reconciliation” with the ARP Church! No! They do not! Of course, they want our money and our students, but with no strings attached. They really want de facto independence from the ARP Church – but with a firm grasp on the money of the church. Most of the Erskine administrators and the vast majority of the Erskine faculty members want the ARP Church gone. Have you not read the papers? Have you not seen the words of Gid Alston, the Academic Vice President and second to the President. Have you not read the e-mails, the blogs, and the Facebook postings? These people are acting like ecclesiastic terrorists. Take for example this Facebook posting yesterday, April 30, by former Erskine Alumni Director Aldon Knight:

“If there is any reconciliation happening with the board of trustees, I walk. May not be a huge loss, but the only Erskine I will support is the one we are fighting for. We are NOT CLOSE to anything we could compromise on. I am terribly disappointed to see any sort of “talks” going on between the two sides. This can… only hurt the situation. My message to the BOT: STOP TALKING TO THE ENEMY.”

So, why was this impious screed from the pen of Scott Mitchell and Joe Patrick sent out? The answers are obvious. They have discovered that their scorched-earth strategy in the court and the media is hurting themselves and Erskine. Their money tree is dying. Student applications are down. There is talk about the General Synod withholding the annually designated $600,000 to Erskine. And may God grant it! ATS and SACS are on campus next week. The Erskine Board and administration are terrified that the appellate court will overturn Judge Griffith’s restraining order. But still they will not repent. There is not a hint, not a smidgen, not a scintilla of repentance in their letter! Rather, they seek to soften up the ARP Church by using pseudo-pious language, hoping that the church will cave in and fail once again to bring Erskine into line with the mission.

These people are attempting to be peacemakers! What sanctimonious hypocrisy! In a terrorist act they have bombed the ARP Church and they want to sue for peace. They are the aggressor. They are the plaintiff. The ARP Church is the DEFENDANT. The DEFENDANT! The church is only seeking to defend herself and her historic mission in Christian higher education. Have we forgotten that historically Erskine IS the ARP Church in higher education and seminary training?

What should we in the ARP Church do? That is easy. Ignore them. When they took the ARP Church into the captivity of the civil court, they lost the right to be heard and they now stand as discredited as outlaws. Withhold the $600,000 that we plan to give and use it to pay our attorney’s fees. Besides, these ingrates say it is “just a trifle.” And, if God so ordains and the ARP Church does not prevail in the secular court, then let Erskine go. It is time for this to stop. We have spent too much time on Erskine. Either Erskine fulfills the mission the ARP Church has mandated or we will take our money and our students elsewhere!

There is another word in the dictionary that the Editor has found. The word is “execrable.” Execrable is defined as “deserving of execration, hateful, worthy of a curse.”

Is execrable not a fitting term for the leaders of such rebellion?

These are my thoughts,

Charles W. Wilson
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  1. Aldon Knight says:

    Chuck –
    It’s a banner day. I think there could be a tiny shard of agreement between you and me on a few points. I’ll enumerate:

    1. Absolutely agree – nothing productive can come from talks between the board at Erskine and the ARP Church any more.
    2. You absolutely should withhold your $600k and any students who would come to Erskine thinking it is the kind of institution you want it to be.
    3. Erskine will not, and should not, repent for anything in pertaining to this case.

    It is high time for the college and church to separate.

    – Aldon

  2. David Danehower says:

    Mr. Wilson,

    As you are aware, I had previously suggested that your most recent addition of “ARPTalk” was surprising in light of the letter that had been sent out by Erskine BoT leaders and ARP Elders Mr. Scott Mitchell and Mr. Joe Patrick. Your replied that the latest addition of ARPTalk was posted prior to the release of this letter. I stand corrected and apologize for not noting the date of the edition in my message to you.

    However, with your latest post (above), there is now no doubt as to where you stand with regard to the efforts of the Erskine BoT and members of the Synod to hold quiet and prayerful discussions seeking a resolution to the conflict that now exists. You clearly have no use whatsoever for such efforts!

    I have always found your intolerance for the views of those you disagree with to be surprising, coming as it does from a minister. Try as I might, I cannot find any hint of Christian love in your epistle for those ARP brethren who have respectfully disagreed with your position and that of the Synod. Quite the opposite! “Terrorist attack”? “Bombing of the ARP Church”? What kind of words are these, coming from a man who is supposed to have dedicated his life to teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ?

    I ask you to please give the Erskine BoT and the Synod the respect and quiet that BOTH deserve! Will you please join me in praying for a just outcome and for reconciliation in this matter?

  3. Al Law says:

    Good Grief, Chuckie. It looks like your brain is about to exolode.

    You and Aldon are both right (imagine that!). There can be no compromise. The church should keep its $600,000 or whatever it is and cut the college loose.

    Guys like you just make the point of how dangerous this association is to free thinking.

    For heaven’s sake, take a valium or something. An exploding brain is not a good thing for those nearby.

    Have a nice day.

    • Bruce Danejur says:

      It continues to be apparent that what this situation has come to is mere anger among both sides and a mass conglomeration of utter shenanigry and nincompoopery to the ulitamate degree. The nincompoopery is so great that it is begining to damage the denomination in a financial capacity in a time where our economy is suffering, and parents who desire to send there children college are very concerned with the instability caused by the nincompoopery.

      I want to very clear when I use the word nincompoopery. This is very different then shenanigry. Shenanigans are somewhat humerous meant to bring joy to those directly involved. But nincompoopery however is self based, and has the potential to bring utter destruction to the environment in which it has been introduced.

      My question, and I guess my desire is for our current situation as a denomination, and the college, is for us to stear back into the dirction of shenanigry, and move out of nincompoopery.

      Therefore brothers, let us once again join in the spirit and joy of shenanigans and fellowship, and leave this path of nincompoopery.

  4. William says:

    I really enjoy reading your compositions each week. The amount of energy and time you devote to your cause amazes me.

    Each week I read the comments of others and I have noticed that no one seems to write in support of your compositions. Is there a reason no one will stand with you?

    I look forward to your response.

    • Just a thought, but I could point to the English proverb “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt!” but the Biblical Proverb 12:23 is probably more appropriate: “A prudent man keeps his knowledge to himself but the heart of fools blurts out folly.” To answer your question, though, there are many who share the sentiment but remain silent, at least in a public forum. The sentiment was near-unanimous in the court of the ARP church so there’s 500 or so in favor right there!

      It’s often common behavior on other discussion boards where the foolish write more than the prudent. Do they have more time on their hands? I can’t say.

      Coming from an Italian-Irish background myself, I like Proverbs 18:6: “A fool’s lips bring him strife, and his mouth invites a beating.” :-)

      The “kind, gentle, innocent folk” who are trying to wrest Erskine from the authority of the church are in for a beating, IMHO, and as states the Proverb, they have invited it upon themselves.

  5. David Danehower says:

    Mr. Navaro:

    I enjoyed the proverbs you quote, and could not help but think that they may speak to some members of both sides of this debate! The current leadership of the ARP Synod may well win this fight. But, regrettably, it will come at a deep cost to both the Church and Erskine College and its storied history. The many newer members of the ARP denomination would do well to read and consider that history.

    Contrary to your assertion, I was not led to believe that there was “near-unanimous” sentiment for this action in the court of the Synod. Indeed, it was difficult to find a quorum at the called meeting and the votes of this small crowd were often split.

    Further, the manner in which the “evidence” was gathered by the MC, the way that their “findings” were closely guarded up until the called meeting, where the recommendations were then “sprung” on an ill-informed Synod all suggest that the Synod leadership was less interested in the truth than in a quick and over-stepping action.

    As I have pointed out on a number of occasions, the 1978 Ecclesiastical Commission had pointed out to the synod that the Erskine Board controlled Erskine College. The by-laws of Erskine College which I would understand to be part of the legal documents of your faith, prescribe a method for the removal of members of the Board of Trustees. These bylaws were cast aside by the MC and the leadership of the ARP Church in making its recommendations and the entire Board was summarily removed without recourse to appeal.

    The Synod quorum present at the called meeting, having been given poor counsel by its leadership which included a legal “expert” in not-for-profit law, Mr. Kenneth Wingate, then unwisely approved this motion. This was done despite a warning from the College’s legal counsel that this course of actions could have secular legal consequences.

    So who invite what on whom? From my perspective, it was without a doubt the ill-conceived plans and overstepping of authority by the ARP Synod leadership that resulted in the current state of affairs. This was in violation not only of secular law, but of the ARP faith’s ecclesiastical law as well. How was the “peace and purity” of the ARP Church served in this action?

  6. JAY WEST says:


    To call those seeking legal remedy is idiotic at best. You tout that “they” are the aggressors. Shame! Shame! Daniel Wells, Drew Carlisle, John Wingard, Bill Evans, Dean Turbeville, Steve Maye, and their followers were the aggressors. You know the truth Chuck. The last time I checked hearing was not yoour disability. But, you are as guilty as they are in the eyes of God for propogating falsehood.