On August 11, 1867, in a remark to Meyer von Waldeck, Chancellor Otto von Bismarck of Germany stated that “Politics is the art of the possible.” Indeed, if Bismarck is correct, then the unfinished meeting of the General Synod of the ARP Church was a success in many ways, in that the possible was achieved.
Chairman Scott Mitchell of the Erskine BoT has canceled the June 18 called meeting whose purpose was to change the Erskine charter and bylaws which would effectively sever the historic and organic ties between Erskine College and Seminary and the ARP Church.
Is the Executive Board of General Synod being manipulated so as to function as the equivalent of an ecclesiastical BISHOP for the General Synod of the ARP Church (GSARPC)? As the ecclesiastical ARP BISHOP, the Executive Board would have the authority to veto and/or modify the actions of the GSARPC in certain matters. Certainly, the members of the EBGS have the right of their opinions; however, they do not have the right to act as an ecclesiastical ARP BISHOP and reverse and/or modify the actions of the GSARPC that are clear and unambiguous.
It has been fascinating to watch the spin that has been put on the Erskine layoff by the secularist bloggers, (both credited and anonymous) and also by the Facebook pundits. The spin according to Bill Crenshaw and others is this: IT IS THE FAULT OF THE EVIL INVESTIGATORY COMMISSION AND THE EVIL GENERAL SYNOD. Everything would have been hunky-dory if the Investigatory Commission and the General Synod had simply allowed Erskine to do whatever they wanted to do. Besides, doing it their own way is the status quo!
Sadly, it is now well known in most of the conservative Reformed theological world that Dr. Hughes Oliphant Old, holder of the John Leith Chair and the Director of the Institute of Reformed Worship at Erskine Theological Seminary, has, in his most recent book, The Reading and Preaching of the Scriptures in the Worship of the Christian Church, vol. 7: Our Own Time, written that he does not “believe in Satan, demonic spirits, and demon possession.”
The SACS report and its recommendations represent a clear threat to ANY religious body that seeks to hold the trustees of denominational colleges and seminaries accountable to missional criteria. This report is a declaration of war on the Christian Church in higher education. The little ARP Church now finds herself as the Dutch Boy with a finger in the dike attempting to hold back the terrorist assaults of secular agnosticism/atheism that seeks to silence the voice and witness of Christianity in higher education. Our prayer is our fellow faithful denominations will join us in this struggle that is also their struggle.