Sep 09, 2010 | Comments 4
The Editor of ARPTalk is hearing from numerous sources that there is going to be another meeting of the Investigatory Commission of General Synod on Erskine College and Seminary. Because of the abbreviated nature of the 2010 General Synod, the Investigatory Commission was not dismissed and is still functioning in accordance with its charge to investigate and report on Erskine matters.
According to sources that are not on the Commission, the Commission may meet early next week.
Why would the Commission meet again? There is only one reason for the Commission to meet: NEW ERSKINE MATTERS.
According to sources, there is a new proposal from the plaintiffs’ (David Chesnut, Richard Taylor, and Parker Young) attorneys on the table. Since the meeting of General Synod in June, numerous proposals have been offered; however, the proffered proposals added stipulations to the Patrick-Wingate Compromise that was adopted by General Synod. The Editor has not read the recent proposal, but he is under the impression that this proposal accedes to the points of the compromise that was adopted by General Synod.
Since the meeting of General Synod, the lawyers for the plaintiffs have attempted to negotiate changes in the language of the Patrick-Wingate Compromise. According to sources, the representatives of General Synod have remained adamant in holding to what General Synod adopted as non-negotiable. It seems that the plaintiffs’ attorneys wanted General Synod to guarantee that there will be no ecclesiastical charges brought against plaintiffs Richard Taylor and Parker Young by their presbyteries.
If it is true that the lawyers of the plaintiffs are prepared to accede to the Patrick-Wingate Compromise, what has changed?
South Carolina is a small state. The legal community in South Carolina is not large. Judges are also a part of the legal community. Would it surprise us if we were to learn that lawyers take care of one another? Would it surprise us to learn that leaks occur in Columbia? So, could it be that the lawyers of the plaintiffs have learned that there is a strong possibility that the Appeals Court is going to rule against the plaintiffs? Indeed, has not the Appeals Court already overturned four of the five rulings made by Judge Griffith?
If the Editor’s speculation is correct and the Appeals Court is about to rule against the plaintiffs, is now not the time to settle? If the Appeals Court rules against the plaintiffs and if the Supreme Court of South Carolina would be willing to hear that appeal, the next step will be very costly. Therefore, it seems that a ruling against the plaintiffs would be definitive. That is, a ruling against the plaintiffs would close the door to this matter. With a settlement, there is both cost containment at this time and the road up legal mountain is still open.
The news from Mr. Tom Patterson, the Stated Clerk of First Presbytery, is that plaintiff Parker Young has resigned from the Session of the Pinecrest ARP Church. This is surprising. At the Newberry Courthouse, plaintiff Parker Young was bold in defending his actions in taking the ARP Church to civil court. All the readers of ARPTalk are aware that, because of his actions in taking his denomination to court, ecclesiastical charges have been brought against plaintiff Parker Young in First Presbytery for disturbing the peace of the church. Is this resignation an attempt to avoid ecclesiastical censure? Is plaintiff Parker Young attempting to avoid giving answers to his brothers in First Presbytery for what many consider an inappropriate and sinful action? However, his resignation does not get him off the hook in First Presbytery. He is still a member of First Presbytery. Does not his resignation make him look something other than confident in his defense of his actions?
There are also other Erskine matters for the Investigatory Commission to consider. First, there is the matter of student Zach Keuthan. Mr. Keuthan is the student who conflicted with Dr. Bill Crenshaw. According to the newspaper story and Mr. Keuthan’s testimony, Dr. Crenshaw told Mr. Keuthan that he, Mr. Keuthan, was a liar and to enjoy his evangelical hell. Mr. Keuthan filed a complaint with then Erskine President Ruble. Mr. Keuthan’s appeal was eventually brought before the Board, and then Mr. Keuthan appealed his complaint to SACS. That this issue might be a matter before the Investigatory Commission is not overreaching the bounds of the possible.
Another matter that may be before the Commission is the October meeting of the Erskine Board. This Erskine Board meeting is going to be contentious and pivotal. By-law changes and Charter changes are probably going to be on the agenda. Is there going to be another attempt to change the governance of Erskine College and Seminary in such a manner as to rule the ARP Church “OUT”? The Editor is willing to give odds that this will take place!
What other items are there for the Investigatory Commission’s attention? We will have to wait and see.
These are my thoughts,
Charles W. Wilson
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