More Bits and Pieces

 

This issue of ARPTalk is another sort of a newsy church newsletter. The items reported on deal with Erskine College matters, Second Presbytery, Moderator Andy Putnam, and something “just-for-fun.” I hope you find these “Bits and Pieces” interesting, informative, and entertaining.


 

Good Cop! Bad Cop!

As the readers of ARPTalk are aware, the Editor has come to the conclusion that Erskine College (EC) and Seminary (ETS) cannot be fixed by the ARP Church. The ARP Church simply does not have the financial and people resources needed to get the job done. The efforts by the members of the General Synod have been ineffectual for more than 40 years now, and there is nothing on the horizon to suggest that change is on the way. In fact, the situation is now worse than it has been. The members of the General Synod demonstrated in the June 2010 General Synod that they lacked the will and courage to defend the ARP Church’s legitimate interests in court, and the Erskine Board of Trustees (EBOT), with no real fear of the ARP paper tiger, has now decisively rebuffed the 2011 General Synod’s polite request for a Charter change (amazingly, a consensus document that was signed on to by President David Norman and EBOT representatives at the 2011 General Synod). Only fools would hold out hope that things can be fixed now. I have said it before and let me say it again: Enough and away with the cancer and evil called Erskine!

The Editor is pleased that he seems to have been joined in his efforts to cut Erskine free from the ARP Church by the current Moderator, the Rev. Andy Putnam. Consider the following: Moderator Putnam was on the committee that rewrote the EBOT’s By-Laws. Do you recall that it was these By-Laws, framed in a defiant refusal to recognize the organic relationship between the General Synod and Erskine and their denial of General Synod’s right to remove EBOT trustees for cause, that prompted the motion by the Rev. Clint Davis at last year’s General Synod? When the EBOT approved those By-Laws, Moderator Putnam argued against efforts to fix them, suggesting that such changes could be made later in the context of charter revision. As I remember, in a conversation, he said a revision favorable to General Synod would not be difficult.

Then Moderator Putnam was placed on the EBOT’s committee charged with responding to the General Synod’s overture in Rev. Clint Davis’ motion, and reports are that he was fully supportive of the EBOT’s rebuff of General Synod’s overture to the EBOT.

Now some uninitiated souls might find this situation odd. They might even suggest that Moderator Putnam has been less than faithful in representing the interests of the General Synod of which he is the Moderator. But such base murmurings fail to grasp the full extent of Moderator Putnam’s political acumen. Can it not be seen that Moderator Putnam has found a way to placate both the left wing of the church (which wants to see Erskine free of General Synod’s control) and right wing of the church (which wants to see Erskine cut loose)? Furthermore, once Erskine is gone, gone, and, PTL, gone, Moderator Putnam will have solved the financial problems of the ARP Church in one fell swoop. Perhaps, as Moderator Putnam himself likes to say, he has been playing chess while the rest of us have been playing checkers!

To be sure, the Editor has played the “bad cop” in exposing Erskine’s infidelities. Now the circumstances at least suggest that Moderator Putnam wants to see Erskine gone, and that behind the scenes he is playing the “good cop” counterpart to Chuck Wilson. The Editor is happy to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Moderator Putnam in this endeavor.

Andy, it has been a delight to play the game of “Good Cop! Bad Cop!” with you.

These are my thoughts,

Charles W. Wilson


 

News Release

Below is a news release on the Coach Bobby Petrino situation at the University of Arkansas as I imagine it might be dealt with by Second Presbytery. Anyone who thinks that the spoof below is a legitimate news release should be medicated and locked away in a closet in a dark attic.

“Bobby Petrino, former Head Coach of the Arkansas Razorbacks, has been through more hardship than any person should have to endure. He and his wife and family are currently attempting to heal and move forward. Therefore, it is our opinion that the administration at Arkansas should not have fired him. In so doing, they have only torn away the scab that covered a healing wound.

“What is more, Coach Petrino has indicated that at the time of the inappropriate relationship he sincerely believed – and very sincerely believed – that what he was doing was appropriate.

“Therefore, we recommend that the entire matter be swept under a large rug, that it not even be discussed further, and that Coach Petrino be reinstated as Head Coach. After his reinstatement, we believe the matter should be considered closed.”

Yes, indeed, there are devils in “sincerity”!

These are my thoughts,

Charles W. Wilson


 

All Roads Lead to Greenville!

With all the miseries that have beset the ARP Church regarding Erskine College (EC) and Seminary (ETS) the last five years, an obvious thing has been lost in the miasma of words. That is, all roads lead to Greenville.

I am old now and not as quick as I once was, but even an old guy who is nearly bat-blind from glaucoma can see it. As a matter of fact, it is startling in its scope. All roads lead to Greenville Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church (GARPC)!

Consider that Dr. Richard Taylor, an elder on the session of the GARPC, is one of the plaintiffs who took the ARP Church to civil court after the “Snow” Synod. As I remember, he gave a most entertaining performance as a witness in the courtroom in Newberry. As I recall, it was something about his feelings being hurt when General Synod voted to remove him from the Erskine Board of Trustees (EBOT).

The influence of the session and congregation of the GARPC on EC and ETS and the ARP Church is enormous. The first time I realized the reach of the influence of the GARPC was soon after the meeting of General Synod last year. Recall that there was an appeal of “charges” brought against Dr. Jay Hering, NT professor at ETS, regarding his joining with ETS non-ARP professors Dr. Richard Burnett and Dr. Michael Bush in an injunction against the ARP Church after the “Snow” Synod. I was one of the members of Second Presbytery who brought charges against Dr. Hering. On the floor of General Synod, in a communications SNAFU (that is, “Situation Normal All Fouled Up”), as the General Synod was winding down on Thursday, I reminded Moderator Andy Putnam that the item was pending before Synod. After some scurrying around, the document was found. I think I made the motion that the matter be forwarded to the Ecclesiastical Commission on Judiciary Affairs (ECJA). However, a few days after returning home, I received a phone call from Moderator Putnam regarding the motion I made. He informed me that a quorum could not be found on the ECJA for two reasons: (1) a seat was open; and (2) a number of members of the ECJA had to recuse themselves because they were members of the law firm in Greenville (and members of the Greenville ARP Church) that represented the EBOT plaintiffs in the litigation against the ARP Church. My advice was for the Moderator to hold the matter until this year and see if the makeup of the ECJA changed, and I think that was the course of action taken.

Recently, as I was thinking about the impasse that exists between the ARP Church and the EBOT, I noticed something else odd. Presently, Mr. Joe Patrick is the Chairman of the EBOT, and he is the son-in-law of EBOT member Dr. Richard Taylor, who is one of the EBOT plaintiffs who took the ARP Church to civil court. He also attends the GARPC. Then I noticed another spectacularly interesting thing: Mr. Dan Eller, Synod’s legal counsel, is also Dr. Taylor’s son-in-law and a member of the Greenville ARP Church. Well, I suppose all roads lead to GARPC. It looks institutionally incestuous, does it not?

But wait, there’s more! Mr. David Conner chaired the recent Erskine Board committee that rebuffed the General Synod’s request for a charter change, and reports are that Mr. Conner, a Greenville attorney, is to be the next Chairman of the EBOT. Mr. Conner is also a member of the GARPC and a member of the session of that church.

Another fascinating aspect to the story “All Road Lead to Greenville” is the role of the pastor of the GARPC, Rev. Matt Miller. In discussions with me and others, Rev. Miller made it clear that he disagreed with Dr. Richard Taylor’s actions of bringing litigation against the ARP Church. If I remember the conversations correctly, Rev. Miller used the word “wrong.”

However, when charges were brought against Dr. Taylor before his session by five members of Second Presbytery, Rev. Miller joined on with the opinion of the session – indeed, there was no objection on the document that came from the session of the GARPC. Then, when the session of the GARPC “circularized” Second Presbytery with a 10-plus-page document before the Second Presbytery could even hear the case, Rev. Miller’s name was not filed in opposition to the actions of the his session, nor was his voice heard in opposition on the floor of Second Presbytery. One wonders what Rev. Miller believes. He says it is “wrong” to take the church to court; however, when action is taken that actually deals with the issue, he joins the cause of those who defend one who has taken the church to civil court in an action that Rev. Miller deems “wrong.” This is puzzling to me. I cannot believe that Rev. Miller buys the “sincerity” argument. Well, at least, it demonstrates that all roads lead to Greenville!

These are my thoughts,

Charles W. Wilson

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  1. Brian Smith says:

    Yawn! It seems like the same old song and dance. Rev. Wilson, come join the Baptist Church at least we’re making an effort at straightening out our institutions. Exibit A = Al Mohler.

    How do you deal with sad storlines all the time?

     
  2. Reiggin Hilderbrand says:

    “Institutionally incestuous” describes more than just GARPC but rather the whole of the ARP, most notably Erskine itself. Draw up a Family Tree of the ARP and it’ll look more like a thicket than an oak. Thorny, tangled, and close to the ground as opposed to strong, majestic, and proud.

     
  3. Brian Smith says:

    Dear Rev. Wilson,
    No debate. Your denomination has sold its soul in its silence! For Reform call 1-800-al mohler.

     

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