May 05, 2010 | Comments 3
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!
WHAT TO DO WHILE WAITING ON THE ERSKINE APPEAL – QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
For the two or three in ARPdom who are not aware, the judge has continued the restraining order that Erskine Board members, David Chesnut, Richard Taylor, and Parker Young, requested against the ARP Church. Once again, for the two or three in ARPdom who are not aware, the ARP Church has appealed the judge’s ruling. So, what does this mean? What can we in the ARP Church do?
- Has the ARP Church lost the court action? No! This does not mean that the ARP Church has lost the suit that has been filed against the General Synod. It does not mean that the actions of the General Synod in the March meeting of General Synod regarding Erskine College and Seminary have been overturned. It means that a restraining order has been issued that does not allow the meeting of the Interim Board appointed by the General Synod. Other matters await adjudication. Once again, we are NOT appealing a verdict. We are dealing with a restraining order.
- Should the ARP Church pursue the appeal process? Of course! What else can the ARP Church do? The ARP Church has been sued. The ARP Church is not the one bringing a suit. The ARP Church is not the “plaintiff.” THE ARP CHURCH IS NOT THE ONE TAKING ANYONE TO COURT. The ARP Church is defending herself. The ARP Church is the “defendant.” The ARP Church is following the necessary and reasonable course of defense.
- Is legal defense a violation of either the letter or the principle of 1 Corinthains 6? The Editor does not think so. Once again, the ARP Church is not attempting to seize something that is not a part of the ARP Church. Is not the institution of Erskine College and Seminary an agency of the ARP Church? Is there not an attempt being made to seize Erskine College and Seminary from the ARP Church? A Biblical principle that is found through out the Bible is the right to protect oneself from THIEVERY – even by the use of force. At this point, the Editor needs to encourage the readers of ARPTalk to read what is being written, in the public e-mails, blogs, Facebook postings and other electronic media, by the many Erskine alums and faculty members and administrators. They have made their intentions clear. They want to seize Erskine from the ARP Church. Their battle cries are “No negotiation!” and “Old Erskine or No Erskine!” Indeed, let us protect ourselves and what is ours!
- Is the appeal process expensive? Yes. Lawyers are always expensive. But what about Erskine College and Seminary is not expensive? Are you aware that in the last 40 years that the ARP Church has invested over $40 million in Erskine College and Seminary? Some are now saying that the expense of the appeal is a waste of the tithes and offerings of God’s people. Well, what then was the $40,000,000 that we have invested in the past 49 years? Including the land, the Erskine investment in Due West is over $80,000,000. Are we now afraid to spend a few hundred thousand dollars to protect what is the church’s? Not to spend the money to protect the investment that Erskine represents for the ARP Church is to degrade and waste and dishonor the tithes and offerings of former ARPs – many who were our parents and grandparents.
- Should we not seek to negotiate with the Erskine leaders? No. Negotiate what? The matter has been brought into very sharp focus. The matter is whether Erskine is to be a Christian evangelical college that educates to the glory of God or a secular college that gives lip-service to an exsanguinated Christ and an impotent Bible and exalts man to glory in himself. Once again, has the reader read any of the e-mails or blogs or Facebook postings, or the pontifications in the papers by the Erskine secularists? The Erskine secularists (and that includes most of the Erskine faculty members and administrators) have not equivocated on what they believe and what they want to do. The administration has granted Dr. Gid Alston, the Academic Dean, immunity and under his leadership he has publicly blasted the General Synod of the ARP Church and stated that Erskine must be free of the ARP Church and, furthermore, Dr. Alston has stated that the vision of the ARP Church for Erskine is not going to be permitted by the Erskine faculty, administration, or alumni. So, what is to be negotiated? That Erskine is not an agency of the ARP Church? That the ARP Church is an agency of Erskine – so give us your money and shut up? That the ARP Church rescinds its view of Scripture so that the Erskine secularists are comfortable with the Bible as a book of ancient myths? A redefining of what “evangelical Christian” means? The abandonment of the ARP Church’s understanding of the integration of faith and reason (which is presently the publicly stated mission of Erskine)? That the Board be allowed to continue in a non-functional state so that an imperial administration can do whatever it desires? To continue to allow Erskine to be dominated by evangelistic religious secularists who attempt to destroy the faith of the children that we have led to Christ and have sought to build up in the faith? What are we going to negotiate? The ARP Church is being assaulted. The Church is being asked to give up “the faith once delivered to the saints.” How can the ARP Church negotiate such a thing? That is not negotiation! That is a denial of the faith of the ARP Church!
- Is there danger in negotiating with Chesnut, Taylor, and Young? Yes. This would open wide the door for other suits and legal actions. For example, a deal is struck that is satisfactory with Chesnut, Taylor, and Young may not end the matter. The matter is very fluid and there is nothing to stop others from the Board or alumni from filing suits. Indeed, they will. They have made it clear that they will. Now, until this matter is adjudicated by the secular court, there is no solid legal ground regarding Erskine for anyone.
- Is there a source for the ARP Church to find the monies for the legal fees? Yes. Annually, the Board of Stewardship designates one-fourth of the budge of the ARP Church, that is, about $600,000, to Erskine College and Seminary. Until this matter is settled, those monies should be placed in an escrow account. Legal fees should be drawn from that account. If the court rules that Erskine is, indeed, an agency of the ARP Church, then the remainder of the monies should be sent to Erskine. However, if the court rules that Erskine is not an agency of the ARP Church, then those monies can be redesignated. At this point, why should the ARP Church give Erskine money to sue the church? At this point, why should the ARP Church pay both the plaintiff’s fees and the defendant’s fees? Erskine is attacking the ARP Church. The ARP Church is not attacking Erskine.
- Is there a Biblical issue for continuing to deal with the Erskine issue? Yes! Yes! The present situation at Erskine College and Seminary is the making of the ARP Church. What we see at Erskine is the result of our inactivity and failure to attend to the college and seminary. At this point, we must not be like Pilate and piously pontificate that this matter has nothing to do with us and then ceremoniously wash our hands of the matter as if we are blameless before God. We have a responsibility before God as faithful stewards of the household of God. Are we hirelings who run in the face of trials and difficulties?
- What can be done now? There are a number of things that can be done now. (1) The most obvious and yet most neglected is prayer. (2) Develop a keen sense of spiritual discernment. There is a difference between evangelical Christianity and moralistic, secular pseudo-Christianity. Similar words – like faith and trust and prayer and Jesus – are used by both. The problem is that the dictionaries are different. There are two dictionaries. The same words in many cases have not only different but contradictory meaning. Recognize this reality and get help with meanings. Remember that every thing that is yellow is not gold. Jesus said that there would be many who would say to him “Lord! Lord!” and he would reply that he did not know them. (3) STAY THE COURSE! It is STILL the privilege and the LEGAL OBLIGATION of the General Synod to appoint the members of the Erskine Board. Demand that trustees be appointed who give first loyalty to the ARP Church and the mission of the ARP Church for Erskine College and Seminary. Do not assume anything about appointees. Ask questions. Forty years of assuming that we were appointing “good” people has led to disaster. Ask questions! Demand accountability to the General Synod!
These are my thoughts,
Charles W. Wilson
Filed Under: Extra!