What Does Calvin Have to Say?

 

Nowadays a great deal is being said about lawsuits in the ARP Church. Shamefully, ARP elders and ETS professors have taken the ARP Church to civil court because the General Synod attempted to reform Erskine College and Seminary so that the educational institutions of the ARP Church were in accord with their mission and in conformity with the Scriptures and our Confession.

Some have even attempted to exegete the Scriptures in such a way so as to defend the actions of those who have sued the ARP Church in secular court so as to thwart the church’s efforts at reform. The writings of John Calvin have even been used to defend both such exegesis and actions.

So, what did Calvin write? Would Calvin have defended the actions of those who have attacked the General Synod of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church through legal actions in secular courts?

Well, Calvin is not here to answer that question directly; however, in his commentary on 1 Corinthians, Calvin does have much to say about Christians taking Christians to civil court. Most of us in the Reformed tradition take Calvin’s exegesis seriously. If we are going to disagree with him, we want compelling reasons from Scripture to disagree with his conclusions. The following is a condensation of what Calvin writes on 1 Corinthians 6:1-8. The material is taken from John Fraser’s translation: Calvin’s New Testament Commentaries: The First Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians.

Using the Corinthian Church as a universal model, Calvin is very clear in what he writes. You are invited to read Calvin’s words and answer the question: What does Calvin have to say about Christians and lawsuits?


Calvin begins his comments on 1 Corinthians 6:1-8 by noting that GREED is the basic cause for the Corinthian Christians taking each other to civil court. That is, the ones pursuing litigation (the plaintiffs) wanted what they wanted regardless of the “bad name” their actions gave the church and the Gospel or the harm they were inflicting on their brothers and sisters. These plaintiffs were not willing to “suffer injuries” – real or imagined.

(6:1) “Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints?” (KJV)

  • “If anyone has a dispute with a brother, it ought to be resolved before believing judges, and not before unbelievers.” (117)
  • “We are slighting our brothers, when we are willing to subject them to the judgement of unbelievers.” (117)
  • “It is therefore wrong to take the initiative in instituting proceedings against brothers in an unbelievers’ court. It is in order, however, to come into court and conduct your case, if a charge is made against you.” (118)

(6:2) “Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?” (KJV)

  • “This is an argument from less to greater. For Paul wishes to show that damage is done to the Church of God, when decisions, in disputes over earthly matters, are put in the hands of unbelievers, as if there was no-one in the fellowship of the godly fit for judging.” (118)
  • “But someone will say: ‘Lawyers will judge better and more accurately then any ignorant believer; otherwise there is no need for knowledge of the law.” To this I reply: their advice is not absolutely debarred here; for if a decision on any obscure question must be sought from knowledge of the laws, the apostle does not prohibit Christians from consulting lawyers. But the only thing he finds fault with the Corinthians for is their referring their disputes to the judgement of unbelievers, as if there were no suitable judges in the Church. And he reminds them how greatly superior is the judgement to which God has appointed his believing people.” (119)

(6:3) “Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?” (KJV)

  • “We shall judge the devils that began in such an excellent way, and even now, after falling from their high position, are still immortal creatures, and superior to this world of corruption. What then? Shall those things which are subservient to the belly, be exempt from our judgement?” (119)

(6:4) “If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church.” (KJV)

  • “We must always take particular note of the kind of cases he is dealing with. For public trials are not within our province and ought not to be brought under our control. But it is quite in order to settle private matters without the magistrate’s investigation. Therefore, since we do not detract from the authority of the magistrate in reaching a decision ourselves, the apostle rightly tells Christians to keep away from the ordinary court, i.e. that of unbelievers. And in case they might plead that they were being deprived of a better remedy, he tells them to choose judges from the church to settle the cases peacefully and fairly. In case they say that they have no suitable men for this, he says that even the person of the lowest standing can do what is required. Therefore the authority of the magistrate is not impaired here, when he directs that their function should be handed over to people who are looked down upon. For . . . this is stated by way of anticipation, as if he said: ‘Even the humblest and least significant among you will carry out this task better than the unbelieving judges to whom you are running, when there is absolutely no need for you to do so.’” (119-120)

(6:5-6) “5 I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? no, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren? 6 But brother goeth to law with brother, and that before the unbelievers.” (KJV)

  • “The meaning is: if other considerations leave you cold, then at least turn this over in your minds, how disgraceful it is that there is not even one of your number, who can, in a friendly way, settle some matter that has arisen between brothers, for you concede this honour to unbelievers.” (121)

(6:7) “Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law one with another. Why do ye not rather take wrong? why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded?” (KJV)

  • “We now come to the second part of the reproof, . . . he is finding fault with them, not on the ground that they were exposing the Gospel to mockery and a bad name, but because they were taking legal proceeding against each other. Paul says this is a fault or failing.” (121)
  • “Therefore what Paul is condemning in the Corinthians is their making trouble for each other by going to law. He tells them that this is because they are incapable of suffering injuries patiently.” (121)
  • “But in this way Paul seems to do away altogether with legal judgements on behalf of individuals. ‘Those who go to law are completely in the wrong, therefore it will be wrong for anybody to protect his rights before a magistrate.’” (121)
  • “Indeed, wherever law-suits occur frequently, or the parties are obstinate in joining issue with each other with the utmost rigour of the law, it is perfectly obvious that their minds are inflamed for too much by wrongful, greedy desires, and that they are not prepared for calmness of mind and endurance of wrongs, according to the commandment of Christ” (122)
  • “Let me speak more plainly. Paul disapproves of lawsuits for this reason, that we ought to endure injustices quietly. Let us now see if it is possible for anyone to take legal proceedings without becoming impatient. For if that is so, it will not be wrong to take legal proceeding in every case. . . But I acknowledge that, as men’s manners are corrupted, impatience or lack of endurance (as they say) is the inevitable accompaniment of almost all law-suits. But this does not however prevent our distinguishing between the thing itself and its bad accompaniment. Let us therefore remember that Paul does not disapprove of law-suits on the ground that it is wrong in itself to uphold a good case by having recourse to a magistrate, but because they are nearly always bound up with improper attitudes of mind, such as lack of self-control, desire for revenge, hostility, obstinacy and so on.” (122)
  • Calvin asks a hypothetical question: HOW COULD A CHRISTIAN, ACTING AS A PLAINTIFF, TAKE A BROTHER TO THE CIVIL COURT? He answers in this manner: “For if we are forbidden to seek vengeance, even from God; in the same way we would be debarred from having recourse to the magistrate for retribution.

“Therefore I acknowledge that all revenge is ruled out for the Christian, and he must not practice it either by himself or through the medium of the magistrate; no, and he must not even desire it! If a Christian therefore wants to prosecute his rights in a court of law, without going against God, he must take special care not to come into court with any desire for revenge, any bad feeling, any anger, or in a word any poisonous thing. In all this love will be the best guide.

“If someone points out that it is a very rare thing for anyone to go to law free from and innocent of every unworthy attitude of mind, I indeed admit as much, and at the same time say that is rare to get any example of a good litigate. Indeed, for many reasons it is worth while showing that the thing is not evil in itself but is spoiled by abuse. The FIRST is that the impression may not be given that God was wasting His time in establishing law-courts. The SECOND reason is in order that believers may know exactly what they are allowed to do, so that they may not undertake anything that would be against their conscience. That is why many rush into open contempt of God, once they have begun to reach beyond those limits imposed on them. The THIRD reason is that they may be warned that restraint must always be observed, so as not to spoil, by their own misbehaviour, the remedy which God has entrusted to them The FINAL reason is that the boldness of the wicked my be checked by an unspoiled and genuine zeal; and this could only be done if we were allowed to subject them to legal punishments.” (122-123)

(6:8) “Nay, ye do wrong, and defraud, and that your brethren.” (KJV)

  • “It is clear from this verse why he inveighed against them with so much severity: because an improper lust for possessions had them in such a grip that they could not refrain from hurting each other. In order to bring out the extent of the evil, he has just said that people who do not know how to suffer wrongs against them are not Christians. Here therefore there is an amplification taken from a comparison; because, if it is wrong not to bear wrongs patiently, how much worse is it to inflict them? (123)

Once again: What does Calvin have to say about Christians and lawsuits? There is a more timely question: In what Calvin writes, is there anything that gives justification to the three plaintiffs who have brought a lawsuit in civil court against the ARP Church?

This was compiled by and the comments are by

Charles W. Wilson

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  1. Jay West says:

    Chuck,

    What happens when the saints have utilzed the Scripture and the courts for personal agendas based on lies and deceit?

    What happens when a small goup of brethren use college students as pawns in their proverbial game?

    What happens when the brethren address the court with false and misleading information?

    I am just curious as to what John Calvin would say about that. Paul did address it in I Cor. 6.

     
  2. Seth Stark says:

    Jay, I’m guessing he would say: “Prove it.”

     
  3. Daniel (not a pawn) Stephens says:

    “What happens when the saints have utilzed[sic] the Scripture and the courts for personal agendas based on lies and deceit? What happens when the brethren address the court with false and misleading information?”

    From the Book of Discipline (p254 section b):
    “Anyone who brings charges shall be previously warned that if there is a failure to show reasonable grounds for the charges, the accuser may himself be censured for slander. The committee (or the court) will drop any charges based on rumors or other common report unless some particular offense is specified, is widely believed, and raises a strong possibility of the guilt of the accused.”

     
  4. Brian Smith says:

    Dr. Jay’s comments are ironic and a riot!

     
  5. Chuck Wilson says:

    Jay:

    You write: “What happens when the saints have utilzed [sic] the Scripture and the courts for personal agendas based on lies and deceit?”

    Response: What utilization of “the Scripture and the courts”? What “personal agendas”? What “lies and deceit”? You use this mantra often; however, what are the specifics? Examples please!

    You write: “What happens when a small goup [sic] of brethren use college students as pawns in their proverbial game?”

    Response: What “small group”? Who are the college students who were used as “pawns”? What are their names? What “proverbial game”?

    You write: “What happens when the brethren address the court with false and misleading information?”

    Response: What “false and misleading information’? I was at the meetings and missed this. Can you give examples?

    You write: “I am just curious as to what John Calvin would say about that. Paul did address it in I Cor. 6.”

    Response: (1) What did Paul address in 1 Corinthians 6 that you refer to? I must have lost something. (2) Calvin is not here to speak to whatever “that” is. However, with reference to his comments on 1 Corinthians 6:1-8, John Calvin’s meaning is very clear!

     
  6. Jay West says:

    Chuck,

    For goodness sakes, you know the details and so do many others. I have nothing to hide. Inc oncert, I have been completely open on FB and your site.

    So, as for personal agendas: Can you deny that members of the moderator’s Commission were also appointed to the new board of EC at synod after claiming incompentence? How was Marlo MsDonald competent to serve on the EC board?

    Lies and deceit: Well, I think we both know that Daniel Wells lied and Drew Carlisle propogated those lies with an article in the student newspapaer. As well, they had extensive conversations with Paul Mulner and Bobby McDonald, while McDonald worked at Erskine- insubordination ring a bell?

    Here is the kicker: When brethren address the court with false and misleading statements.

    3 false statements wwere made at General Synod concerning Erskine.

    1. Falsely, that General Synod owns. Not so according to the 1850 charter and the restatement of the charter in 1977. check the documents for yourself on the site.

    2. Falsely, synod has the authority to fire trustees. According the EC by-laws, only the Board of Trustees has the authority to fire trustees with cause and due process. Again check the documents on the erskine for everyone site under subsections, parts 2-3.

    3. Falsely, Wingate said that synod’s takeover would not affect the accreditation. Refer to the document received by erskine from SACS due to outside influence. Seems the accrediting body sides with the alumni.

    As for the proverbial game: just look at the moderator’s commission constituency my friend and their recommendations to synod. Lies! Half truths!

    You and your small group have been defeated due to the overzealous nature of Mulner, Wells, and McDonald. The truth always comes out Chuck! In the end, truth is always validated!

     
  7. Dean Turbeville says:

    Mr. West,

    So the sum of your strategy seems to be to ignore the reasoned arguments of those who disagree with you and scream “liar” at the top of your lungs about various procedural and technical legal issues. Your goal is clearly to reduce to zero the influence of the church you once vowed to serve at the college she once founded. If you must libel godly men and students on the way, that is OK with you.

    That, sir, is a sad mission statement in life. Please, move on. Haven’t you heard that football season is starting? How about a dove hunt? Trip to Walmart?

    Or, better yet, call me and tell me how I can pray for you. Honestly. This bitterness will eat you alive. I’ve had to overcome my own disappointments in my failures and God’s unexpected providences.
    You know how to reach me.

    Dean Turbeville

     
  8. In response to Mr. Jay West’s last posting:

    Mr. West writes: “So, as for personal agendas: Can you deny that members of the moderator’s Commission were also appointed to the new board of EC at synod after claiming incompentence [sic]? How was Marlo MsDonald [sic] competent to serve on the EC board?”

    Response: As usual, Mr. Jay West is distorting what happened at the March Synod. The Investigatory Commission did not appoint new board members. The General Synod elected the new board members. As far as Mrs. Marlo McDonald is concerned, she is as competent to serve on the Erskine Board as the other members of the board are competent to serve. The issue is not Mrs. McDonald’s competence; rather, the issue is the longstanding feud that Mr. West has had with her husband, Mr. Bobby McDonald. This feud goes back to when both of them were Erskine employees. By the way, Mr. McDonald, whom Mr. West endlessly rakes, who was elected by General Synod to serve on the board, is very competent to serve. It seems that Mr. West holds Mr. McDonald responsible for the loss of his post at Erskine.

    Mr. West writes: “Lies and deceit: Well, I think we both know that Daniel Wells lied and Drew Carlisle propogated [sic] those lies with an article in the student newspapaer [sic]. As well, they had extensive conversations with Paul Mulner and Bobby McDonald, while McDonald worked at Erskine- insubordination ring a bell?”

    Response: No, “we both” don’t “know that”!!! There is no evidence that Mr. Daniel Wells and Mr. Drew Carlisle lied. I have read the articles and there are no lies in what they wrote. What they did, as editors of a college paper are wont to do, was report that which was embarrassing as they poked fun at Mr. West for his failure as an Erskine administrator to advance the building of a facility for the Drummond Center. When the issues between Mr. West and students Well and Carlisle was brought before Second Presbytery, the person that was found in fault and disciplined was Mr. West. Indeed, one suspects that Mr. Wells and Mr. Carlisle had extensive conversations with any number of people. Mr. West, an Erskine administrator, was threatening to bring a lawsuit against these college students. These young men were intimidated and bullied by Mr. West. Does a “culture of intimidation” ring a bell?

    Mr. West writes: “Falsely, that General Synod owns. Not so according to the 1850 charter and the restatement of the charter in 1977. check [sic] the documents for yourself on the site.

    Response: Mr. West has asked Mr. Wilson to check out the documents. Mr. Wilson was not present at the 1850 meeting of General Synod; however, Mr. Wilson was present at the 1977 meeting of General Synod. Once again, Mr. West is not accurate with what he reports. The issues involving governance and other legal matters are complicated; however, the General Synod retained the authority to appoint board members who exercise stewardship over Erskine College and Seminary on behalf of the ARP Church. “Falsely” is not a word to apply to the ARP Church that gave birth to and sweat for and money to support the continuance of Erskine College and Seminary. Mr. West was once an ARP. Mr. West knows the story and he knows better.

    Mr. West writes: “Falsely, synod has the authority to fire trustees. According the EC by-laws, only the Board of Trustees has the authority to fire trustees with cause and due process. Again check the documents on the erskine [sic] for everyone site under subsections, parts 2-3.”

    Response: Once again, Mr. West misrepresents the situation. This is not “Falsely’. Mr. West is confusing apples and oranges. The Erskine by-laws do NOT say that “only the Board of Trustees has the authority to fire trustees.” Rather, the by-laws provide a process whereby the Board can remove Trustees, and, according to South Carolina law, trustees of non-profit organizations can be removed by those who appointed them. To be sure, there are differences of interpretation. That is why a lawsuit is pending. Personally, Mr. Wilson prays that the lawsuit is not dropped. We need to know exactly what sort of governance the General Synod is legally able to exercise over Erskine. Some of the relevant documents are over 170 years old. Some of the particulars are convoluted. Some things need to be cleared up.

    Mr. West writes: “Falsely, Wingate said that synod’s takeover would not affect the accreditation. Refer to the document received by erskine [sic] from SACS due to outside influence. Seems the accrediting body sides with the alumni.”

    Response: Mr. West misuses the word “Falsely” again. There was noting false or inappropriate; however, there has been much behavior by disaffected alums that is shameful and despicable. The only thing that Mr. Ken Wingate can perhaps be faulted for is naiveté. As I remember his words, Mr. Wingate stated that we were all ARPs and Christian people who wanted the best for Erskine and no one was interested in going to civil court. Sadly, we were surprise that so-called “Christians” would act so disgracefully. Mr. West and his ilk were the ones who brought the law suit and wrote SACS complaining. Then they had the audacity to blame General Synod for the sanction from SACS that they instigated. Their motto was: “Old Erskine or No Erskine!” The chronicle of the events that Mr. West and his cohorts launched is a bone so heinous that not even a dog will chew it.

    It is also no great surprise that a bunch of academic administrators (SACS) would (at least initially) side with a member school over against its sponsoring church. At this point, the stance by SACS on this issue suggests that a church can have no real governing influence over its own educational institutions. When other churches with educational institutions, especially the Southern Baptists, wake up to this fact, the editor suspects that this issue too will end up in court and that SACS administrators will have a lot of explaining to do.

    Mr. West writes: “As for the proverbial game: just look at the moderator’s commission constituency my friend and their recommendations to synod. Lies! Half truths!”

    Response: Mr. West is wrong. I have read the report and it seems to be quite factual. The fact that the information is embarrassing and inconvenient for Mr. West does not make it untrue.

    Mr. West writes: “You and your small group have been defeated due to the overzealous nature of Mulner, Wells, and McDonald. The truth always comes out Chuck! In the end, truth is always validated!”

    Once again, Mr. West is incorrect. Chuck Wilson acts on his own accord. Mr. West’s reading of events is as faulty as his spelling. Mr. West was once an ARP. Mr. West was ordained by Second Presbytery of the ARP Church. Mr. West was not driven out of the ARP Church; rather, he left on his own. Now, Mr. West has raised his hand and voice against a church of God. May God palsy both his hand and his voice!

    Charles W. Wilson

     
  9. Brian Smith says:

    Dear Charles Wilson and former-chaplain Jay:

    I have a few questions for the both of you to answer.

    1. What would the ARPs (or those Jay claims to be consipring against EC) gain by taking over EC?

    2. Why doesn’nt the ARP denomination take the seminary and make it as conservative as they want, and then let the college be run independently? I mean I think there are more Baptists and Methodists at the seminary than presbyterians anyway.

    3. What does Jay West gain by calling students liars and ministers evil? The last time I checked, Dr. Carson fired Jay (I mean promoted him to VP) until he quit/or was fired again. I guess i see why you are bitter with ARPs, but like Tuberville says in the above statement: let the bitterness go dude! DO you have some other interest that you are not telling us about?

    4. Charles Wilson, why do you care about Erskine so much? Most ARPs have never cared about EC. They still can’t decide what they should do about it. If this is about the authority of the Bible (which my pastor assures me that it is) then why don’t ARPs care more? Is it true that you want Dr. DeWett to be the president?

    Just asking.
    Brian

     
  10. Brian,

    I will be happy to reply to the questions that pertain to me.

    You ask: ”What would the ARPs . . . gain by taking over EC?”

    MY ANSWER! Nothing! In 1972 when my wife and I became ARPs, Erskine College was identified as the ARP Church in higher education and Erskine Seminary was identified as the ARP Church in theological education. From the beginning, that was how Erskine was identified. Until now, there was no question that Erskine was an “agency” of the ARP Church. How could the ARP Church takeover what has historically been the ARP Church’s?

    You ask: ”Why doesn’nt [sic] the ARP denomination take the seminary and make it as conservative as they want, and then let the college be run independently? I mean I think there are more Baptists and Methodists at the seminary than presbyterians [sic] anyway.”

    MY ANSWER: There are a number of parts to your question.

    1. Erskine College and Erskine Seminary IS ONE INSTITUTION that is governed by the same board.
    2. The theological direction of Erskine Seminary is one of the issues in the conflict between institutional Erskine and the ARP Church.
    3. You are correct that there are very few ARPs at Erskine Seminary. To find ARPs in seminary, one has to go to RTS-Charlotte and Covenant Seminary. That is a sad commentary on Erskine Seminary! It is a vote of “no confidence” in the administration of Executive VP Neely Gaston.

    You ask: “Charles Wilson, why do you care about Erskine so much? Most ARPs have never cared about EC. They still can’t decide what they should do about it. If this is about the authority of the Bible (which my pastor assures me that it is) then why don’t ARPs care more? Is it true that you want Dr. DeWett [sic] to be the president?”

    MY REPLY: Once again, your question has multiple parts and statements that I think are meant to be questions.

    1. I am an Erskine Seminary alum. I have served on the Erskine Board. I am an ARP minister who has vowed to uphold the institutions of the ARP Church. In order to be faithful to my ordination vows, I am called to speak out against corruption in the church. My love for Erskine, however, is not Erskinidolatry. I have heard alums say that they loved Erskine as much or more than they loved their children. That’s idolatry. That is part of the problem at Erskine.
    2. Yes, the question of the authority of the Bible is part of the issue. I think this will become more apparent in the next few months as the conflict heats up.
    3. I cannot speak for other ARPs; however, I care greatly for Erskine!
    4. I have known Dr. John Richard de Witt since 1975. I did not know that he wanted to be the President of Erskine. At his age, being President of Erskine is not something he wants to do. The story that he wants to be President is disinformation.

    Before I close, I think it is prudent to correct something that you wrote. You give the impression that Mr. West was “fired” as chaplain by President John Carson. Unless you are privy to information I do not have, Mr. West’s move from chaplain to VP in development was mutually agreed on by Dr. Carson and Mr. West. If this is not correct, I am sure Mr. West can make the correction.

    Thank you for your post and your questions.

    Charles W. Wilson

     
  11. Jay West says:

    Who is Brian Smith? The recipient of inaccurate information? I really do not know him.

    Brian, please validate your facts. I was never fired or asked to leave Erskine. I left to take a job as the CEO of a firm.

    Chuck, you can spin and spin, but even you know that one day you and Turbeville will have to stand before the Lord and give account. Good Luck! By the way Chuck, explain why you left the ministry- in detail.

    Dean, thank you for the offer of counseling me. As you state, “If you must libel godly men and students on the way, that is OK with you.” I do not mean this in jest, but I others consider you or your comrades godly men.

     
  12. Jay West says:

    Chuck,

    I am starting a new blog on ministers in the ARP. Are you interested in responding to questions about your ministry and activity in the church? We will have detailed information and validate all sources. It is very safe and noble!
    Jay

     
  13. Jay West says:

    Sorry for the typo. I meant that neither I nor others consider Dean Turbeville to be a godly man. It must be my severe dyslexia that Chuck makes fun of in the above mentioned comments.

     
  14. William Anderson says:

    One day we will all stand before God and give an account. I will, Chuck will, Dean will, Commissioners will, alumni will….everyone will. I tend to think that the last thing on our mind will be “oh, wait until so and so has to answer for this or that.” Good gracious. I could describe Dean Turbeville in several ways, and yes, godly would be one of them.

     
  15. Jay:

    I have been sitting on the sidelines for this conversation (lurking, as would be said in Internet parlance) and am disappointed in the lack of actual dialog from what I will only denote as “the left” because just as liberals in politics and in the media are doing, you are not answering the core question at hand and creating divisive attacks that distract from the conversation.

    In case it was missed, the question is: “What would Calvin have to say about an ordained member of the church of Christ bringing the court of the church into the court of the Gentiles?”

    Now Jay, I don’t know who you are, at least I don’t think I’d recognize you in a crowd. But I can see *what* you are by your postings. Up front, as I begin to feel the need to “put my Brooklyn on”, I have to remember you and I both sinners in need of a Savior, and when I should think you need correction, it ought to be with a spirit of humility *but* conviction, and that conviction first ought to be held against Scripture and delivered in a spirit of gentleness.

    One example I wish to share, is that one of my responses to a prior post elicited a phone call from one of the parties involved in that post who, like you, was on the opposite side of the spectrum of opinion. We both had different viewpoints on the issue at hand. Dramatically different. However, we each respectfully held our ground and elucidated our positions in such a way that we were firm, but not insulting. Clear, but not caustic. Neither of us swayed the other’s opinion, but we left on terms of high regard to one another, though, again, we held our own particular viewpoint.

    You, Jay, have not answered the questions. You have not respectfully engaged in constructive dialog. You have made erroneous attacks against Christ’s church as represented by the ARP denomination, personal attacks against ordained men and stepped even to the level of making sad sexual innuendos against their progeny, of which gracefully, the Editor has declined to publish and publicly show the level you have chosen to step to.

    This is who you are, Jay, and one of the limits of this venue is that you lack the ability to hear my tonality through this medium. You can only see my words and not hear them. but Jay, I do admonish you publicly now. Here. In this forum. Because you have publicly sinned. and I do so in a spirit of gentleness, because what has been going on in the blogosphere, on FaceBook, on this forum, has got to end. Sin has to be addressed, and instruction has to be received from the parties who have been caught in offense. Reconciliation is needed. And if reconciliation is not desired by the offending party they must be cut off from the brotherhood.

    That is what Calvin would do. May it not have to go that far.

    We do not seek to admonish the men who brought the church of Christ into the court of the Gentiles because we are legalistic, because we want to exercise the rod for personal pleasure or self-righteousness, or because we take pleasure in administering discipline. We are, however, *called* to do it. We do seek to point out the log in one’s eye while clearly acknowledging we have our own debris to deal with; thankfully, with Christ’s strength.

    The authority the ARP exercises over Erskine is up for debate. The authority the state has over an institution of the church is being exercised, and is up for debate. Ultimately, we all have to answer to the highest Authority. If we cannot respect and obey our earthly authorities, such as our earthly fathers, earthly institutions, and earthly governments both church and secular, how then can we respect the author of those authorities and submit to he who wields it?

    Though I cannot administer the blessings and curses as uttered by the prophets of old with the same authority and effect that they had, I will say, “May your future correspondence in the spirit be seasoned with salt, and may any utterances of the flesh be converted to LOLSpeak.”

    In His Service, and
    Under His Authority,
    -Anthony

     
  16. Daniel Stephens says:

    Jay,

    I saw a lot of this coming when you posted your first comment in this issue and I tried to derail all of this nastiness before it even started. Unfortunately, as all can see, I failed in that endeavor. I’m going to be more obvious this time.

    I want to talk to you as someone with whom you have a good bit in common. I was recently at Erskine and experienced some things I considered unjust; but, now I have moved on. From what I gather from the comments here, you have experienced the same. You may not remember me, but we met briefly at Camp Joy this summer. Also, we both can have a fiery temper and can easily carry a lot of bitterness.

    When I was at Erskine there were a couple of times when I felt that I had been wronged, seriously wronged, and there was injustice about it. I was bitter and incredibly un-loving to the offending parties. I had to repent. I’m still not friends with some of them, but I don’t continue to try and beat them down with it. I had to remember what is said in Romans 12, “Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all…Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.’” We have both moved on physically from our perceived injustices at Erskine. You say you are the CEO of a company; that is great! I’ve moved on to something good as well. It profits neither of us to look back with bitterness on a bad incident years ago, many miles away, and with people we don’t see anymore.

    When I was talking to my friends at the time about how awful the things were that happened, they simply stared at me and didn’t want to agree. I was perfectly right in what I said, but it was abundantly clear that I was being dominated by my bitterness. I think the same has happened here. (I don’t know if you are right or not—a lot of that we will have to wait for the courts on), but it has become apparent that you are being dominated by bitterness and rash fits of emotion (the language of the posts, the time of posting, the coherence of posts, trying to harm people not even participating, etc). Others have been commenting on this and whether or not they genuinely care you can doubt if you want, but I look at it and I am saddened. This is not the Jay West that I met up at Bonclarken during Camp Joy. This is not the Jay West that I saw love people the world considers unlovely.

    I don’t want to see you continue to be consumed by this bitterness. I don’t want to continue to see it hamper your walk with the Lord and embarrass you in public. I want to help. I don’t want to put my email on ARPtalk (what a dangerous place for an email!), but apparently you know how to contact Dean Turbeville. I think he still has my email, and he can give it to you if you want to talk more specifics, get tips on how I have been dealing with it, etc.

    -Daniel

     
  17. Brian Smith says:

    Ok, two things here,

    1. ‘Dr. Jay’,I am sorry that I didn’t have my fact correct. I just went with what I heard while I was at EC. Shame on me. I stand corrected. It was always the student opinion that the EC chaplain was a useless post while I was there. Student worship happened in dorm rooms led by Rob Kimmons or inthe ARP church basement with the ministers from that church. The chaplain was never around doing what the seminary student chaplains did in my last years at EC.

    2. Thank you Charles Wilson for answering my questions. ‘Dr. Jay’ answered ZERO questions and resorted to some sort of ARP insider mudslinging. I appreciate the attempt, in this case by only Charles, at bringing a little more clarity to the EC spat with the ARPs. It might be one-sided but its at least open and respectable. Wake up call Jay: You earn no credibility points by not answering questions and trying to discredit people. Integrity at some point needs to factor in Jay!!!!!

    Charles, you should know that I respect you willingness to be accountable to questions. I did not expect as clear of answers as you gave, but I’m still not in fullagreement with you. I have so many more questions!

    You suggested that Dr. Jay was behind the lawsuit against the ARP denomination? Can you explain this one to me? Oh and while you’re at it, explain:
    Who owns EC?
    Who appoints faculty and staff and the board?
    What does Dr. Crenshaw have to do with any of this? His reputation was to make people doubt what they believed and to open their mind. Isn’t this good for Christians in the long run?

    Oh and Jay, I’m not on here to personally attack you. I’m just asking questions that alot of people wonder about.

     
  18. Dear Brian,

    You have asked a number of questions and you have indicated that you have more questions to ask. May I suggest that you check out the back issues of ARPTalk? A number of the back issues speak specifically to the questions you are asking. Those back issues of ARPTalk are stored on this site.

    Now, as to your questions that you asked in your last posting that are directed to me, you will find my answers below.

    YOU ASK: “You suggested that Dr. Jay was behind the lawsuit against the ARP denomination? Can you explain this one to me?”

    MY ANSWER: If I have given the impression that Mr. West was one of the plaintiffs, I need to apologize to both you and Mr. West. Mr. West has given support to the plaintiffs; however, he was not a plaintiff. The plaintiffs are as follows: (1) First action: Mr. Scott Mitchell (ARP elder, Chair of Erskine Board) – filed and dropped; (2) Second action: Dr. Richard Burnett (ETS professor, non-ARP), Dr. Michael Bush (ETS professor, non-ARP), and Dr. Jay Hering (ETS professor, ARP minister) – filed and dropped; Mr. David Chesnut (Erskine Board members, non-ARP), Mr. Richard Taylor (Erskine Board member, ARP elder), Mr. Parker Young (Erskine Board member, ARP elder) – this lawsuit is ongoing. This article deals with the appropriateness of Christians taking Christians to civil court. The article is a condensation of Calvin’s comments in his commentary on 1 Corinthians.

    YOU ASK: “Who owns EC?”

    MY ANSWER: Good question! No one doubts that the ARP Church founded Erskine College and Seminary. The historical relationship is evident. For the 40 years that I have been an ARP, Erskine has been looked on, spoken of, and written about as an “agency” of the ARP Church. Now the question is the “legal relationship.” Erskine is owned by the Erskine Board and held in trust for the ARP Church. This relationship question is the point of conflict.

    YOU ASK: “Who appoints faculty and staff and the board?”

    MY RESPONSE: This question has three parts: (1) Faculty members are hired by the Erskine administration and approved by the Board. (2) Staff members are hired by the appropriate administrator; chief administrators serve at the pleasure of both the President and the Board, but other administrators serve at the pleasure of the President. (3) Board members are nominated and elected by the General Synod of the ARP Church. I may have confused some of this. It’s has been some time since I was on the Board. As they say: I am close enough for government work!

    YOU ASK: “What does Dr. Crenshaw have to do with any of this? His reputation was to make people doubt what they believed and to open their mind. Isn’t this good for Christians in the long run?”

    MY ANSWER: Once again, your question has multiple parts. (1) Dr. Crenshaw’s reputation is that he is an excellent English professor when he wants to be, and I do not doubt his competency as an English professor. The problem is that Dr. Crenshaw also fancies himself as an expert in history, science, biology, Bible, theology, philosophy, etc. It seems to me that Dr. Crenshaw also fancies himself as the “H. L. Mencken of Due West” (and I bet he is going to love my description of him when he reads this). Therefore, he is “the devil’s advocate”, “the lightening rod”, and the hobgoblin of all superstitions (and he views historic, evangelical Christianity as superstition). Woe to the Christian student who opens his/her mouth in defense of Christian verities. If this 18 or 19 year old does, he/she will be met with the questions and criticisms of an unbeliever who has made an art form of attacking the Christian faith. The ferocity of his disputations is legend. There have been numerous confrontations with students and even faculty members. Formal complaints have been filed and have fallen on deaf ears so far. The divide between how Dr. Crenshaw views Erskine College and how the ARP Church views Erskine cannot be crossed! The language of Erskine as “near” Christian or “generally” Christian is nonsense. The institution is either Christian or it is not Christian. It is like pregnancy. Either a woman is pregnant or she is not pregnant.

    (2) The second part of your question asks if it is appropriate at a Christian college to challenge students to the critiques and criticisms of unbelievers of all stripes. Of course! Especially at Christian college! The concern is how that is done. It is one thing for a professor to present the problems and criticisms and nurture the students through the process to the building up of the student’s faith. There is a discipline for this: apologetics. It is another thing for a professor to beat down a student’s faith because he can and because it soothes his unbelief.

    Is this the sort of thing that one wants at a Christian college? Is this what Christian parents are paying for as they send their children to a Christian college? When the Erskine administrators advertise Erskine as a Christian college, is that not false advertising? Are they not lying?

    Brian, this is my best attempt to answer your questions this evening. I pray you find some intellectual satisfaction in what I have written. Once again, I encourage you to look over past issues of ARPTalk. Also, if you would like to speak with me, my phone is 864-882-6337. I will be delighted to speak with you.

    Charles W. Wilson

     
  19. Brian Smith says:

    Thank you Charles for you answers.

    I have looked at past postings of your blog. I’ll try to read a few more. As an EC alumni who had a good time in college but never recieved much of the ‘Christian’ teaching by my own choice, I am trying to make an informed decision about supporting EC.

    THe more you respond to my questions the more questions I have to ask…

    Why, if this is an issue about EC, are all the seminary professors filing lawsuits against a church? In other words, why isn’t Dr. Crenshaw or Monty Wooley filing lawsuits? The seminary, IMO, should be on the ARPs side!?!?!

     
  20. Jay West says:

    Ok gentlemen,

    I will stand admonished by Anthony. I sit in humble obedience to his guidence.

    Seriously, this is very unproductive! Therefore, I ban myself from ever visiting this site again. No more exposure for me as the sacrificial lamb.

    Brian, I did answer your questions. You failed to answer mine: “who are you?” No one seems to know who you are!

    In all serious, most of us realize that this is only an attempt to distort truth and perpetuate inaccurate information.

    I am done Chuck!

     
  21. Brian,

    Let it not be said that your questions are not complicated. What you ask has more arms than an octopus. This could take pages; however, I will try to be brief.

    YOU ASK: “Why, if this is an issue about EC, are all the seminary professors filing lawsuits against a church? In other words, why isn’t Dr. Crenshaw or Monty Wooley filing lawsuits? The seminary, IMO, should be on the ARPs side!?!?!”

    MY ANSWER: (1) You make an incorrect assumption: The seminary is NOT on the side of the ARP Church. This doesn’t mean that there are no professors at ETS who are loyal to the ARP Church; it means that the present leadership of the seminary is NOT where the ARP Church is and the seminary has been the flashpoint for this conflict and other conflicts in the ARP Church. It is not a secret that Executive Vice President Neely Gaston, the chief administrator of the seminary, feels that the ARP Church has become too much like the PCA theologically. This means that he thinks that the ARP Church has become too conservative (that is, in his words, “too rightwing” or “Puritan”). Clearly, he has attempted to take the seminary in a direction that is more compatible with the EPC and the so-called conservatives of the PC(USA) than the ARP Church. The result is a loss of confidence in ETS in the ARP Church. ARP ministerial candidates are now found at RTS-Charlotte, RTS-Orlando, and Covenant. Mr. Gaston seems to think that he can return the seminary and the ARP Church back to pre-1975 days. That can’t be done. Besides, I was an ARP in the pre-1975 days. That was when ARP ministerial candidates began to abandon ETS for RTS and other conservative seminaries. I was one of those ministerial candidates. (2) That there was a Burnett-Bush-Hering lawsuit against the ARP Church is not too surprising. Remember that the college and the seminary are ONE institution. Former President Ruble spent his career as the administrative head of ETS. How does one prove collusion? My opinion is that there was collusion between Mr. Ruble and Mr. Gaston. Mr. Gaston, who is Mr. Ruble’s protégé, is politically and legally savvy. My opinion is that Burnett-Bush-Hering did Mr. Gaston’s bidding. Indeed, they would understand the ecclesiastical issues much better than the folks at the college. Once again, my opinion is that the Burnett-Bush-Hering lawsuit was a very calculated and coordinated move. (3) Why did Crenshaw and Wooley not file lawsuits? Good question! I don’t know! My speculations would take pages and pages. Suffice it for me to say, I don’t know! However, I am curious. I would like to know. If you find out, let me know.

    Brian, at this point, Mr. West and I need to apologize to you and ask your forgiveness. Mr. West was an active ARP minister and Chaplain of Erskine when you were a student. I was an active ARP minister and a member of the Erskine Board when you were at Erskine. I’m very much aware that your Christian experience at Erskine was minimal by your choice. However, that does not let the ARP Church and Erskine off the hook. If we are purposely allowing non-Christians to attend a “Christian college”, we have the obligation of presenting the claims of Christ to the non-Christian whether he wants to hear the message or not. Obviously, that was not done or not done very well in your case. Please forgive us! God have mercy on us! It is shocking that Mr. West doesn’t know who you are.

    Once again, my phone number is 864-882-6337. Call me; we will have a good, long talk. Indeed, I welcome conversations with anyone who calls me.

    Charles W. Wilson

     
  22. Brian Smith says:

    Okay, took a break on the discussion for a while. Thanks for the info.

    BTW= Dr. Jay, you know me from EC. But what does it matter. I’m just asking questions and trying to get a better picture of the situation. Sorry for trying to be informed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!