May 17, 2010 | Comments 2
Dear Representative to the 2010 General Synod,
I have just received my packet for the meeting of General synod. I was hoping for an Erskine report that was unlike the superficial and misleading glosses of past year. I was hoping for an Erskine report that forthrightly and humbly recognized the disaster that has fallen upon Erskine over the last year. But no, the beat goes on! The hauteur elite of Due West have buried their heads in the sand and have, once again, produced a piece of disingenuous obfuscation. This report is emblematic of all that is aberrant and dysfunctional at Erskine College and Seminary. May I note just a few things that are in need of your attention?
1. Look at the size of the Board of Trustees (BoT).
- 30 members – 12 who are ARP minister
- ½ of all members are required to be college or seminary alums
- Ex-officio members
- President of the Erskine Alumni Association
- Moderator of General Synod
- President of the ARP Women’s Ministry
- A representative designated by the ARP Women’s Ministry
- Advisory members
- President of Erskine
- All Vice Presidents
- All Deans
- Faculty delegates
- Student representatives
- President of the Parent Advisory Council,
- Chairman of the Board of Counselors
- Director of Christian Education Ministries
- President of the Flying Fleet Club
- Moderator-elect of General Synod
- AND ALL GOD’S CHILDREN WHO HAVE NOT BEEN NAMED
No wonder very little gets done! This board is designed to be a gelding – not to produce anything!
2. The BoT “exercises direct control of the operations. . . .”
Does this mean that the BoT is responsible for ETS matriculating Jews, Muslims, and Mormons in the DMin program in violation of the mission and motto?
3. “In the exercise of its authority, the Board COMPLIES with the Standards of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church, and its policies and programs are CONSISTENT WITH the purpose of the General Synod.”
This reads like a bad dream. The unmitigated gall of Scott Mitchell and Randy Ruble to write such words! Why can these men not tell the unvarnished truth?
4. “The Board and administration continue to focus upon Erskine’s mission as a Christ-centered institution.”
At best, this section of the “Report of Erskine College” (5. a. “Religious Programs”) is not even good disinformation.
5. “Erskine has had a balanced budget for the third consecutive year without any negative notations from the auditors. A fourth consecutive year is anticipated.”
One of the reasons that the budget has been balanced is that President Ruble gave back/did not take(?) his salary. A new President is going to want a salary. Now, there is a good chance that the General Synod will vote not to appropriate the budgeted $600,000 for Erskine. Is anyone giving odds on a balanced budget for this coming year?
6. “10. To make an annual report to the General Synod, to include a special section relating to the implementation of the Statement of Philosophy of Christian Education.
“Reports are made each year and have been submitted to the General Synod annually. The College and Seminary have recently revised their Mission Statement, and a deliberate effort was made to shape those statements in view of the Statement of Philosophy of Christian Higher Education document. One of the requirements in the Statement of Philosophy of Christian Higher Education is that faculty and administrators affirm that they are evangelical Christians according to the definition set forth in that document. A written affirmation is required of all new College and Seminary faculty and of all administrators at the Director level and above as part of the application process. This affirmation includes the statement on Holy Scripture adopted by the 2009 General Synod. Each new Board member goes through an orientation process and receives a copy of the Statement of Philosophy of Christian Higher Education along with the related report and the Manual of Authorities and Duties section related to Erskine.”
Okay, reports are made, but where are the deeds? According to this report, one would think that nothing is amiss at Erskine. However, the Moderator’s Commission on Erskine found otherwise. Was there not a March meeting of General Synod of the Erskine BoT and administration? Why is there no mention of that meeting? This is another misrepresentation by the Erskine BoT and administration of the situation.
7. “The mission of Erskine College is the equip students to flourish by providing an excellent liberal arts education in the Christ-centered environment where learning and biblical truth are integrated to develop the whole person.”
This is a sick joke! Two students have filed charges against a professor for what amounts to verbal abuse and ridicule of the evangelical Christian faith.
8. “In 1839, by the providence of God, the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church established Erskine College. Many American colleges had abandoned their commitment to historic Christian faith; however, from its inception, Erskine College has been committed to the principle that facts and values, learning and faith are inseparable.”
The infidelity of Thomas Cooper at South Carolina College was the catalyst for the founding of Erskine College. Today however, Erskine in many ways has hired and enabled Thomas Cooper instead of firing Thomas Cooper. Scientia cum moribus conjuncta has been trampled on by the neglect of the present BoT and administration.
Now, at Erskine, instead of a commitment to the evangelical faith, it may be said, there is a disavowal of the evangelical Christian faith. Practically speaking, instead of the integration of the evangelical Christian faith and learning, in too many classrooms there is the separation and marginalization of the evangelical faith from academic life.
9. The seminary graduated 74 students. 23 were MDiv students and 19 were DMin students. How many were ARP MDiv students whose aim is the church ministry? One? Two? Three? Who no mention of this important fact?
All is not well. There were only 23 MDiv graduates. A seminary is not about DMin and various master degree programs. A seminary exists to enable and promote the church by producing the next generation of preachers. Where is the ARP Church getting her next generation of preachers? It is not from ETS!
Also, notice that Dr. Don Fairbairn has resigned to take a position at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary – Charlotte. It is reported that Dr. Fairbairn was the ThM program. What is going to become of this program?
10. Take a look at the list of publications by ETS professors.
Three names are conspicuously absent from the publication list of ETS faculty: Richard Burnett, Michael Bush, and Jay Hering. Perhaps they were too busy filing legal actions against the ARP Church to publish.
Also, one needs to notice that nothing is said about the current situation regarding Richard Burnett’s public attacks on inerrancy. Nor is there any recognition that the seminary has matriculated Jews, a Muslim, and a Mormon into the DMin program in violation of the mission and motto.
Yes, the beat goes on and on and on and on. Duplicity, disingenuousness, half-truths, and deceit are the hallmarks of the Erskine report in the past and the present.
11. Below are the three recommendation for adoption by General Synod:
1. “That its budget request presented through the Board of Stewardship be approved as follows:
- $575,000 operating funds
- $500 ARP Student Union
2. “That special days be designated when the work of Erskine College and Seminary can be presented to the congregations of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church and when special offerings to support the ministries of the institution can be received.
3. “That the educational opportunities at Erskine College and Erskine Seminary be promoted in local churches, Presbyteries, denominational events such as conferences and retreats and on other occasions”
Here’s a plan: ADOPT NONE OF RECOMMENDATIONS THAT ARE REQUESTING! The leadership of Erskine is in open defiance of and rebellion against the ARP Church. DEFEAT ALL THREE RECOMMENDATIONS!
These are my thoughts,
Charles W. Wilson
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