Extra #12 – The Mutinous Erskine Board of Thieves!

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“The Mutinous Erskine Board of Thieves” is the only way left to describe the Board of Erskine College and Seminary. These trustees who have been nominated by the Nominating Committee of the ARP Church and elected by the General Synod are suggesting what amounts to an act of theft; these trustees who have willingly bound themselves to protect and promote, first, the interests of the ARP Church and, then, the interests of Erskine College and Seminary have shown themselves villainous; these trustees, so many of them who are not ARPs, whom we in the ARP Church were assured are “good people who are just like us,” are traitorous and they are NOT “good people who are just like us”; these trustees have demonstrated both the validity of the Investigatory Commission in recommending their removal and replacement and the wisdom of the adoption of the report by the Called Meeting of General Synod in March; and, finally, these trustees now make it necessary that the General Synod of the ARP Church do all that is necessary morally, ecclesiastically, and legally to secure and maintain what is historically and rightly the heritage and legacy of the ARP Church. Consider the lunacy of the proposal below (comments to follow):

  1. College and Seminary have separate Boards of Trustees. The Moderator of General Synod would be an ex-officio voting member of both Boards.
  2. The Seminary Board would be elected wholly by the General Synod for 4 year terms, with responsibility for all seminary related activities, including budget and assets. The Seminary Board would have a membership of 12, of which 3 but no more than 4 must be ordained ARP pastors.
  3. The College Board of Trustees would be a semi-perpetual Board composed of twenty-four members serving 4 year terms.
    • The Board of Trustees would elect three members, of which two must be alumni of the College.
    • The Board Nominating Committee would recommend names to the General Synod Nominating Committee.
    • General Synod would elect 3 members, one of which must be an alumnus/alumna. The General Synod Nominating Committee would consider names submitted by the Board, but may nominate to the General Synod whomever it wishes.
    • The Erskine College Alumni Association President would be an ex-officio, voting member of the College Board.
    • If there are vacancies on the Board, the body electing that member would replace that member.
      • At least 50% of the College Board elected members would be alumni of the College.
      • This Board would have responsibility for all College related activities, including budget and assets.
  4. Board members completing their terms of service on either board would be ineligible for election to either board for three years.
  5. The new Board structure would become effective July 1, 2010. Boards would meet separately subsequent to that date. Current Board members would be asked their preference for the Board on which they wish to serve, and assigned by seniority of service on the current Board of Trustees to the new Boards based on stated preference. Members newly elected to terms beginning July 1, 2010, would also be asked for preference, and assigned to Boards based on those preferences. Once one of the two Boards is filled, all other members are assigned to the remaining Board. Should the College Board be reduced to less than 24 by this process, half the vacancies are to be filled by the Board of Trustees and half by General Synod, with terms beginning July 1, 2011. Should the Seminary Board be reduced to less than 12 by this process, the vacancies are to be filled by the General Synod, with terms beginning July 1, 2011.
    • NOTE: Under this process the minimum number of the College Board would be 18 in the coming year, and thereafter 24. The minimum number of the Seminary Board would be 6 in the coming year, and thereafter 12. These numbers do not include the ex officio members.
  6. Election of the President would be the responsibility of the 20 most senior members of the College Board of Trustees and the 6 most senior members of the Seminary Board of Trustees, along with the Moderator of General Synod and the Erskine College Alumni Association President, meeting together.
    • NOTE: This provides for proportionate voting for the President in the ratio more closely aligned with the historical weights assigned to the two parts of Erskine (85% College, 15% Seminary) which are used internally. Further, it allows only those who have served at least a year and have had the opportunity to become more familiar with Erskine issues to vote on the most critical decision that the Board makes.
  7. The relationship between the General Synod and the two boards will be restructured so as to maintain the College’s accreditation by SACS and the Seminary’s accreditation by ATS and by SACS.
  8. Any charter and by-law changes will be drafted to conform to this agreement by a Drafting Committee of four, two appointed by the Moderator of General Synod and two appointed by the Chair of the Board of Trustees, or, alternatively, by a mutually agreed independent expert. Changes will be adopted by methods currently provided in the Charter and By-Laws.
    • NOTE: If it is legal to do so, the changes should not be amendable by either party but voted up or down.
  9. Plaintiffs in the current lawsuit would be involved in the process of reviewing the charter and by-law changes and would agree legally that passage of the changes would be the end of their action against General Synod, and General Synod would provide them with legally binding commitments that they and lower courts of the church would not take any action against them in civil or church courts that are based on actions up to and including the effective date of changes in the charter and by-laws.
    • NOTE: The appropriate body that can act on behalf of General Synod needs to be clearly identified and their authority clearly specified. It would seem that the ultimate authority for General Synod is the General Synod itself.

What does the above mean? Consider the following:

“The Mutinous Erskine Board of Thieves” is in open rebellion against the ARP Church and has no intention of implementing the evangelical mission of the college that the General Synod has repeatedly outlined. In the past the Erskine Board has used passive-aggressive resistance to avoid the directives of the church. In other words, they would say they would, then they would not, and then they would present reports to the General Synod that obscured the truth.

“The Mutinous Erskine Board of Thieves” is a den of scoundrels and liars who have been caught in a public lie. These are the mutinous leaders who at the February Board meeting and at the March meeting of General Synod duplicitously whined:

In a spirit of humility and acknowledgement of our failings, and a desire to give the glory to God, and to move Erskine forward; we concur in principle with the recommendations of the Moderator’s Commission. . . .The Board recommends that the size of the Board be reduced over the next six years. . . . The Board agrees to move forward expeditiously to adopt effective policies regarding financial integrity, conflicts of interest, integration of faith and learning, board training, etc., which are aligned with and advance the objectives set forth by Erskine’s current mission statements and Synod’s Philosophy of Christian Education. . . . The Board fully recognizes Synod’s final authority to appoint trustees to the Erskine Board. . . (Editor’s emphases).


The above statement sent out by Chairman Mitchell is an outright attempt by “The Mutinous Erskine Board of Thieves” to stopping General Synod from electing this year’s slate of trustees. The rebellious leadership of the Board recognizes that the election of the new slate of Trustees will dramatically change the balance of the Board. May God grant the failure of the machinations of mutinous and evil people! May God grant that the General Synod elects righteous men and women to the Board who hold mutiny and dissimulation in disdain!

The above scenario by “The Mutinous Erskine Board of Thieves” was authored by the members of a reconciliation committee. What doublespeak! According to the Editor’s information, after the election of Dr. David Norman in the morning, the Board spent the entire four hours of the afternoon in a meltdown. That can mean only one thing. A “nuclear option” was on the table. And what is the “nuclear option”? It is a move to have the Board to declare that it is independent of the ARP Church and self-perpetuating. Frankly, this is a game of “Chicken.” The leaders of “The Mutinous Erskine Board of Thieves” do not think that the General Synod has the courage to challenge them in civil court, for that is the only option that is left for dealing with theft.

“The Mutinous Erskine Board of Thieves” is determined to separate the college and seminary. Look at the proposal. This is a proposal that the Editor expected. This is not something new. That idea has already been floated before by Board members and rejected. This is also an idea that has had longstanding support amongst Erskine Presidents. In the 70s, President Stanyarn Bell said that if he could have his way he would bulldoze the seminary. Indeed, there is no love lost between the college and seminary communities. Why? Both communities contend for the same dollar.

The ultimate goal of “The Mutinous Erskine Board of Thieves” is independence from the ARP Church. To be sure, when events do not make sense, it is wise to ask what is going on. How did such a divided Board come to a unanimous decision? It is not hard if one has the long view in mind. Certainly, the view has been broadcast widely on Facebook. The unanimous election of Dr. David Norman as President is a ruse by “The Mutinous Erskine Board of Thieves” – in the Editor’s opinion, a calculated evil. Let us think together. Could this be the unfolding of the story?

  • If “The Mutinous Erskine Board of Thieves” is successful in gaining independence from the ARP Church and establishes itself as a self-perpetuating Board, the first thing that will be done will be an attempt to vote outspoken ARP loyalists off the Board. The voice of the evangelical Christian will be past history. The Christian heritage of Erskine College and Seminary will be abandoned for a secularism with some religious window dressing that looks like the PC(USA). Why not? That is who the mutinous leaders are!
  • The election of Dr. David Norman as President was done in order to pacify the General Synod and smokescreen the real intention of “The Erskine Board of Thieves.” Dr. Norman’s Presidency will be very short. Dr. Norman will be a casualty. Dr. Norman will be THE DISPOSABLE PRESIDENT.
  • “The Mutinous Erskine Board of Thieves” will abandon any semblance of the integration of faith and learning and evangelical Christian mission. There will be a full FURMANIZATION of Erskine.
  • Outspoken evangelical Christian voices will be driven from the college and seminary.
  • If a scenario take places that sees both the college and seminary withdrawing from the ARP Church, within 18 months the seminary will disappear in order to consolidate resources to save a cash-starved college.

“The Mutinous Erskine Board of Thieves” is a duplicitous and corrupt body! Chairman Scott Mitchell asked for a vow of confidentiality from ministers in the ARP Church whose first duty and loyalty is the church. He demanded that they remain silent on matters that will harm the cause and name of the church in a violation of their ordination vows. That is not Scott Mitchell’s to ask of ARP ministers! What a little man – so full of hubris! What a bowl of deception! Why not do everything in broad daylight? Daylight would be the transparency that has so long eluded the Erskine Board!

“The Mutinous Erskine Board of Thieves” has now given new meaning to the twin towers of Erskine: ACADEMIC MEDIOCRITY and ADMINISTRATIVE DUPLICITY! Read their proposal. These people are certifiably “crazy.” They need psychotic medication. They propose having one President answering to TWO boards. This is starting to sound like a Three Stooges show.

The plan of “The Mutinous Erskine Board of Thieves” does nothing to resolve the current conflict on the Board. As a matter of fact, the plan with a half-and-half division guarantees endless conflict and division.

If the plan of “The Mutinous Erskine Board of Thieves” is successful, Erskine College and Semianry will no longer be an agency of the ARP Church.

What is to be done? The answer is simple. We must stand and hold the course or we will lose the heritage of our forefathers. We must face the traitors, the would-be destroyers of the founding institutions of the ARP Church! Let us in the ARP Church disabuse ourselves of the notion that the ARP General Synod meeting at Bonclarken means “Annually Renewing Pusillanimity at Bonclarken.” It is no secret that we are generally conflict averse. This cannot be the case now!

And speaking of forefathers, the Editor is annoyed with the ancestry game that Robert Galloway and others of these rascals play. The game goes like this: My great-great grand father did so and so, and my great grandfather did so and so, and my great uncle did so and so, and my father did so and so. That works as far as bloodlines for race horses are concerned. That, however, does not work for us. We are not horses. God is not concerned about bloodlines. There are no grandchildren in the Kingdom of God. The issue is who the individual is. These cads have revealed that they are not the recipients of their forefathers’ hearts. Interestingly, most of these people are not even ARPs now. In truth, there are very few, if any, hereditary ARPs left at Erskine – in the administration, on the faculty, or on the Board.

Once again, we must stay the course. We must recognize that we are not dealing with Christian commitment. We must be prepared to deal with “The Mutinous Erskine Board of Thieves” as pagans and outlaws and take them to civil court, if necessary, as long as necessary. We must refrain from giving them money. Whatever money that is designated for Erskine must be set aside in as escrow account and used for legal affairs. Realistically, “The Mutinous Erskine Board of Thieves” does not have the resources to pay for an extended legal struggle. They will bankrupt the institution. Is that their goal THE DEATH OF ERSKINE?

Finally, let us make sure that we have righteous nominees for the Board. In the past, we have been willing to compromise on the governance of Erskine and we have paid and are paying a bitter, bitter price for that lack of resolve.

Oh yes, there is one more thing. Here is an option for the Board:

  • One College, one Seminary, one President for each, and one board for each
  • College Board:10 members, all appointed by the Synod, 2 must be ministers and the Moderator is ex officio voting member as well
  • Seminary Board: 10 members, all appointed by the Synod, 5 must be ministers and the Moderator is ex officio voting member as well

These are my thoughts,

Charles W. Wilson

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  1. Why would anyone want to mutiny, Captain Queeg?

  2. Dean Turbeville says:

    Chuck, the issues have now become quite clear: in several weeks the Synod will simply have to decide if it wants to have a Christian liberal arts college and a reformed seminary, or not.
    Despite their desperate and entirely disingenuous assertions of support for the Commission’s findings right before the Synod meeting in March, it is now undeniable that the current government-installed Board of Trustees wishes to put as much distance between the Church and themselves as possible and to entirely abandon the integration of faith and learning. This is exactly the kind of folk the Commission warned us were on the Board. As for the Synod, for us to put more of the school’s hand-chosen supporters on the Board, or for us to continue fund with the tithes of the saints those who are attacking the church, while we still pretend to be a serious Christian denomination, is less honest than just putting the place up for sale.
    There is one other option: “man up,” and crush this rebellion against the Kingdom of Christ through faithful churchmanship. Only then will we have a chance of seeing the potential of these schools finally realized.
    We will see what the ARP Synod is made of this summer! (Ephesians 3:20-21)
    Dean Turbeville

  3. My two cents – facebook conversation…

    “I was wondering if you would give me your thinking about the current mess with Erskine. I have always appreciated your thought process and would like to add it to my personal deliberations. Thanks.”

    “Thank you for asking me this question. To some degree I think that the present mess is the result of many many years of tension between the ARP Synod on the one hand and the Erskine Board and faculty on the other. The long standing ARP tendency to dance around issues at Synod and Presbytery out of fear of seeming contentious is coming back to bite the Synod I believe. And there is the all to common passive-aggression that goes with this tendency – the “nice” and seemingly submissive public posture and then the dogged behind the scenes effort to oppose what was decided in public. Also, as I think we both to some degree have that feeling that comes to being non born and bred ARP folk of not quite having a dog in the fight. In other words, in the necessary “fight” over the direction of Erskine, the old guard, on either side, communicates subtly that this is a family feud, and if you don’t have a hundred years or so in the “family” then it’s kind of not your fight. It’s easy just to yawn and block it out of the mind. It starts all to feel so, well, trivial. For my part I have never really believed that it was the business of the Church as the Church to be in the business of undergraduate education. Perhaps it is the business of Christian citizens but not the Church proper. Thus over the last 21 years of my experience, when Erskine seemed to be, well, resistant and adversarial, I have just felt that we as a Synod should cut them loose and let them sink or swim as an independent institution. I have never really understood the long suffering on the Synod’s part. Nor have I ever understood the mission of the seminary. It has seemed too me that there has been an undercurrent of fear or anxiety over the financial solvency of the school, thus the need to keep it open to the approved list for the UMC and PCUSA and so forth. I don’t know how it is possible for the school to remain in harmony with our standards and be approved by the UMC. Makes little sense to me. On the other hand, I am not inclined toward a strict theological party line (with reason). After all, I bypassed the opportunity to go to RTS and went to Regent College instead. So, personally, I don’t have a personal vision regarding a strong reformed/presbyterian emphasis. It has just galled me that Erskine Seminary has been so brazen regarding the General Synod. Childish I think. As to the College, I think Erskine would thrive if it took more seriously the integration of Faith and Learning from a more consistently Biblical perspective. I know lots of evangelical folks like to diss Wheaton or Calvin these days, but I’d rather see Erskine go that route or similar than be where it is now. However, if the Synod’s view of inerrancy requires that undergraduate science classes teach from the standpoint of a “literal” six day view of Genesis 1, then I don’t see the College having academic credibility (I don’t think the real “literal” view supports the young earth “literal” view). I think there is some cause for concern there. In the end what really bothers me most of all right now is the lawsuit, and the lack of firm action in light of it. This lawsuit has had the exact effect that the Apostle Paul said that such lawsuits would have. I think it is scandalous to say the least and that Mitchell needs to go, quickly. If he is a member of an ARP church he needs to be disciplined. I don’t know the man, but when you take public actions (such as a lawsuit – even if you drop it) you invite public opinion. So, in the end, if it were up to me, I’d cut both institutions loose and let them find their own way.”

  4. Al Law says:

    I could not agree more. Please, please cut the college loose. That would solve all the problems. Don’t know why the law suit concerns you so. If people like deWitt, Wingate, Turbeville, etc could be counted on for a fair hearing it wooud not have been necessary.

    All they had to do was follow the rules. Then none of this would have happened. These “men of God” are sneaky and duplicitous. Please, Please, Please cut the college loose.

    • Jim Loughner says:

      Mr. Law,

      I have voiced similar sentiments from time to time. It would be easiest to just get rid of the headaches. We all wish to be comfortable and pain free. I have another problem, however. I minister here in Due West and have a heart for the students here. Some of them attend our church. I hear their plaintive cries and I cannot turn my back on these students. We also are responsible to the families of these students who have placed their children under the protection of the ARP Church through the General Synod. I opt not to shirk these responsibilities, but prefer to stand along side those who will indeed fight, not for the history of Erskine College and Seminary, but for their future.

  5. Scott Robar says:

    Mr. Law,

    Cutting the college loose to those who want to pay Synod for it would be one thing; but giving it away to the very people who have, for a long time, perverted its mission, and have put it near death through their lawsuit, would be tantamount to rewarding and encouraging sin.

    I do not know who you are, but you seem to be standing in a most frightening place, spiritually, being that you would impugn the character of such godly men as Dr. deWitt, Mr. Wingate, and Mr. Turbeville. Maybe you’re basing your opinion on the lies of others. I would encourage you to get to know these men, yourself.

    I don’t think that the, albeit exalted, status of these three men in the ARP, would qualify them as “public figures;” therefore your words seem libelous, and, again, reveal more about yourself than them. I doubt if your words will cause them harm in the sphere of their vocation; yet harm, probably doesn’t need to be proven in order to charge you with libel.

    Obviously there have been numerous statements in ARPtalk, by Mr. Wilson, which would rise to the level of libelous (at least to my thinking) if it were not for the corroborating evidence he provides. What evidence do you have?