Executive Board Report Portends ARP Bishop!


Download This Issue of ARPTalk (#31) in PDF Format

Download This Issue of ARPTalk in PDF Format

Do we now have an ARP bishop? The Executive Board’s Report Portends so!

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. The Executive Board as the ecclesiastical ARP BISHOP would also have the authority to push forward legislation on behalf of the ARP Church and thus effectively assume the position of a SUPER PRESBYTERY. Is this what was attempted in the last meeting of the Executive Board? Is this what the GSARPC desires?

First, in March, after the meeting and actions of the Called Meeting of GS and after the ruling of Judge “Bubba” Griffith (who has since had 4/5 of his opinion redlined by the Court of Appeals after a simple reading of his rulings), a significant number on the Executive Board of General Synod (EBGS) attempted to overrule and/or modify the actions of the GSARPC. Using the “emergency clause” that allows the EBGS to act in behalf of the GSARPC, these individuals attempted to begin negotiations with those who were suing the GSARPC in civil court. Amazingly, these members of the EBGS were prepared to respond to those who were suing the GSARPC in civil court as though they had legitimate standing and were not mutinous traitors and terrorists who are attempting to seize and sever Erskine College and Seminary from the ARP Church.

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. Furthermore, those actions were less than a month old and were passed overwhelmingly.

Perhaps a motion is needed at this meeting of GSARPC! The Editor asks the readers of ARPTalk who are going to attend the meeting of the GSARPC as delegates to consider making the following motion:

That the Executive Board of General Synod be directed to refrain from doing anything to modify or countermand decisions made by the GSARPC, whether in Called or Stated meetings.

Second, are the readers of ARPTalk aware that in the 200 plus years of the ARP Church that there has only been ONE Called Meeting of the GSARPC? ONE! One in over 200 years! The phrase for that is: VERY RARE!

Notice the third recommendation of the Executive Board’s current report. It reads in the following manner:

A special meeting of the General Synod may be called only in a time of emergency and in the following manner: The Executive Board shall issue a call for a special meeting, at the official request of at least four presbyteries or upon its own initiative with the concurrence of at least four presbyteries. Notice of the meeting shall be given to each session not less than thirty (30) days in advance. The purpose of the meeting shall be as stated in the notice and no other business shall be transacted. Motions or recommendations with regard to the stated purpose of the meeting shall be distributed to all ministers and sessions at least fourteen (14) days prior to the meeting in order to be considered. (This does not preclude motions coming as a result of deliberations at meetings.) In addition to all ministers of the General Synod, all congregations shall be represented by ruling elders in accordance with the Form of Government Chapter XIII, c, 1.

According to sources, the above motion, after long and intense debate, was passed after a motion to refer the proposal to the special committee revising the Form of Government failed by one vote!

Once again, in the 200 plus years of history of the ARP Church there has only been ONE Called Meeting of the General Synod. Only one! So, why was the above motion made? Is it not obvious? IT IS AN ATTEMPT TO SOW SEEDS OF DOUBT ABOUT THE LEGITIMACY OF THE MARCH MEETING OF THE GENERAL SYNOD. Certain individuals on the Executive Board do not like what happened in March, and they are seeking to undermine the decisions made then.

The motion is also disingenuous. “Emergency” has a very limited definition in the suggested recommendation. However, according to reports, when the debate over the matters of the civil court came into play, “emergency” had a very broad definition.

This motion is insulting! We in the ARP Church are not profligate in having calling Called Meetings of General Synod. Only ONE in over 200 years! We in the ARP Church do not need the beneficence of a BISHOP to direct us. Let us defeat it!

These are my thoughts,

Charles W. Wilson

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  1. Drew Collins says:

    Not to nitpick, but writing as one who has a bishop the illustration fails on a couple of points at least from an American Anglican and Episcopal standpoint.

    1. A bishop is a pastor, not a committee. Although the modern Episcopal Church has made the role more like that of a CEO, his primary job is to pastor the clergy and churches under his charge. A committee can’t do that in the same way as an individual can.

    2. Bishops actually don’t have the unlimited power that is often supposed. They have standing committees than assist them in running things between Diocesan Synods but Diocesan Synods can refuse to affirm some of the actions taken by the bishop and standing committee.

    My comment isn’t about the merits, whatever they may be, of this motion but rather about the illustration.

  2. Vaughn Hathaway says:


    The proposal would of course require and amendment of the Form of Government.

    While it may be a good thing to re-examine the method by which a special meeting of the General Synod may be called, the proposal(?) of the Board is Draconian.

    By nature, special meetings should have some sense of urgency to them. Therefore, unrealistic barriers should not be implemented to make it nigh unto impossibility to call such a meeting.

    Finally, the inference that could be drawn from the references of who should be commissioners — I prefer that word over delegate because the latter implicates a binding of the elders’ consciences — at such a meeting would make obtaining a quorum absolutely impossible, requiring a representation of ministers and elders higher than is necessary for a Stated Meeting.

  3. Vaughn Hathaway says:

    By the way, wouldn’t your suggested motion limiting the Executive Board’s function have to be proposed as an amendment to the Manual of Authorities and Duties?