2011 General Synod Report


Well, the June/annual meeting of the General Synod of the ARP Church has come and gone, and the Editor of ARPTalk is not depressed. In ARPTalk(46) on June 1 (An Open Letter to the 2011 General Synod of the ARP Church), the Editor concluded that a motion should be made and passed to sever the relationship between the ARP Church and Erskine College and Seminary. That motion was not made. Instead, the Editor was surprised by both the actions of the Erskine Board of Trustees (EBOT) and the General Synod (GS). The EBOT came to GS open to a charter rewrite that would clearly state that the ARP Church “owns” Erskine College and Seminary and that the GS has the right to remove Erskine board trustees with cause. Not unexpectedly, the GS extended an olive branch to the EBOT.

Below is a recounting of the highpoints of the meeting of the 2011 General Synod with commentary.

1. Moderator Andy Putnam

Moderator Putnam did an outstanding job! It is no secret that Mr. Putnam and the Editor have clashed in recent days over procedural issues involved in dealing with Erskine College and Seminary. Moderator Putnam read the mood of the General Synod regarding the rewriting of the charter of Erskine College and Seminary and assisted in the smooth implementation of the necessary actions. Once again, Moderator Putnam is to be commended. He kept business moving without intruding in the discussions and debates. Well done, sir! Well done!

2. Motion regarding former Moderators who are laymen

A motion was made by Rev. Jim Corbitt and passed that allows Moderators who are laymen (past, present, and future) to have “voice and vote” in the meetings of GS so long as they are members in an ARP Church. Laymen who are willing to serve as Moderator of our GS are very special people. Obviously, these men are well respected for their abilities. Accomplishing the duties that are expected of them involves both time from their professions and money from their wallets. This motion honors these men with a welcome back to the house they have led.

3. Moderator’s Commission discharged

A motion was made and passed that discharged the Moderator’s Commission and thanked the Commissioners for their work. It was rumored that a motion that would have asked the General Synod to apologize to the EBOT for the actions of the “Snow Synod” was going to be made; however, no such motion was voiced.

4. Election of the Moderator-Elect

Nominated by Dr. Mark Ross and seconded by Dr. Bill Evans, the Moderator-Elect is Dr. G. Stephen Suits. Dr. Suits, an Elder on the Session of First Presbyterian Church, Columbia, SC, is a pediatric surgeon who also has theological degrees from two seminaries. He is a lecturer on medical ethics, the founder of the Palmetto Family Council (a pro-family and pro-life action group), a former board member of Focus on the Family, an incoming member of the EBOT, and he is the father of eight children. Dr. Suits continues a record of outstanding Moderators who are laymen. His Vice Moderator-Elect is Rev. Ken McMullen, the librarian at Reformed Theological Seminary-Charlotte.

5. Motion regarding former Moderator Dick de Witt

A motion was made and passed that commended Dr. Dick de Witt for his sermon and leadership in this year’s opening Worship Service.

6. Motions regarding the PCUSA

Two motions were made regarding the Presbyterian Church (USA). The first motion was essentially a condemnation of the PCUSA’s adoption of procedures that allow for the ordination of people who are practicing “gays, lesbians, and transgendered.” The motion called on the General Assembly of the PCUSA to repent and recant. The second motion directed that our statement be delivered to the Stated Clerk of the PCUSA.

7. Motions regarding the CRC and the ICRC

There were motions made and passed from the Inter-Church Relations Committee to sever ties with the Christian Reformed Church (CRC) and the International Council of Reformed Churches. In 2001, Rev. Jason Chen was the fraternal delegate from the CRC to the GS. Rev. Chen attempted to instruct the ARP Church on the issue of the ordination of the women to the office of Elder and Minister. Rev. Chen was seen as meddling in the business of the ARP Church. The relationship between the ARP Church and the CRC has not been warm since. This motion simply acknowledges that the relationship has been severed for some time. The matter regarding the ICRC is an issue of dollars.

8. Motion regarding Military Chaplains

A motion from Synod’s Committee on Minister and His Work was moved and passed for the ARP Church to change endorsing agencies for ARP military chaplains. Presently, the ARP Church is affiliated with the Presbyterian Council on Military Chaplains and Military Personnel (PCCMP). The PCCMP is the endorsing agency of the PCUSA. The differences between the ARP Church and the PCUSA on the homosexual issues are such that our chaplains cannot in good conscience remain a part of the PCCMC. The new endorsing agency is the Presbyterian and Reformed Joint Commission on Chaplains and Military Personnel (PRJC). The PRJC endorses chaplains from the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America, and the Presbyterian Church in America. These are “sister” denominations with us in NAPARC. The chaplains that the Editor spoke with at GS were thrilled with this move.

9. The most important action of the General Synod

In the opinion of the Editor, the most important action of General Synod involved the report of the Special Committee for a Policy on Board Member Removal. The GS now has a policy whereby trustees of boards and/or members of committees of General Synod agencies may be removed “for cause.” It should be noted that “for cause” is not easily done; however, whereas GS was without a specific policy, there is now a policy in place.

10. A motion responding to the new bylaws of the EBOT

A motion was made and passed that asked the EBOT to revise the new bylaws to reflect the new policy of the General Synod on the removal of trustees “for cause.”


According to Dr. Bill Evans in his article that is posted on Reformation 21, A Most Surprising ARP Synod Meeting, this was the most important motion regarding Erskine College and Seminary. The EBOT was represented by the incoming Chairman, Mr. Joe Patrick, incoming Vice Chairman, Mr. Bill Cain, incoming Chairman of the Seminary Committee, Rev. Ray Cameron, President David Norman and others. (One wonders why Mr. Scott Mitchell, the present EBOT Chairman, was not present at the proceedings!?) The attitude of the Erskine representatives was conciliatory. In the Moderator’s Committee on Erskine, Mr. Patrick asked, “What do you want of us?” Then he said: “We will do what the Synod wants.” Was Mr. Patrick showing true humility or was he just being another obsequious Chairman of the EBOT? Time will tell! Nevertheless, what the GS wanted was framed by Rev. Clint Davis, Pastor of the Chester ARP Church. Rev. Davis’ outstanding motion asked for a charter change in which there is language that acknowledges that Erskine College and Seminary is (1) organically connected to the ARP Church as an “agency”, (2) is owned by the ARP Church, (3) is under the authority of the ARP Church in defining the mission of Erskine College and Seminary, and (4) is dependent on the ARP Church to approve and appoint trustees and, if necessary, to remove trustees “for cause.” Rev. Davis’ motion passed overwhelmingly. Now – and forgive the Editor’s pessimism – we have heard such sentiments before. Will the EBOT follow the lead of the incoming Chairman and incoming Vice Chairman? That is to been seen. The Editor is of the opinion that the EBOT people would have done almost anything to get the $575,000 allocation of General Synod. The financial plight of Erskine College and Seminary presently is desperate. Please forgive the Editor’s cynicism. The Editor’s prayer is that he will have to eat these words. If he does, he will do it with zest!

12. Mea culpa by the Chairman of the Seminary Committee

A mea culpa was read to the General Synod by Rev. Ray Cameron the incoming Chairman of the Erskine Committee for the administrative malfeasance of former Executive Vice President of the Seminary Neely Gaston. The long list of failures by that administration is well known. It was reported to the Editor that Dr. Gaston was present at this reading. That is as it should be! It is also reported that the ATS audit is going to be very painful for ETS. The allowing of non-Christian clergy into the DMin program in violation of both the mission statement and admission requirements is not a matter that will go unnoticed by the ATS auditors. Dr. Gaston’s attitude of “I-don’t-give-a-damn-what-ATS-says” is going to haunt ETS for some time to come.

13. Affirmation of the “Good Friday Statement” on inerrancy

A motion was made by Rev. Jeff Kingswood and passed that the signers of the “Good Friday Statement” be commended for their bold affirmation of the position of the ARP Church on inerrancy and their support of President David Norman’s administration. On Good Friday this year, six faculty members of Erskine College and Seminary posted this statement on Ref21. The signers were Drs. Terry Eves (PCA), R. J. Gore (ARP), Dale Johnson (PCA), Toney Parks (National Baptist Convention), Bill Evans (ARP), John Makujina (Independent Baptist). Well, it is understandable why Dr. Richard Burnett did not sign this statement. He has said that if he were to affirm inerrancy that his academic friends at Princeton Seminary and in the PCUSA would disown him as an anti-intellectual. However, why did those others who have vowed that they believe in inerrancy not sign this statement? This is not a time for men to hide in the background mouthing phrases like “I’m flying under the radar.”

14. Motions regarding the Erskine Chaplain

Motions from the Synod Committee on Erskine Campus Minister and Ministry were passed that place the Erskine Chaplain under the direct authority of the General Synod and establishes a formal relationship with Reformed University Fellowship. There are many reasons for this actions, not the least is that it protects the Chaplain from the type of interference that was attempted by former Academic Dean Gid Alston and former Seminary Executive VP Neely Gaston. There is no confusion now. The Chaplain is under the oversight of the General Synod.

15. Complaint against Dr. Jay Hering

A 36-page Complaint from members of Second Presbytery regarding that Presbytery’s mishandling of charges against ETS professor Dr. Jay Hering over his attempt to sue the ARP Church in civil court was referred to the General Synod and then referred to the Ecclesiastical Commission on Judiciary Affairs. It will be most interesting to see how the Ecclesiastical Commission handles this matter!

16. FOG draft distributed

The draft of the revision of the Form of Government (FOG) was distributed. The Editor’s prediction is that there will be much discussion on this matter. The Editor is certain that we ARPs will continue to have a foggy FOG.

17. The Preliminary Report of the Strategic Planning Committee

The Preliminary Report of the Strategic Planning Committee was distributed and approved. For more on the details of this report, see Dr. Bill Evans article in Reformation 21, A Most Surprising ARP Synod Meeting. The one thing that stood out to the Editor was that there was nothing said about Erskine College and Seminary. Why not? Erskine College and Seminary is what the ARP Church has been talking about and fighting over for the last 40 years. Erskine College and Seminary is the 800 pound gorilla that is sitting in the room with us, and this issue is not addressed!? Well, the Editor is nearly blind; perhaps he missed something!

18. Motions regarding the Stewardship Committee

There were two significant motions made and passed regarding Stewardship that were other than the routine adoption of the report and recommendations. (1) The Stewardship Committee asked that the Denominational Ministry Fund (DMF) be supported by means of a tithe on the budgets of the congregations. That idea was not received well. The idea of a mandate that directs congregational tithing was sent to the Committee on Theological and Social Concerns for study. (2) Rev. Frank van Dalen stood and said: “The DMF is broken.” Well, he told the truth. He moved that the matter of the DMF be sent to the Executive Board of the General Synod for study and recommendations. This matter of the DMF’s being broken is documented well. The DMF is broken for at least the following two reasons. (1) A vision for the ARP Church has not been presented that captures the hearts and imaginations of our people. (2) The manner in which the DMF is framed makes it impossible not to give to Erskine College and Seminary. This is an issue of conscience for many of us. We are NOT going to give to a program that sends money to Erskine College and Seminary. We are not going to support a college where the leading faculty spokesman for the college is a functional atheist who revels in attacking evangelical Christianity. Many of us are offended that Erskine College is advertised as a “Christian” college when the evangelical and Reformed faith of the ARP Church is used as a target of attacks. Moreover, many of us are not going to send money to a seminary where a professor privately and publicly attacks inerrancy and another professor attempts to take the ARP Church to civil court. Yes, indeed, the DMF is “broken.”

Facebook Chatter

What is the response of the Erskine-Facebook-alums-who-sing-I-hate-the-evangelical-Christian-faith-of-the-ARP-Church? Below are a few of their Facebook posts.

Al Brady Law [printed as posted]

For the past year of so i’ve been urging everyone on this board to understand the kind of people we are dealing with on TOS [the General Synod]. I’ve been cautioned by the two Davids [Danehower and Dangerfield] to be civil and respectful which I have refused to do, and now you can see why.

If anyone thought deWitt would fade into the woodwork they simply don’t understand the urge for control and power that his kind embodies.

Let me be clear. We cannot trust Norman, Putnam, deWitt, Turbeville, Maye or any of the other so called Christian leaders. Surely, you can see now that there is no Christian brotherhood in them or their message. It’s clear what they want Erskine to become. Further, it is clear that anyone who is perceived to be an impediment to that goal will be eliminated no matter how high or low their station.

The one thing men like this uderstand is power, and we gave up our whipping stick when the lawsuit was dropped. At the time of the “great compromise” at the last Synod, I said that it was no compromise at all. They are just changing tactics, and lo and behold here we are, and we will lose this battle, I promise.

The way to possibly regain power is a concerted campaign for all alumni to refuse any financial giving to Erskine or the Seminary. There will be those who don’t want to punish Erskie this way, and there will be those who will say that holding back money will harm the students. Well, how could we be doing any more harm that Norman and his crowd are doing? With their plan Erskine will sink, maybe slowly but it will sink and will become another laughing stock like Bob Jones University. Oh yeah! South Carolina can be the home of two odd ball colleges who put doctrinal purity ahead of academic excellence. More of what South Carolina needs.

Don’t let them win. If you must contribute do so with the Erskine Foundation but with the proviso that no money is to go directly to the college or the seminary. Pay legal bills. Provide financial help directly to students and encourage them not to attend Erskine until the mess is cleaned up.

I know the instincts of many have been to be calm and respectful. With all due respect you are WRONG, WRONG, WRONG. I’ve dealt with power hungry people my whole adult life. They only understand the big stick approach. Being civil and respectful is a worthy goal, but it must be a two way street. That is never going to happen with these clowns.

Please heed the warning. It’s the only chance you have to save what was once a great little college.

Mary Lou Grier Holmes [printed as posted]

If we fund the Foundation with enough donations instead of the Synod’s hand-picked Board of Trustees, then we will have a say in what is done with our money. We can ask for rehires and severance packages to those who have lost their jobs. We can even ask some administrators to renegotiate their compensation based on (1) fund raising results, (2) alumni satisfaction, (3) number of applications, (4) increase in endowment, (5) faculty administration relations.

Perhaps we can grow the Foundation enough to hire staff.

Let’s also correct the misconception that the school has strayed from the denomination’s mission. What has happened, in fact, is that some of the leaders of the denomination have changed from traditional ARPs into something else.

It is leaders like deWitt who have gone off the Lord’s path. Jesus did not teach us to persecute one another for differences of opinion.

David Danehower (Professor, NC State) [printed as posted]

Having read this report, it seems clear to me that the right wing and center factions of the ARP Church are forgetting (or never knew) the historical “forbearance” of the ARP denomination in accepting faculty and a student body that have a broad denominational basis. Might I suggest to the Church that they now consider changing their belief in “unity with other believers in Christ” to “unity with other conservative reformed believers in Christ.

Dr. Evans has a way of spinning things to his best advantage. Like Chuck Wilson, he makes much of the $500K that the Church gives to the College, while never mentioning the $2+million dollars that alumni and friends provide (admittedly, some alumni and friends are ARPs).

He also makes much of the ministry of the ARP Chaplain, who will be paid directly by the Church this coming year. I find that quite appropriate as I have heard that the Chaplain’s ministry really focuses on students who have a reformed viewpoint similar to his own. As I understand it, the more multi-denominational Fellowship of Christian Athletes is generally acknowledged by students as the leading Christian student group on campus. The “Barn” crowd has been described to me as a clique. Perhaps I am wrong on this. If so, please feel free to provide me with information to the contrary.

Back to that huge amount of money given to Erskine by the Synod. The figure is around $550K, with smaller amounts also given to Erskine College and Seminary during Easter and Thanksgiving. Individual Churches and women’s groups also give to the Annual Fund. I’ve been looking at that figure some, especially since folks like Dr. Evans and Chuck Wilson like to tout it so often. Consider these facts: At present the ARP/Reformed Chaplain is paid from those funds. I assume that includes a housing allowance and funds to support his ministry. Every ARP student is awarded $1500 if they attend Erskine. In addition, if College will match up to $2000 from each ARP Church that supports one of its students. Furthermore, each ARP Seminary student can get an 80% credit from the college. (Interestingly PCA seminary students get 40% off, but I am unsure if the PCA Church doesn’t provide support or some sort of reciprocity in that regard.

I’ve done some rough math and, based upon my best guess, it may be that essentially ALL ARP support directly and specifically benefits (drum roll please) the ARP Church! In fact, if my assumptions are correct, then I am not sure if alumni giving is not actually subsidizing benefits that accrue specifically to the Church. I would like to note, for balance, that children of alumni get a $1000 grant as well. Again, if you are aware of information to the contrary or can supply me with more detailed info on ARP student numbers, numbers of ARP seminarians, etc., please feel free to correct me or at least make my calculations more accurate!

Given that the ARP Church apparently does not feel it necessary to serve the spiritual needs of ALL Erskine’s students (i.e. non-reformed need not apply), I think it is worth considering whether Alumni should not begin a dialog with other denominations whose churches are represented amongst our ranks. If any alumni have contacts within their respective churches that could prove helpful in this endeavor, please speak up!

In a rather blunt exchange with Mark Wilson, a card-carrying member of the Erskine-Facebook-alums-who-sing-I-hate-the-evangelical-Christian-faith-of-the-ARP-Church, Dr. Kyle Sims, Pastor of the Lancaster ARP Church, wrote, obviously in great frustration, that they were a “bunch of idiots.” The Editor applauds Dr. Sims for his impeccable perceptiveness!

Finally, a few concluding remarks of the Editor.

The Editor left the 2011 meeting of General Synod without being depressed. However, unlike Dr. Bill Evans’ analysis, the Editor is not sanguine about the relationship between the ARP Church and Erskine College and Seminary. It is impossible – ONCE AGAIN – to miss that the business of the church was overshadowed by business involving Erskine College and Seminary. The Editor has no hope that this situation will change in the near future. Indeed, it is time for the relationship between the ARP Church and Erskine College and Seminary to be severed. The issues between us are irresolvable.

  1. The EBOT and administration acknowledged that they have no idea what to do about Dr. Bill Crenshaw at the college and Dr. Richard Burnett at the seminary.
  2. It is shameful and disingenuous that Erskine College is advertised as a Christian college when the leading spokesman of the college is essentially an atheist who rails at evangelical Christianity with all the vigor of a tent-meeting evangelist, and it is just as shameful and disingenuous for the seminary to be promoted as a Reformed evangelical seminary when the most outspoken professor at ETS openly attacks the position of the ARP Church on the Bible.
  3. The money-pit that is called “Erskine” cannot be filled. After 170 years, Erskine College and Seminary is a financial failure. The institution is not able to stand on its own. There was a request for $100,000 just for salaries. After 170 years, the ARP Church is still subsidizing Erskine College and Seminary. The idea of Erskine College and Seminary as a 170 year old start up business needs to be put to rest. Erskine College and Seminary needs to be given the opportunity to stand on its own feet, and, if it cannot, it is time for Erskine College to go the way of all flesh.

We ARPs need to be watching what is going on with the EC Foundation. This is the organization that paid the bill for the lawsuit against the ARP Church last year. The rogues who lead this organization for the Erskine-Facebook-alums-who-sing-I-hate-the-evangelical-Christian-faith-of-the-ARP-Church are stockpiling money for another legal suit against the ARP Church. Yes, they are! That is exactly what they are saying. See the Facebook comments above.

It is time to admit the folly of our arrogance. The major reason that we ARPs cannot let go of Erskine is our pride. No matter how poor an institution Erskine College and Seminary is, we are proud that we have a college and seminary. It is like the man who has a cancer on his thyroid. The thyroid and the cancer are his – parts of his body. He wants to keep what is his. It does not matter that his thyroid and cancer are going to kill him unless they are surgically severed from his body – they are HIS! Well, Erskine College and Seminary is ours and it is killing us. Let us remove this cancer before we die. The ARP Church is pouring 25% of its budgeted funds into Erskine College and Seminary with no end in sight and nothing for the money. Even if we are able to reform Erskine College and Seminary, we need the separation. The task of the church is to grow the church, not the college/seminary. It is time for us to take care of the ARP Church!

We have begun the charter revision process. The MO of the Erskine people in the past has been to promise the GS anything that is asked. They are certain that by the meeting of the next Synod all that has been asked for will be forgotten, and then they send out another rosy report to GS about how all is well in Due West. The EBOT will not follow the lead of the GS! But we try once again!

These are my thoughts,

Charles W. Wilson

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  1. Reformed Rebel says:

    Howdy, Chuck; it was good to see you at Synod. Some reflections on the “Facebook Chatter” posted above.

    First, regarding the comments from Al Brady Law:

    Let me be clear. We cannot trust Norman, Putnam, deWitt, Turbeville, Maye or any of the other so called Christian leaders.

    I can’t speak for the character of Dr Norman, or Rev Putnam or Rev deWitt, but I am pleased to have met and come to know Rev Turbeville and RE Steve Maye. I’d trust either of those men with my life. To be clear, I’d gladly fast rope onto a hot LZ with either of them, trusting that they would keep me upright and breathing. Steve Maye, or Dean Turbeville, or any of the other men on what you call “ToS” aren’t exactly shy or quiet about what they think; if you think they’ve deceived you, then you obviously haven’t been paying attention.

    Second, the comments from Mrs. Holmes:

    Let’s also correct the misconception that the school has strayed from the denomination’s mission. What has happened, in fact, is that some of the leaders of the denomination have changed from traditional ARPs into something else. (emphasis mine)

    Again, Mrs. Holmes engages in proof by frequent assertion; I’ve challenged her more than once to provide some historical backing to her claims. She’s yet to do so. Perhaps Mrs. Holmes should read Dr Lathan’s History, or maybe the works of Thomas Boston, the Erskine brothers, or any of the other early leaders in the Secession church. Proving that these men held to verbal plenary inspiration and inerrancy is easy to do; yet Mrs. Holmes continues to run off at the mouth, creating nothing by a verbal smoke screen, instead of dealing with facts.

    Mrs. Holmes, I’m still waiting for you to respond, and I know for a fact you’ve been invited to do so.

    Finally, the comments from Dr Danehower:

    Having read this report, it seems clear to me that the right wing and center factions of the ARP Church are forgetting (or never knew) the historical “forbearance” of the ARP denomination in accepting faculty and a student body that have a broad denominational basis. Might I suggest to the Church that they now consider changing their belief in “unity with other believers in Christ” to “unity with other conservative reformed believers in Christ. (emphasis mine)

    I have immense respect for Dr Danehower; I doubt he would remember it, but I met him several years ago when a close friend graduated from NCSU. This friend constantly raved about what a gifted educator Dr Danehower was.

    That being said, accepting faculty and students from a “broad denominational basis” isn’t the same thing as accepting faculty that disagrees violently with the very principles that the denomination responsible for the college maintains. For instance, there is a whole bunch of room for a “Reformed” institution to hire men who agree on core principles. I doubt anyone would have a problem learning from R. Albert Mohler were he teaching at Erskine, or a J.I. Packer or J.C. Ryle, for that matter. These are 3 men that we Reformed have substantial disagreements with, but we hold quite a bit in common.

    On the other hand, it’s historical naive to think that it’s somehow broadminded to allow men to teach who cannot agree with the simplest, foundational principles of what it is to be a Christian. I’m sure Dr Danehower wouldn’t think of teaching alongside a man who doesn’t understand or agree with the Wohler Synthesis, or still teaches the concept of “vital force”.

    Thanks for staying vigilant, Chuck…

  2. John C Grier says:

    Dear Chuck,

    I disagreed with the motion that was passed about ruling elders who are past moderators of the Synod. While I agree that the court could benefit from their experience and wisdom, I do not think they should become ‘perennial unelected delegates for life’, a new creature that never existed before in the ARP Church. As you recall, I moved that the motion be referred to the Special Committee On Revising The Form Of Government. This was because I think this change does impinge on the Form Of Government. What could be a more fundamental characteristic of any form of government that the formula for determining the composition of the court itself? The formula in the current Form Of Government is very simple: one ruling elder per 400 active members. Now certain congregations will have extra delegates that others don’t have. This doesn’t seem Presbyterian to me. IMO, any change like this should require approval of the presbyteries and not be passed on a simple voice vote on a change to the Rules Of Order.

    As was pointed out from the floor, there is nothing preventing a congregation that is blessed to have a man of such competence and devotion that he would be elected Moderator of Synod from sending him as their elder delegate. And even if they didn’t send him as a delegate, there is nothing in the existing Form Of Government that would prevent such a man from attending the meetings of Synod as a visitor, asking for and receiving the privilege of the floor, and sharing his experience and wisdom by participating in the deliberations. Is there, in fact, any other way by which the court could benefit from such men other than their participation in debate? I would say no. IMO the motion was unnecessary and sets a bad precedent.

    John C Grier

  3. Dear John Calvin Grier,

    Thanks for your comments.

    I see your point; however, I voted for the motion. On another day, I might vote differently. I can argue this issue both ways.


    Chuck Wilson
    Editor, ARPTalk

  4. Tim says:

    Chuck, I also voted against the motion concerning past moderators. I thought Rev. Kingswood’s point (that it wasn’t very Presbyterian) was a good one.

    Thank you for your good words about our Moderator. I thought Andy Putnam did a spectacular job. I was having lunch today with an OPC minister and a PCA minister (our own mini-NAPARC meeting!), and I commented that if they wanted a smoothly run General Assembly, they needed to elect the Parliamentarian as Moderator!

  5. Dear Tim,

    Thanks for the good words. Indeed, the Moderator did an outstanding job.


    Chuck Wilson
    Editor, ARPTalk

  6. Dear Mr. Wilson,

    As I told you in a private email exchange earlier, I do not read your blog regularly, but occasionally I will skim the articles. In the one above, I take exception to your continued use of the term “Erskine-Facebook-alums-who-sing-I-hate-the-evangelical-Christian-faith-of-the-ARP-church.” Your broad brush stroke in categorizing this alumni group only fans the fire of mis-trust between both sides. It is petty name-calling, and it is unnecessary in a discussion. Stop it!

    Furthermore, for you to applaud Dr. Kyle Sims’ statement that we are a “bunch of idiots” is shameful. Remember our private exchange about not being a stumbling block to believers and non-believers? Dr. Sims’ words are such a stumbling block, and your praise for him and that characterization is also. Words matter. Choose them with care.

    Every day we can work to build up the kingdom of God and our Lord Jesus here on earth. Use this platform for His glory.

    Beth C. Buzogany

  7. Dear Mrs. Buzogany,

    Well, hello, Mama! I’ve been wondering what had happened to you. I hope your time in Chicago was pleasant and profitable.

    Of course, I am aware that not everyone on the Alums’ Facebook site is the same. If that were the case, I would not be fed the info I have, since, as you know, I’m not on that FB site. I’m told that there are 1500 or so on the Alums’ Facebook site. Obviously, the vast majority are there as spectators to the brawl. However, as far as the ones who are not timid to publish their thoughts, my identification of them as the “Erskine-Facebook-alums-who-sing-I-hate-the-evangelical-Christian-faith-of-the-ARP-Church” is correct. They are who they are! That’s the song they sing from their hearts, over and over!

    Moreover, Dr. Kyle Sims’ identification of this same group as a “bunch of idiots” (BOIs) is also correct. Have you not read the brain-dribble of Mark Wilson, Jay West, David Danehower, Bill Crenshaw, Mary Lou Holmes, and others? They are BOIs! Why are you not rebuking the BOIs, too? I haven’t seen your rebuke on the site of the BOIs! Have I missed something?


    Well, you got it! You should actually read what I write. I’m backing off. I have given up hope for reformation at Erskine. I’m for giving Erskine to the BOIs. My desire is for the ARP Church to separate from Erskine. Let the BOIs kill it! Danehower for President! Mark Wilson for Academic Dean! Mary Lou Homes for Historian! Crenshaw for Executive VP of the Seminary! West for Faculty Fool! That should do it! That should kill Erskine! What can I do to expedite the transfer of the deed to the BOIs?


    Chuck Wilson
    Editor, ARPTalk

    • Scott Robar says:


      I’ve heard a lot about the troubles at Erskine College; yet I’ve heard very little about Erskine Seminary. Is that because the Seminary is doing well?


  8. Dear Mr. Scott Robar,

    Thank you for your question.

    No, Erskine Theological Seminary is not doing well.

    The following is a short list of woes.

    1. Enrollment decline of 9% annually since 2006. In other words, the enrollment decline is getting precariously close to 50%. Ouch!

    2. The good news is that there is a budget deficit of 240K this year. There has been a budget deficit since 2009 and those deficits were larger. Executive Vice President Neely Gaston lost a lot of money.

    3. There is an increase in tuition. That may not be the best way to attract new and more students.

    4. There has been an across-the-board reduction in scholarships. It is now cheaper for ARP Ministerial Candidates to attend Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. For a Ministerial Candidate in the ARP Church, the difference financially now between Erskine Theological Seminary and Reformed Theological Seminary-Charlotte is almost negligible. Besides, Reformed Theological Seminary-Charlotte has the reputation for being the best conservative Presbyterian seminary in the Southeast.

    5. Re DMin program – Fort Jackson was never approved as an extension site.

    6. Re DMin program – The problems regarding the Army and ATS over the matriculation of non-Christians into the chaplains’ DMin program are going to be nasty to fix. The mea culpa that was read at the 2011 General Synod was unprecedented.

    7. The ARP Korean Studies Initiative program has gone up in smoke with the resignations of Drs. Moon and Kim.

    8. From my perspective, the Virtual Campus (online program) is cannibalizing the on-site classes.

    9. The Erskine Lecture Series has been curtailed due to a lack of funds. I have no idea at this time as to what is going to happen to the Calvin Colloquium.

    10. The ThM program is languishing. The program largely attracted those who wanted to do historical theology. With Dr. Don Fairbairn leaving Due West for the Gordon-Conwell site in Charlotte, that program is probably on “hold” – or close to it.

    11. The future for the Institute for Reformed Worship is bleak. The program was developed around Dr. H. O. Old. His age and health and the fact that there is no “heir apparent” put this program in jeopardy.

    12. Dr. Jay Hering has charges against him pending before General Synod. His actions in the law suit last year have not endeared him to mainstream of ARP ministers.

    13. The controversy surrounding Dr. Richard Burnett and his views on the Bible is not going away soon.

    14. The seminary’s report to General Synod regarding the work of the faculty members revealed that some are not publishing.

    15. The ATS audit is not going well. There are going to be “notations.”

    16. The search for a new Executive Vice President and Dean is uncertain at this time.

    17. Board oversight of the seminary for the last 4 or 5 years has been publicly demonstrated and admitted to have been non-existent. How will that be remedied?

    18. Erskine Theological Seminary does not enjoy the the trust and support of the mainstream of ministers in the ARP Church.

    I may have missed a thing or two; however, to answer your question again, the situation at Erskine Theological Seminary is not pleasant.


    Chuck Wilson
    Editor, ARPT

    • Scott Robar says:

      Chuck, you noted a couple of professors with whom you disagree. From the little I know of them, through information distributed at Synod over the last couple of years, I am also troubled by their presence at the seminary. But those are only two men. How many other professors are there, and what is your opinion of them?


  9. Matt Danejur says:

    Ok, there is a list of bad and terrible things. But there is still a foundation. What are some things that are going good with ETS? There are some, lets try to list those so that we have a hopeful out look in the situation as to not loose hope and give up.

  10. Dear Scott Robar,

    I don’t think it is a matter of whether I agree or disagree with Drs. Burnett and Hering. The issues involve are matters of what is believe and taught and what has been done. Dr. Burnett’s position on the authority of the Bible and his public castigation of the Synod’s position on inerrancy and Dr. Hering’s attempt to file legal actions in civil court against the General Synod of the ARP Church stand on their own as reprehensible. They are out-of-step with the ARP Church. Why have they not sought employment at institutions that are more in keeping with who they are?

    What is totally mystifying to me is the inability or unwillingness of the Erskine administration to deal with these matters. The admission of the BOT representatives at General Synod was shocking: “We don’t know what to do!”

    Until the administration and BOT can figure out what to do, trust in and the health of ETS are going to be elusive.

    You also ask what of the other members of the ETS faculty. Well, I’m amazed that there are still only six signers of “The Good Fridays Statement.”


    Chuck Wilson
    Editor, ARPTalk

  11. Dear Matt Danejur,

    Thanks for your comments, Matt.

    I’m reminded of an old adage: “When you’re up to your ears in alligators, you don’t have time to think about draining the swamp.”

    The situation at ETS is critical. It doesn’t take a large cancer to kill a healthy body! The cancer has not been and is not being dealt with!

    ETS is now functionally irrelevant to the ARP Church! That’s not my opinion. Look at where ARP congregations are turning to for pastors.


    Chuck Wilson
    Editor, ARPTalk

    • Matt Danejur says:

      I guess my question is, If you believe that ETS is- so to speak, “at a Skynard concert without a port-o-john” do you personally believe that the ARP Church should let it die, or that it is something worth fighting for. If we start to give up on things now, where will it end. The fellowship did not give up on Frodo, even though hope seemed lost. The 12 Colonies did not give up their search for earth, even though the Cylon’s continued to pursue them, and Superman did not give up on Richard Pryor when survival seemed only but a memory.
      Every time I visit the Erskine campus I look at her 2 towers, and think to myself, “she still stands”. Erskine has seen its moments of darkness throughout history- the civil war, ww1, ww2, vietnam, and several others. Yet she still stands.
      I leave you with this thought good sir, it is a quote from Captain Han Solo of the Millenium Falcon, “She’ll hold together. Come on baby, hold together”.

      Good night, and good luck

  12. Mary L. Grier Holmes says:

    Let me correct you if I may. What you call the “Erskine-Facebook-alums-who-sing-I-hate-the-evangelical-Christian-faith-of-the-ARP-Church” simply do not exist. The only facebook alums I know love the evangelical (as defined by ARPs) Christian faith of the ARP Church. I know I do.

    What is the real problem? The problem is that deWitt and his followers treats the Church as the absolute authority and he does not behave like a servant of Christ a Covenanter or a Reformed Presbyterian. ARPs deplore sectarianism, ecclesiastical tyranny and episcopacy. All the things that deWitt stands for. Reformed Rebel is a misguided former Muslim (who thinks there is a fatwah out on him) and he has not figured out who is a Baptist and who is a Presbyterian. Anthony Navarro still believes in the ABSOLUTE AUTHORITY of the church as if he is a Roman Catholic and some of your other fans and admirers are not real ARPs. They come from the PCA, the Southern Baptist Convention, the Catholic Church and the Pentacostal Church or the Church of the Nazarene where the seminary education and the divinity degree do not matter. B. B. Warfield, Professor at Princeton and the first to tie “theopneustos” or “God inspired” to “inerrancy” wrote what he did about the scripture in Timothy so as to eliminate emotional practices of Pentacostals and other Charismatics that were going on at revivals such as miracle healing, snake-charming and speaking in tongues. You may have been exposed to such unBiblical practices yourself. Barth and Machen taught at the same school, Wilson. The kind of political one-sidedness that is being encouraged here would be considered anti-Christian by any evangelical ARP in his right mind.

    • Reformed Rebel says:

      Ms. Holmes, I really must congratulate you; you’ve moved from “proof by frequent assertion” straight on to ad hominem. Very nicely done! It’s good to know that I am both “misguided” and “not a real ARP”. I wasn’t aware that you were the final arbiter of who is and isn’t a “real” ARP, although I must say it’s good to know that you hold some sort of super-presbyterial office!

      You’ve said elsewhere on this blog:

      The 2008 “doctrine” of the Synod to the extent that it includes the term “inerrancy,” as it is misinterpreted by some, is a NEW doctrine of man. It has no basis in the Bible, the Westminster Confession or the ARP Church of the 19th and early 20th centuries.

      I ask again here, Ms. Holmes for a response to the following:

      doctrine of inerrancy has ample basis in the Bible and the Westminster Confession. This can be seen in WCF 1.4 as well as WCF 31.4. The Assembly repeatedly insists that Scripture itself is the ultimate authority in the church. Synods and councils are to make decrees and and determinations that are “consonant to the Word of God,” and these decrees are to be received with reverence and submission, providing that they are in “agreement with the Word” (WCF 31.3). Therefore, church councils are never to be made the rule of faith or practice — they are simply a help, insofar as the conform to Scripture.

      Why, Ms. Holmes, if councils and synods can err, as WCF 31 clearly teaches, are the Scriptures set up as the standard to which councils and synods must conform, if the Westminster divines believed that the Scriptures could and did err?

      The teaching of inerrancy can find support in this contrast between the potentially errant church and the Bible, which originates from God. Inerrancy is presupposed by the Westminster Assembly, and can be logically inferred from the divine origin of Scripture, and their use of Scripture as the inerrant standard of conformity for potentially errant councils and synods.

      What say you, Ms. Holmes? Can you offer some proof that inerrancy is truly, to use your words, “sectarian devilishness” that is completely historically foreign to the ARP?

      Oh, and Ms. Holmes – I expect references, not proof by frequent assertion.



  13. Dear Matt Danejur

    Did I not make my opinion clear in my “open letter”? I thought I wrote that the ARP Church should separate from Erskine College and Seminary. I see Erskine College and Seminary as a hindrance and an obstacle to the mission and even the existence of the ARP Church as the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ. Erskine College does not reflect the ARP Church in the mission of the ARP Church in college education or in educating the young people of the ARP Church, and Erskine Seminary no longer exists to train the future ministers of the ARP Church – Burnett openly and forcefully attacks the position of the ARP Church on the Bible, Hering raises his hand to sue the ARP Church in civil court, only a handful of the faculty members are ARP ministers, many of the faculty members are not even ordained ministers, and only four were willing to sign their names to “The Good Friday Statement.”

    At this point, to use your language from SyFy, Erskine Seminary is “Lost in Space.” However, to use the language of money, Erskine Seminary is drowning in an ocean of “red ink.”

    “Superman” isn’t real. “Battlestar Galactica” isn’t real. “Star Wars” isn’t real. Frodo isn’t real. The long history of theological controversy, ecclesiastical unfaithfulness, and financial failure at Erskine Seminary is REAL.

    You speak of Erskine Seminary being old. The live oak called “the St. John’s Tree” in Lafayette, LA, is much older at 500 years. Old counts in trees! Old doesn’t count in seminaries! Faithfulness counts in seminaries!

    Matt, I wish we in the ARP Church had a Frodo to hope in. We don’t! There is no Frodo. Our Frodo perished long ago in the Valley of Villainy that is located between the Two Towers of Betrayal-of-the-ARP-Church in Due West.


    Chuck Wilson
    Editor, ARPTalk

  14. Dear Ms. Mary Lou Grier Holmes,

    Thank you for your very interesting comments. It’s always good to have a word from “the Outer Limits.”


    Chuck Wilson
    Editor, ARPTalk

  15. Matt Danejur says:

    One more thing, did you realize that the picture you posted was a Canadian Chaplain? Was this on purpose? Do we have Chaplains in the Canadian Armed services?

  16. Dear Mr. Matt Danejur,

    Thanks, Matt. You have very good eyes. Did you also see the cross?

    You really were not asking a question; however, I will answer: No, at this time, there are no chaplains in the Canadian Army who are from our ARP churches in Canada. Moreover, the photo stays – I like it!

    Matt, I’m disappointed in you. I thought you really wanted to discuss the proposal I was advocating. I was impressed at your optimism for Erskine Seminary. I once had that kind of enthusiasm for Erskine Seminary. That enthusiasm has now been dashed to death on the rocks of unfaithfulness and failure and dishonesty at Erskine Seminary. And before you jump to a false conclusion, I’m not talking about Dr. Steve Lowe, presently the acting Executive VP of the Erskine Seminary.

    I don’t mind if you disagree with my ideas. Many do! Please, have at it! However, snotty remarks only amount to counting fly specks in the pepper shaker!

    Matt, don’t be put off with my blunt words. I’ll tell you what I think.

    Now, let’s try again. Do you have a point that you want to make or question to ask?


    Chuck Wilson
    Editor, ARPTalk

  17. Dear Mr. James Curtis,

    Hi, James, and thanks for your comments. Welcome to ARPTalk.

    I’m sorry that you are disappointed in me. Your comments are a bit cryptic. Would you mind fleshing out those comments a bit?

    Also, would you mind telling us a little about yourself. I see from your email address that you have a connection with North Greenville University.


    Chuck Wilson
    Editor, ARPTalk

  18. Tim Phillips says:

    From Ms. Holmes: “Barth and Machen taught at the same school, Wilson.”

    I would appreciate an explanation of this comment. This is an historical piece of information that I am not aware of.

  19. James Curtis says:

    Rev. Wilson,

    I’d be more than happy to.

    I am a member of an ARP Congregation down in Atlanta, GA. I’m actually a transient student with NGU at the moment, but a full time student at Erskine College. I’m double majoring in Bible (Biblical and Theological Studies) and Philosophy. I placed my NGU email there simply because I check it more often because I’m taking summer classes currently, and I have more e-mail coming in from professors and such.

    The reason I’m taking summer classes there are numerous, but I’ll list a two:
    -I work at Bonclarken as a member of their Recreation Staff.
    – They allow me to take more credit hours over the summer than Erskine.

    I plan on attending either RTS Charlotte or Westminster Theological Seminary after EC.

    More to the topic at hand, though:

    I am doing my best to not post anything that is sarcastic or “hateful”, but rather uplifting. Trust me, I find it hard not to combat Mrs. Holmes on her family worship. And I think that you know exactly what my comment means, Rev. Wilson, but I’ll elaborate for you anyway:

    You claim that the ARP church has no Frodo to hope in, yet I see several people at work at Erskine College that work hard for the mission you fought for months before you gave up on EC/ETS. I’d think by now you’d have a little more hope in Dr. Evans and Dr. Gore. And even if not them, realize that there are men like Dr. Makujina and Dr. Reiter (Independent Reformed Baptist and PCA, respectively) who both adhere to the doctrine of inerrancy. Any way you look at this, Rev. Wilson, EC still produces Bible students capable of defending Scriptural authority. ETS, as you have pointed out, may be another matter. But we’re not going for a 100% statistic right now, we’re talking about hope of change: and I’d say a Bible department that is producing orthodox men and women who are ready, willing, and called to the ministry is very hopeful, indeed.

    But this discussion isn’t JUST about EC, is it? What about ETS?

    I’d like you to read back over the interview with Dr. R.J. Gore you posted. I know that Dr. Gore is striving hard to teach inerrancy within his classes, and I know Dr. Johnson and Dr. Eves are as well (I have friends attending ETS). Some would argue that Dr. Evans is in a tougher position at the college than those at the Seminary. However, I’ll save my thoughts on the matter.

    Rev. Wilson, I agree with a vast majority of what you have to say (which is surprising for an EC student, I assure you). I don’t agree with the way you say it sometimes. Perhaps most of the time.

    But I certainly don’t agree with you that the school is lost. You cannot tell the future, Rev. Wilson, and you know that. I’m just some undergrad student who is talking with a retired minster of the ARP church (whether or not Mrs. Holmes likes it), so I won’t presume to know more than you or try and lecture you.

    But I’d hope that you would find more faith in how God is using men like Dr. Evans and Dr. Gore at EC/ETS. And I’d hope you would converse with them as to how you can help rather than throwing up the white flag and running with your tail tucked.

  20. Daniel Stephens says:

    “Frodo isn’t real.”

    Them’s fightin’ words.

  21. Charles W. Wilson says:

    Mr. James Curtis,

    Well said, young man! I admire your enthusiasm. I wish you well at RTS or WTS.

    I’m very much aware of the work of Drs. Evans, Gore, and others at EC and ETS. Indeed, they are noble and faithful servants of God. May God increase their tribe!

    However, I think you may have missed my points. They are two.

    The first point involves the BOT. After 40 years of watching broken promise after broken promise and obfuscation after obfuscation, I have had enough. The end result of the the 2011 Synod’s responses to the Erskine BOT is going to be another effort by the BOT to ignore and deflect the will of Synod. The idea of incremental change is not going to work, and it’s not going to work because God doesn’t instruct us to repent of sin incrementally. God’s simply says: STOP! It is simply sinful to put the money of the ARP Church into EC/ETS when there is no hope of seeing wholesale change in the makeup of the faculty. At EC the most widely known voice is Dr. Bill Crenshaw who is functionally an atheist. At ETS the most widely known voice is Dr. Richard Burnett who is a Barthian. These men are going to remain in place. The BOT reps and Erskine admins admitted before the meeting of Synod this year that they have no idea as to what to do with these men. Okay, if they don’t know what to do, I do know what to do. I won’t give money to EC/ETS. I’m going to advocate that the ARP Church stop giving to EC/ETS and separate from EC/ETS with all the force that I can muster. Forty years of unfaithfulness to and betrayal of the ARP Church are enough.

    My second point is that EC/ETS is an unnecessary and wasteful expense to and, even more important, a danger to the ARP Church. The amount of money that the ARP Church has poured into EC/ETS in the last 40 years is enormous (at least $20,000,000). And look at what we have for our investment! Also, the danger for sin and distraction that EC/ETS is for the ARP Church has nearly destroyed the ARP Church. Somehow we read the Great Commission and though Jesus said that our mission was to go and build a college and seminary. Foolish and sinful and distracted ARPs! It is time for us to return to the mission of the church. The ARP Church is dying, and we are pouring 25% of our total resources into EC/ETS annually. That’s sin!!!

    James, my comments regarding Frodo have noting to do with the good people you mention. I admire them greatly as you do. The Frodo comment is another story. It will take some time to unpack.

    I’m coming at this from a much different perspective than you. Honestly, I hope I’m wrong in my prognostications. Sadly, I don’t think I am.

    Thank you for unpacking your story. I hope this helps a bit.

    If you’re still disappointed in me, that’s okay. I’m very disappointed in me for 40 years of guilty silence.


    Chuck Wilson
    Editor, ARPTalk

  22. Will Anderson says:

    Mr. Curtis,

    God’s blessings to you as you continue in your undergraduate work, wherever it may be at the exact moment and in the future. My prayers will also be with you as you determine your home for advanced theological training, both schools are worthy of you. I appreciate your thoughts/comments as they are well thought, succinct and seasoned. I share your optimism and faith in many ways. I also appreciate your comments regarding Rev. Wilson, save one. Chuck may indeed by raising the white flag, that decision is his. But as one who has known him for some time he is by no means doing so with his tail tucked and running. Other than that, thank you for your contribution to this discussion.

    Grace to you,
    Will Anderson

  23. Charles W. Wilson says:

    Dear James and Will,

    The flag is not white, it is red. The tune is not surrender, it is El Degüello.


    Chuck Wilson
    Editor, ARPTalk

  24. James Curtis says:

    Mr. Anderson,

    Thank you for the well wishes!

    Rev. Wilson,

    The problem I have isn’t that you want to cut funding for the college and seminary. The problem I have is that you want to cut the Church’s relationship with them. I think, just as you, that if Erskine stops receiving money from the ARP Synod it will, inevitably, fail. But we can cut funding without ending the relationship. We can discipline the son without kicking him out of the house.

    And that, Rev. Wilson, is the problem within the ARPC. We’re not willing to discipline. I don’t have to remind you of Dr. Young and others who sued the denomination, yet they’re all sitting in presbytery meetings enjoying full benefits of their office even after they broke their ordination vows!

    The other problem is, sadly, Synod’s inaction during June 2010. As Dr. Evans mentioned over at Reformation21.org, their “knees went wobbly”. Why? Why were they so unwilling to assert their authority? Why are the conservatives within the denomination (save you, of course) able to sit there and do nothing while the college separates from the denomination? This question plagues me, Rev. Wilson, because I love the ARP and I love Erskine. And I don’t see why they have to split. I see an unloving father (ARPC) unwilling to discipline his son (EC/ETS).

    If the Synod would grow a spine and do something about the matter, EC/ETS wouldn’t be in the place they’re in right now. Unfortunately, however, men are pushing political agendas within the church and ARE GETTING AWAY WITH IT.

    Does this not set everyone on fire?! Why is Rev. Wilson the only one willing to talk out about these men?!

    Tangent aside, I don’t think the ARPC needs to cut this ministry from their relations. I think they need to whip it back into shape, using any biblical means necessary.

    Respectfully, Rev. Wilson, I agree with your assessment. Wholeheartedly, in fact. But I disagree with your solution.

  25. Charles W. Wilson says:

    James Curtis,

    Well, James, we’re agreed on most points.

    As to your questions regarding others who are not willing to speak out, I don’t know how to answer your questions. However, I would point out that my voice is not a solitary voice. As you have noted, Drs. Evans and Gore and, may I add, many others in the General Synod have been willing to speak out boldly and clearly.

    As for why so many ARPs care so little about EC/ETS, the answer is simple. EC/ETS has lost all credibility in the ARP Church. No one cares. Most ARPs wish EC/ETS would go away.

    The point that you make about Dr. Parker Young needs some clarification. (1) First Presbytery is still working on the matter. (2) The matter became complicated when Dr. Young “resigned” as a session member and then as a member of the Pinecrest ARP Church. The matter still involves the Session of the Pinecrest ARP Church as our Form of Government disallows a member resigning from a church.

    At this point, no one knows how this case will be resolved. Disciplinary matters move slowly.

    Historically, the Achilles’ heel for Presbyterians has been our educational institutions. I think that denominational educational institutions (both colleges and seminaries) have outlived their value and usefulness to the church. Instead of being bastions of orthodoxy, they have become cancers of liberalism. Amazingly, independent institutions are now more responsive to the various denominations than the denominational agency-schools.

    My solution is to let EC/ETS go. Let EC/ETS stand on its own merits. If EC/ETS has something to offer, the institution will do well. If EC/ETS can’t stand on its own – well, all things die. It’s time that the ARP Church ceases investing in “wood, hay, and stubble” that are going to burn in the day of Jesus’ coming.

    It is time for the ARP Church to be about the business of growing and renewing the church. EC/ETS is detrimental to the life of the evangelical church and, particularly, to the ARP denomination.


    Chuck Wilson
    Editor, ARPTalk

  26. James Curtis says:

    Rev. Wilson,

    To clarify some points:

    1. I did not mean to imply that Drs. Evans and Gore are silent, however you do seem to be the loudest one actually standing and speaking at Synod/Presbytery instead of just blogging.

    2. I understand the complexities of the Parker Young case, but my point was not to elaborate upon them, rather to use him (and others) as an example of how we’re not doing discipline correctly. I named Dr. Young simply because he’s the “hot” one right now, and I do not wish to name others.

    But that doesn’t even begin to mention the men in Second Presbytery, whom, I know for a fact, voted during the summer meeting of Second Presbytery. Is this the example Second Presbytery wishes to set for aspiring ministers such as the students you have under care, and undergrad students that attend?

    Again, I understand the complexities, but my point above was mainly to illustrate our inability as a denomination to administer discipline properly.


    James Curtis

  27. Charles W. Wilson says:

    Dear Mr. James Curtis,

    Bingo! Sir, you get it. You’re a Christian man. You understand Biblical integrity, courage, and faithfulness. May God increase your tribe in the ARP Church!! Are there others like you at EC?

    I have one piece of advice for you: do not allow your seminary experience to emasculate you.


    Chuck Wilson
    Editor, ARPTalk

  28. James Curtis says:

    Rev. Wilson,

    There are those at EC who believe as I do. Unfortunately, the vast majority of them are within the Bible department and thus deemed “Evanites” by those who disagree with them. The few outside the Bible Department rarely speak out for personal reasons.

    However, the vast majority of the student body is rather openly against the ARPC. Dr. Crenshaw is a favorite among these students because he teaches you to “critically think”. Or because he’s the big name that opposes the ARPC. (My vote is the latter, because a friend of mine took his class and said it was a joke. Dr. Crenshaw argued and ranted more than taught. Apparently, you barely do English in Crenshaw’s EN102 class.)

    I don’t have anything to say about the man- I haven’t had a class with him- but one English student did remark one day, “Bill Crenshaw doesn’t teach English. He argues Religion. He’s not an English professor, he’s a jackass.” (Apparently, you barely do English in any of Crenshaw’s English classes.)But this student’s attitude toward Dr. Crenshaw is rarely found outside the “Evanite” circle.

    Though, I could be wrong. People dislike me at EC because I argue a lot about things they’re not interested in. And I’m very interested in theology, if you catch my drift.

    Thank you for the advice!


    James Curtis

  29. Dean Turbeville says:

    Mr. Curtis,
    What you have heard about Mr. Crenshaw is true, and then some. He is an intellectual bully who fancies himself a liberator of young minds (that is, those minds which still cling to vestiges of historic Christian faith). I know of this because of his treatment of my own daughter and a number of her friends. He could not have gotten away with his bullying at a secular school like the University of South Carolina or Clemson. For years I heard leaders at Erskine say they were afraid of firing this man because they were afraid of the cost of an inevitable lawsuit. If these leaders had come to Synod and said, “we have a man bullying our covenant children at our college; can we form a legal defense fund so that we can send him packing for cause?”, they would have been overwhelmed by the response. But, alas, we were told “all is well, all is well, and all manner of things are well…”
    At least at this last Synod there was finally some truth-telling from Board representatives. The President has shown some guts in some other faculty matters. If the school survives, perhaps this will be the year that Crenshaw’s reign of “English teaching” will end. May it be so, Lord.

  30. Mary L. Grier Holmes says:

    The 2008 “doctrine” of the Synod to the extent that it includes the term “inerrancy,” as it is misinterpreted by some, is a NEW doctrine of man. It has no basis in the Bible, the Westminster Confession or the ARP Church of the 19th and early 20th centuries.


    If, Mr. Rebel, you would be so kind as to read B. B. Warfield, “God Inspired Scripture”, Alpha and Omega Ministries, Reprint copyright 2005, you might begin to grasp where I’m coming from. Logic does not allow you to set up a false dichotomy.

    Too bad Mr. Rebel is unable to read the extensive essays I’ve posted elsewhere on the beliefs of the early ARPs from 1803 to 1877. An ad hominem attack, Mr. Rebel is a personal attack. I haven’t said anything about you that you have not already proudly announced.

    You want to know who am I to say to you what ARPs believe? I’ll answer you the same way I’ve answered this question countless times in the past. No one on this site has bothered to look it up in the Bible, yet. Preferring instead to focus on science fiction and Deliverance as well as Frodo and personal insults, Mr. Wilson and friends believe that a put-down is a good as scholarship. That my dear Mr. Wilson is why we can’t have you running Erskine seminary. Visions of x-rated Deliverance videos, Science Fiction movies and Tolkein in the classroom don’t seem to be a good substitute for the Holy Bible and sound theology.

    The answer is found Mr. Rebel in Matthew as well as the other Gospels. “By what authority do you speak?” is a question the Pharisees asked Jesus. As for frequent repetition, hmmm? There was another sentence you failed to read about the names of the wrong-headed leaders and what they have done.

    The ARPs (in the American colonies) from the very early days abhored sectarianism in the classroom, they deplored oath-taking for Christians, they put aside doctrinal differences to come together: Covenanters and Seceeders. They could tell the difference between what is essential and what is non-essential to the Christian. Read the Chicago Statement on Inerrancy. The writers of the Chicago Statement, Westminster Confession and I agree. The statement of inerrancy is not a creed.

  31. Charles W. Wilson says:

    Dear Ms. Mary Lou Grier Holmes,

    Wow! You agree with me. The present position of the ARP Church is lifted from the Chicago Statement on Inerrancy. Indeed, I’m for the ARP Church adopting the entire statement. Indeed, the Canadian Presbytery proposed such a memorial at the 2011 General Synod. It is so good to see that you agree with this idea. The adoption of such a statement will go far in getting rid of Richard Burnett, Jay Hering, Bill Crenshaw and most the other members of the EC and ETS. Thanks.

    Mary Lou, you are a wonder!


    Chuck Wilson
    Editor, ARPTalk

  32. Mary L. Grier Holmes says:

    It is good to see that we agree on so many things, Rev. Wilson. Too bad you place yourself in the group of men who misinterpret the Chicago Statement, the Westminster Confession, the early ARPs AND the creeds. There are so many things on which we do agree of course and those are the essentials. Now, do you understand what the early ARPs believed about diversity and why they had a special name for how much they disliked oaths? Do you know what it is?

  33. Charles W. Wilson says:

    Dear Ms. Mary Lou Grier Holmes,

    I don’t misrepresent or misinterpret the Chicago Statement on Inerrancy. I agree with the statement. On the issues of inerrancy, don’t you agree that it should be the postion of the ARP Church? Don’t you agree that it should be the position statment of EC/ETS You said you agreed with it!

    You wouldn’t be waffling now, would you?


    Chuck Wilson
    Editor, ARPTalk

  34. Bill Crenshaw says:

    I notice that most of the people who want me fired, like Chuck and Tuberville, or student critics are those whom I haven’t met or who have not taken a class.

    Tuberville’s comments, I think are particularly cowardly — at least Chuck and I exchange ideas via email on occasion.

    Tuberville has been to Due West scores of times, yet he’s never sat down with me for a talk. Nor have any of the critics you’ll read from here.

    What are you boys afaid of? That you might change your minds.

    • Dean Turbeville says:

      Chuck, my address in 3901 McKee Road, Charlotte, NC, and my phone number is on our church website. I’m happy to talk to Mr. Crenshaw any time he wishes.

      I have talked at length to Christians students he has tried to humiliate in his class.
      It will make for an interesting witness list, if he insists on it coming to that.

    • James Curtis says:

      Dr. Crenshaw,

      I’m excited to see you haven’t read my words carefully! I’ll quote them below for you:

      I don’t have anything to say about the man- I haven’t had a class with him- but one English student did remark one day, “Bill Crenshaw doesn’t teach English. He argues Religion. He’s not an English professor, he’s a jackass.” (Apparently, you barely do English in any of Crenshaw’s English classes.) But this student’s attitude toward Dr. Crenshaw is rarely found outside the “Evanite” circle.

      Let me reiterate a point once more, Dr. Crenshaw: I am not the one who has said anything against you, please note my use of the word “apparently”. Your critics are students within your own department and a student who has, indeed, taken your course.

      On the off chance that the last comment is geared towards me, I’ll answer it: I apologize for being unable to take one of your classes thus far, Dr. Crenshaw. I tried to get into your EN102 course last spring. Alas, the class was full. I assure you, I plan on taking one of your courses. I’m not scared of you, Dr. Crenshaw, because you have a different opinion. I’m used to different opinions. I’m from Atlanta, and, rest assured, they’re not big on conservative Christians, either. Nor am I scared you will change my mind, sir. Biblical authority is biblical authority, no matter what an English professor says.

      I look forward to having a class with you one day, Dr. Crenshaw. I enjoy healthy discourse and if that’s what you have to offer then your class should easily be a favorite of mine.

  35. Bill Crenshaw says:

    I’m sure, Mr. Turbeville, that I can come up with a list of witnesses from those same classes to impeach your witnesses‘ testimony.

    In fact, I look forward to it. Eagerly.

  36. Charles W. Wilson says:

    Dear Bill,

    Life must not be going well in Due West. Take a nerve pill and calm down. Take a walk in the rain and cool off.

    My conversations with Mary Lou shouldn’t get you in a tizzy. Did you teach her critical thinking? Good grief! When did you realize that you had failed?

    Well, it’s not right to say that we have never met. We have met briefly. It was at one of those “get-to-know-me” meetings that John Carson was putting on just before he took over as President. I forgive you for not remembering. It was a long time ago, and you were focused on asking questions of Carson and making his life miserable. BTW, you did a good job of it that day.

    Bill, you know that I’m legally blind and don’t drive. I have invited you to come over and have lunch or a cup of coffee with me at my expense. When I have been on campus, I have even gone by your office a couple of times trying to catch you; however, you’re not in your office much – at least, when I have been there.

    What do you mean “fire you?” You know as well as I do that a “tenured” professor can’t be fired without cause. If you get fired, there is “cause.” Is there “cause”? Stop the FB stuff!

    Now, you know very well that my position is for the ARP Church to separate from EC/ETS. I don’t want anything at EC/ETS. You can have it all. I want to give it to you and the alums you have taught spelling, grammar, and critical thinking. If EC/ETS is given to you and the BOIs (“bunch of idiots”) you will kill it. You guys couldn’t successfully run a house of ill-repute in New Orleans if the city were full of sailors, the tricks were free, and all the girls looked like Kim Kardashian!

    My desire: Bill Crensahw for Prez; Jay West for CFO, Richard Burnett for Executive VP of the seminary, Mark Wilson for time keeper, Mary Lou Grier Holmes for attorney, David Danehower for Faculty Fool, Jay Hering for the chair of legal ethics, Alice in Wonderland for recruitment, Roger Rabbit for development, and Gollum for the Dean of Students. Yep, that should do it! That’s a kill blow!

    Happy trails,

    Chuck Wilson
    Editor, ARPTalk

    • Dean Turbeville says:

      Sung last Sunday at All Saints’:

      “Lord, keep us steadfast in Thy Word;
      Curb those who fain by craft or sword,
      Would wrest the kingdom from Thy Son
      And set at naught all He hath done.

      Lord Jesus Christ, Thy power make known,
      For Thou art Lord of lords alone;
      Defend Thy Christendom that we
      May evermore sing praise to Thee.

      O Comforter of priceless worth,
      Send peace and unity on earth.
      Support us in our final strife
      And lead us out of death to life.”

      (Martin Luther, 1541)

  37. Mary L. Grier Holmes says:

    Dear Rev. Wilson:
    Here is where your logic fails you. You’ve set up a false dichotomy. Did you have the pleasure of taking Logic when you were a student at Erskine? Try one of Dr. Farley’s books.
    You’ve misinterpreted the Chicago Statement by elevating it over the authority of God, scripture, the creeds and the Westminster Confession. The writers of the Chicago Statement did not intend for it to be a creed. It is a STATEMENT. It is not necessary for salvation. It is not to be used to persecute other Christians, Rev. Wilson.
    Others have misinterpreted it as a “doctrine of MAN” to be followed blindly to the detriment of the Christian conscience. That is what Navarro says. Navarro says the church is the ABSOLUTE AUTHORITY.
    When the Church errs (as Mr. Rebel points out), as it did in following Moderator deWitt’s misleading Commission, it must be called into question. No one is obliged to blindly follow it. That is deWitt’s folly. Parker Young hasn’t sinned. He has corrected a sin–false witness against the fourteen Trustees. He preserved justice.

    Mary Lou Grier Holmes
    P.S. Machen refused to take an oath of Christianity. Barth went further. He protested Hitler’s actions as unChristian and refused to take an oath of allegiance to Hitler. Both were of the same school of thought on this topic: they did not like oath-taking for professors.

    • Anthony says:


      Proverbs 26:4 aside, I can’t find where it is you claim I made the statement “The church is the absolute authority.” That’s quite an accusation you have laid against me, and you’ve made it twice now. I wish not to be a victim of your, what RR calls, “Proof by frequent assertion.” So… if you please provide the reference, I will make the appropriate correction. If you cannot, I would ask for a polite retraction.


  38. Charles W. Wilson says:

    Dear Ms. Mary Lou G. Holmes,

    It is difficult to discuss with you. I have never said that the Chicago Statement on Inerrancy is creedal. You make a fuss about that. We don’t. What does it matter to you? You’re not an ARP.

    I don’t know of anyone in the ARP Church who says that inerrancy is essential to salvation. You are the one who makes that assertion about ARPs.

    What do you mean that ARPs don’t take oaths? The vows of ordination are oaths. You have misunderstood the issue of oath-taking. Yes, indeed, Machen even took the vows or oaths of ordinaiton.

    BTW, did you know that the Latin for creed is simply “I Believe!”? Technically, any “I believe” is a creed.

    The “Position Statements” of General Synod simply clarify what we believe. We have “Position Statements” on a number of matters. Are you aware of these?

    Now, we were talking about the Chicago Statement on Inerrancy. I’m so glad to know that you agree with its various propositions regarding the inerrancy of the Bible. Doesn’t it make a good explanation of what it means for us ARPs when we say we believe in the inerrancy of the Bible? Any faithful professor at Erskine College and Seminary should be willing to say “I believe that!”, don’t you think? It’s only a statement that you affirm – that you say “I believe.”


    Chuck Wilson
    Editor, ARPTalk

  39. Charles W. Wilson says:

    Dear Readers of ARPTalk,

    Speaking of legal actions against the ARP Church, Dr. Jay West, former Erskine VP for Development, has posted the following on the alums’ FB site:

    “Opportunity for Separation with the ARP: I just received a phone call from a dedicated alumni. He/she is committed to contributing to and raising funds for a class action lawsuit for the alumni to retain ownership and control of Erskine. They are only interested in five people bringing the suit. Actually, they can probably fund it alone. This person is very serious, and is willing to out spend and go as deep and hard as necessary. In the end, it may be the only option left. If what I am told by this person is right, there is no possible way the ARP could fund such an effort financially, and if they can’t, they lose. I promised that he/she would remain anonymous. We are scheduled to speak via conference call again in two weeks. I am interested in your thoughts. Their thought is clear: there will be no compromise- look at the by-laws. This is the final stage. Please tell me your thoughts and suggestions.”

    Hooray for Jay and his Erskine BOIs (“bunch of idiots”). That should do it. Another law suit will bring SACS back into the picture. Another law suit should fill the papers in South Carolina and elsewhere and drive students away. Another law suit should dry the money well for Erskine. Another law suit should damage Erskine irreparable. Thank you. Jay West the destroyer!

    BUT, what if Jay has misjudged the ARPs? What if the ARPs fight to the death? Well, that’s okay! We will find out if the ARP Church really loves and wants Erskine. Whatever, the fight will be good. It will probably be the death blow to Erskine. Due West a ghost town! And all this from Jay West and his BOIs! Wow!

    Go, Jay! Go, Jay! Go, Jay!


    Chuck Wilson
    Editor, ARPTalk

  40. Charles W. Wilson says:

    (aka, let’s see-if-we-can-steal-Erskine-College-and-Semianry-from-the-ARP-Church)

    The following is an update on the potential class actions suit proposed by Dr. Jay West, former VP of Development at Erskine. Below is West’s latest post on the Facebook site of the Erskine Alums.

    “THE ISSUE: I just heard from an alum who articulated very clearly what the issue is at hand. I have been told so many times, “just be patient, we are working on it.” Don’t worry, the Moderator’s Commission will not find anything because it is all about lies.” “Just give him (Norman) a chance.” : “Let the by-laws committee work.” “Syhod will come around.” “Now, we are losing credibility with some on the board of trustees- surprise” WAKE UP

    “THE ISSUE: as delivered by a fellow alum: “I am not hearing one leader beat out one message, deliver a Vision, Mission, and Steps to get there”

    “He is dead on target. When will we learn that the old ways of doing business with Synod are over. The constituency of Synod has changed.

    “Vision: to have Erskine as a Christian liberal arts institution that is tolerant of all faiths, but committed to one. Concscious of all of humanity. Excellent in academics. An incubator for future leaders. The family it used to be.

    “Mission: To exhaust all legal recourse whether or not there is a concensus as to how to move forward. To collaborate with all interested in the vision. To organize even a small group of alumni and resources to engage in a long and lengthy process whereby we have the voice we deserve as those who funded scholarships and built the campus. Execute a class action lawsuit with as few as five alumni to this end.

    “Organize those interested.
    “Develop one comprehensive strategy
    “Secure the legal counsel already interested
    “Fund the process
    “Outspend the defendent.
    “’Win anyway’ – Ray Tanner, USC National Champions Baseball Coach.

    “I am done with all of the back and forth discussions about evolution, lies, ploys, people afraid to call a spade a spade.

    “I am committed to what is stated above. Period.”

    Well, one wonders where these BOIs (“bunch of idiots,” that is, the Erskine Facebook alums) are going to get the money to finance their class actions suit against the ARP Church. Could it be that their money-tree is the EC Foundation? According to the BOIs they have given a huge amount of money to the EC Foundation for such an anticipated occasion as this. Let us remember that it was the EC Foundation that was the funnel for attorneys’ fees in the Young, Taylor, and Chesnut suit against the ARP Church. The BOIs have made it very clear that they were not giving to Erskine College and Seminary; rather, their money was going to the EC Foundation! Yep, I bet that is going to be the source! However, I’m always open to a new and wonderful act of maliciousness from the BOIs.

    The prospects of this taking place are just too wonderful for me. Such a protracted and contentious legal affair will probably be the death of Erskine. My desire is simply the separation of the ARP Church from Erskine. This proposed class action suit against the ARP Church by West and his BOIs takes my breath away. Not in a hundred – no, not is a thousand years could I have hoped for something so wonderful as this to come pass. Yes, even in the days of my life!

    Jay West the Destroyer of Erskine! Jay West the Devastator of Due West! Jay West the man who will single-handedly make it possible for the ARP Church to let go of the cancer of Erskine. The sounds of these words are warming to my heart. Jay, thank you from the bottom of my heart!!!

    Go, Jay, go! Do God’s work of judgment against Erskine! Let us sing “Hallelujah, Praise Jehovah”!

    BTW, this will probably be the last update that I will be able to write for some time. The BOIs’ Facebook site manager won’t let the BOIs discuss this on their site now. It’s too controversial or something like that. They will have to find another source of communication.

    Jay, I’ll let you and your BOIs use the ARPTalk site.


    Chuck Wilson
    Editor, ARPTalk

  41. Mary L. Grier Holmes says:

    Dear Rev. Wilson: To make it easier for you, rather than repeat what I’ve said ad nauseum, here it is following each of your sentences. Not shouting.


    I don’t know of anyone in the ARP Church who says that inerrancy is essential to salvation. THEN WHY ASK FOR AN OATH? FROM PROFESSORS? You are the one who makes that assertion about ARPs. PANTS ON FIRE.


    BTW, did you know that the Latin for creed is simply “I Believe!”? Technically, any “I believe” is a creed. WE ARE WAY PAST THE DICTIONARY. THAT IS NOT MY BIBLE.

    The “Position Statements” of General Synod simply clarify what we believe. We have “Position Statements” on a number of matters. Are you aware of these? NOT RELEVANT TO WHAT PROFESSORS SHOULD SIGN TO TEACH.

    Now, we were talking about the Chicago Statement on Inerrancy. I’m so glad to know that you agree with its various propositions regarding the inerrancy of the Bible. NO, I AGREE IT IS NOT A CREED. Doesn’t it make a good explanation of what it means for us ARPs when we say we believe in the inerrancy of the Bible? YES, BUT YOU AND MANY OTHERS MISINTERPRET IT AND USE IT AS A WEAPON. TIME TO GO BACK TO THEOPNEUSOS BECAUSE YOU HAVE ABUSED INERRANCY. Any faithful professor at Erskine College and Seminary should be willing to say “I believe that!”, MACHEN WOULD NOT don’t you think? NO. It’s only a statement that you affirm – that you say “I believe.”


    • Anthony says:


      Third time you have made the accusation now: please clarify with the post and paragraph.

      There are indeed, times my pants are on fire, but you are not the woman appropriate to tell me this. ;-)

      Not shouting. But waiting…again…

      And if you cannot provide a proper and civil response, I will ask the administrator to smite your future posts with LOLSpeak.


  42. Mary L. Grier Holmes says:

    Mr. Navarro:
    Here is just one to whet your appetite:

    Not to defend Chuck, taking a stand will always incite people who do not take the same stand. The Bible is absolute, therefore has its critics. The church (those that assert the existence of truth, the few that are left) is absolute, and has its critics.

    The expression “pants on fire” comes from a fact-checking organization which points out lies. Not holding you responsible for posting links to outright lies, I do hold you accountable for what you have said whether or not it is still posted on ARPTALK. You are one of the ones who would be able to take down a lie if you wanted to.

    Perhaps you’d like to apologize or retract your support of ecclesiastical tyranny?

    • Anthony says:


      I know where the expression comes from. Your accusation, however, is as I suspected, but may garner two interpretations – At best it is from ignorance; at worst it is slander: whether deliberate or not you are misquoting me – Indeed, the church is absolute – but I am referring to the persistence of its being, not it’s ecclesiastical authority. God has his people (the church) in the palm of his hand and no one can be pulled from His grasp, and the purposes for his church on earth will never be thwarted. God’s church is indestructible. It is… absolute. As one once said, God’s anvil has stood against the blows of many a tyrant’s hammer. (I know, it was a reference to the Bible, but it still works ;-)

      I nowhere referenced the church has absolute power on earth – the people of the church, indeed are fallible, and we do our best to confirm to His desires for us. However, as Popeye would say “I’ve all I can stands, I can’t stands no more.”

      Administrator: please smite MLGH on any further comment on this matter with LOLSpeak.


      • Mary L. Grier Holmes says:


        • Charles W. Wilson says:

          Dear Ms. Mary Lou G. Holmes,

          Are you off your meds again? Your post is gibberish. Sit down and rewrite your post in an understandable form.

          BTW, ordination vows are oaths – oaths taken before God. The oaths of allegiance that the Associates and Reformed were concerned about were something totally different.

          Mary Lou, I’m surprised that you are not jumping up and down for joy. Haven’t you read my latest posts? I want to give Erskine to you and Jay West and the other BOIs. Isn’t that enough? Why is a non-ARP so concerned about the ARP Church?


          Chuck Wilson
          Editor, ARPTalk

        • I know Crenshaw is supposed to be the English teacher here, but I’ll give it a go…

          I did not author an “excuse” Mary, because I didn’t “do” anything. *You* misquoted *me* and implied I said something contrary to the basic tenets of Christianity. All I did was point out and correct your error.

          What’s is indeed pathetic, Mary, is choosing to sling mud rather than engage in honest dialog. One of your contemporaries engaged me in an hour long phone conversation not long ago, and though we were polar opposites in our viewpoints, we hung up knowing each other’s opinions, the biblical reasonings behind them, and we walked away, still of differing positions, but holding each other in good regard for those opinions.

          Few have engaged this issue in open, civil dialog. Those that have, have not only discussed many root causes the problem at hand with people on both sides of the fence, but have found new friends and allies in the cause to glorify God to the best of our understanding.

          Not so with you, however. What’s your ‘scuse?


  43. Anthony says:

    On an unrelated note, Mary, I understand you and Jay W have been banned from the Erskine Alum group on FaceBook… Can either of you shed some light on this development?


  44. Charles W. Wilson says:

    Dear Dr. Bill Crenshaw,

    I was looking forward to your response to my comments. Aren’t you going to post? If you don’t, I will be disappointed.


    Chuck Wilson
    Editor, ARPTalk

  45. Reiggin Hilderbrand says:

    So, honestly, here I was sitting at home thinking to myself, “I could really use a chuckle… maybe I’ll head on over and see if MLGH has spewed any more inane gibberish on ARPtalk lately…” DING DING DING! We have a winner! Thanks for the laugh, MLGH. I needed it.

  46. Charles W. Wilson says:

    Dear Dr. Bill Crenshaw,

    Where are you, Bill? Aren’t you going to respond to my post? You’re a daisy if you do!


    Chuck Wilson
    Editor, ARPTalk

  47. Ralph Smith says:

    Wow… Rev. Wilson Mary Lou holmes is really working hard to foil you and ‘DeWitt’s boys’ plans to overtake a dying denomination.

    Is it true that Mary Lou Holmes is the alias of the Barthian ‘scholars’ of Erskine theological cemetary? (Not that her facts are well-ordered, but she is pugnatious.)

    One other question: I have noted from internet inquiry of my own as well as asking some close to Erskine Seminary that the Barthian ‘scholars’ at the school have done nothing to contribute to the ARP Synod (other than filing a lawsuit against it). The question is, what good are these people to the school? They keep students away and they anger the denomination? What gives with the president of the school . SHould he not pink slip them and quality scholars/ministers in line with the denomination?

  48. Charles W. Wilson says:

    Ralph Smith,

    See below for the answers to your questions:

    1. Regarding Ms. Mary Lou G. Holmes – She is an Erskine graduate, lives in New Orleans, she has a law degree from Tulane University (cum laude, I believe), she works for Tulane as an attorney, I have met her father and a number of her friends, and she is NOT an ARP. Yes, she is real!

    2. Regarding Dr. Richard Burnett – Dr. Michael Bush is no longer employed at ETS, so Dr. Burnett is the only neo-Barthian left who acknowledges it, and I agree with your comments regarding him. Dr. Burnett is very much out of place at ETS, and his presence on the faculty does not help ETS recruit students. As a PCUSA minister, Dr. Burnett must be very uncomfortable at an ARP related seminary. The ARP Church has now publicly and officially condemned the PCUSA for the denomination’s capitulation to the ordination of practicing homosexual. One wonders why Dr. Burnett continues at the seminary of the ARP Church. Well, I supposed it because he has tenure, he can cause trouble, and he doesn’t have to work too hard.

    Mr. Smith, I hope that helps.

    Dr. Burnett, would you like space to reply?


    Chuck Wilson
    Editor, ARPTalk

  49. Mary L. Grier Holmes says:

    Reverend Wilson:
    Thank you for telling the truth about me. I am standing up for the founding fathers of the ARP Church, who are not well represented here. They disagreed on some matters, but one thing is clear. They did not believe in oath taking or statement signing for professors. From Rev. Isaac Grier to Dr. R. Calvin Grier to W. Moffatt Grier to J.S. Moffatt (who has been gravely misquoted) to R.C. Grier.
    I don’t represent the rest of the early ARPs because I don’t have their private letters.
    Yours very truly,
    Mary L. Grier Holmes

    • Charles W. Wilson says:

      Dear Ms. Mary Lou G. Holmes,

      Just for the record –

      1. I told who you are. Of course!

      2. I don’t think I agree with the rest of your post.


      Chuck Wilson
      Editor, ARPTalk

  50. Mary L. Grier Holmes says:

    Dear Reverend Wilson:

    Please forgive me I forgot to respond to this:

    “done nothing to contribute to the ARP Synod . . . The question is, what good are these people to the school?”

    The answer is my great grandfather, Boyce Hemphill Grier, born in Due West in 1861, an ARP minister and member of the Synod in 1903, gave his father, his brother, and his great-nephew to Erskine College and seminary as PRESIDENTS of Erskine College and Seminary. Not to mention two sons, countless nephews and so on and so on to the ARP Church and ministers, servants and missionaries.

    What “good are these people to the school,” Ralph Smith? Read the Centennial History of the ARP Church, please.

    Yours very truly,
    Mary L. Grier Holmes

  51. Charles W. Wilson says:

    Dear Ms. Mary Lou G. Holmes,

    Your responses should be directed to Mr. Ralph Smith. I did not write what you quoted. See comments for July 9.

    Also, I don’t believe Mr. Smith was speaking of your relatives; rather, he was speaking in regard to present faculty members at the ETS.


    Chuck Wilson
    Editor, ARPTalk

  52. Ralph Smith says:

    Mary Lou Holmes,
    You have the ARP family pedigree. Good for you that you have ARP Israel’s heritage. However, do you own the spiritual heritage outlined by the biblical writers?
    I would hope that your understand that your view of Presbyterian history is particularly flawed. You don’t seem to have a grasp on the issue of the authority of scripture.
    Please understand that I am not trying to be mean to you. I mean ZERO intolerance. I just think that your posts reveal that you are a person who is afraid of change at an institution with no Christian identity! You seem to fight for something absolutely irrelevant and undefined in terms of your theological belief. I read your posts–I feel your passion–I just am not sure you know what you believe. I also wonder if you realize that your ‘history’ is seriously distorted. Again, I’m not trying to be mean or rude. I’m just unsure that you know what you believe.

    I am glad that you are related to what you designate as important ARPs. But our heritage is in the gospel not bloodlines… I think Paul says that somewhere in Romans and Galatians.
    Just sayin.

  53. Ralph Smith says:

    Mary Lou Holmes,
    I was referring to the faculty as Rev. Wilson indicated. However, I will address your assumed concerns about family/ARP/History?presbyterianism etc.

  54. Mary L. Grier Holmes says:

    Dear “Ralph Smith” and Rev. Wilson:

    You mistake the authority of the person speaking with the truth of what is being said. You can read the same books I’ve read and draw the same conclusions.

    This is what I’ve said about the founders of the ARP Church and Erskine.

    “They did not believe in oath taking or statement signing for professors.”

    Reverend Wilson says he disagrees. But he cites no authority for it. In fact, when it comes to the founding of the seminary, he published an article by Princeton Theological Seminary, not by the Founding Fathers of Erskine Seminary.

    You can disagree or disparage the founding fathers, but it is a fact that they encouraged non-denominationalism at Erskine and they thought sectarianism was “devilishness”. They deplored oath taking and statement signing.

    One does not need to be an ARP by birth or an Erskine graduate to understand it.

    If you have an argument to make, “Ralph Smith,” please make it. So far as I can see, you have nothing relevant to say that has a basis in ARP history or the Bible. I’ve referred you to 1) the Westminster Confession; 2) the writings of the early ARPs; 2) the Centennial History of the ARP Church starting on page 659 and especially the essay of J. S. Moffatt (when quoted correctly); 3) the Bible; 4) the creeds; (5)the example of Christ; 6) the example of Machen; 7) the statement of the General Synod of 1840 and 1850; 8) the Chicago Statement of Inerrancy; 9) the 170 year history of Erskine; 10) the early history of the ARP Church.

    I do not quote the history of Erskine for pride. I cite the history of Erskine because Erskine and the ARP Church are the issue. Anyone can read it. You can too. If you want to go online or go to the library it is readily available to all God’s children whether or not they have a connection to the historic ARP Church.

    Yours very truly,
    Mary L. Grier Holmes

    • Charles W. Wilson says:

      Dear Ms. Mary Lou G. Holmes,

      Please don’t patronize Mr. Ralph Smith with a pejorative identification of him as “Ralph Smith.” He is a real as you are. He has identified himself on ARPTalk. If you ask, he will probably give you his email address.

      Thank you for reminding us of the history of Erskine. If you remember, Erskine is the oldest private college in South Carolina. As you recall, Erskine was founded in response to the atheism, infidelity, and anti-Christian attacks of Thomas Cooper at the College of South Carolina (today, the University of South Carolina). Indeed, the founders of Erskine establish Erskine as an evangelical Christian counterbalance and alternative for all evangelical Christians in South Carolina. The vision for Erskine was that it would be a place that honored Christ and the Bible as a safe haven for evangelical Christian students – a place where evangelical Christians students could get an education and have their faith nurtured rather than ridiculed, demeaned, and attacked.

      The reason for Erskine’s existence has now ceased. The voice of Thomas Cooper now lives and prevails at Erskine in the teaching of Dr. Bill Crenshaw who is as much an infidel, atheist, and anti-Christian as Cooper was. Evangelical Christian faith is no longer nurtured at Erskine; rather, it is ridiculed and attacked.


      Chuck Wilson
      Editor, ARPTalk

  55. Mary L. Grier Holmes says:

    Dear Reverend Wilson:

    You have your facts backwards I am afraid. Cooper lived in the time of William Moffatt Grier. That was AFTER the Civil War. Erskine was founded in 1838. It was already a top four school when the writings, critical of U.S.C. began. The criticism raged over a “public” free education competing with a “private” tuition based education. This was in the 1870’s and forward. The poison pen then was Hemphill, as I have pointed out to you in the past, in posts on ARPTalk.
    Rev. Moffatt Grier offered an olive branch, not to the poison pen, but to the man at U.S.C.
    Yours very truly,
    Mary L. Grier Holmes

    • Mary L. Grier Holmes says:

      Dear Rev. Wilson:
      The comment above should not be posted. It is incorrect. My mistake. The Cooper you were talking about did live in the 1830s.
      Mary L. Grier Holmes

  56. Charles W. Wilson says:

    Dear Ms. Mary Lou G. Holmes,

    Thank you.


    Chuck Wilson
    Editor, ARPTalk

  57. Henry Foster says:

    Dear Mrs. Mary L. Grier Holmes,

    This mindless back-and-forth is getting a little tiresome. While I appreciate the fact that you’ve acknowledged that Mr. Wilson has his dates correct concerning Thomas Cooper and that you were speaking of a different era, is it at all possible for you to address the SUBSTANCE of Mr. Wilson’s post – that is, his assertions concerning the issues at play during the founding of Erskine College?

    Henry Foster
    (just an ordinary ARP)

  58. Mary L. Grier Holmes says:

    Dear Rev. Wilson and Mr. Foster:

    In the early days, “evangelical” meant non-Catholic and non-Angelican. Early ARPs called themselves evangelical, yet they welcomed everyone, even non-believers and hypocrites into the church. It did not mean what you seem to think, Rev. Wilson.

    The “issues at play” during the founding of Erskine College? There were a wide array of issues being discussed at the time, not the least of which was alcohol. I don’t think drinking had anything to do with the founding of Erskine by our ancestors in the ARP Church. Nor do I think “attack” on Christians existed at the time in South Carolina.

    The “attacks” on our forefathers came from OTHER CHRISTIANS in the prior century and before that. In the British Isles. Where Jenny Gettys threw a biscuit at her teacher and the children and wives of several ministers were slaughtered.

    The same thing is happening now at Erskine. Christians attacking other Christians. Just as Christ warned us would happen.

    Erskine was founded by our forefathers to educate students. Education was seen “as an end in itself.” It was also for the convenience and preparation of young men for the ministry. Because Calvinism is “not for the mentally infirm” or the frail and weak. “The mastery of the texts . . . required a particularly alert intelligence.” Centennial History of the ARP Church, p. 692.

    God did from all eternity thus ordain it.

    Yours very truly,
    Mary L. Grier Holmes

    • Dear Ms. Mary Lou G. Holmes,

      One, the following is what you write:

      Erskine was founded by our forefathers to educate students. Education was seen “as an end in itself.” It was also for the convenience and preparation of young men for the ministry. Because Calvinism is “not for the mentally infirm” or the frail and weak. “The mastery of the texts . . . required a particularly alert intelligence.” Centennial History of the ARP Church, p. 692.

      God did from all eternity thus ordain it.

      You might want to rethink what you have written and quoted. I don’t think you want it coming across as an elitist, do you? Who are you attempting to impress?

      Two, the following is taken from a history that was written by an ARP:

      The influence of Dr. Cooper for evil was certainly very great. His life had been spent in a continuous storm. He seems to have taken a peculiar pleasure in disturbing the peace of every community in which he was thrown, either by accident or busness. . . . His fame rested solely on his wonderful powers as a lecturer. He hated all his life the Christina religious, and, perhaps, without designing it, transferred his hatred to those who professed it. . . . Dr. Cooper exhumed errors long buried, paraded before the world their ghastly forms, and polluted society with their noisome stench. . . . (Latham, History of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church of the South: 1782-1882, p. 350).

      Indeed, there were many issues involved in the founding of Erskine; however, above, forged in the words of Latham “the historian of the ARP Church,” is the plow that put the seeds in the grown. Indeed, as I wrote in a previous post, Dr. Thomas Cooper now lives in the teaching and words of Dr. Bill Crenshaw. The major reason for Erskine’s founding no longer exists!


      Chuck Wilson
      Editor, ARPTalk

  59. Henry Foster says:

    Dear Mrs Mary L. Grier Holmes,

    I’m no rocket scientist, but from my reading of Mr Wilson’s post of July 13, it doesn’t appear to me that he is referring to “attacks” on South Carolina Christians in the 1830’s by either sword or biscuit. Instead, I believe he’s referring to the very notorious, open, active, and controversial teachings of Thomas Cooper at what was then South Carolina College in the capitol city of Columbia. If your historical library and experience doesn’t include Cooper and the issues connected with him, I suggest you google “Thomas Cooper” or look him up in Wikipedia. The similarity of issues between then and now are striking – and I’m not referring to alcohol issues.

    Very truly yours
    Henry Foster
    (just an average ARP)

  60. Mary L. Grier Holmes says:

    Dear Rev. Wilson and Henry Foster:

    Do you have any proof whatsoever to connect the Cooper atheism you have documented to the reasons for the founding of Erskine? Cooper did not teach at Erskine. It was not even in existence when he taught at Carolina.

    After firing over 30 people at Erskine you still think Dr. Crenshaw is running the show? If we are not talking about real attacks such as drownings, then what are we talking about? Suffering? You still think that you are the victim of an “attack”? Were you chased? Where are your wounds, exactly? Because it is the families of the 30 plus ousted and fired employees who are hurting. That’s quite something. Dr. Crenshaw is not even an atheist.

    Do you have any reason to doubt the Centennial History of the ARP Church, the scripture or John Knox? Why would you lift up a passage which stands for hatred and ignore one which stands for truth? Is it so deplorable for a minister to be educated? If you think so, then why run what you call an “elitist” institution of higher learning?

    If you think so little of the ARP founding fathers and their tradition and purpose of a highly educated ministry, why do you want to run Erskine?

    Yours very truly,
    Mary L. Grier Holmes

  61. Dear Ms. Mary Lou Holmes,

    You asked if I have any “proof” to connect Dr. Thomas Cooper to the founding of Erskine. Well, I think Mr. Foster suggested a couple of places to go. Since you and Dr. Ray King are friends, call him. If you don’t have the number, I can give it to you. As you know, having taught ARP Church for a number of years, Ray might be of some help to you.

    What does the “firing” of people have to do with our discussion? I don’t recall mentioning anything about that. What is all this about attacks? I don’t know what you mean when you speak of me being a “victim.” I don’t recall that I have ever claimed to be a victim.

    Well, with regard to Bill Crenshaw, if he isn’t essentially an atheist, what is he? A bowl of Jello? It something like if it looks like a duck and smells like a duck and . . .

    I don’t know why you would think I have a reason to doubt the Centennial History. All I said was that I wouldn’t have used the passage that you quoted in the manner that you did. Do you have reason to doubt Lathan’s History of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church whose work is held as an official document? I am surprised that you would use the term “hate” with the opinions of an ARP historian. Oh, and just in case you’re not aware, those old hard-nosed founders of the ARP Church and Erskine were such exclusivists that your ancestors would not have allowed you to share communion with them. Did you know that they held to “closed” communion? As a non-ARP, you would not have been allowed at their Table. If you doubt, ask Ray King!

    Mary Lou, have you lost your mind? Do you think I want to run Erskine? Have I not made it perfectly clear that I want to give Erskine to you and Bill Crenshaw and Jay West and all the BOIs (“Bunch of Idiots”) who participate in prating and whining on the Alums’ Facebook Site? Did I not say that my desire was to see Bill Crenshaw as the Prez, Mary Lou as Institutional Lawyer, David Danehower as Faculty Fool, and Jay West as Village Idiot? That’s what I want to see. That should kill it!

    BTW, May Lou, I hear that you and Jay West have been banned from posting on the Alums’ Facebook Site. Is that true? I also hear that you and Jay West and those who want to organize a class action lawsuit against the ARP Church have come together to establish a new Facebook site that has you as the Administrator. Is that true? May I be a member of that site?

    Mary Lou, having been banned from posting on the Alums’ Facebook Site, is that why you are now posting on ARPTalk? That’s a sad way to get attention! I hope it isn’t true.

    I’ll let Mr. Foster speak for himself. He’s very capable of doing that – if he so chooses.


    Chuck Wilson
    Editor, ARPTalk

  62. Mary L. Grier Holmes says:

    Dear Rev. Wilson:
    I know it must be embarrassing for you and I hate to point it out. But you stated above that the reason for the founding of Erskine was to create a safe haven for evangelical Christians away from the rough influence of atheist Cooper. Sad to say Wikipedia is not good scholarship, my friends. The Abbeville newspaper or the Due West newspaper of the time is a much better and more accurate description of what actually took place. Therein you will find descriptions of Presbyterians attacking Cooper, not the other way around. You seem to think that anyone who disagrees with you is attacking you. That simply is not the case and our brothers who founded the ARP church did not think so. An early ARP, R. R. Hemphill introduced the first bill in South Carolina to allow women to vote, Rev. Wilson.
    Yours very truly,
    Mary L. Grier Holmes

  63. Dear Ms. Mary Lou G. Holmes,

    I just now saw your post. Sorry! It’s been some time since I look at this article.

    1. I don’t use Wikipedia as a source. Do you?

    2. Mary Lou, you do history by means of confabulation, disinformation, and revisionism. You’re practicing the art of political lying!

    3. BTW, what does women’s suffrage have to do with this discussion? Where did that come from?


    Chuck Wilson


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