Unreality and Reality – Part 1 – Wishful Thinking



EDITOR’S REMARKS: The article below was originally published in The Greenville News and later repeated in The Aquila Report. The article is by Ms. Nancy S. Campbell and Rev. Andrew K. Putnam. The article appeared just after the meeting of the Erskine Alumni Association on Saturday, April 30, 2011.

The article is an example of unreality – an I-wish-it-were-true-but-it-isn’t-but-perhaps-I-can-convince-you-that-it’s-true! The only way the sentiments expressed in this article correspond to any reality is if we have entered the realm of the Superman comic books where parallel universes intersect and a news article from an alternate universe where there is a faithful, evangelical Erskine College somehow is posted in The Greenville News in our universe.

This article is balderdash and wishful thinking. It is simply an attempt to sell the proposed bylaws to two constituencies that have been and still are at odds with one another, the ARP Church and the Alumni Association. Apart from a new President, who is indeed an evangelical Christian, not much has changed. Yes, a few people have been moved on; however, at this point, the administration and faculty are essentially the same as they were last year.

The Editor is amazed that Ms. Campbell and Rev. Putnam trot out the issue of academic freedom at Erskine at this time. The issue is not and has never been academic freedom. Even SACS now recognizes that there is no threat to academic freedom at Erskine. Rather, the issues are faithfulness to the stated goal for Erskine as evangelical Christian, integrity in upholding and advancing the mission, and personal responsibility to own the goal and faith. At Erskine College and Seminary, “academic freedom” has become a code word for a license to subvert and attack the Christian foundation and the evangelical underpinnings that define Erskine College as evangelically Christian and the Seminary as Associate Reformed Presbyterian, Reformed, and orthodox.

Have we forgotten that many Erskine Board members and Erskine College faculty members have admitted that they do NOT know what a Christian worldview looks like? Not only do many on he Erskine faculty members not know what a Christian worldview is, they probably do not know what evangelical Christianity is. Dr. Bill Crenshaw, the controversial English professor and self-proclaimed opponent of evangelical Christianity at Erskine, on March 21, 2011, posted on the secular alums’ Facebook site that two-thirds of the present Erskine faculty members are so at odds with the stated purpose and goals of Erskine as an evangelical Christian college that they could not be hired today. Fascinatingly, Dr. Crenshaw, in his classroom and on Facebook and blog posts, has nearly perfected the art of criticism and the demeaning of evangelical Christianity – and that from a professor at a college that has and still advertises itself as an evangelical Christian college. Is there a pastor in the ARP Church who would allow Dr. Crenshaw to teach a Sunday School class? Is there a pastor in the ARP Church who would present him for membership in his congregation? How does such an irony as this make Erskine a distinctively evangelical Christian college? So, why do Ms. Campbell and Rev. Putnam bring up the topic of academic freedom? What we have witnessed at Erskine is abuse of academic freedom under the ruse of intellectual inquiry in order to promote antipathy for and attacks on the Christian faith.

Well, have we also forgotten that ETS faculty is bitterly divided over the doctrine of the inerrancy of the Bible? Have we forgotten that ETS does not reflect fully the theological standards of the ARP Church? Have we forgotten why so many of our ministerial candidates have abandoned ETS for more faithful seminaries? In just a few days, the overwhelming majority of ministerial candidates who will graduate from seminary and take calls to congregations in the ARP Church will NOT be ETS graduates. They were not willing to trust ETS with their theological training despite the fact that they could have attended ETS virtually tuition free.

The relationship between the General Synod of the ARP Church and the Erskine Board of Trustees (EBOT) is still fractured. The antagonisms and divisions on the EBOT are still present. The long history of the EBOT’s failure at fiduciary responsibility and oversight of the college administration and the seminary administration continues to persist like an unrelenting plague. Indeed, that dark cloud is going to be difficult for the new President to dissipate.

This article by Ms. Campbell and Rev. Putnam is the worst kind of PR nonsense. At this point, Erskine College is being advertised as something that Erskine ain’t! Erskine ain’t evangelical Christian! It may be the goal of the new President, but that is not what Erskine is now. It is unthinkable that Erskine College is being advertised as a distinctively “Christian” college, and it is just as unthinkable that ETS is advertised as a faithfully Reformed and Presbyterian seminary that affirms the inerrancy of the Bible.

The following op-ed was published in the Greenville News, May 5, 2011:

Academic Freedom and Faith Are Not Enemies

Nancy S. Campbell, President, Erskine College Alumni Association, and

Andrew K. Putnam, Moderator-Elect, General Synod of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church

In higher education, a perception exists that the academic inquiry found in an excellent liberal arts environment and a genuine commitment to Christian faith are essentially incompatible. However, in our roles for Erskine College and Seminary as president-elect of the Alumni Association and moderator-elect of the General Synod of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian (ARP) Church, we see these two elements as not only complementary, but essential components of the Erskine mission. Furthermore, we believe as with other important apparently opposing values, maintaining balance between them is worth the hard work—even when it means working through family feuds and differences.

A year ago, members of the Board of Trustees and alumni of Erskine were engaged in just such a dispute with the institution’s founding denomination, the ARP Church. Support of opposing views on these issues had polarized supporters to the point of breakdown.

That breakdown threatened to dismantle the board and resulted in a series of procedural and legal actions. These actions were both supported and opposed by many from within the denomination and the alumni. As expected, they also attracted the attention of the press and the institution’s accrediting associations.

With an agreement to keep the duly elected board in place, the legal action was dropped. This is where the story moves from the predictable to the notable. Over the past year, we have repeatedly witnessed genuine collaboration and commitment to achieving the wholeness that includes Christian faith and academic excellence.

Rather than allowing a stalemate to cripple Erskine, the original, intact board found common ground. First, the board unanimously appointed Dr. David A. Norman to succeed the retiring Dr. Randall T. Ruble as president. Not only was this decision unanimous, it took place within two short months of the height of differences. Next, the board created a bylaws committee comprised of trustees, alumni, faculty, ARP ministers, and members of other denominations to address accreditation recommendations and organizational concerns.

The two of us are serving on this bylaws committee. Our group has proposed a collaborative framework for the board and denomination to work together more effectively to place gifted leaders on the board. In addition to putting words on paper, we have witnessed notable progress in building collaboration between Erskine supporters across diverse, passionately held views.

What has propelled this progress? Dr. Norman’s inspiring vision of an institution where both authentic Christian liberal arts and genuine academic inquiry flourish.

While the board addressed its governance issues, excellence in education at Erskine continued as expected. For example, over the past year, 100 percent of Erskine students who applied to medical school (about ten percent of the graduating class) were accepted. Nearly half of the 2010 graduates continued their studies at graduate schools, several of them going directly to doctoral programs.

More recently, accrediting associations have recognized the institution’s atmosphere of academic freedom. Evidence of Erskine’s Christian influence appears not only across the campus in academics, arts, and athletics, but across the upstate and into the world in churches, businesses, government and non-profit organizations.

We view the events of the past year as a God-given learning opportunity. The time for assigning blame is well over. Erskine is focusing on the future. This past Friday, April 29, Erskine inaugurated Dr. Norman as its fifteenth president. We are grateful for the ways in which God has blessed Erskine, and we are excited about working toward the vision Dr. Norman describes for Erskine. We have an excellent faculty and collaboratively engaged alumni and denominational leaders.

Regardless of your connection to Erskine, we hope you’ll witness along with us how genuine academic excellence and authentic Christian faith are blended and balanced to prepare graduates who flourish as whole persons—intellectually, physically, and spiritually—to become leaders who are locally active and globally minded in guiding their families, careers, churches, and communities.

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  1. Ralph Smith says:

    Dear Rev. Wilson,
    The Greenville News article says nothing! That is a classic attempt to avoid what are critical issues of christian commitment. I quote the article: ‘genuine academic excellence and authentic Christian faith are blended and balanced’. It is sinful that a minister/ leader of the denomination would sign his name to such a neutral statement about faith and learning. Rev. Wilson you have evil in your midst. ‘choose for yourselves this day, who you will serve as for me and my family we will serve the Lord.’

    Once again, to you tired and tattered ARPs who are committed to true christian excellence unto the Lord, you have my most fervent prayers.

  2. Dear Mr. Ralph Smith,

    Thank you for your continuing interest in ARPTalk.

    Your comments are insightful. Hard to disagree!


    Chuck Wilson
    Editor, ARPTalk

  3. Reformed Rebel says:


    Am I the only one who thinks what these folks just said made as much sense as saying, “Blue sleeps faster than Tuesday…”?

    Where is the mention that the Board of Trustees concurred with the Moderator’s Commission? Or that

    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.

    While I applaud the unanimity of the Erskine BoT in electing Dr. Norman as President, I am deeply concerned that Dr. Norman may well be an entirely disposable President.

    I also find myself wondering if the confessional ARP folk actually understand that there is no negotiating with theological liberalism? You can turn an institution liberal by degrees, but you cannot return it to its biblical, confessional moorings the same way. It has never been, and, indeed, cannot be, done.

    If Dr. Norman were to stand up at the beginning of the academic year and say calmly but clearly, “At Erskine we are under the ‘final authority’ of the Synod of the ARP Church, which has a clear Confession of Faith. At this institution, you will either teach according to that Confession, or you will leave…”, would the BoT stand behind him then?

    I suspect the answer is “NO”.

    What Erskine (both College and Seminary) needs is professors and Trustees who find all the academic freedom they need within the bounds of the Westminster Confession. These men do exist — but will Dr. David Norman have the courage to seek them out?

  4. Matt says:

    What secular Alum’s site? You must be talking about Alumni for Erskine- A Christian Liberal Arts College, which is not secular.

    “he administration and faculty are essentially the same as they were last year.”???

    Have you not paid attention to all the people who have left and all the new hires?

    I understand it must be hard for you to know what is really going on at Erskine since you do not have any connection, you are not there on a regular day-to-day basis, if even at all, nor do you actually know the people whom you talk about.

    Erskine is not a church. It is a school. There is a difference. They are run differently and they have different purposes. It’s free to go to church (except the cost of being judged if you go to an ARP church where pastors care more about shoving neoconservative politics down your throat from the pulpit), but it is not free to go to school. The purposes are also different. The purpose of a school is to provide a challenging environment (not one that reaffirms thoughts, but challenges and sharpens them) where students can learn and develop. The purpose of the church is to evangelize to all the nations, preach the Gospel, care for the poor, sick, needy-and people like widows and orphans- and to build a community of Christian fellowship. That is unless it is your typical ARP church, then it is to fight liberal politicians, fight the ideas of climate change, fight evolution, complain about a school that you have no connection to, and want an inquisition in order to remove anyone who does not conform to the infallible church’s standards.

  5. Ah, Matt… …

    You must be talking about Alumni for Erskine- A Christian Liberal Arts College, which is not secular.

    If I’m reading this right, you are implying here that Erskine is a “Christian” school so it follows Christian ethics rather than the world’s ethics, right?

    Erskine is not a church. It is a school. There is a difference. They are run differently and they have different purposes.

    So none of the purposes you list involve a Christian mindset, so… Erskine isn’t Christian?

    Which is it?

    …if you go to an ARP church where pastors care more about shoving neoconservative politics down your throat from the pulpit

    Two questions for ya there, Dr. Diaz: can you point me to an online sermon at any ARP Church website and pull a quote from a pastor preaching “neoconservative” politics?

    What is “neo”-conservative, anyways? Our ministers teach from a book that is two to four thousand years old (depending on the book)… So, it’s not ‘neo’ and it’s not ‘political…’

    I’m interested though in which pulpits you have attended…

    The purpose of a school is to provide a challenging environment

    Challenging, yes. Berating, denigrating, and hostile, no. That is what was brought to the floor of Synod by the students of Erskine which prompted the initial investigation some years back.

    your typical ARP church fight the ideas of climate change, fight evolution… yada yada

    I would ask for a reference again, please.

    In addition, since I like to consider myself an amateur scientist, (a lover and explorer of God’s Creation) I would appreciate if you could provide one example each – one to show that Man is responsible for “climate change” and one to support the theory of Evolution over creation.

    Just one each, Matt… I know it’s off topic, but I’d love to dialog on this… maybe we both will learn something from your answers.

    As an observation, I must say (though it is obvious) that you appear to have a lot of anger in you, and I would hope that as you attend this “Christian College” that the things you are taught, if indeed is taught from a Christian perspective, that you will become even more aware of God’s magnificence and Holiness, and that you will be used an instrument to edify those around you with a different point of view, rather than something that chafes and abrades.


  6. Dear “Reformed Rebel,”

    The cogent nature of your post is compelling.



  7. Dear Matt Diaz,

    Have you lost your mind?

    One, you ask: “What secular Alum’s site?”

    Well, it’s the one that you participate on. A casual observer of that site will not respond by saying that the faith of the evangelical Christian church is upheld there. It seems to me that the site is a forum for Dr. Bill Crenshaw to preach what he doesn’t believe and why anyone who affirms evangelical Christianity is an anti-intellectual and a forum for Dr. Jay West and Ms. Mary Lou Holmes to attack the ARP Church.

    Two, you ask: “Have you not paid attention to all the people who have left and all the new hires?”

    Yes, indeed, I have paid careful attention. The Erskine College catalogue lists nearly 170 faculty members and administrative employees. How many changes have there been? Just a handful! The faculty and administration are essentially unchanged at this time. And, BTW, the howls over the “few” changes by the secular alums on the site of the secular alum are such that one would think that a massacre had taken place.

    Three, you write: “it must be hard for you to know what is really going on at Erskine since you do not have any connection.”

    What do you know about me? Are you aware that I’m an ETS alum, that I’m a former member of the BOT, that I have been around EC for nearly 40 years, and that I do indeed know people in Due West?

    Four, your characterization of the ARP Church is ludicrous to the point of silly and foolish.

    When it comes to what the ARP Church is and isn’t, you are deaf, dumb, and blind. Unless something has changed recently, you are a member of a congregation of the PCA. Do you not realize that the PCA is considerably “right” of the ARP Church? For example, you write that the typical ARP minister focuses on fighting evolution. Have you no idea that in the Presbytery of your home church that it is impossible for someone who does not affirm six-day creationism to get ordained? Do you not realize that the PCA would not countenance in Covenant College what the ARP Church has so long countenanced in EC? Indeed, it seems that you know little of the ARP Church and less of your own denomination.

    Five, you write: “The purpose of the church is to evangelize to all the nations, preach the Gospel, care for the poor, sick, needy-and people like widows and orphans- and to build a community of Christian fellowship.”

    Well, I would say you’re wrong again. What you describe are some of the tasks of the Christian. It doesn’t matter where the Christian is, those are some of the things that the Christian is called to do. So, how are you doing with with these tasks?

    Six, as I remember from your postings on Facebook, you have made it very clear that you’re not pleased with Dr. Norman, the changes that have taken place, and the present direction of EC.

    What has happened? How has this change in you come about? How is it that you have suddenly become an apologist for EC?

    Mr. Diaz, I have an old adage for you: it is better to remain silent and be thought dumb than to pen an asinine post and remove all doubt!


    Chuck Wilson
    Editor, ARPTalk

    • Bill Crenshaw says:

      Chuck — you kinda lost it with Matt, here, didn’t you? A bit over the top maybe? Off your meds? Believe me, I know what that can do.

      But, really, Chuck, a little perspective. Calm down. Say a prayer. Chill.

      As always, with only your best interest in mind.

      Your friend and pen pal.


  8. Matt says:

    One point at a time. So I’ll start with Anthony.

    “Alumni for Erskine- A Christian Liberal Arts College” is the group name. It is not secular because the name denotes attitudes of Christianity and as far as I am concerned, everyone on the site is a Christian. You do not agree with what they want for the school though, but that does not imply just because they disagree with you, or maybe that you disagree with them, that they are all of a sudden “secular” because you are Christian. Personally, I do not really like the term “Christian school” since a school cannot be a “Christian.” Using “Christian” as an adjective is unbiblical according to Dr. Turner–wait a minute, he’s an ARP.

    2. There are caring Christian professors who integrate faith into their curricula. They talk about their faith in class. They invite students to attend church with them. They build relationships with students. I would say this is a Christian mindset, but it is not how you like it. You would be upset that a really conservative PCA teacher teaches the science of evolution, but she encourages students to talk to her about it and that it does not conflict with her faith.

    3. Yes, they use the Bible, the mere “book” to which you refer. Unfortunately, the ARP church I used to attend did not upload sermons to the web at the time and I no longer attend since I no longer live in the area, nor do I think I would want to due to their stance on Erskine. I do not want to denigrate individuals. As far as neoconservativism, have you heard of the Bush administration? Focusing on foreign policy, where it proposes to use American economic and military power to bring democracy to other countries.

    “Challenging, yes. Berating, denigrating, and hostile, no. That is what was brought to the floor of Synod by the students of Erskine which prompted the initial investigation some years back.”

    I have been challenged. I have thoroughly enjoyed my education here at Erskine. My views and ideas have been challenged by a a variety of professors, from a variety of backgrounds, who care. The students that came before synod were exaggerators, to put it simple, nor have they been berated, denigrated, or been hostile towards. Some of those students have berated, denigrated, and been hostile towards others who have not shared their views though. They have slandered professors and disowned students alike. Students who have never taken classes from Dr. Crenshaw complain about him! That is ridiculous. These same students have never even so much approached Dr. Crenshaw to talk to him about issues, but they will complain about him as if they have been victimized. Dr. Crenshaw was voted the best teacher last year by students. There is a disparity between the self-acclaimed minority’s report and what is actually happening. The exaggerated, biased, reports of a few make it seem like a massacre has taken place, not to use Mr. Wilson’s words or anything. Go talk to the other 500+ students.

    4. You know, it is pretty crazy how people deny anthropogenic climate change, without scientific evidence. http://climate.nasa.gov/evidence/
    That is my one point, since you are limiting me to only one.
    Why do so many neoconservative Christians deny climate change? Does it conflict with the Bible? There are a lot of misunderstandings about climate change. “global warming” is not a proper term, I don’t think. And climate is not to be confused with weather.

    On to evolution. I’m not really debating evolution. I honestly do not care about evolution like I do climate change. Climate change is important. Even after taking organismal biology, the importance of evolution does not even come close to climate change. For me, climate change is an important topic because it effects human lives, especially future human lives. I believe God created the world, that we are more than just stewards of it, but we are also trustees. It is not simply a gift that we have inherited, which may be taken to imply that we can do whatever we want, but that we are trustees who should take care of it so we can give our children and their children God’s beautiful creation. Climate change is not just going to effect the aesthetic values of earth, but it is going to effect human life. I believe God wants us to love our neighbor, not live in such a way that may kill them, lead to wars, poverty, famine, disease, etc. Our current trajectory is unsustainable. I would point you to Common Wealth by Jeremy D. Sachs; and Hot, Flat, and Crowded by Thomas Friedman.

    Again, evolution is not important to me whether you accept or not. Fighting evolution is not part of my Christianity and I hope it becomes less a part of yours. It is unbiblical and I doubt if it is effective in evangelism. I’m not hostile towards people who accept or do not accept it because there are more important things in the world. It is unfortunate that many well-intentioned Christians choose THAT hill on which to fight instead of some other :-/

    As far as how I have changed through my educational experience, I have thoroughly enjoyed professors that many SAFE members love, namely Dr. Reiter. He frequently has classes about scientific creationism, atheism, talks about evolution, etc. So I am not hostile towards that. He is a very good professor who shows he cares about his students. He also integrates his faith into the classroom, invites students to church, builds relationships with students, invites them over for dinner, etc. He may hold all, or many of, the same views you do, so iI am not against everyone who believes what you do. I may believe what you do, but I emphasize different things and I accept anthropogenic climate change (as if that has anything to do with religion). I am glad that I have been introduced to evolution in college, both from a philosophical point of view in philosophy classes, from a scientific point of view in science classes, and a combination in other classes. Had I not gone to Erskine, I would not have gotten a similar experience where I could hear people accurately portray both sides. I have been challenged, it has been hard, but I am glad.

    Now, to Mr. Wilson.

    the “Alumni for Erskine- A Christian Liberal Arts College” is, though I don’t like the word being used as an adjective, a “Christian group,” not a secular one. I would not call it a group of people who are against evangelicals (by your definition) either, though there are some. Anyways, since you are an ETS alum. maybe you can answer, can someone be a true Christian without being an evangelical? To some, conservatives/evangelicals seem to be anti-intellectual. That is unfortunate. It does not have to be that way. I think if Christians did what they were supposed to do and not fight over such things-especially things like evolution, climate change, politics- and focused on the examples I gave above, then there would not be this hostility. I find it sad to find people turned off to even going to church, not because of preaching Christ, or anything to do with the Bible, or anything inherent in Christianity, but because of the church not doing what they ought. They are turned away because of these fights, not because of the Gospel. To you, the church may have some other purpose, like fighting evolution, but I find that to be a low purpose.

    As to who got removed and replaced at Erskine, those were some pretty big people in administration. Also a business professors left and a music professor left. May not seem like a lot, but at a small school, it is.

    Well, I apologize about not knowing you were an ETS alumni, but that is not an Erskine college alumni. I encourage you to come meet some of the professors and talk to some of the non-ARP students and get a feel of the school. Ask them what they think.

    I have been to one ARP church that did not fit that mold, but it is an ARP church you probably don’t like since you’ve been critical of its pastor. I’m not an ARP-expert. I don’t really want to be and my experiences vary. I am really disappointed when the focus of the church drifts away from the inerrant Word of God, and serving communities throughout the world, and onto politics, evolution, etc.

    I’m not a PCA-expert either, but I have had better experiences with those churches. The ones I’ve been to have been focused on what I think is important. I don’t necessarily have a relationship with either denomination as a whole, just some individual congregations. I don’t want you thinking I hate everything ARP, despite my frustrations. Some of my good friends are ARP.

    What is the purpose of the church, if it is not those?

    I support Erskine, but I do not wish to talk about Dr. Norman, anymore, if that is okay. I hope that Erskine bases its policies on things like student development instead of mere financial decisions. Erskine is a wonderful educational institution and I hope it continues to be. I have been frustrated with the administration, but I see those as two different things.

    John Calvin once said, in his commentary on James, that there is a “disease innate in human nature, that everyone would have all others to live according to his own will…” I think that’s the problem with many of the ARP pastors that side with you.

  9. Anthony says:

    Hey Matt!

    Okay, point by point… again…

    Point 1: you did not answer my question – in one sentence you implied Erskine is a college that teaches from a Christian mindset… in another you made a statement that it is not… I was asking you to clarify your perspective to the class, not explain whether a school has a soul and can go to heaven…

    Point 2 – remember, evolution is a theory, not a science… I do not mind talking about science – God gave man the ability of scientific understanding, which is the intellectual capacity of observation of phenomena to come up with theories, by which you can then, after discovering exhaustive evidence can only then assert its veracity… But I digress…

    Point 3 – Where in the world did the the Bush Administration, foreign policy, and the spread of democracy across the globe enter this conversation?

    3a: I did not refer to the Bible as a “mere book” – the word Bible is in fact absent from my above post… please be careful, as at best, your inference is borne of ignorance, and at worst, the public impugning of someone’s character with no substance behind it… which goes back to the ignorance question. This is not the first time you have done this in your discourse. Stay clear, and on topic.

    3b: I think you are referring to the “Younts Excellence in Teaching Award. ” when you said the students voted Bill Crenshaw. Students had no part in that – it was a Faculty vote. I’m not siding with the vote either way, mind you, just wanted to clarify.

    Point 4: Climate change is an unnecessary tangent to this discussion, so for brevity, I will pass on that, though it’s a stimulating topic…

    Alright, I can’t resist: if CO2 is the cause of the warming of the earth, why do ice cores from presumably ice-age era glaciers contain some of the highest observable concentrations of CO2 in them?

    Evolution, however:

    {Fighting evolution} is unbiblical and I doubt if it is effective in evangelism.

    UnBiblical? Genesis 1 explains that God created the world. Evolution says nothing did. Literally… nothing created everything… something from nothing. Magic. Dare I say, Black Magic?

    Genesis 1 also explains God created all creatures, each distinct of their kind, and man in His image. Evolution says all life came as a result of atoms and enzymes magically coming together at the right moment (and I do mean magically because it’s statistically impossible) to create early life, which through repeated iterations of death (death before sin came into the world / the wages of sin are death) and mutation (no mutation has EVER been observed (there’s that pesky science again) to cause a positive improvement, only negative)

    So considering these two contrasts, how is evolution not unbiblical?

    Now, as an amateur scientist, yeah, evolution would be cool of it were true… we could one day even breed sharks with laser beams on their heads (I’d have to get me one of those!) but, my powers of observation have to kick in and see that though a nice theory, and understandable in its creation, observable phenomena have proven it an invalid theory.

    Now, as an amateur theologian, indeed, this is a hill to die on as opposed to your “Fighting evolution is not part of my Christianity”. Either God is God or He is not. Either the Bible is God’s Word or it is not… Either Man was made in His image or we were not. And we’re just talking Genesis chapter 1, not counting the other 1,188 chapters… what parts of the Bible do you choose to believe?

    As for its efficacy in evangelism, what would it do for the soul of someone you encounter wracked with depression, hopelessness, and despair that indeed they are loved by a God who made them… not a God who sat back and watched the soup swirl and see what floated to the top.

    Well, time to get back to work… May the Lord continue to show His power through little people like you and me…


  10. Dear Mr. Matt Diaz,

    Okay, Mr. Diaz, you have opened the door; however, I don’t wish to beat up on a young man. Nevertheless, I will address your major points with candor.

    1. The Alumni for Erskine is no more a Christian group than I am the-man-in-the-moon. Indeed, some of the participants are Christians; however, to call that group “Christian” is to so debase the word “Christian” as to make it meaningless. But if you want to think that the group is Christian, as they say, “it’s a free country, have at it.” The foolishness level on that group is a wonder to behold.

    2. Yes, that group is certainly anti-evangelical Christian. Re-read the posts.

    3. You ask: “can someone be a true Christian without being an evangelical?” Haven’t you taken Bible classes at EC? Look it up! Check out a good Bible dictionary or encyclopedia. Ask your pastor. BTW, you are a member of a PCA congregation; the PCA is “evangelical Christian.” Do some reading; then asked me the question again.

    4. The fairytale conceptualization of the Christian faith that you have as “nice” and feckless is false. Have you not read the Bible? Have you not read the life of Christ? At this point, the level of your ignorance of the Biblical text is such that I don’t know where to begin with you.

    5. Well, you seem to have bought the green Kool-Aid that Bill Crenshaw dispenses in buckets. Have you read anything that fundamentalist-secularist haven’t written? In spite of what Bill Crenshaw says, there are other views that are legitimate.

    6. Since you don’t know anything about the PCA, don’t you think you should learn something about the denomination in which you are a member?

    7. Son, you make some bold statements about what is and what is not proper in the Christian church. What do you do? How many people have you lead to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ? Can you point to one? Many of us can point to more than one. What price have you paid for the cause of Christ’s church? Many of us have paid dearly.

    8. Once again, regarding the number of people who have left: six or seven people in a faculty and administration of nearly 170 is only about 2%. Do you have any idea of the turnover in a business when there is a change in the administration?

    9. FYI, you don’t have to “encourage” me to “get to know” EC. Twenty years before you were born, I had been doing that for twenty years. I have a “feel” for EC.

    10. Why are you now so reticent to talk about Dr. Norman? A few weeks ago you were loud and clear. What has changed?

    11. You speak of support for EC: have you look at a donor list lately? It could be that some of the money I have given has gone to pay your way!

    12. Don’t play with John Calvin in the manner that you do! You don’t have the slightest idea who John Calvin was! Read a biography!


    Chuck Wilson
    Editor, ARPTalk

  11. Ralph Smith says:

    WOW…Mr. Diaz is PCA… what church? His pastor and session should pray for him. obviously he’s been sipping the Erkine liberal cool-aid.

  12. Matt says:

    One person and one point at a time.

    To Anthony,

    1. to be more specific, do teachers teach from a “Christian mindset”? I believe so. Are they perfect? No, but neither am I. I am not perfect because I am not ARP. The administration could do better if they valued people over money.

    2. Right, evolution is a theory. God has given us the ability of reason and to understand science. Science is the study of the observable and testable. Evolution can be observed and tested. We can observe changes-behavioral, morphological, genetic, etc.-in populations (not individuals) over time.

    3a. you asked what neo-conservative was. I thought you might know. And about the mere “book” line is a reference to earlier this year when criticized for using a description of the Bible as God’s Loveletter, which I got from an ARP minister–it must have been wrong for me to listen to him. And yes, you did reference the Bible:

    ” Our ministers teach from a book that is two to four thousand years old”

    I probably would be criticized by the people here for referring to it like that.

    3b. Students vote and professors narrow down to a winner.

    4. Global climate change is not simply due to CO2, but there are other greenhouse gases, namely CH4, N20, CFC, PFC, HFC, SH6, but ice core samples actually show an increase in CO2 levels (and there is an increase in these other greenhouse gases). Here is a good presentation for you: http://www.earthscienceeducation.com/downloads/Presentation%20by%20Dr%20Eric%20Wolff%20British%20Antarctic%20Survey%20for%20ASE%202011.pdf
    Again, you should seriously read those books I mentioned earlier.

    –back to evolution. I did not say that evolution was unbiblical, but fighting evolution is unbiblical. I don’t find the fighting of evolution to be an essential part of the Christian walk. We are in disagreement there, I guess.

    ” Genesis 1 explains that God created the world. Evolution says nothing did. Literally… nothing created everything… something from nothing. ”

    I guess an amateur scientist has never taken a class on evolution. Evolution does not say how the world is created. That is not in the realm of biology, but cosmology. Evolutionary theory deals mainly with how life changed after its origin. Also a change in the environment can only lead to adaptation for traits already present in the gene pool, and laser beams on their heads is not already in their genes. This just shows a further misunderstanding of the nature of evolution.

    “Either God is God or He is not.”

    Right, but everything is not black-and-white like that, unfortunately. The two options are not Young Earth (6,425 (-91 / +156) years old earth) Creationism and Atheistic cosmology. Anyways, are your calculations infallible just because they are based of some assumptions of the infallible Bible?

    Also, if I encountered someone like that…IF I accepted an older cosmology, and evolution, why does that equate to Deism? Again, your black-and-white, one-dimensional, level of thinking is restricting.

    Now to Mr. Wilson,

    1. Right, to use “Christian” as an adjective is a debasement to the word, just as it would be to describe this site as a “Christian site” would be a debasement to the word. Jesus will forgive though. People, for the most part, are not critical of Christianity on that site, just critical of people like you who try to impose their thoughts on everyone else. Just because someone disagrees with you, the Authority on Christianity, does not mean they disagree with Christianity. On Romans, Calvin writes, “God limits our knowledge, first that we should be kept humble, and also that we should continue to have dealings with our fellows.”

    2. Someone being against a forced acceptance of a certain doctrine in hiring does not equate to a rejection of that doctrine. People are just against a sort of Inquisition imposed on academia from external influences.

    3. I asked you a question. You are the reverend, with theological training, and you are in the group trying to impose an acceptance of your definition of evangelical. I am merely asking if you think it is necessary to be a Christian. But since you asked, No. I do not think you have to be a Christian according to Mr. Wilson’s definition, but I believe you have to have a relationship with Jesus Christ, the Savior.

    4. I have read the Bible a few times. Many other inerrantists haven’t though, which seems to contradict their beliefs. Jesus came to save us, but He also wanted that salvation to produce fruit, which is manifested in ethics, morality, and good works (i.e. deeds to our neighbors/fellow people). Many Christians are, in my opinion, guilty of a type of fraud ( and they will be held responsible if they are- cf. Rom. 2:6; 2 Cor. 5:10) where they’ll accept salvation, but are not concerned with all the implications. Many others are only concerned with the implications. Neither extreme is correct. One extreme accepts the love of Christ and tries to hoard it, while the other tries to imitate the love without the relationship. A Christian, who is a follower of Christ, should be very concerned with social problems because Christ was during His earthly ministry. Christians should be proactive in fighting for social justice (against inequality, racism, sexism, rape, slums, poverty, starvation, lack of water, child labor, forced prostitution, poor health, poor schools, etc.). This social concern should naturally follow because Christians are branches part of Jesus who is the Vine. His life and love should flow through us, like the vital sap of a plant, and should produce fruit for the benefit and well-being of our neighbor. Becoming a Christian, therefore, includes a call to social concern. (Oh, by the way, I got the idea about vital sap from John Calvin’s commentary on John 15)

    5. Yes, there are other views other than Dr. Crenshaw. I have explored many of them. Have you?

    6. “Since I don’t know anything…”?? That’s quite a statement.

    7. A lot and yes. You would probably judge me for using instruments other than organs, pianos, and hymn songs, for music. You would probably judge me for not condemning women preachers. You would probably judge me for inviting blacks, hispanics, atheists, unitarians, fans of metal, science-accepters, etc. They do not fit within the moldes of ARPism. How have you paid dearly?

    8. Erskine is not like a normal business, nor should it be. Percentages can be misleading (especially in the case of Erskine). To say that those are just 2-4% belittles their inherent God-given value as individuals- every single individual is felt. Jesus did not just care about the 99, but He also cared about the 1, right?

    9. You have a feel for EC? Maybe you had a feel for Erskine. How many classes exactly have you taken at EC, especially within the last 20 years?

    10. I just don’t want to talk about him right now. Maybe at another time.

    11. Well, I’m glad that you are donating some of your money. I hope it is being well spent, on education, not the grass.

    12. Maybe I will. How about his Institutes instead? His emphases on placement are interesting.

    Ready to be judged some more…

    to Ralph Smith, whoever you are, I hope your pastor and session are praying for you too. We all need it. Thank you.

    • Anthony says:

      Matt, I think I’ve done all I can do. I speak from the flesh, actually, as opposed to the Spirit. Blessings and illumination to you and your colleagues.


  13. Dear Mr. Matt Diaz,

    Well, you have shown us who you are. I have been told by people who know you that you are a self-important and self-absorbed ass who has no idea what he is talking about.

    I now agree with that assessment.

    Son, I have had enough of you. You are a twit and a fool. Go stick your head back in the hole from whence it came. You are a young man of unconquerable ignorance. You are the poster boy for everything that has gone wrong at Erskine.

    Can we look forward to more of your pseudo-intellectual twaddle? You’re making the point for us in spades!


    Chuck Wilson
    Editor, ARPTalk

  14. Daniel Stephens says:

    Before this conversation erupts, permit me to steer it in a different direction.

    Matt, you have made a number of very serious charges against the ARP as a whole and certain pastors and churches in particular.

    1. In your first post you claim that the ARP is about neoconservative politics. Specifically it is judgmental and shoves that ideology down your throat from the pulpit. Neoconservatism is not the gospel. So, ARP churches and their pulpits preach another gospel. This is perhaps the most serious of your accusations since scripture condemns this practice with terrible strength. In Galatians 1:8-9 Paul says such people should burn in hell. In 1 Timothy 1:6-7, Paul says such persons do not even know Christ. These condemnations are heightened when James says that teachers will be judged even stricter than normal (James 3:1).

    2. In your first post you also claim that some ARP churches see their mission as political in nature. This accusation is that these particular ARP churches are in violation of Matthew 22:21, Romans 12:1, 1 Corinthians 2:13, and 1 Peter 2:5

    3. In your first post you intimate that the ARP church thinks itself infallible. This would be contrary to the letters of Paul that show the church is far from perfect.

    4. In your third post, point seven, you say that “blacks, hispanics, atheists, unitarians, fans of metal, science-accepters, etc” are not welcome in ARP churches. This amounts to a denial of the catholicity of the church on the part of the ARP (Gal 3:8, Rev 7:9, 15:4).

    These charges, especially number one, are grounds for investigation and serious discipline. If you actually believe these things to be true of the ARP and some of its preachers and teachers, then the proper and loving thing to do is alert their respective sessions of this grave error and twisting of the faith occurring in their churches. Since I am one of the people to which you allude in your posts and I regularly teach and occasionally preach in an ARP church, you should send a letter to my session documenting these concerns with evidence and request an investigation. They may be reached by mail at 2541 Elkwood Circle / Charlotte, NC 28205 or by email at newcovenantarp@gmail.com

  15. Eric says:

    Chuck, you seem to be a fan of name-calling. Here’s some of my own: that ETS could graduate a man of your caliber is two strikes against its quality as an institution.

    If the Seminary’s mission is in any way like the College’s to “develop the whole person,” in your case they obviously failed on respect and dignity. For everything you hate about Dr. Crenshaw – you do criticize him justly – you two certainly possess the same ugly, self-absorbed, demeaning personality.

    As to your point about Crenshaw not being able to teach Sunday School…. well, okay? I didn’t know that the ability to teach Sunday School was an essential qualification for being an excellent professor.

  16. Dear Mr. Eric _______,

    The site administrator tells me that he posted your comment because you have a valid e-mail address; however, you have me at a disadvantage in that you know who I am but I don’t know who you are. So, who are you?

    If you will give your last name, I will respond to your comments.


    Chuck Wilson
    Edtior, ARPTalk

  17. Eric says:

    Why does my last name matter when, from what I have observed, one’s personal identity serves only as a red herring which you may attack and abuse while ignoring the discussion at hand.

    If this is a discussion of content then let *that* be the focus, and not my last name. My postings are not anonymous, so they are in accordance with your comment policy. I am an Erskine student, I have studied under Dr. Crenshaw, my first name is Eric – that refutes any definition of anonymous Merriam Webster gives.

    On the other hand, your remarks – see the comment of May 19, 2011 at 11:55 am – are in stark contrast to a policy which condemns common belittling.

  18. Dear Mr. Eric Goodwin,

    Yes, Eric Goodwin is your name. Not only are you an Erskine student, you are also one of the contributors on the alums’ Facebook site. It wasn’t difficult to find out who you are. Two plus two usually equals four.

    Eric, you e-mailed me a few weeks ago asking for an interview for an article that you were writing. My invitation for lunch still stands. What I’m going to say next doesn’t void the invitation.

    Sadly, you have chosen to be a drive-by-shooter. Like anonymous posting, that’s a cowardly thing to do. I may have gotten aggravated with Mr. Diaz, but I do respect him. He owns his words and his name.

    I hate to do this, but if you’re not willing to own your name, you can’t participate on ARPTalk. Sorry, it’s your decision.

    If you’re willing to own your name, we will be happy to allow you to post and I will be happy to respond to your questions and comments.

    BTW, as much as I disagree with Bill Crenshaw, to my knowledge, he has never tried to hide his identity.


    Chuck Wilson
    Editor, ARPTalk

  19. Reformed Rebel says:

    As someone who attends a seminary that fully meets the PCA’s Uniform Curriculum requirements, perhaps I can shed some light on the topic at hand, especially since we have a PCA guy burning up the combox!

    First, to Mr. Diaz,

    Reading your comments is a wee bit like a flashback to when I was twenty-years-old. It seems, at least upon scanning your comments, that there are two foundational issues for you. One is that you seem to equate an inerrant text of Scripture with “agree with my interpretation or else!” These two things are not a necessary equation. I’m certain that Dr. Wilson and I agree that the Scriptures are inerrant — but since I’m an exclusive Psalmodist, and to my knowledge Dr. Wilson isn’t, that doesn’t mean that we can’t agree to disagree. The problem isn’t the text, the problem is the interpretation. I’m not going to go to war with Dr. Wilson over the exclusive singing of the Psalms in the public worship of God. Don’t buy into the false alternative.

    Secondly, you see evolution as an issue not worth fighting over. In my mind this betrays a lack of deep thought on the subject. Given the fact that taking an evolutionist position has far reaching consequences biblically, it would do well to sit down and do some serious thinking on the subject, that is, if you haven’t done so already. While I hold to a 6/24 Creation, I don’t go to war with some of my fellow theological types who hold to a Klinean Framework Hypothesis — even though I think it ultimately fails. Yet again, the issue isn’t with the text. However, the issue is ultimately this: you cannot consistently hold to evolution, and hold to an inerrant text of Scripture.

    Now for Eric:

    Neither Dr Wilson nor I suffer from the disease of “evangelical niceness”. If you come to his site and post comments that are designed to be an overt or covert personal attack…well, I grew up a little country, and in that region of the world we put it like this: “If you mess with the bull, you get the horns.”

    Judging by your response, it seems that you don’t have the stomach for strong language. That’s to be expected, given the spirit of the age. However, Luther had some hard, but absolutely honest things to say about Erasmus. I think the parallel is an apt one. It’s just like they taught me in the Army — respect is earned, not given.

    The policy here isn’t all that different from the policy at my own site; if you play nice, I will. But if you play the ass, then you get the rough side of my tongue. The solution is very simple: Mind Your Manners.

    Respectfully submitted by,

    The Reformed Rebel

  20. Eric Goodwin says:

    *clap* *clap* *clap*

    Your investigative skills speak of your intelligence, Chuck. I am the only Eric at Erskine College, googling my email address yields my last name at the first result, and – as you say – we have spoken before. I did not hide my identity in any way.

    But let’s boost your ego: Congratulations, Chuck, you have unearthed my last name.

    And then proceeded to launch into a personal attack with it.

    And then Reformed Rebel launched into a personal attack. RR – the policy here is *no* angry vindictiveness and *no* common belittling, not eye for an eye. Do you think Christ bought into your “respect is earned, not given” mantra?

    In any case, Chuck and Friends: you use personal attacks to hide from the content at hand. This is violates your own comment policy, is horrible debate etiquette, and gets us nowhere but the infamous ARPtalk rants.

    Chuck, you profess to be Dr. Norman’s friend. Why not try learning something from him? I am an ass in the best style of Dr. Crenshaw – you’ll get no argument there – but thankfully I can look to and learn from Norman how to be a Christian man and scholar.

    You should try it sometime!

    In any case, due to the nature of the commenters on this board and the persistent disregard for the discussion at hand, and the editor’s persistent threats to cut off discussion, I won’t be posting here again.

    Yes, this is my name, don’t wear it out.

  21. Ralph Smith says:

    I am now convinced that Erskine College students struggle with reading comprehension. It might be a good idea to hire someone who can teach English/reading.

    I don’t get the whining about name calling and personal attacks. This seems to me to be absolute immaturity. Mr. Diaz has made his mind clear and people have responded to him, defended him and jumped back on this Dr. Crenshaw fellow.

    THE issue of the Rev. Wilson’s blog, as I read, it is this: The Synod Moderator Rev. Putner has been disingenuous! He has attempted to cover over the division between the owner of the business (the ARP church) and the employees (a vision-less board of trustees/incompetent administrators/and profs who regularly lash out against the school’s historic mission statement). The issue is Ms. Campbell and rev. Putner are pushing a neutral position that is clearly out of step with the denomination and the college’s view of independence.

    The college wants independence. The church wants the college to come back in line with the mission statement and BE who it Claims to be. A Christian liberal arts college under the care of the ARP Synod.

    Rev. Putner betrays his denomination’s desire to see a Christ-centered education worked out at its college.

    BTW..Mr. Diaz and Mr Goodwin. I applaud your willingness and zeal to defend your view that Erskine doesn’t have submit to the ARP’s rules and regulations. I admire your loyalty to the system at Erskine ‘as it is’ and perhaps even to your profs who m you admire.
    However, both of you are case in point as to why the Church needs to love Erskine and get it back on track. I am sorry the ARP has not helped your spiritual development. Instead, they have hurt you.

    Once again, Rev Wilson ARP ministers, you should be ashamed of yourselves for what you have left undone!

    ‘Choose for yourselves this day, who it is that you will serve. As for me and my family, we will serve the Lord’

    • James says:

      The best part is, Mr. Smith, they both claim PCA affiliation. Which is interesting because of the view you gave in many posts on this site about the PCA church.

  22. Dear Eric Goodwin,

    Thank you for owning the name that your father gave you. Since you have done that, son, you are allowed to post again.

    You speak of my “investigative skills”: no, they are not good at all; I just read what you write on FaceBook. Did you get your feelings hurt that you were outed so easily? It was a silly game to play.

    Thank you for being “Poster Boy #2” for the kind of student that is now being recruited at Erskine College. You have proved that the money that the ARP Church is pumping into Erskine College is being wasted!

    What a sweet, pampered, sensitive little boy you are! Don’t act like you’re a friend of David Norman. You’re of the ilk Crenshaw! You shocked us all at Dr. Norman’s installation when you referred to him as “President Ken!” It was out of place; neither was it humorous. Boy, I want you to know that if I were your daddy, I would have pulled your tongue out.

    On a personal level: it really aggravates me that I have given money to the Scholarship Fund that supports snotty-nosed piss-ants like you who have a overweening sense of entitlement! Son, you have entered into a discussion about something that you ain’t never paid nothing for; rather, you are the recipient.

    So, you want to take your ball and go home! Good riddance!

    BTW, the invitation for you to come over to Seneca and have lunch with me is till open. I’ll pay.


    Chuck Wilson
    Editor, ARPTalk

  23. Nancy Gautier says:

    Mr Smith you attack the reading comprehension of the Erskine students while you repeatedly refer to Reverend Putnam as Putner. I would think you would have been more careful.

    • Anthony says:

      Oh now, have we nothing better to criticize?… Again, folks, lets stick with the issue at hand and not these inanities.

      BTW, you attack Mr Smith’s criticism on reading comprehension but you use an example of writing as a backhand slap, not reading, to drive your point, (hey, that drives his point) and you did not put a comma after “Smith”.

      And I are not an Engrish Major…


  24. Mr. Smith,

    Thank you for your comments.

    For the record: Charles W. Wilson is ashamed of himself for not speaking out forcefully sooner, ashamed of what Erskine College and Erskine Seminary have become for the institutions have become the enemies of Christ and His Church, ashamed of the ARP Church, for we have turned faithfulness and vigilance into disobedience and fecklessness and failed to guard the sheep that were entrusted to us, and ashamed that we ARPs have given shelter and comfort and sustenance to the enemies of Christ in the name of niceness, tolerance, and intellectual inquiry. We are worthy of the fierce judgment of God and our lamp being taken away. May God have mercy on us! Pray for us! Pray that God’s hand will be stayed and we will be renewed.


    Chuck Wilson
    Editor, ARPTalk

  25. Nancy Gautier says:

    True, Mr. Smith points out reading comprehension and I point errors in his writing. If we are going to nit pick, however, his errors could have resulted in his misreading the original article.:) Although Andy Putnam might rather his name be printed wrong so as to avoid being a “star” on Mr. Wilson’s blog, if Mr. Smith is going to attack him he might want to use the correct spelling. I am sure there are Putners out there who do not want their name on ARPTalk when,as far as I know, they have done nothing to incur the wrath of the righteous

  26. John Kenyon Evans says:

    Since this is my first time posting here I’ll start by introducing myself. My name is John Kenyon Evans and I come from and old ARP family. I was born and baptized in the ARP church, grew up in it and eventually joined an ARP church. I attend Erskine College as did my paternal Grandparents and all my siblings. I have been disgusted over the last two years by the actions of my fellow students (primarily SAFE) for the immature and childish actions as well as wading into issues a lot of them don’t understand, the ARP synod for the generally unloving, un-christlike, manner in which they handled the whole issue and with the erskine college administration and alumni association for there actions with the lawsuit. I do believe (that word sounds a bit wrong here but can’t think of a better one) that the ARP Synod does have authority over Erskine but I believe that authority should be administered in a Christlike manner, and I don’t recall that Christ fired half his disciples when they fell asleep on the job (Matthew 26:45). I also believe that Synod did receive false information on the severity of the situation from both the commission and students, and it is one of my greatest regrets that I didn’t not take time to speak to the commission nor to attend the synod meetings and seek out my elders to correct the mistakes.

    Now that I’ve given a through introduction, I’ll address the issue at hand. I’d like to thank Rev. Wilson for throughly making Mr. Goodwin’s point by doing nothing expect attack him personally. I would like to thank you for your giving as it has helped to contribute to my scholarships and will gladly pass the favor forward when I have excess wealth. That being said, Rev. Wilson, you come across as a whining child and although you make some good points you do not continue to prove them, instead you revert to calling your opponents ignorant instead of proving them so. I hope I do not exceed my station if I advise you that staying on topic will help you prove your points greatly. I am very thankful that someone as immature as you are is no longer in a position of authority and and hope you never return to one.

    Furthermore as a member of the student body I would like to assert that the majority of the student body enjoyed Eric’s speech, although I personal disagree with his point, and the only criticism I heard was that it was strange for a sophomore to speak for the entire body instead of the SGA or SCA president.

    In love
    John Evans

    • James says:

      I think several points should also be made here:

      Your introduction is, to say the least, the problem of the ARP church. Paul gives up his entire family heritage in Philippians for the sake of Christ, and if you are trying to promote Christ, I would hope you would go the way of few ARP families and not really count yourself better because of the time you have spent in the ARP. And speaking of your introduction, did you not state that you were only in the ARP because it gives you scholarships and money for school? That’s a poor reason to be in the ARP, Mr. Evans.

      Mr. Evans, you overstep your bounds when saying “when I have excess wealth”. I’d turn you to James chapter 4 for that attitude.

      Also, calling Rev. Wilson out on his unloving nature is quite apt of you, however when you do it, please do not ruin it by being the very thing you are calling out.

      And to your comment about Synod being unloving, I must say you have quite missed the mark on this one. The ARP general synod put up with the BOT for how long before actually nuking the board? I’d send you to Dr. William Evans for a conversation on the patience of the church. That man has endured far more than people give him credit for, and as you will find out, gave a fantastic dialogue at the called meeting in 2010. I will also have you note that many ministers involved daily at Erskine College and Seminary signed the good Friday statement, which I assume you disagree with, and are in agreement about what happened at the called meeting.

      And, Mr. Evans, Rev. Wilson does still hold a vote in his respective presbytery (second, I believe, and that is the presbytery your church resides in), and therefore still holds authority in some respects. Though this may start a discussion on the meaning of the word authority, I sincerely hope you can understand what I’m saying.

      One last point, you are acting as if, and I could be wrong, that Mr. Goodwin has not done the exact thing Rev. Wilson has. If anything, I would say Mr. Goodwin is going further than Rev. Wilson by posting a picture of Rev. Wilson’s post on Facebook and championing it around acting as if a victim, getting the support of other friends on Facebook. This is immaturity, Mr. Evans. Far greater than Rev. Wilson’s.

  27. Dear John K. Evans,

    Thank you for your comments.


    Chuck Wilson
    Editor, ARPTalk

  28. James says:

    I would gladly point out to Mr. Diaz that if any minister of the ARP church is actually doing anything he says they are, they are in violation of their ordination vows, and more importantly Scripture.

    Please, follow Mr. Stephens advice and forward any information you have regarding these individuals to Mr. Stephens church. Such men are not what the ARP need nor what Scripture calls from faithful ministers to the word.

    To Mr. Goodwin, please if you wish for a name calling game as above, reread scripture, and even talk it Mr. John Evans about what it means to be loving.

  29. Matt says:

    “For my own part I conceive the Christians would do much better if instead of those dull troops and companies of soldiers with which they have managed their war with such doubtful success, they would send the bawling Scotists, the most obstinate Occamists, and invincible Albertists to war against the Turks and Saracens; and they would see, I guess, a most pleasant combat and such a victory as was never before. For who is so faint whom their devices will not enliven? who so stupid whom such spurs can’t quicken? or who so quick-sighted before whose eyes they can’t cast a mist?” ~Erasmus, The Praise of Folly (1509)

    Essentially, people like you, Mr. Wilson, argue and quibble over everything imaginable. When you finish with that, you argue and quibble over nothing. So fierce, so dogmatic, and so sure of yourself that it would be wonderful if a whole army of theologians-especially the pompous, self-righteous, infallible, ARP-ministers-could be gathered. In Erasmus’ time the Turks were the main rival to European dominance and the main opponent to Christianity. Erasmus thought these theologians should be sent to fight the Turks because Turks would certainly flee from that arrogant group of people.

    Oh and Luther isn’t Christ, sorry. Just because he cussed and responded with insults doesn’t make it right. The inerrant Word of God, which you have either never read or maybe do not actually believe (maybe you just hate the liberals and you only care about inerrancy as far as long as it can be used against someone for insults-not really caring about practical applications–applications that Jesus, the Savior, wants you to apply. I hope that even in your old “wise” age that you can still come to a saving faith in Him.), says:

    “Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.”

    Why? Because that is how Jesus lived, whom we are to emulate (especially pastors-who are to be an example, especially “elders”–like yourself–both in age and position. Unfortunately you are a good bit less mature than any freshman I know.), as seen earlier:

    “When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.”

    And, in another place,

    “We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up. For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: “The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.” For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.”

    Your insults do not fall on me, but on Christ. Thanks be to Him.

    I do not know if you are saddened at all, or if you have any other emotion than rage-which is a fruit of evil- when people say they hate Christianity because of people like you…

    “You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.
    So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

    The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

    But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.”


    “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”

    OH and back to your question about Dr. Crenshaw and whether he could be a sunday school teacher, I can’t believe anyone would allow YOU to teach a Sunday School class, let alone speak from the pulpit.

    For we also read,

    ” Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly….

    With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.”

    According to the Inerrant Word of God, you should not be allowed to teach in the church. Stop criticizing, and nit-picking at, people like Dr. Hering, who have brought the Gospel to other cultures and who readily preach it in class. There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbor?

    to Daniel Stephens,

    I’m sorry. These are grave problems, but I do not believe I will be listened to. Maybe they will listen to you. Investigation does need to happen. The people starting foolish controversies, causing rifts in the Church, preaching extrabiblical things, and ultimately damaging the case of Christ, should be removed from power. People are driven AWAY from the church by the very people entrusted, and paid, to be used to draw them near to God. I have hope that people can change and that is why I write here.

    Does Mr. Wilson’s querulous meet up to ARP standards? Is he acting like a minister of the Gospel? Or is he one of the trapped?

    “And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.”

    Thank you and I hope you are an example to the contrary where you preach. I hope that it is going well and that you are not just learning, but also growing.

  30. Dear Mr. Matt Diaz,

    I’m through with you. No comment!

    I am afraid that I might get another phone call from your mama and daddy about their little boy. That was tedious!

    You boys in the Euphemian Society at Erskine sick together, don’t you?


    Chuck Wilson
    Editor, ARPTalk

  31. Ralph Smith says:

    Sorry for the ‘Putner’ instead of ‘Putnum’, I think my spell-a-ma-chekker changed this on me. I really meant Putnum. However, if I was Rev. Andrew Putnum, I would change my name after a newspaper article like what he wrote. Again, my apologies.

    Rev. Wilson,
    Matt is a bright kid…but he is a kid. Be gentle with him!

    Please folks…get back to the issue of how Erskine is deviant from the denominational standards.


  32. John Evans says:

    I am sorry for my ignorance, but I do not know who “James” is and would like to know whom I am talking with. My only point in my introduction is to say that I am no outsider and know the ARP very well. And yes I did one point in the depths of my despair, after having been lied to directly by the moderator (and I do not wish to discuss that and will freely admit some may interrupt his words as the truth) express privately to a few of my close friends, half in jest, that the only reason I remain ARP is for the scholarship. This was but the fleeting thought of a depressed mind and was never full meant but I now fully recant that primarily do to the actions of my home church within the last year. I do find it sad that my friends would discuss such a statement I made in such a state so freely.

    My statement about “when I have excess wealth” was in no way meant to be derogatory. As a college student I am pretty poor and have no excess wealth and I hope no one would donate to Erskine except out of there excess. This is my personal that one should make sure ones family and local church financially secure and then if the have excess give to erskine. I really didn’t think that much of the statement when I first made it. You probably wont believe me but I am no lair.

    If you can point to me where I was unloving I would be grateful to you. I think throughout my comments you were thinking I was being sarcastic when I am truly nothing but sincere. But at least you admit Rev. Wilson is unloving as well and hopefully together we can all grow to be more loving.

    I would like you to point to anytime when something was nuked out of love. Furthermore I don’t think Dr. Evans is the best source for a loving church and for this will cite the Daniel Wells incident

    I am sorry I had forgotten Rev Wilson had that authority and was more concerned that he no longer had the more potent power by being a BOT member.

    I will also admit the Eric actions are immature as well and I do not condone them. However there is a difference in the level of behavior of a 19 year old college sophomore and an experienced minster of the Word of God who has graduated from a seminary.

    Rev. Wilson,
    Thank You for your respectful reply. I would like to mention the Mr Diaz is not a Euphemian nor will he ever be, but yes we Euphemian brothers do stick together, maybe the church could learn something from us. I do not excuse my brother’s behavior but at the same time a will stick with him and help him as best I can to finish the race set before us. I simply wish that the ministers of the ARP church would be in a position to help me rather then be helped by me. If anyone finds any error in anything I do I beg him/her to tell it to me so I can fix my ways and am simply doing for others which I wish they would do for me.

    John Evans

  33. Dear Ralph Smith,

    Your spelling and grammar may not be the best, but, as usual, your thoughts are burnished in wisdom. Indeed, these students are not men.

    Keep posting. We ARPs need your insights. May your tribe increase.


    Chuck Wilson
    Editor, ARPTalk

  34. Matt says:

    I am a Philomathean, not a Euphemian, but I think nearly all of us-along with the entire student body, save maybe 5-6, most of whom have already graduated-can agree that we don’t want you and your kind destroying our school. So make this your last jingo-esque rant about Erskine, stop blogging about the latest hearsay and gossip, stop with the fraud-trying to take Christ’s place (I don’t know if you’ve ever studied Greek, but ἀντί does not just mean against, but also denotes taking the place of. In this case, you trying to take the place of Christ, the Authority, and Lawgiver)-and let the Lawgiver, if you know Him, do the judging.

  35. James Evans says:

    This is a flame war, but I managed to read most of it.
    Honestly what I see here is a lot of disrespect, anger, and argument. By argument, I mean heated discussion without positive accomplishment.
    I am glad that there are websites here to publish information about Erskine and the ARP church, as people need to be informed.
    However, so far as these comments go, I would suggest that we all have room to improve.
    As far as actions go, I suggest that we look to improve areas that have problems, more than we criticize those problems. I recognize that criticism brings things to attention, and is necessary, but, much of the energy presented on this board could be redirected to more constructive things.
    Just to cover myself: I mean nothing negative here, no offense, etc

  36. James Evans says:

    Oh, and about anonymity: its not necessarily cowardly.
    In a board where people are expected to attach their names, it is right to include a name. (there are places where it is appropriate to remain anonymous, however)
    For further identification:
    jlevans@erskine.edu (although, the interface is outdated, so I don’t check it as often)

  37. Thomas says:

    *Insert witty comment heading here*

    After reading through these comments, I find it kind of difficult to remember what the original post was even about. Far to many of these posts have just been lashing out at people because you want to call bull, or correct grammar, or for some easy kills with a little “drive by shooting”, as Chuck Wilson would call it. I just have to ask, are you thinking before you hit that ‘submit comment’ button, or are you just wanting to get noticed and have a chance to argue with people.

    I can already imagine the replies that will roll in about how this post is self-destructive, and I should take my own advice, but that’s just the point! This website shouldn’t be a shooting gallery for whoever wants to come in and pick up a gun. It’s supposed to be about discussing topics of importance within the Associated Reformed Presbyterian Church.

    So please, save us all a lot of useless reading and stick to the subject!

  38. Dear Readers of ARPTalk,

    After a restless night of sleep—truly being disturbed in my spirit—I need to make some things right. In my desire to honor the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ and with the earnest hope of seeing Erskine College and Theological Seminary do likewise, I have over-stepped my bounds. My frustration over the debacle of Erskine got the best of me over the course of the last several days. I am frustrated with the leadership behind Erskine, but not with its students. My beef is not with students. Period!!

    In my frustration I have written with an intemperate tone and I have spoken harshly. I humbly ask my readers for forgiveness in becoming distracted from the central issues at hand: that is, how might we see a faithful church and a faithful Erskine emerge from the abyss of mediocrity! Thus, I plead the forbearance of the students for my overzealous responses to their comments. They need to know how much I respect each of them. They have zeal. I am a man of zeal. I admire zeal.

    You students are not my enemies, and I am not your opponent. You need to know that I am trying to be an advocate for you. We might disagree on things. In fact, you might even think that my goal is to turn Erskine into a Bible College. That is not and it has never been my goal. I want Erskine to be a quality Christian liberal Arts institution that feeds young minds like each of you with solid food. I want your minds to be broadened, and I want your hearts to be enlightened. However, I want to see that done in a way that is faithful to the God of Bible and to a denomination that (at least) alleges to claim the same. While you might disagree with me, my heartfelt desire is that your schools become the best that it can be.

    I do not expect you to understand my point of view fully, but I want you to at least get a feel for my intentions. I also want you to know that my disappointment is not with you! I am disappointed by my own denomination’s weakness in leadership and our lack of vision for excellence. Quite frankly, we lack a holy love for our institution of higher learning. If we had loved Erskine years ago, we would not be in the mess that we are in now. If we loved Erskine we would provide you with a high quality faculty and staff that seeks to honor Christ and builds up the ARP church. We have no vision and that is why Erskine has no vision. For this I am deeply sorry.

    My vision makes it impossible for me to drive; however, if you would like to drive over to Seneca and talk with me personally, I will buy lunch. A number of your fellow students have done that! Ouch! That was expensive! You eat like horses! Call me at 864-882-6337, and we will set it up!


    Chuck Wilson
    Editor, ARPTalk

  39. Will Anderson says:

    I sat under the preaching ministry of Chuck Wilson during my time in college and seminary. I know him well. I do not always agree with the manner in which Chuck chooses to express himself. That being said, he is seldom wrong in what he is articulating. What the ARP Synod needs is MORE men like Chuck Wilson. Men of resolve, men of backbone are desperately needed in our denomination. May God bring that to pass. I thank the Lord often for Chuck Wilson and I do so again today. May God bless the ministry of Chuck Wilson past, present and future.

    In Christ,
    Will Anderson

  40. Jodie Gaston says:

    Hey, does that lunch invitation include doctoral students as well? ;-)

  41. Jodie,

    Of course! Of course! Call!

    Give a big Hello to all the good folks at Iva for me.


  42. Reiggin Hilderbrand says:

    To Mr. John Evans:

    I believe you are ill-informed about the “incident” you cite concerning Dr. Evans, assuming we’re talking about the same incident. Perhaps you should consider the source of the information you have on that “incident” and take into further consideration just what kind of character has been on display by Jay West in the days and years since. Then compare and contrast that character and the bitter and angry words of Mr. West with the character and words of Dr. Evans. I would hope you’d see a stark enough contrast to then re-evaluate whatever conception you have of the story as it was told to you. I remember what it was like to be a cocky and strong-headed Erskine student. I definitely was one. But I was also very much lead astray by my own stubborn notions and I was also lead astray by Jay West himself. He was “chaplain” during my time at Erskine. I bought into his faux spiritual flaunting and even believed the empty promises he spilled out like candy from a pinata. So much so that I was naive enough to pen a front page story for the Mirror about Jay and his “earnest” plans for the chaplaincy at Erskine. This after countless let-downs and years of mediocrity at best from his office. That article turned into just more false promises from a man who should never have been trusted with the spiritual well-being of the student body, let alone made into a Vice President of Nothing. And now, thanks to all of his ranting and bitter feuding on Facebook, we can see that Jay has let his true stripes show. He can call it some sort of “holy mission” all he wants but he’s set himself up as an enemy of God’s ordained leaders and thus the Church as a whole. Vitriol and hate are all that spews from his mouth and he has no goal in mind other than restoring his own “name” and exacting vengeance on his enemies. If you think for one second that he truly cares about Erskine now then you’d be missing just how little he cared for Erskine while he was employed there. I do not want to try to judge his heart but it’s hard to miss just how loudly his actions and words have spoken. To his credit, he’s at least no longer hiding behind a false mask of compassion and he’s definitely not being Mr. Political anymore. He’s showing his true stripes nowadays.

    I would caution anyone to carefully examine just what sort of company you would be keeping before aligning yourself with such a movement that has Jay West involved and fueling the fires.

  43. Reiggin Hilderbrand says:

    Jay West has chosen to respond to my above post in a separate post on the Liberal Erskine Alum Facebook Page. Since he has chosen to respond in a closed, non-public space, I would like to ask the Editor to openly invite Mr. West to post here so as to make dialogue that much easier.

    Mr. West’s response follows:

    >>>”Below is a comment from Reiggin Hilderbrand in defense of Bill Evans. Reiggin was a student at EC when I was there and hailed from the Statesville area. Growing up in the ARPC, he was active at presbytery retreats, Bonclarken, and Erskine. Though a bit reserved, EC afforded him the opportuity to move out of his shell. What is interesting about his comment is that he has moved solidly to the fundamenalist camp from a well rounded upbringing. This is the issue within the ARP. Young men like Reiggin are forced to drink orthodoxy from a firehose. If they don’t agree with animals talking or a young earth perspective, they don’t get an ARP church. While at EC, Reiggin spent an enormous amount of time with me and the Living Hope program learning to live and share his faith relationally with unbelievers. It is a sad day to read the transition that has occured. I can only pray that one day he reaches into the depths of grace again and experiences that grace.

    However, I do need to clariffy a few points:

    1. I would hope that everyone would compare my character to that of Bill Evans. Bill Evans teaches Bible at EC, but fails to abide by Scripture when it comes to his own life. I followed Matthew 18 to the letter, but Evans went straight for my jugular and sought his own INJUSTICE.

    2. Would you believe me or Bill Evans? Well, I have offered up many points for consideration. as well, I have asked Wells, and others to respond. Why have they not responded? Simply because Wells, Evans, Hilderbrand and others talk about the Word, but find it painful to live by. I have asked Wells to defend his statements in open forum, but he hides under a rock.

    3. He is right, my true stripes are showing because they always have. I know I am a deprved person and I can only look in the mirror each day becasue of the grace of Christ and the stripes on his back. The problem I have is when ministers use their faith or religion to exude power over others.

    3. “False mask of compassion.” I would appreciate Reiggin going into more detail. What about my false mask of compassion? Was that when Jenni and I opened our home to college students struggling with all sorts of issues, when they spent the summer with us becasue they could not afford summer school boarding, Living Hope, adding Chapel to the program, Bible Studies, etc. Please elaborate!

    Again, it is a sad day to watch a student move from grace to legalism. SAD!”<<<


    You ask me to go into more detail/clarify what I meant by "false mask of compassion." I would love to. I was not in the least bit demeaning your acts of charity. When you were actually present on campus, you were indeed involved in the campus life and you were a charitable soul. But charity is only a part of the equation. And while I don't wish to degrade your good acts, I find the need for them to be listed as either misplaced defensiveness or a need to once again call to point some measure of grace that is contained within good deeds. You accuse me in your final words of falling into legalism but it seems rather that it is you that falls back onto your good deeds time and time again as some sort of evidence of effectiveness and spiritual health. I apologize if I've misread your intent.

    But the false compassion I referred to is that which you pretended to display for the Church itself. You seem to have played the politics that were needed to keep you happily seated in the graces of the ARP church. You either pretended to be something that you weren't or you changed your beliefs after the fact. And that is what I would like clarification on.

    You charge that I was deceived by being forced to drink from a hose of orthodoxy. I countercharge that I was deceived by those like yourself who pretended to be orthodox in their beliefs as well. You are right in that I spent an a good amount of time with you. And never once during that time did you confess to not believing in the infallibility of Scripture nor the orthodoxy that you now chastise and ridicule. Either the dishonesty was yours, Jay, or it was you and not me that changed. I believed you to be the person you were on the outside. I thought you believed what you affirmed in your ordination vows. I assumed you stood behind the confessed standards of the ARP Church (including it's position on ordination of women, the infallibility of the Scriptures, faith in Christ alone, etc.) Shame on me for being so naive and trusting if that were not the case all along.

    So who changed, Jay? I still support the same standards of the ARP that were part of my vows when I joined the church nearly 20 years ago. Do you still support your vows of ordination? I would love for you to clarify where exactly it was that you decided that your ordination vows were no longer true for you. You held onto them for quite some time it would seem. You certainly never challenged them while Chaplain or VP. Why not? Were you afraid to lose your position and the benefits of it? I do not accuse, I simply ask for clarification.

    Again, you charge that I have changed my positions. I say that's the pot calling the kettle black.


    I don't want any of this to come off as bitter. I appreciate the time I had at Erskine in all it's facets, including with Jay and all others on campus from all different backgrounds. I was indeed formed into the person I am now by my time spent at Erskine. Yet I still know that God demands more from those that consecrate anything, including an institution such as Erskine, in His name and hold it up as an endeavor and mission of the Church. My prayers go out to everyone involved in this tragic mess, especially the students caught up in the middle of it all.


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